In the last winter semester, around 370,000 international students studied at German universities, overtaking Australia as the most popular study destination. Germany is now in third position after the US and the UK, according to the new “Wissenschaft Weltoffen” publication, in attracting international students.
What makes Germany attractive
Germany continues to be extremely attractive for international students and researchers. This is very good news for Germany as a science hub and given the shortage of its skilled workers. The growth can be owed to bodies like the Federal Ministry of Education using student marketing formats such as My GUIDE to bring international students to German universities in a tailor-made manner, while also strengthening internationalisation with the DAAD. Another good example is the HAW international program, which helps universities of applied sciences significantly increase the number of international students.
“German universities and research institutions continue to enjoy great international popularity. In particular, the high quality of academic education, the freedom from fees and the good career opportunities for university graduates on the German labour market have supported the Federal Republic’s rise to the top three most popular countries to study. German universities are demonstrably extremely attractive for international students and doctoral candidates, and this is an enormous lever for countering the dramatic shortage of skilled workers among academics,” said DAAD President Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee.
Science a major factor in Germany’s internationalisation ambitions
Germany is also becoming increasingly popular among international scientists with 70,000 international scientific employees working and researching at universities and research institutions across the country. Germany, together with the United Kingdom, is the most important science hub for international researchers after the USA.
“The international mobility of scientists is of utmost importance, especially for successful research activities. It is no coincidence that at the institutes of the major research societies, such as the Max Planck Society or the Leibniz Association, almost a third of the scientific staff (29 percent) comes from abroad. At universities this proportion is 14 percent, but there are big differences between the disciplines, so the proportion of international teachers and researchers in mathematical and scientific subjects is also very high at over a fifth,” stated Prof. Dr. Monika Jungbauer-Gans, scientific director of the DZHW, the German centre for higher education, research and science studies.
Indians, Ukrainians rise in German universities
In the 2022/23 winter semester, 367,578 international students studied at a German university. Compared to the previous year, the number has risen significantly by five percent, as shown in the publication “Wissenschaft Weltoffen 2023” published by the DAAD and the DZHW.
In terms of international first-semester students, Germany’s number of around 80,000 in the last winter semester was the first such increase since pre-pandemic years. When it comes to the most important countries of origin for international students, India is in first place for the first time with around 42,600 students, ahead of China. The number of Ukrainian students at German universities has also increased significantly: from 43 percent within a year to now at 9,100.
Germany only behind Canada in retaining international students
The number of international students at the University of Applied Sciences has more than doubled in the past ten years to almost 107,000 (+140 percent), while at the traditional universities the increase was 64 percent over the same period.
Even after studying, Germany is attractive for international students: current OECD data prepared for “Wissenschaft cosmopolitan” shows that of the 16 OECD countries analysed, only Canada (44 percent) has a high proportion of international students living and working in the country compared to Germany (45 percent).
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