Enlarge image Happy in Berlin (© F. Bewley) Why did you choose to study in Germany?
The decision wasn’t so much made, it just happened. I went to Berlin as an Au Pair for 3 months and fell in love with the city. The choice was an easy one as I wanted something different and new. The friends I made all helped me come to the conclusion that there was no going back to the island. And there were no tuition fees!
At which German university did you study and when?
I study Chinese Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. I began in September 2009, and am currently on my year abroad in China. I aim to graduate summer of 2013 with sights of doing a master’s degree afterwards, of course, in Berlin.
What was the best part about studying in Germany?
Apart from the fact that there are no tuition fees (in some states), it was also the attitude of universities that interested me. Due to the fact that the bachelor and master system is still very young the attitude amongst the professors and students is somewhat more relaxed and less stressed than in England. One of the most attractive things about the courses is that the deadline for graduating isn’t set. There are limitations of studying over a certain period of time as to avoid students being at university for 8 or so years (which was common with the old system) but there is nowhere that states ‘This is a 3 year course’. The course is however long you want it to be, and your timetable however full or empty.
Would you recommend the experience?
Definitely! Moving to Berlin was and is the best decision I have ever made. Of course you don’t have to take it to the extreme and do your whole degree abroad, as there are programs such as Erasmus, but if you are as determined as I was, and want to get the full experience; what’s stopping you? If you live and study in Germany you will undoubtedly become fluent very fast and leave university not as bankrupt as you would if you had studied in England.
What would be your advice to someone who wants to study in Germany?
Book your flight tomorrow.
Other advice would be to seriously think about money. I am lucky enough to get support from my parents, but I understand that not everyone has that opportunity. Unfortunately living here without German citizenship, but studying at a German university rather than British one means that I fall into a very minute category. The problem being there isn’t a great deal of funding from either the German or the British end.
There are German institutions which might help, but the bureaucracy is sometimes very hard to get through. Getting a job and studying at the same time would be my advice, as I said above; your timetable can be whatever you want it to be.
Germany is full of exciting, historic and culturally interesting places. Do your research, choose wisely and I’ll see you in Berlin!