The book is available from my blog about this topic. Simply click on the first blogpost, which will lead you to the Amazon kindle page for free download: In the book and also on my blog, you will find answers to some of the more common questions about studying in Germany, eg:

Can you study in English?!Can-I-study-in-English/cjds/57613e680cf26813fb94e457

Whats studying in Germany at tuition free universities like?!Is-it-really-for-free-the-Concept-of-Free-Education-in-Germany/cjds/5753bace0cf24c9615a16a69

Also, here is a list of study programs that are more unusual, eg beer brewing:

Part 1:!Top-10-Unusual-University-Programs-in-Germany-Part-1/cjds/5782148a0cf2ec747e41e551

Part 2:!Top-10-Unusual-University-Programs-in-Germany-Part-2/cjds/578214850cf2273c5a7402f7

Also, about 40% of the book is dedicated to topics about German society that reflect on life in Germany, for anyone who is interested in moving there. Other topics include the different types of schools available and which one will give you a higher chance of success of graduating and getting the full out of the free education, part-time student jobs and how to finance your studies, the most common causes of success and failure, health insurance, the application process, the best places for students to live, student fraternities, what to look out for, as well as exit strategies in case you decide to leave Germany.

Thats it, AMA about studying in Germany, the book, and Germany itself. About myself: I consider myself a typical German. My experiences and struggles while studying in Germany, as well as those of my my foreign student friends, of which I had a lot, have inspired me to write this book in a tell-all, nothing held back approach.

Comments: 85 • Responses: 35  • Date: 

Thecna23 karma

Did you think you'd get more questions than this?

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

not sure, this is my first AMA.

Samosl3 karma

As a US citizen, is it feasible to think I can find a job in Berlin to support myself while I'm studying?

Secondarily, is the degree one receives in Germany comparable to that of a US degree from a world view? For instance, I'm in Taiwan now, and it seems like a Taiwanese degree isn't held with as much regards as a us degree.

Oidewurschthaut3 karma

Whether you can find a job to support yourself depends on your German language skills. There are obviously some positions where you can get by with less German, eg hospitality or language teaching, but your options will be less.

That being said, it is possible yes, but I would not go to Germany without having enough cash to support yourself for at least 10 months.

About the degree, a German degree is held in relatively high regard internationally from my experience. I applied at several US companies after my graduation, and it was never an issue. Some companies ask about the university but it seems to be accepted.

BluePizzaPill1 karma

Hi, I work for a IT startup in Berlin. We do have many employees that don't speak more than a few words of German. Also I know some people that work for bars and only speak english. If I were interested in studying here I would look for a job first. Berlin is pretty cheap too.

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

thanks for the info!

KFisher922 karma

Do you have a suggestion for a college to apply to? I downloaded your book but I don't have time to read it as of right now.

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

Good question, there are thousands of universities in Germany, and their levels and quality of teaching are all very similar. So while its difficult to pick specific names, here a general tip: I always recommend to apply to 'Universities of Applied Sciences' rather than 'Universities'. This is a curiosity of the German education system, and the reasons for the difference between the two types are explained in detail in my book, but in essence, Universities of Applied Sciences have smaller classes, are better organised, teach more job-related material, and drop out rates tend to be lower. Simply watch out for the naming of the universities to have 'University of Applied Sciences' in its name. Other than that, it depends on where your location preferences are.

DerLordBS2 karma

Fachhochschulen (University of Applied Sciences) are less scientific than universities. But you need less self organization in there.

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

They are better organised yes, and also since the Bologna reforms, the difference between the classic universities and Universities of applied sciences is no longer relevant.

