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Where’s the starting line for higher studies in Germany?

What type of German university to choose? Where to search them? Who do I talk to? This blog briefly describes my experience with these questions.

It was taking me a lot of time to decide the topic of my first blog for the Study in Germany website. There are so many things to write about, so much information to provide to aspiring students, who want to make a career in Germany. I could either share some experiences I have had here or discuss some matters regarding admission, planning, choosing a university and so on. But then I thought about the first time when I decided that Germany might be a great place to study Mechanical Engineering. What exactly was going through my mind then? How I was trying to process all the information?

So I decided that my first blog should be about understanding of the German Education system (university perspective) and how to make a short list of places to study in.

Obviously, it is not possible to cover all information in one blog. Nevertheless, I’ve tried to provide all the necessary information one needs for the first step towards a career in Germany.

I have always had discussions with my father regarding my career. Till date he continues to guide me in life. It was either studies in Germany or India for my Bachelor’s degree. However, based on the engineering marvels that had been developed in Germany, it was actually a no-brainer for us . Naturally, I started checking on universities and cities which were the best suited for me in Germany. 

Very Honestly! The most helpful website I found was actually DAAD Based on the selection parameters I found a list of varied courses, Universities and Fachhochshulen (FH) to study in. It provided me with all the information I needed starting from the course details, fees, admission criterion and respective webpage links. My work was shortened by half. All I had to do was to choose from the available courses and decide on one. 

But you must be wondering what exactly a FH is, right? Is it not a university?

The same was going in my mind at that time.

Well, it is, but there is difference between FH and University (Universität).

A FH (or HAW) is a University of Applied Sciences, which focuses more on the practical aspect of academics. A FH has more lab courses, projects and experiments in their curriculum, whereas Universities focus more on the theoretical and research aspect. Hence Universities are considered more prestigious in Germany. They have deeper history, richer background and are heavily funded by the government.  Nonetheless, FH is becoming increasingly popular among students as well due to it’s practical approach.

I had not exactly decided whether it was going to be a University or a FH or me. The best way to clear these doubts was to talk to someone who had studied in Germany. I made a list – based on fees, requirements, city, cost of living and so on… The person I knew in Germany, had lived there for more than 6 years. I was also a bit confused on which university/FH would be the best for me. I asked him my questions and his clear answer was to aim for universities because of their history, prestige and employment opportunities. After that conversation I realized that the at KIT in Karlsruhe was the best option for me.  

Overview of CBS Campus
© copyright by International Department gGmbH des Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie (KIT)CBS Campus Karlsruhe

As you may think, it’s a pretty long article just to explain how to start looking for the perfect university for yourself.

This is something I understood AFTER I started searching for universities. The education system of Germany and the approach of people to relating matters are unique to the whole world. You need to know the system in order to make the best out of your time here. One has to carefully choose their path: a practical one or a theoretical one. After that comes the decision of the university and fees, the city and it’s life. 

If you have read this full article, means that you are serious about making a career in Germany… So don’t stop here, search a little more and then clear your doubts with someone who has experienced the study life in Germany. 

  • Students stand together on campus, Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie (KIT)
    © copyright by International Department gGmbH des Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie (KIT)Students stand together on campus, chatting
  • The campus of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) from above (aerial view)
    © copyright by International Department gGmbH des Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie (KIT)The campus of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) from above (aerial view)
  • University courtyard at night, illuminated
    © copyright by International Department gGmbH des Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie (KIT)University courtyard of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) at night, illuminated

More than happy to Help!  All the Best!! 

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