7 Reasons Why You Should Attend Graduate School in Germany!

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.

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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 :) 

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  • I wish I knew all of this many, many years ago lol. And how is tuition free?! That is amazing! This is a great list and if I was currently a student, I would be all over this!

    • hahaha well, the schools are free for two reasons! First, higher taxes…and second, the facilities are bare minimum. I mean, they buildings are really nice but they don’t have a million student cafeterias and extra facilities like a student union, gym, etc. Plus, they don’t have dorms (or very few usually!). Most students find their own housing :)

  • Are you fluent in German? I love the idea of going to grad school for almost free and wondering if the courses are taught in German and how you managed.

    • I’m pretty good at German but definitely not fluent! My whole program was in English and there are a lot of programs in English :)

  • Oh to be young again and have school to do over!! I wished I would have studied abroad and I had no idea German school was free!! That is just too amazing. And you are right about the healthcare…it’s incredible for everyday needs!

    • Ya! Crazy that health care is so cheap and so effective here :) I feel like the free tuition in German is this big secret!

  • This has definitely been something I’ve thought about for the better part of the year, but my only problem would be how to support myself while studying in Germany. (rent, food, etc) What do you recommend? Is a work visa even possible?

    • Hey Cynthia! Such a great question :) When you get a student visa (at least as an American), it allows you to work for 180 full days a year or 365 half days a year. I was super lucky and got two awesome jobs! I taught English once a week to a little boy for 75 Euros (for a 2 hour lesson) and also babysit for a few hours a week which brought in 20-40 Euros. Honestly, I put myself on a babysitting website and SO MANY PEOPLE are looking for native English speakers. I actually had to turn about 4-5 couples down because I didn’t have the time. Please email me at jordanbeckwagner@gmail.com and I’d love to discuss this more :) I have a few more recommendations I can give you then! xo

  • Ah I wish I had known earlier that school would be free in Germany. I would have done everything differently… They teach in English too right? You don’t have to know German to go to school there? When I have kids they’re going to go to college in Germany, none of this debt-for-the-rest-of-our-lives nonsense.

    • Yes! A lot of the programs are in English! I know German but a bunch of students in my class didn’t know a single word of German :)

  • I always wish I had studied abroad for my undergrad! These are all fantastic points you’ve made about studying in Germany. If I figure out what I want to do for my Masters I would definitely consider Germany (or elsewhere in Europe)! :)

    • Yes! Definitely consider doing your master’s in Europe :) Even if you don’t get free tuition, it will be much much less than in Canada (I think!) and all the programs are usually only 1 year.

  • Wow, you’ve almost convinced me to drop my half-finished MBA and head to Germany for it. Seriously, wish I could. But then the last year+ of work would be wasted….so I will just have to continue paying ridiculous amounts for school! Boo. Also, love your comment about “older than the entire U.S.” that is what I always think when traveling and discovering new historical places!

    • hahaha, and they have really good business schools in Germany!!! I feel like Americans are so obsessed with history and everything being “old” because our country is so “young”!

  • I agree with your 7 reasons, the goo thing about the Health insurance though is that those 70eur per month are extended to your spouse/child (idk about children, but for sure the first)
    …Quick question, what was the name of the ticket you bought to cover the region and did it cover to Frankfurt or to Mannheim?

    • It was a “Semester Ticket,” which I bought at the student Mensa. Unfortunately, it only covered Heidelberg, the surrounding area, and Mannheim. Frankfurt wasn’t covered under the ticket (also, it is in a different state so they have their own semester tickets) :)

  • I have my German college (undergrad) application open in the tab next to this one!! Currently applying to about 10 German universities for all of the reasons above. Not only is it free (free!! why would I ever pay upwards of $30,000 in the US??) but I’m also lucky enough to have been raised speaking German (two German parents). Thus, I have a German passport, am fluent, and won’t have to pay. Literally the best deal of all time!!

    And my current top pick is Freiburg :D

    Julia

    ExploresMore.com

    • Ahhh!!! You totally have an advantage being able to speak German and not have to deal with a visa!!! I consider my German pretty good but I could never do my studies in German!!! Go you :) Freiburg is awesome!!! I’m totally partial to all the universities in BW…Freiburg, Heidelberg, Tuebingen, etc :)

  • Ever since I saw this post I’ve been researching like crazy! I’ve been debating about going back to school for quite some time now and this sounds like the perfect way to go back. I do have a question for you, how did you find the school that was the right fit for you? I’m a photographer and I’m actually having a hard time finding many schools that seem to offer photography (in English, as well, haha). So I was just curious if you had any suggestions on how to search for the schools or if you already had a certain school in mind. Thanks so much for this post, fingers crossed I can figure out how to make this a reality for me as well!

    http://www.ashbam.com

    • Honestly, I just heard about this program through a Professor and this was the only one I ended up applying to. However, I’m going to business school in the UK in the fall…in that instance, I just started googling like crazy and writing down every school I thought might fit my criteria! It was a bunch of google searches :) Good luck and let me know if I can be of any help to you!