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Old Aug 29th 2017, 8:42 am   #1
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Question Studying in Germany for a year advice

Hi guys, so i live in the UK and i'm hoping to do a year abroad studying in Germany, can anyone who took part in the Erasmus program or lives in Germany tell me what it is like, in term of the culture, what to expect, social life?

Thanks in advance!
-Em
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 9:19 am   #2
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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Originally Posted by Emily_simpson873 View Post
Hi guys, so i live in the UK and i'm hoping to do a year abroad studying in Germany, can anyone who took part in the Erasmus program or lives in Germany tell me what it is like, in term of the culture, what to expect, social life?

Thanks in advance!
-Em
Hi, my younger Anglo-French daughter did the Erasmus programme in Potsdam from a French Uni, and stayed on in Berlin for several years afterwards until the Wanderlust got her.. Her elder sister joined her a few years ago due to her stressful life in Paris, and is still there. For French people, it's a breath of fresh air compared to France (on the unemployment front at least) but I can't compare it with life in the UK.
How is your German? My two had Bac-level German when they arrived and coped well enough with the Bureaucracy...
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 9:28 am   #3
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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Hi, my younger Anglo-French daughter did the Erasmus programme in Potsdam from a French Uni, and stayed on in Berlin for several years afterwards until the Wanderlust got her.. Her elder sister joined her a few years ago due to her stressful life in Paris, and is still there. For French people, it's a breath of fresh air compared to France (on the unemployment front at least) but I can't compare it with life in the UK.
How is your German? My two had Bac-level German when they arrived and coped well enough with the Bureaucracy...
How did you youngest daughter find the Erasmus programme. do you know how the application was like and if she was helped with funding? Also do you know if you are allowed to work whilst studying in Germany? And i don't know any German i'm afraid. Will this be an issue?
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 9:50 am   #4
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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How did you youngest daughter find the Erasmus programme. do you know how the application was like and if she was helped with funding? Also do you know if you are allowed to work whilst studying in Germany? And i don't know any German i'm afraid. Will this be an issue?
If you want to get to know German culture not knowing German will be a major issue...in fact it will prevent you from getting to know Germany and it will limit you to only a very few jobs. Imagining a German coming to the UK with no English...there won't be many options.
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 9:52 am   #5
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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Originally Posted by Emily_simpson873 View Post
Hi guys, so i live in the UK and i'm hoping to do a year abroad studying in Germany, can anyone who took part in the Erasmus program or lives in Germany tell me what it is like, in term of the culture, what to expect, social life?

Thanks in advance!
-Em
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How did you youngest daughter find the Erasmus programme. do you know how the application was like and if she was helped with funding? Also do you know if you are allowed to work whilst studying in Germany?[B] And i don't know any German i'm afraid. Will this be an issue?
Well, it certainly won't be an advantage, but many Unis offer courses taught in english so it's doable. Moreover most german students speak english to a reasonably high to very high level which will help on the social life side.

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Old Aug 29th 2017, 10:32 am   #6
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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If you want to get to know German culture not knowing German will be a major issue...in fact it will prevent you from getting to know Germany and it will limit you to only a very few jobs. Imagining a German coming to the UK with no English...there won't be many options.
I understand, that is why i'm kind of having doubts. However, I have family over there and from what I know, Germans speak English very well, and If my University have a partnership with some German Universities, then i would assume the course I will be applying to study (Human Resources) will be taught in English?
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 10:33 am   #7
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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Well, it certainly won't be an advantage, but many Unis offer courses taught in english so it's doable. Moreover most german students speak english to a reasonably high to very high level which will help on the social life side.

Viel Glueck!
Yes, I thought this too. I will definitely be doing more research on studying in Germany.

Thanks!
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 11:03 am   #8
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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Originally Posted by Emily_simpson873 View Post
How did you youngest daughter find the Erasmus programme. do you know how the application was like and if she was helped with funding? Also do you know if you are allowed to work whilst studying in Germany? And i don't know any German i'm afraid. Will this be an issue?
She did 3rd-year Law and as far as I remember, a lot of classes were in English, but some were in German. We paid the usual French Uni fees for the Erasmus year. No funding from any official source....
No idea about working while in the Erasmus scheme. We gave her a budget which she kept to!
Your present Uni should give you all the options available, since it is the one which will eventually present you with your Degree.......
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 1:13 pm   #9
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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She did 3rd-year Law and as far as I remember, a lot of classes were in English, but some were in German. We paid the usual French Uni fees for the Erasmus year. No funding from any official source....
No idea about working while in the Erasmus scheme. We gave her a budget which she kept to!
Your present Uni should give you all the options available, since it is the one which will eventually present you with your Degree.......
Thank you for the information! I really thought you get a little fund by the Erasmus scheme which was what i was told. There's far more information for UK University's regarding how immigration/international students get/what to expect
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 2:09 pm   #10
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

A couple of points:

Firstly, you'd be better off putting these questions to your university in the UK. They can answer them far better than we can. That's the simplest way of finding out for example whether there is a course taught in English at the partner university. If you ask, your university may be willing to put you in touch with someone who's just returned from an Erasmus placement.

