NEW DELHI: From 17570 in 2017; the number of Indian students who went to study in Germany increased to 34134 in 2021, according to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The fact that education is subsidised by the German government and all international students studying in state-funded universities do not have to pay tuition fees is one of the biggest advantages that Germany offers for Indian students. Germany also has a wide range of top universities and diverse courses taught in English that attract Indian students. Along with a post study 18 month permit to stay back and look for a job, German universities also have strong industry linkages that benefit students looking for jobs after their courses as well as internship opportunities.
Chinmaya Chaitanya, who is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and visual communication at the Berlin International University of Applied Sciences, also works part-time for Plantix, a start-up providing an AI based app to support small-scale farmers. He chose Germany because it is a student-friendly country that attracts people from all over the world. “I felt that the international environment with the opportunity to interact with people from different cultures and ethnicity would broaden my horizon. Another factor for my choice was how affordable this country is for students, and the opportunities it provides to them. Berlin is a hub for creative minds and a great place to start your creative career,” Chaitanya, who is a part of the DAAD young ambassador programme, told Times of India.
The programme helps students who have recently arrived in Germany to connect with the ambassadors for guidance that they need in settling down. “As a design student who struggled to find the right resources and assistance to pursue a career in the creative industries, I have been helping other students to realise their aspirations,” Chaitanya said.
Since the pandemic, there have been concerns over visa processing delays that Indian students planning to go to Germany have faced. Besides, in a recent development, DAAD has announced that an APS certificate is mandatory for Indian students and must be submitted with student visa applications from November 1, 2022. The certification will be provided to the students after their academic records are assessed by Germany’s academic evaluation centre. The APS system checks the authenticity of educational biographies and the corresponding educational certificates. Many students fear that this could lead to bigger delays and backlog in the visa process.
However, Nistha Bhawsinka, who joined the University of Stuttgart as a masters student in information technology for 2022-23, found the university application and visa procedure smooth. She received her student visa document in less than a month despite pandemic related backlog. Along with top quality of life and education, Bhawsinka feels that with most of the public universities in Germany not charging tuition fees, studies remain top priority in a student’s mind rather than the burden of repaying loans.
“The quality of education in Germany strengthens our foundation to the core. There are plenty of job opportunities after studies and for part-time work which is very helpful if an Indian student is supporting a family back in India,” said Bhawsinka who went for a master’s degree to Germany after a bachelors in computer engineering from an engineering college in Pune and two years of work experience as a software developer.
In a recent interview to news agencies, the German Ambassador to India Philipp Ackermann had raised concerns about 15% of the visa applications made by Indian students consisting of fake documents. Ambassador Ackermann’s announcement has raised concerns over more scrutiny of student visa applications made by Indian students and greater delays and refusals.
However, for Tauseef Hashmi, an Indian student who has completed a master’s degree in big data and business analytics from SRH Hochschule Heidelberg in Germany in November 2021 and now works at Nintendo of Europe GmbH, Frankfurt, the advantage of studying in Germany outweighs most concerns. His degree in Germany made him job-ready and he could start working with ease, he said. “We were taught the latest technologies that are being utilised in industry and did not waste time learning old legacy tools. While there are no shortcuts to get a job here; if you learn German language, it increases your chances in finding employment,” Hashmi said.
The pandemic was challenging for him and other international students. “We were adapting to a new culture when the pandemic started. Our classes went completely online; daily activities were limited and the job market was badly hit,” he recollects. But the situation has now improved and Hashmi is upbeat about the future. The bad times, in fact, helped him to hone different skills including writing job applications for German companies.