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The way to Europe

Published on Friday, 08 Mar 2013
Dr Siegbert Klee, director at DAAD, says 250,000 international students study in Germany.
Photo: Jonathan Wong
Maxime Cheng
Photo: Jonathan Wong

EHEF 2013 will point students wanting an international education in the right direction

More than 50 European universities are set to showcase the continent’s educational opportunities at the European Higher Education Fair 2013, held today and tomorrow at the Hong Kong Central Library in Causeway.

Among them will be several exhibitors from Germany, a country that offers diverse higher-education opportunities to international students seeking to study at respected universities.

“In Germany, an enormous amount of significance is attached to education as well as research and development,” says Dr Siegbert Klee, director at the DAAD Information Centre, Hong Kong and Macau. The DAAD, also known as the German Academic Exchange Service, promotes academic cooperation around the world by supporting the exchange of students and academics.

Klee says Germany has about 400 universities, technical universities and universities of applied science that offer more than 1,400 programmes tailored to international students. He adds that Germany is a tempting learning destination for international students who are looking for high standards of education, a culturally integrated society and an interesting cultural landscape. A wide range of scholarships and funding is also available to those that meet the required criteria.

“Our universities are especially known for disciplines such as engineering, technology and natural science, as well as architecture, art and music,” Klee says. “Many programmes are taught in English, while universities are continually offering more internationally focused programmes, especially at master’s level.”

In the British Council’s recent “Global Gauge” league table, which ranks countries on the internationalisation achieved by their higher-education systems, Germany came top. The table evaluates university systems based on areas such as degree quality, how widely degrees are recognised and support for overseas students.

About 250,000 international students study in Germany, including about 400 from Hong Kong. Students from the mainland make up the biggest international student group in the country. German and Hong Kong universities have established a number of exchange programmes and partnerships which provide an introduction to studying in Germany.

Klee says that to simplify the recognition of academic degrees, German universities offer programmes and degree certification which are compatible with other universities across Europe. Furthermore, students can choose from a large number of programmes offered jointly by a German institution and a partner university in other European countries. “These integrated degree programmes allow students to study in two European countries, where they can benefit from cultural and learning experiences,” he says.

In addition to a broad range of international programmes, one of the attractions of studying in Germany is that overseas students do not pay any more in tuition fees than home students. “It is common for universities to charge very little. In some cases, overseas students do not pay any fees at all,” Klee says.

Providing they meet the required criteria, international students looking to work in Germany are allowed to stay for a year after graduation.

Klee says Germany is the most important European trading partner for Hong Kong and the mainland. He says that, at present, more than 500 German companies are located in Hong Kong, while many more conduct business with the mainland.

“In an increasingly globalised world, where companies look for employees with a multicultural perspective, the type of education German institutions provide can be a valuable asset,” Klee says. “A German education offers the opportunity to study with students across the globe and establish international contacts.”

Hong Kong and Macau students can learn more about studying in Germany by attending the European Higher Education Fair 2013, held on March 9 and 10 at the Hong Kong Central Library in Causeway Bay. The fair is being staged by the Office of the European Union to Hong Kong and Macao, in cooperation with the DAAD, CampusFrance and various European consulates in Hong Kong.

Maxime Cheng, who studied political science at Jacobs University Bremen and is now employed as a management trainee, says what she learned in Germany went far beyond her degree programme. “The travel opportunities, cultural experiences and responsibility all added to my personal growth,” she says.

She adds that her experience in Germany has also given her the confidence to interact with others and appreciate different perspectives. “The education opportunities and time I spent in Germany have given me a good platform for my future career,” she says.

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