Most Germans speak sufficient English to get by, and virtually all Germans educated to degree level speak very good English. It's a common misconception though that they're all willing to abandon their native language, in their own country, in every situation just to cater for monolingual Brits. You might equally say that a deaf person in the UK doesn't need to learn to lip-read – after all, everyone has a smartphone nowadays, so deaf people can communicate by typing what they want to say into their smartphones. That isn't going to make for a nice evening in the pub in the UK, and by the same token you can't expect a group of German students in a pub or the university canteen all to switch to using English just because you're there. That's just one example of they reality vs. the notion that "all Germans speak English".

According to unicheck.unicum.de/englischsprachige-studiengaenge, there are 800 courses in English at German universities. That's a tiny fraction of the total. Overwhelmingly, these courses are geared to foreign students, not German students, so this could have the effect that you spend most of your time with non-Germans – hardly the point of Erasmus.

It's certainly not impossible for Brits to find casual (i.e. unskilled) work in Germany without speaking the language, though whether that will continue to be the case post-Brexit is still unclear. The question is, if you don't speak the language and you're only there for a year, what's the point? All the time you spend flipping burgers at the Yellow Arches is time you won't be spending in the academic environment, and you don't need to be an Erasmus student to travel to Germany and get a job flipping burgers. As to finding non-casual work, I'd put your chances at very slim.

Since dmu has mentioned fees: German university fees are normally either very low or zero – there's a general overview here: www.studis-online.de/StudInfo/Gebuehren/
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 3:12 pm   #11
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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Originally Posted by Watchpost View Post
A couple of points:

Firstly, you'd be better off putting these questions to your university in the UK. They can answer them far better than we can. That's the simplest way of finding out for example whether there is a course taught in English at the partner university. If you ask, your university may be willing to put you in touch with someone who's just returned from an Erasmus placement.

Most Germans speak sufficient English to get by, and virtually all Germans educated to degree level speak very good English. It's a common misconception though that they're all willing to abandon their native language, in their own country, in every situation just to cater for monolingual Brits. You might equally say that a deaf person in the UK doesn't need to learn to lip-read – after all, everyone has a smartphone nowadays, so deaf people can communicate by typing what they want to say into their smartphones. That isn't going to make for a nice evening in the pub in the UK, and by the same token you can't expect a group of German students in a pub or the university canteen all to switch to using English just because you're there. That's just one example of they reality vs. the notion that "all Germans speak English".

According to unicheck.unicum.de/englischsprachige-studiengaenge, there are 800 courses in English at German universities. That's a tiny fraction of the total. Overwhelmingly, these courses are geared to foreign students, not German students, so this could have the effect that you spend most of your time with non-Germans – hardly the point of Erasmus.

It's certainly not impossible for Brits to find casual (i.e. unskilled) work in Germany without speaking the language, though whether that will continue to be the case post-Brexit is still unclear. The question is, if you don't speak the language and you're only there for a year, what's the point? All the time you spend flipping burgers at the Yellow Arches is time you won't be spending in the academic environment, and you don't need to be an Erasmus student to travel to Germany and get a job flipping burgers. As to finding non-casual work, I'd put your chances at very slim.

Since dmu has mentioned fees: German university fees are normally either very low or zero – there's a general overview here: www.studis-online.de/StudInfo/Gebuehren/

Fair enough, but in the Erasmus scheme here, we paid normal French Uni fees to DD's French Uni, as if she were studying in France.
@OP What year are you in? Unless things have changed since DD's time, Erasmus only concerns 3rd-year students. The thought occurred to me that it's too late for enrolment for this Autumn, so you have plenty of time to obtain info from your Uni.
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Old Aug 29th 2017, 3:52 pm   #12
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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Originally Posted by Watchpost View Post
A couple of points:

Firstly, you'd be better off putting these questions to your university in the UK. They can answer them far better than we can. That's the simplest way of finding out for example whether there is a course taught in English at the partner university. If you ask, your university may be willing to put you in touch with someone who's just returned from an Erasmus placement.

