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60% of overseas students hope to stay in Germany

Some 60% of international students in Germany want to remain in the country after graduation, a survey of at least 1,200 international student respondents has found.

Some 75% of respondents said they were satisfied with the cities they lived in, including in Berlin where the average score out of 10 was 9.2. Photo: Unsplash

Some 54% indicated a satisfaction rating of between 8 and 10 on the inclusiveness of  the German society towards international students and expatriates

Despite the desire to look for opportunities to work, pursue further education, or found a business in the country after graduation, respondents indicated that employment opportunities was the third most important factor in choosing Germany as a study destination.

“It is imperative that international students remain in Germany after graduation”

Some 33% said that no tuition fees was the factor that “finally convinced” them to go to Germany, while 31% said the reputation of the German university lured them to the country.

Around 10% said employment opportunities were the primary pull factor.

The survey – carried out by relocation platform Expatrio and the non-profit network for international students, Deutsche Gesellschaft internationaler Studierender in July 2020 – also found that 59% of respondents decided on Germany without considering any other study destination.

The research also highlighted challenges international students face when in Germany, which placed the language barrier as the most common issue, followed by finding accommodation and dealing with German bureaucracy.

International students are nonetheless highly satisfied with their experiences in the country, with 54% indicating a satisfaction rating of between 8 and 10 (10 being highest) on the inclusiveness of German society towards international students and expatriates.

A further 75% of respondents gave a satisfaction rating of between 8 and 10 for their city of residence in Germany.

“Considering the demographic change Germany has been facing as well as the country-wide shortage of skilled labor, these findings are very promising,” said Tim Meyer, co-founder of Expatrio.

“We believe that German institutions should keep fostering international student mobility towards the country.”

Six in 10 respondents (59%) indicated that they did not consider any other study destination, which the report said “is a pure indicator that the intention to relocate and be integrated into the German society was there”.

Managing director of DeGiS Alex Ruthemeier recently wrote in The PIE News that prospective international students were attracted to the career opportunities that Germany’s successful economy offers.

While respondents suggested they’d prefer essential service officials to speak English to “make the arrival and settling stage smoother”, country-wide international communities such as DeGiS could help to foster social connections, and those seeking to relocate to Germany should learn the language in order to “take integration to the next level”, the report suggested.

However, “English documents and guidelines should be made available for services required by international students and expatriates”, the report read.

Public-private partnerships between the government and digital solution providers like Expatrio could optimise processes for visa handling, blocked account verification, city registration and other relevant services, it also recommended.

“Innovative solutions” such as a decentralised Blockchain and Smart contracts could improve inefficient and slow analogue bureaucracy processes, it said.

“It is imperative that international students remain in Germany after graduation. Therefore specific programs have to be launched to further qualify for the German labor market and the integration into the society,” the report added.

“By and large, there are a lot of opportunities to make Germany more attractive for young international talent in the face of a demographic shift and a shortage of skilled labor.”

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