As college tuition rates in the U.S. continue to climb higher and higher every year, Germany is switching things up by offering you a degree for free.
No, that is not a typo. According to Fusion, Europe's leading lederhosen enthusiasts decided last week to open up the floodgates for everyone, international students included, to attend any of their public universities at zero charge. Zip. Zilch. Nothing. Nada. Not a penny, nor a euro.
However, even a freebie comes without a few caveats. Before you start booking your flight to Munich, here are a few things you should consider doing.
1.) Get fluent in the language.
Don't expect the professor to slow down class because you can't decipher a verb tense. Just like international students on our home turf, you need to understand the words that are coming out of their mouths. For a free, yet actually effective resource, check out Duolingo.
2.) Secure your living quarters.
German students typically live at home while attending university, so dormitory space is very hard to come by. Think of all German campuses as "commuter colleges," and find yourself a rental.
3.) Find your niche, now.
We've fallen into a habit of "exploring" majors in the U.S., often not even declaring our routes of study until junior year (and then changing it three more times anyway). In Germany, you apply to be accepted into a major and you take the prescribed courses of said major. Sorry, late-blooming underwater basket-weavers of the world, but there's no hopping around to discover your one true calling.
4.) Don't expect to be coddled.
There will be no hand-holding, no advising and no concern for your personal success. Your professors are not expected to know your name, and they certainly don't care whether or not you come to class or turn in your papers. If you work well on your own, congratulations, Germany is the education path for you! However, if you're a lost little bird, you may want to look elsewhere for your higher education.