One indication of this is that after 2009, most former Universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) went on a name-changing spree, and as of today, you can hardly find any university in Germany that still bears the name 'Fachhochschule', since they are effectively equal. Another indication of this is are the names of the degrees they award: Whereas in pre-Bologna times, a degree awarded by a Fachhochschule needed to bear the title 'FH' in the Diploma designation (eg a Diploma in ELectical Engineering was a 'Diplom-Ingenieur (FH)'), this is no longer the case. A Bachelor of Master's degree awarded by a Fachhochschule/University of Applied Sciences has the same designation and worth: Bachelor/Master.

gerpol1 karma

There a also a few other differences which depending on your further plans can be important. They both have different applying requirements (If you are allowed to study at a University you can study at a University of applied science but not necessarily the other way), and like you said they teach more job-related material but that also means that you are normally not able to make your PhD afterwards. So if you are interested in a career in research its much easier if you attended a normal University. Also maybe nice to know is the fact that graduates of Universities of applied science tend to earn less money that someone with the same degree form a university.

Oidewurschthaut4 karma

A note here: the notion that graduates from Universities of applied sciences make less money is not necessarily true, and in many cases, graduates from Universities of applied sciences have an easier time finding jobs because the degrees that are mostly offered at such schools are ones that are very applicable on the job market. You won't find liberal arts there for sure.

Another thing is that after the Bologna reforms (an overhaul of university degrees in Germany) the difference between 'University' and 'University of applied science' is minimal, and does not have the same distinction as before, when those Universities of applied science had to call themselves 'Fachhochschule'.

The point is, when receiving a Bachelor's degree from a University of applied sciences, it does indeed have the same worth as a degree from a University, with no distinction, and it is indeed very possible to do a career in research afterwards, as some of my former fellow students have done.

DerLordBS2 karma

Why do you belive that higher education in Germany is not as good as in USA? For me it seems the other way round: You need to learn more in Germany to suceed.

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

With higher education, I mean the quality of teaching. Eg a university lecturer at German universities who is not a professor (but still has a PhD most of the times) is getting paid so little that it is below minimum wage sometimes. As a result, their motivation is low, and some will blatantly admit that they get paid too little to provide better quality classes. Feedback on courses is often times minimal, and a sa result, the classes that are taught are not very good as compared to some of the universities in the US with a good reputation. Also, academic support is minimal, and students spend a lot more time organising their courses than in the US.

It is true though that you may need to learn more in Germany to succeed. But the focus is really on you.

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

I just wanna say thanks to everyone, even though there aren’t that many questions here so far, the book is getting downloaded at a high rate and has gotten onto the #1 spot in the kindle free ebook category for higher & continuing education → financial aid. The website is also getting good traffic with sessions that last for some time, thanks for actually reading the articles!

This is still an AMA of course, Ill be here to answer them ;)

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

Im back home and still monitoring this AMA in case anyone has questions. cheers and thanks for the downloads.

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

here is a question from me to you guys and girls: whats your main reason behind your interest in studying in Germany?

_D4Z3_2 karma

Do we study German in a respective college or we have to go to an institute? And if we have to go to an institute do you recommend a specific one?

Oidewurschthaut3 karma

Hi, the study of German is usually done as part of a 'Studienkolleg", which is a preparatory course for university entry for foreigners. (this typically lasts 1-2 years). In this course, German will also be part of the curriculum, but it is advised to start studying German before that in order to have good fundamentals.

Right off the back I cant think of any particular German schools, but the Goethe Institut is always a safe bet.

Netzroller1 karma

As for exit strategies, of the foreign students that you know, why did they decide not to stay? Was it as simple as returning home to their families/friends, or any other reasons? Thanks.

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

A number of factors I would say. THough most I know left Germany because they couldnt find jobs after graduation. Some went to third countries even after graduating, and some stayed, but mostly because they had either married and/or had kids in Germany.

NeedAnswertho1 karma

Are there really studies where you can study not matter what your "abitur" grade is?

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

Yes there are, but these are subjects and/or universities that are unpopular and thus have less applicants than places to fill. Eg small universities in the countryside, or subjects such as medieval history at the bigger universities in large cities.

