Students prefer pursuing higher studies in the country because of its no-tuition policy
The number of Bangladeshi students studying in German universities has increased by 34% last year. The increasing popularity of German schools for higher studies among Bangladeshi students has a lot to do with the tuition-free policy offered by German schools for students in a number of programs.
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Dhaka, Peter Fahrenholtz, opined that one of the major reasons why Bangladeshi students tend to choose Germany for their higher studies is that no tuition fees are required.
The ambassador spoke to Dhaka Tribune at the alumni night, jointly hosted by the German Embassy, together with DAAD Bangladesh, for the Bangladeshi alumni of German universities on Saturday.
“German universities do not ask for fees since we believe education is a public good,” said the ambassador, adding that society will be benefitted from the graduates eventually.
Rumana Kabir, Information and Office Manager of DAAD Representative Bangladesh said that currently, around 2,500 Bangladeshi students are studying in Germany.
“In 2018, there was a 34% rise of Bangladeshi students in German institutions. Prospective students have to secure at least a band score of six in their IELTS examinations in order to apply for the DAAD scholarship from Bangladesh,” said Kabir.
“A total of 15 students have been awarded the DAAD scholarship in 2019,” added Kabir.
Khondker Haider, one of the young ambassadors of DAAD Bangladesh, told Dhaka Tribune that there are a number of bodies like DAAD who provide German scholarships for international students.
“The first step is to check out their (German universities’) websites to see if the prospective student is eligible to apply. Usually, students can apply for scholarships directly and at times, they have to apply to the universities and then, they will apply for a scholarship on behalf of the student,” informed Haider.
Another young ambassador of DAAD Bangladesh, Nahid-ur-Rahman Chowdhury, who works as an assistant professor at Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST), said that a student can visit the DAAD website and acquire all the necessary information regarding international programs.
“There are more than 900 programs linked to this (DAAD) website. The student only needs to find the right program for them,” said Chowdhury.
Irad Mustafa, a masters’ student currently studying Development Economics and International Studies at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg said: “It is a completely different world compared to the image of western nations we are sold by the media and although it does take some time to get accustomed to some of Germany's nuances, it's an amazingly beautiful country with lots of nature and history to keep you occupied. My advice for people coming here would be to leave all preconceived notions behind, enjoy and learn from the culture, eat lots of schnitzel and Currywurst.”
However, Irad said language might be barrier while studying in Germany adding "Of course, everyone initially suffers from not understanding the language but with a few years of brain wracking hard work, that particular hurdle can be overcome.”
Aklima Zaman Barsha left Bangladesh in 2015 to pursue her masters’ degree in Software System Engineering at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany.
While explaining her decision to do so, Barsha said: “The main reason why I applied to a German school is that I did not have to pay any tuition fees. Also, German universities are very popular among engineering students.”
Furthermore, she believes that professors in German universities are very cooperative towards students.
“You can ask the professor as many questions as you want, who will help you out until you understand the topic,” said Barsha.
Barsha informs that if a student fails to get a scholarship, they can still pursue higher studies in Germany by opening a blocked account with a German bank.
Among the multiple requisites necessary while applying for a student visa in Germany, students need to open a blocked account -- a special account for foreign students which requires them to deposit a set amount of money that will cover their living expenses for a year -- chiefly, as proof of their financial solvency. The account needs to be opened as soon as a student receives their admission letter from the university.
Currently, the embassy requires a student to deposit a mandatory sum of $9521. Once they start their first semester, the student can then draw a maximum of $793 per month to cover their living expenses.
According to timeshighereducation.com, Ludwig Maximilian University, Technical University of Munich, and Heidelberg University are the top three universities in Germany.
The Technical University of Munich is popular among students studying subjects related to science and technology while the Ludwig Maximilian University offers a wide array of programs from humanities and cultural studies discipline alongside law, economics and social sciences, medicine and natural sciences.
The Heidelberg University offers a masters’ degree program in various subjects in the fields of development, environment, societies, cultural and religious history of South Asia, economics, and mathematics.