1 // Free Tuition
Germany has free tuition for all public universities. Yes, FREE TUITION! My program was one of the few that actually charged tuition due to private funding. However, I was lucky to receive a full-tuition scholarship to cover the €2,500 ($2675) tuition fee. Free tuition to all public universities applies to everyone, regardless of residency in Germany and nationality. However, everyone is required to pay a semester fee to cover the basic expenses for the university (mine were about €130 ($140) per semester)
2 // Class Schedule
Unlike university classes in the United States that meet 2-3 times a week, classes in Germany meet once a week for 2 hour time blocks. During my graduate program, I usually had classes only 3-4 days per week (making it easier to travel!). When I studied abroad in Germany during my undergrad, I purposely planned my classes for only Mondays and Tuesdays (from 10 am to 8 pm straight!). That way, I could travel the other 5 days.
3 // Location!
Germany is one of the best locations in all of Europe. Many great airports with lots of budget airline options. I was blessed to live so close to the Frankfurt Airport which gave me access to literally any place in the world. Furthermore, it was an easy train ride to get to the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, and so many other countries!
4 // Cheap Standard of Living
Contrary to belief, I found Germany to be an insanely cheap place to live. I had an amazing apartment for €450 ($480) a month (including utilities). Furthermore, I paid €150 ($160) every 6 months for a transportation pass that allowed me access to all the trains, buses, and trams in the region. Additionally, Germany offers so many amazing deals to students…most museums, attractions, movie theaters, or any other entertainment option have free or discounted tickets for students.
5 // Cheap Amenities
I paid €15 a month for a great cell phone plan and about €20-30 ($22-32) per week for groceries (including meat!). The health insurance for students was insane. I paid €450 ($480) every 6 months for full coverage. When I got sick a few weeks ago, my three medications plus doctor’s visit cost €7 TOTAL. For Americans, we can’t even comprehend health insurance at this rate.
6 // History
How often are you going to live in a city that’s older than the entire United States? Or attend a university that was founded 400 years before the United States? Or see a castle in the middle of town? These are just experiences not possible in the United States. I’m a huge history and political science nerd so Europe was a paradise for me.
7 // It’s Europe!
Need I say more? I mean, seriously!!! You can’t go wrong :)
** exchange rate: €1 = $1.07 on March 10, 2015 **
UPDATE: This question has been asked a lot in the comment section. My program was completely in English and there are a lot of English-only programs in Germany. I do know German but obviously English is my native language :)