NeedAnswertho1 karma

yup exactly i have been interested in Augsburg and Ulm Informatik and i wasnt sure if it worked that way?....

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

Keep in mind that the popularity fluctuates with every semester, which means that a subject which you could get enrolled in with a bad Abitur in one semester may require a 3.0 grade in the next one. Judging from the Ulm and Augsburg names though, both seem to be in the medium range of popularity, so while I cant say for sure, it looks like you have a good chance.

NeedAnswertho1 karma

Oh so by the time things might change...for example ( ) it says here zulasungsfrei but the next semster it might be NC? thanks for the answers though man i appreciate it

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

no worries, and yes it might change. As a rule of thumb, courses starting in summer semesters tend to be easier to get in since all the high school grads are eager to start in fall.

Liagala1 karma

I missed your AMA, but hopefully you'll still see this. I have a few questions - some or maybe even all of them are probably answered in your book, but I can't read it while I'm at work so I'm just asking here!

  1. How difficult is it to get accepted to a university? I assume there's a range just like here in the US, where the better schools are more difficult to get into. I did very well in school, but that was 15 years ago. I don't know if my old transcripts will even be any good.

  2. How long does the application/acceptance process usually take? How long does approval for a visa take once you've been accepted by a school? Do universities tend to start on the same Fall/Spring schedule that American ones do, meaning that a delay in paperwork processing could leave me sitting around for 6-12 months waiting for the next year's program to begin?

  3. If I go to Germany I have every intention of learning the language, but this is not an instant thing. My German is pretty bad at the moment. Is it possible to begin a program even with poor German skills? Do they have something where they accept you but you can spend a semester learning the language before starting actual classes?

  4. Visas. Ideally I'd like to complete my education, find a job in Germany, and stay there permanently. Is this possible, or are foreign students generally sent home when they graduate? What about working while you're attending school? Some countries allow it, some don't, some restrict you to part time jobs.

4a. As a corollary to #4, is the current influx of (and backlash against) refugees/immigrants likely to cause a problem? I know most of the trouble centers around the refugees, but tightening of restrictions on who can and can not stay in the country might affect regular immigrants or foreign students as well.

Thank you for any answers you're able to help with!

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

wow many questions, so about the points 1-4, they are explained in my book, but some of the finer points, I may get back to you after a bit more time in case I find more info on it. stay tuned!

About the last point (refugees), I don't think this will have any impact on students' visas nor their immigrant status. The refugees that are currently in Germany are going through an asylum vetting process, and the type of visas/restrictions they are under is entirely different.

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

PS I will monitor this AMA for the next few days until July 21st, so if your questions are late no worries.

Goltebs1 karma

do you accept students from South East Asia?

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

yes, country of origin does not matter to the universities. However, getting a visa varies by country. Eg a citizen from Bangladesh might have to go through a longer Visa process with more documents than eg a citizen of Canada.

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

for the student visa requirements, I recommend to check with the local German embassy.

olive_bababa1 karma

I am a recent graduate from London looking to learn German so I can do further study. Is the German language difficult to learn? And is there anything I can do to maximise what I can learn regarding adjusting to the German language and its structure?

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

Howdy, good question, there is a chapter in my book dedicated to the learning of the German language. From my experience of teaching private German lessons in the past, I can say that in the beginning yes it is difficult, since the grammar is somewhat complex. From my experience, the best way to make progress once you are in Germany is to find a job where you are the only foreigner and are forced to use your German. You will go through language courses if you want to go to university so thats always there, but to regularly use it, I suggest either to get a job or to hang out with German speakers.

