Different countries have different styles of education. Though this is often overlooked, it is an important deciding factor to ensure you get the most out of your studies abroad.
In the US, the biggest advantage is the flexibility of combining different subjects and even changing courses or institutions. You will be free to explore various interests, regardless of whether they are academically related.
The UK, however, is less flexible. Students learn different subjects based on the specialisation, though there are optional modules to choose. The advantage is you get to complete your studies earlier than in the US, as studies focus on field-related subjects.
Students in the UK are also expected to learn independently. Lecturers provide direction but students are left to carry out their own analysis/interpretation. Meanwhile in Australia, there is a good mix of both creativity and independence, with emphasis on hands-on experience.
In Germany, practical experience is very much emphasised. There are 2 types of institutions, Universitäten (Universities), and Fachhochschulen (Universities of Applied Sciences). The former is research-focused, while the latter emphasises application and employability of graduates.
This emphasis ensures graduates have relevant work skills even before graduating. It makes everyone’s life easier: employers are happy to hire trained graduates, and graduates are happy to be employed. Win-win situation.
Check out our pathways to work in Germany via our Dual Vocational Training and Nurse Preparation programmes!
Low Cost of Living
Cost of living differs across different regions (city vs rural), place of rental (dorm vs private apartment), and lifestyle habits. Many places will also provide student discounts, so make sure you bring your student card at all times!
The graph below is the rough comparison of living costs in Malaysian Ringgit for students in Australia, the UK, the USA and Germany.
The living cost for the UK is calculated for cities outside of London. It will cost more to live in London.
Living cost in the USA varies a lot more compared to the other three countries. In some cities, $800 monthly will be sufficient while students will need up to $4000 monthly in San Francisco.
In Germany, most students will be comfortable with a budget of €853 monthly. In smaller cities, students can get by with as little as €650 while bigger cities like Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart, students might even need up to €1500 monthly due to the high rent.
Even without taking tuition fees into consideration, Germany wins hands-down as the most affordable option. If we were to take the total cost of studying overseas into account, Germany easily cost half or less compared to Australia, the UK or USA.
Here is our detailed breakdown of cost of living for students studying in Germany so you can budget smarter and adjust according to individual needs.
Zero Tuition Fees
Yes, you read right. Z-E-R-O.
While Australia, the UK, and the US have some of the highest tuition fees in the world, public German universities offer courses with zero tuition fees, even for international students.
However, there is a small catch. Students will have to pay “semester fee” (“Semesterbeitrag”) or “administrative fee” of around 300 or 400 euros per semester, which is still relatively affordable. This fee is used for student services and a semester ticket. The semester ticket provides students access to public transportation within the region.
For comparison purposes, here are approximate figures of tuition fees in other countries for a typical undergraduate degree:
There is only an exception for public universities in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Starting from 2017, these universities require non-EU international students to pay €1,500 tuition fee per semester. Private universities are also a separate matter, with fees going up to €20,000 per year.
Learn A New Language
Australia, the UK, and the US are native English-speaking countries, though there are differences between American English and Australian/British English.
Meanwhile in Germany, some Germans do speak English, but many prefer to speak in native German. Some university courses may also be conducted in German, though there are increasingly more courses offered in English to cater to international students.
Thus, learning German is not compulsory, but highly recommended. Learning and using German in everyday situations will help you to assimilate better and get the most out of your experience.
In fact, learning German is a huge advantage of studying in Germany. It will boost your employability in Germany and beyond, especially in German companies worldwide. In addition, you will get countless opportunities to practice with native speakers until you speak like one.
PS Here is an example of a fun German expression you will learn!
Want to learn German before takeoff? Here are some places which offer German language classes of Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFRL) standard (spoiler alert: including us *ahem*).
Choosing where to study abroad is a difficult decision, and most likely one that will affect your life significantly. We hope that wherever you go, you will enjoy experiencing life in a different country and culture.
As Yoda famously said, “Do or do not. There is no try”. All the best in this exciting new phase of your life!
Interested to learn more about studying in Germany as a Malaysian? There are definitely more than 4 reasons to do so. Click this link to find out more!
Ready to take the plunge? Check out our articles for tips to thrive in Germany as a student from Malaysia.