If you’re an international student, chances are good that you’ll be on the lookout for a university education that’s both of high quality and culturally enriching. If you want to have the ‘best of both worlds of the college life, you can (and you should!), it’s possible.
Both Scandinavia and Germany offer students great choices in terms of quality of education and culture. If you’re all about making your college years a memorable one by getting hands-on experience in your chosen career field, you can achieve this in both European destinations.
If you’re more passionate about enjoying another culture and learning a new way of life, studying in any of these locations will help you do just that.
First, deciding to choose between Germany and Scandinavia isn’t about a battle of which country is better but about what’s the right fit for you. Both Scandinavian countries and Germany have their highlights, so it’s more about your preferences, budget and your other considerations.
Scandinavian countries, also more broadly referred to as Nordic countries are situated in Europe. Scandinavian countries strictly refer to Denmark, Norway and Sweden, but in a broader sense, including Finland and Iceland. The region has been lauded for many positive reasons including its rich cultural heritage, welfare-based education system and
Everyone who believes in getting a quality education deserves to have it. It’s this kind of sentiment that reflects in most countries in the Scandinavian region. In Norway, Denmark and Sweden, education is mostly free and publicly funded. In Sweden for instance, an international student from any country could get their PhD for free from a public university regardless of their country of origin. You can also find low-cost tuition universities in Norway, Finland and Denmark.
We’ll be making the comparison between Germany and Scandinavian countries in two broad categories:
- Cost of living
- Cost of tuition
- Cost of living
If there’s anything to be said about college life, it’s that students need to have a budget. International students are no exception. In fact, they might be on a tighter budget because they may not be given the same work opportunities as their colleagues. If you’re looking for the less expensive option between Germany and Scandinavian countries, then Germany’s probably what you’re looking for.
Comparison rates show that local purchasing power in Berlin, Germany is 19.14 percent higher in Bergen, Norway. What this means is that you have the money to spend and can purchase more things. Similarly, cost of living reports shows that living in Denmark is 20.3 percent more expensive than living in Germany, and living in Finland is 3.2 percent more expensive than living in Germany. Even rent expenses in Germany are cheaper than in other Scandinavian countries like Norway or Denmark.
Although the cost of living in Sweden is more expensive than in Germany, rent expenses in Sweden are slightly cheaper than in Germany. However, these are only general figures to provide a helpful guide. You can do more specific comparisons by comparing specific cities in both countries.
If the cost of living is an important consideration for you, then you just might want to pitch your tent in Germany rather than in most Scandinavian countries.
- Cost of tuition
The good thing about this category is that both Scandinavia and Germany have educational systems that are very low cost. While most Scandinavian countries have universities that are publicly funded, education is still cheaper in Germany than in most Scandinavian countries.
International students in public universities in Scandinavia that are not from the EU OR EEA countries might still have to pay a tuition fee in most universities. Most public universities in Germany are free for all students regardless of their origin. In Scandinavia, the only students who might not pay tuition especially for a Bachelors or Master’s degree are those from EU OR EEA countries. A report has stated that a person is likely to spend 58.3% more on education, for Sweden, the figure is slightly higher at 60.4 percent, while for Norway the figure is 66.7 percent.
- Employment opportunities
Germany has one of the largest economies in the world and also one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world. Germany has a job seeker visa that allows people to stay in Germany while seeking work.
For international students who need to earn while they study, this should help you decide between the two options. As an International student though, you cannot work as a freelancer in Germany. Also, international students are allowed to work for 120 full days annually or 240 half days In Sweden, you can be allowed to work while studying but you have to have a Student’s permit. In Norway, you can only take up employment if you are from an EU/EEA country.
After getting your degree in Germany, you have a lot of options available to go you. You may choose to stay back to look for employment, the law allows you to apply for an extension of your residence permit for up to 18 months. If you have spent some years and desire to stay more, you may apply for a permanent residence permit.
In Germany, it won’t be very easy for you to get by as a student if you don’t understand German, even if it’s a little. Most Germans love to communicate in German even though they can hear and understand English quite well. However, this is not to say that you will not be able to learn as an international student.
In fact, most study programs are all available in the English language. Plus, learning a new language wouldn’t be such a bad idea. In the Scandinavian region, however, the language conditions are not so stringent. Most of the countries speak English more and so may not need to learn the native dialect.
Choosing which of these countries is best depends on your needs and the resources available at your disposal. If you’re looking for a cheaper option that also promises a great quality of life and education, then Germany is definitely the way to go.