Namaste Deutschland - Studying in Germany

Posted by Nishtha Prakash • Tuesday, March 9. 2010 • Category: Global Career
When at first, the thought of exploring and learning at and from a new country occurred to me, just like many other young Indian students and professionals, I thought about USA, UK and Australia. These are two destinations where Indians like to go to work and study. Getting into these cultures is easier as compared to cultures in Europe because language barrier does not exist. However, when I decided to move to a new land, I was not only looking at a good educational opportunity but also an intense living and traveling experience that would give me new perspectives and perhaps even change them.

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Europe seemed to me the kind of place that would give me a rewarding education and an interesting cultural experience of not only one or few countries but many. Wanting to study environmental politics, I started searching universities for myself. France, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Netherlands looked promising. But to go to study in Europe (which meant investing for my education in Euros), I had to make sure that I could afford it or earn a scholarship.

A friend told me that, in my case, there’re nothing better than Germany, for tuition fee is either absent or very little there. However, to earn a scholarship for a German University, it does well to know some German. Also, one needs to be careful in looking at programs that are in English and offer scholarships for international students. Financial concerns encouraged me to focus on Germany, but as I learned more about it, I knew, I had made a good decision for myself.

German education system is very different from India, or for that matter, from America or England. This is a country that is beginning to open up for foreign students now more than ever before. One needs to learn German, but that pursuit in itself is very enriching. Learning a new language opens up an entirely new world for one. Keeping all this in mind and being prepared to venture in this direction, I started my research. After much research into many Universities in Germany, I learned that students in India require a four year undergraduate degree to apply for a masters program, where as most graduate studies in India are three years. I made some decisions that I never thought I would when I decided to study abroad. I decided to learn German and also to study in India for one more year to get eligible to apply to the Environmental Governance program that I liked at the University of Freiburg. I would say that took some patience.

In this one year of preparation, I also visited Germany and from the first glances, found myself wanting to know more about the country, and to experience the life there – completely different from India but nevertheless interesting in its own way. This world was a contrast to India – German organization to Indian flexibility, more Individualistic life to family focused life, reliance on systems to reliance on connection, and many more. But it’s remarkable that the present generation is curious to know this other part of the world as well, and not just know, to learn from it; as I was curious about Germany. These are two world distinct in themselves, and that are ready to share with each other a lot, at the same time maintaining their identities. This approach is new and refreshing.

I have applied for my scholarships and am keeping my fingers crossed ;), I have started learning German and preparing myself (through one additional year of required study) for my masters program. All this is worth going to and living/learning in a world completely different from my own. I can’t wait to return!

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