MyNameIsChez1 karma

Hi, I have notices that you said that you will still answer questions till 21, so here it goes:

I'v seen some article once about some sort of student apartments, where students(only) could rent a room for a lot cheaper than renting a house. Is this true? and if so, how does it work exactly and how much does it cost?

and seconds question, which city do you prefer the most for studying (international relations to be precise)

thanks and sorry for bad english

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

Hello, about the student dormitories: I have found that their availability depends on the location and their popularity. Some do have a waiting list where you would have to wait a few semesters. Others in less popular locations are more easily available. I lived in a student dormitory on the outskirts of Berlin for 5 months that had available rooms two weeks after I came to Berlin, but it might be that this is not a common thing.

About the city, my personal favourites are Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. It depends on what you want to study of course. With international relations, Berlin is always a good choice.

MyNameIsChez1 karma

Hey, yeah Berlin is the my choice as well. Could you also tell me how much I should expect them to ask me to pay? and what are the apartments really like, were you living alone or sharing it with other students? thanks by the way for reply

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

So back when I lived in a student dormitory in the south of Berlin (Dahlem), I paid 160 Euro/month for a small private room with shared bath/kitchen. Usually the room is private, and in some cases you even have your own bath, but mostly bathroom and kitchen are shared.

The 160 Euro/month is on the lower end, most likely you should calculate anywhere from 180 Euro to 300 Euro per month if its in a good location.

Keep in mind that unfortunately, those apartments are not exactly nice looking. Some of those tend to be old and shabby, which is why some students choose to live in shared private apartments after some time.

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

Hello Everyone, sorry for the delay, I was asked to provide proof, and here it is! A link to the AMA on my website:!Get-your-free-copy-of-the-Studying-in-Germany-for-Free-eBook-only-until-July-21st/cjds/57527aec0cf27b4271e040aa

Sorry if it took time to answer the last few questions, I will get to answer them now! I will be online all day so any questions you have are welcome.

Aeongth1 karma

What are your experiences with non-european people going to Germany to study classical music? Do you know anyone that has tried this? If so, is it possible to get a job in germany related to music after graduating or is it more difficult for a foreigner? For exampke some friends have many troubles getting a job in Italy despite having studied there college and their master degree. Thank you

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

I have known a few people who have done this, mainly from South Korea and Japan, but also from Eastern Europe. Most go back to their home countries after graduation. Generally it tends to be very difficult to get a job that is related to a music degree in Europe. The choices are pretty much limited to either teaching or playing in an orchestra. The issue with teaching is that demand is not very high, so getting a full time salary might be difficult. The orchestras are very difficult to get into, so unless its the thing you wanna go for, getting an entry into those is pretty hard. In some of the orchestras in Austria also, some instances of racial discrimination in regards to the choice of musicians has also surfaced, with preferences given to home-bred musicians instead of foreigners with the same talents.

Note that many of the musician students whom I met in German came from rich parents, which tells a lot. If your parents are rich enough to support you and this is your passion then go for it, but note that you can not expect to get a great job afterwards. In Germany, many former graduates of classic music degrees do some teaching gigs on the side, with their main job being a call center agent or a cab driver, or anything unrelated to their music degree, such as selling insurances. Some work as street musicians. The bottom line is that it is difficult for both Germans and foreigners to get a job with a music degree.

Regarding your example of Italy, the economy there is quite bad, so getting a job there can even be hard with a business or engineering degree...

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

In case you haven’t downloaded the book yet, apart from the topic of studying in Germany, it also addresses some of the current topics and trends in German society, eg:

  • The refugee crisis

  • Germany and the difficult integration of immigrants

  • reflections on the National Socialist past and its effects on current everyday life

  • the state of families

  • Prostitution and human trafficking

  • the German economy and job prospects for young (and old) graduates

  • topics that are not well known outside of Germany, eg, student fraternities

Gulashandpotatoes1 karma

Yes, and how deep are the regional divides, including language. Bavaria will drive you nuts. :-)

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

Bavaria is my home state ;) the dialect is definitely interesting, think Arnold Schwarzenegger with a thicker accent and you have Bavarian. In the bigger cities this is not so common though.

