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Germany Sets Record for International Student Numbers

According to the most recent report from the German academic exchange body, the number of international students in Germany rose throughout the pandemic, owing in part to a considerable number of existing international students extending their study programs in reaction to Covid-19 disruption. As per DAAD, or German Academic Exchange Service estimations, over 350,000 international students attended a German higher education institution during the 2021/22 academic year, an 8% rise from the previous year and a new record.

China continues to be the leading country from which international students fly to German institutions, accounting for 12% of all international students, followed by students from India. Since 2017/18, the number of Indian students has increased by 65% to roughly 28,500, while the number of entering Chinese students has decreased.

According to additional data from the 2020/21 academic year, the Asia Pacific area has the most international students in Germany (31%), followed by students from North Africa and the Middle East (20%). Over the last three years, the number of students from the MENA region has increased much faster than that of other regions.

Western European students primarily came from Austria, Italy, as well as France, and more international students took master’s courses at German institutions in the 2020-21 winter semester than bachelors.

Master’s course interest has surged by 72% over the last five years, compared to a 50% increase in bachelor’s as well as a 12% increase in Ph.D.

Over the previous three years, there has also been a 275% increase in the number of students coming from Syria. In 2019, 13,000 Syrians studied in Germany, accounting for 4% of international students, the bulk of whom were refugees.

Between 2016 and 2019, almost 30,000 refugees enrolled in professional courses, including language classes, to prepare for future studies.

According to DAAD data, 22,000 refugee students studied in Germany in 2019.

“Over the past two years, Germany has managed to maintain its good reputation among students and doctoral candidates around the world and is now harvesting the fruits of its ongoing efforts to ensure quality and provide care for international students. This also represents a huge opportunity for discussion regarding our domestic shortage of skilled labor,” said DAAD president Joybrato Mukherjee.

The German education minister, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, praised the development as ” very pleasing,” noting that overseas students “represent an enormous potential of skilled workers.”

For the past five years, the number of Germans studying abroad has been stable at 138,000.

“This is a good starting point from which we can in future convince even more talented young people of the benefits of our education system and thus connect them to our country. All those involved should collectively grasp this opportunity,” said Joybrato Mukherjee.

Despite this, 80,000 students have left Germany as a result of COVID-19 developments, with many claiming difficulties returning.

In terms of German outbound students, 140,000 studied abroad in 2017. Austria was the most popular study location for outbound German students, with one in every five choosing to study there, followed by the Netherlands (16%), the United Kingdom (11%), as well as Switzerland (9%).

Earlier, in 2021, the data for international students enrolling in higher education in Germany in 2019, provided by the DAAD as well as the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies, Germany is now the fourth-largest country in terms of international student enrollment. It has surpassed France in the number of international students enrolle. The United States continues to be the top destination for overseas students seeking a degree.