Did you know that Germany is the 5th most popular destination in the world to study abroad? This
beer bread-loving nation hosts over 190,000 international students each year, boasting quality education and strong employment prospects after graduation.
Yet, Malaysians aren’t quite flocking to Deutschland yet, the home of posh car makers Porsche and Audi, champions of four FIFA World Cups and the land of over 1,500 varieties of mouth-watering sausages. Instead, many choose countries such as Australia, UK and United States.
So why should you buck the trend? Why travel the road less taken and
torture challenge yourself to studying in such an outlandish location with a foreign language to boot?
Believe it or not, studying in Germany will quite possibly change your entire perspective of life. Here are seven reasons why.
#1. Because you will be shocked that people actually have to pay for university education
Let’s face it — tertiary education abroad isn’t cheap.
In Australia, you can expect to pay about RM96,000 per year in tuition fees. USA? That’s closer to RM100,000. As for the UK, you’re looking at an average of RM85,000 annually. This works out to be about RM250,000 for a typical three-year degree, just for tuition fees.
But in Germany? Well, that’s where the magic happens.
Studying a degree in Germany is absolutely free — yes, RM 0.00 — and it even applies to international students, regardless of nationality! It’s one of the reasons why thousands of students flock to Germany to study, even though the medium of instruction is German for many undergraduate courses.
It’s definitely a godsend for those relishing the taste of studying abroad in a faraway land, but are discouraged by the escalating tuition fees for international students.
#2. Because nothing else can compare to German efficiency
As the industrial powerhouse of Europe, the legendary German efficiency is what separates Deutschland from the rest of the world.
German homes are built to be supremely energy efficient, equipped with super-insulation, creative lighting design and natural ventilation. Germany’s BMW i3 BEV is touted as one of the most fuel-efficient cars globally. And who can forget how the German football team swiftly dismantled Brazil with ruthless efficiency in the 2014 World Cup semi-final for a 7-1 victory?
Once you’ve tasted the perfection of German processes and design, everywhere else will seem like a snail’s pace to you!
#3. You will skip the small talk and go straight to the point
Hand-in-hand with German efficiency is their laser sharp focus and (painfully) direct communication. What might be perceived as “rude” and “commanding” in some cultures is the norm in German conversations.
In a work setting, there is no superfluous preamble of “have you had lunch” or “how’s the weather” before the start of a meeting. Germans don’t skirt around a problem when dealing with issues, nor do they pepper their words with polite phrases like the British, such as “if I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion”.
Germans don’t beat around the bush and can be extremely blunt, even to strangers! They value truth and directness over being polite, and idle chit chat is certainly not in their genes. In fact, the German language doesn’t even have an expression for “small talk”!
While it may be a bit of a culture shock at the start, it’s a trait that you will undoubtedly find refreshing. You’ll soon realise that it’s a more efficient way to get your point across, leaving no room for interpretation. It’s probably one of the reasons why Germans are so darn productive!
#4. Because English can never describe things as creatively as the German language
The German language is a fascinating thing, where the words are descriptive as they are creative.
Want to hurl an insult at someone who’s acting a bit cowardly? Try using the word Schattenparker (“shade-parker”), literally describing someone who always parks under the shade to avoid the car from getting too hot under the sun. To the Germans, it’s “unmanly” behaviour. After all, shaded spots should be left for pregnant women or the handicapped, and you really shouldn’t be afraid of a little sun.
There are plenty of other creative German insults in the same vein — Warmduscher (“warm-showerer”), Jeansbügler (“jeans-ironer”) and even Chefwitzlacher (“boss’s-jokes-laugher”). Clearly, the Germans don’t take kindly to wimpy men.
Other ingenious German words include Drachenfutter (“dragon fodder”, a gift from husbands to soothe angry wives) and Schadenfreude (“harm-joy”, the secret feeling of joy at someone else’s misfortune).
Because really, where else can you find such creativity in a language?
#5. The concept of Malaysian timing will really start to bug you
How many times have you turned up for an appointment on time, only for a friend to tell you that he or she is “on the way, on the way” (read: just left the house)? What about all the trickeries you have had to employ, telling your chronically-late friend that the dinner is at 7.30pm when in truth, it’s only supposed to start at 8pm?
If you are constantly frustrated at perpetual latecomers, you will love the orderliness of Germany.
Because Germans are sticklers for punctuality. Whether it’s a business meeting or a casual meet-up, 10:00am means 10:00am sharp, and it isn’t the same as 10:03am. Even being late by a couple of minutes may result in offending some Germans.
It is, after all, part of their genetic makeup of being organised and efficient.
#6. You will miss whizzing around on bicycles
In Germany, riding a bicycle isn’t just a form of exercise or for shedding excess weight — it is actually a legitimate mode of transportation. In fact, a good 9% of all trips in Germany are made using bikes, and you will be hard-pressed to find a German who doesn’t ride one.
Many cities in Germany have designated cycle paths that are safe and well-maintained. Berlin, for instance, is consistently rated as one of the best cycling cities in the world. Not only that, there is even an autobahn for bicycles in the works, where cycling enthusiasts can commute on this new “bicycle highway” without the presence of motored vehicles.
Germany is probably one of the friendliest places in the world to whiz around on a bike, and you will surely miss the scenic bike trails that lead you to majestic castles, stunning vineyards and romantic rivers.
#7. You find yourself becoming a waste separation fanatic
In a country with a high population density and limited resources, trash is an intricate business in Germany.
They don’t just stop at paper, plastic, aluminium and glass. Oh no, everything is separated zealously and disposed off carefully, from biodegradable and residual household waste to medication and hazardous items. Even glass bottles are sorted by colour — white, brown and green. And whenever you purchase bottled or canned drinks, you actually have to pay a deposit (Pfand), which you can only get back if you return them to certified recycling machines.
It’s no wonder Germany has one of the highest recycling rates in the world at 62%.
After your rigorous training in Germany, separating waste into at least five different bins and bags will become second-nature to you!
Want to study in Germany? Here’s how you can do it at INTEC.
Here’s what some INTEC students had to say about their experience…
Although A-Level German is a fast-track program, it has helped me a lot in my preparation to study abroad. INTEC has done a lot of improvements in aiding the students, as a bridge between school and university life. Being an ALG student, it is always a privilege to be able to speak and understand a foreign language from a country that has contributed a lot to our modern world.
As the ALG’s motto goes, “Alle zusammen – All together”, what I’ve achieved in INTEC, I owe it to the people around me. To the wonderful lecturers, who are ever so patient and supportive. To the amazing friends, who never fail to make days there unforgettable. And to my family, for all that they are. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now.