Most Germans speak sufficient English to get by, and virtually all Germans educated to degree level speak very good English. It's a common misconception though that they're all willing to abandon their native language, in their own country, in every situation just to cater for monolingual Brits. You might equally say that a deaf person in the UK doesn't need to learn to lip-read – after all, everyone has a smartphone nowadays, so deaf people can communicate by typing what they want to say into their smartphones. That isn't going to make for a nice evening in the pub in the UK, and by the same token you can't expect a group of German students in a pub or the university canteen all to switch to using English just because you're there. That's just one example of they reality vs. the notion that "all Germans speak English".

According to unicheck.unicum.de/englischsprachige-studiengaenge, there are 800 courses in English at German universities. That's a tiny fraction of the total. Overwhelmingly, these courses are geared to foreign students, not German students, so this could have the effect that you spend most of your time with non-Germans – hardly the point of Erasmus.

It's certainly not impossible for Brits to find casual (i.e. unskilled) work in Germany without speaking the language, though whether that will continue to be the case post-Brexit is still unclear. The question is, if you don't speak the language and you're only there for a year, what's the point? All the time you spend flipping burgers at the Yellow Arches is time you won't be spending in the academic environment, and you don't need to be an Erasmus student to travel to Germany and get a job flipping burgers. As to finding non-casual work, I'd put your chances at very slim.

Since dmu has mentioned fees: German university fees are normally either very low or zero – there's a general overview here: www.studis-online.de/StudInfo/Gebuehren/
Regarding the choice of courses held in English, don't be afraid to just call the Universities that you are considering - the person answering the phone will 99% speak very competent English. I read somewhere that by 2025, all degree level courses in Germany will be taught in English - not sure how true this is but I am told that there is a major shift to courses being conducted in English.

Providing you are living in an urban area, you should have no problem dealing with most things in English. The only time that my limited German is frustrating is dealing with paperwork, but finding someone to help you with this should not be impossible. Don't let your lack of language put you off - each area runs intensive German language courses at all times of day which are cheap and will improve your German pretty quickly.

I don't think you mentioned which area of Germany you intend studying in, but bare in mind that in Bavaria (Munich), many locals speak Bavarian and some do not speak German. Our German neighbors who moved from Stuttgart told me that it took several years to understand Bavarian and nearly 10 years to be able to speak it confidently. Even German speakers in Bavaria are often difficult to understand, especially compared to cities further north (I often don't understand a word of what is said in some meetings in Munich, but in northern Germany, I understand pretty much everything due to the clearer dialect).

Providing you are allowed to work with your programme, finding bar work should be an option. I have spoken to several English/Irish people young people working in bars in Munich who speak no or limited German. This would help sort the social life out too.

Germany is a great country and is a great base for exploring central Europe. As I said above, don't let the language put you off - that is an issue that can be managed.

Best of luck with your choices.
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Old Aug 30th 2017, 9:37 am   #13
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

Well if that is true and nearly all university degrees will be taught in English then I very much hope that there will be high fees for any Non-EU student. Because as a German tax payer I am not going to finance masses of Non-EU, non-German speaking students that will come to Germany because the fees are low and they don't need to know German. It is okay if German universities offer Programms in Englisch but it is obscene to ask the taxpayers in Germany to finance the studies of those foreigners.
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Old Aug 30th 2017, 9:49 am   #14
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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Well if that is true and nearly all university degrees will be taught in English then I very much hope that there will be high fees for any Non-EU student. Because as a German tax payer I am not going to finance masses of Non-EU, non-German speaking students that will come to Germany because the fees are low and they don't need to know German. It is okay if German universities offer Programms in Englisch but it is obscene to ask the taxpayers in Germany to finance the studies of those foreigners.
I fully agree, as another German tax payer.

Presumably non-EU students currently have to pay considerable fees today and the courses are only low cost/free to EU students?

This information was in an article I was reading at least a year ago now, but a friend who is currently doing his MBA in Munich was recently telling me how more and more courses are being taught in English in German Universities.
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Old Aug 30th 2017, 10:25 am   #15
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Default Re: Studying in Germany for a year advice

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Presumably non-EU students currently have to pay considerable fees today and the courses are only low cost/free to EU students?
See the link I posted above to an overview of fees.

Fees are generally zero, including for non-EU students, but some states are currently introducing fees for non-EU students. In Baden-Württemberg for example, they are €1,500 per semester, i.e. €3,000 per year, as of the semester just starting. Whether that's "considerable" is debatable, but it's still only around a third of what many UK universities are charging.
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