The most 'pure' and correct form of German is said to be spoken in the region of Hamburg and surrounding areas, where dialects largely give way to "Hochdeutsch" (High German without dialect)

NeedAnswertho1 karma

Is it true that you get kicked out if you fail 3 times or is it differenet from uni to uni?

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

It is mostly true, depending on the course. But every undergrad programme has these courses where you have three attempts. There are some discussions on changing this, but the 'must pass' courses have 'three strikes'.

That being said, it can be seen as a bad thing or a good thing. I cover this in my book, but basically, here is my take on this: If approached the right way, it can protect you from sticking around for too long in a program that doesnt fit you. What I mean by this is that when you enrol in a program that is difficult, eg engineering, You will see quickly where you stand with your abilities and approach. The important thing in this context is to take all the difficult classes early on and not to push back any courses that seem difficult: Do all the introduction math, physics and science classes early on, as those are usually the ones that seed out less adept students.

gerpol1 karma

In the most cases after the 3rd attempt there is a oral exam which will enable you to at least to get a passing grade. Nothing better than 4.0. And also nice to know that if you failed the class and got kicked out you are not allowed to start another major where the class is relevant even at a different university.

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

good point. The major ban is weird.

Moonstream1 karma

Im studying in Germany and at my university you're only allowed to fail the same exam twice.

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

which university do you study at? this is the first time I hear that.

NeedAnswertho1 karma

Is there any major difference with WiSe SoSe (wintersemester ,sommersemester) at different uni or all timelines are stable?

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

you mean for application purposes?

NeedAnswertho1 karma

There are some programs for both wise sose is it just that you study one semester later from the previous ones or do you have a complete different timetable?

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

Depends on the university. Most tend to have different timetables though if the start date is different. Look at the number of semesters that are noted for each course (Regelstudienzeit). Eg if it starts in SoSe and has a total of 6 semesters, then it will likely finish in a SoSe.

I myself started in an Summer semester and finished on that course 6 semesters later. Having said that, the majority of students adds a semester or more to finish their studies.

GildoFotzo1 karma

Whats your debt now after you studied in germany?

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

I had a debt of 6000 Euro after taking a public student loan for two years called BAFOEG. Unfortunately this is only available to Germans or permanent residents. My debt is paid off.

Pbjdonut1 karma

Has the writing of this book ever gotten you laid?

Oidewurschthaut2 karma

Not this book in particular, but writing as a hobby yes.

alphablue1 karma

I studied at Humboldt in Berlin as an exchange student and loved it. Thanks for this book im sure it will help many people experience something I thought was an amazing time.

Does your book talk about professional/law school and how to make a degree work in the US after receiving one in Germany (or maybe even vice versa)?

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

Thanks for the feedback, appreciate it. There is a little mention about the applicability of German degrees overseas, but to summarise from what I have seen from friends as well as myself, German degrees tend to be well accepted overseas. I myself have only worked for US companies so far.

However, for things like law school, this is different obviously since the law degree covers German law, which may not be that usable in your country (there are exceptions to this though, eg when foreign law firms are looking for a lawyer from a particular country)

As for the applicability of foreign degrees in Germany however, this is unfortunately still in progress, and Germany is really behind with this. foreign degrees have only been officially recognised as late as 2012, and even now, some firms will reject applicants with foreign degrees. This is changing though, but German companies can in some cases have a curious distrust of foreign degrees.

Netzroller1 karma

From your experience, what were the biggest struggles of foreign students?

Oidewurschthaut1 karma

Great question. In my experience, it is usually lack of planning, and wrong expectations. I talk about this at lengths in my book, but basically, studying in Germany is more difficult than eg studying in the US or UK, or most other countries. High academic standards combined with a relatively low quality in teaching (not the contents of teaching, but the quality of the way these contents are delivered) are factors.

There are ways to make the right choices early on though, eg choosing a University of Applied Sciences over a classic University. I have met many foreigners who had done so only after wasting a few semesters at a classic university.