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posted by n1 on Wednesday June 10 2015, @05:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the mmrpg dept.

BBC reports that Germany has abandoned tuition fees altogether for German and international students alike and more than 4,600 US students are fully enrolled at Germany universities, an increase of 20% over three years. "When I found out that just like Germans I'm studying for free, it was sort of mind blowing," says Katherine Burlingame who decided to get her Master's degree at a university in the East German town of Cottbus. "I realised how easy the admission process was and how there was no tuition fee. This was a wow moment for me." When Katherine came to Germany in 2012 she spoke two words of German: 'hallo' and 'danke'. She arrived in an East German town which had, since the 1950s, taught the majority of its residents Russian rather than English. "At first I was just doing hand gestures and a lot of people had compassion because they saw that I was trying and that I cared." She did not need German, however, in her Master's program, which was filled with students from 50 different countries but taught entirely in English. In fact, German universities have drastically increased all-English classes to more than 1,150 programs across many fields.

So how can Germany afford to educate foreign students for free? Think about it this way: it's a global game of collecting talent. All of these students are the trading cards, and the collectors are countries. If a country collects more talent, they'll have an influx of new ideas, new businesses and a better economy. For a society with a demographic problem - a growing retired population and fewer young people entering college and the workforce - qualified immigration is seen as a resolution to the problem as research shows that 50% of foreign students stay in Germany. "Keeping international students who have studied in the country is the ideal way of immigration," says Sebastian Fohrbeck."They have the needed certificates, they don't have a language problem at the end of their stay and they know the culture."


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  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @05:48AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @05:48AM (#194399)

    Remember when all the educated people fled Nazi Germany and emigrated to America? Nazi America remembers.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Wednesday June 10 2015, @06:39AM

    by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @06:39AM (#194414)
    Yeap, provided they can support themselves while attending, which probably requires either well-to-be parents or just a lil' bit more command over the German language (no, speaking louder doesn't help).
    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @06:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @06:47AM (#194416)

      ya, but you can get through hours of German conversation with just these three words: "NaJa", "Ja" and "Shizer"

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Jerry Smith on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:28AM

      by Jerry Smith (379) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:28AM (#194440) Journal

      Yeap, provided they can support themselves while attending, which probably requires either well-to-be parents or just a lil' bit more command over the German language (no, speaking louder doesn't help).

      Most Germans speak good English. And instead of investing a ton of money in a US uni, that money is free now for housing and food in Germany. Plus there are some more advantages of living in Europe over the US.

      --
      All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday June 10 2015, @12:41PM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @12:41PM (#194494)

        Most Germans speak good English.

        For a brief... ok, say even a 10-15 mins chit-chat with a tourist, sure. To speak to an employee working in a team of Germans... mmm... do you feel that lucky? (think Mexicans working in US, do they expect their employers to speak Spanish to them?)

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @04:12PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @04:12PM (#194565)

          While my native language is English and I have also been speaking a dialect of Arabic all my life (learned it from my family) and could easily get by in an Arabic country it took me about two years to learn Spanish to the point that I can speak it confidently. I help customers in Spanish, I understand the language pretty well, I can engage in conversations pretty confidently, when people are speaking Spanish amongst each other I understand what they're saying (if they only speak Spanish I participate in Spanish but if they speak English as well I speak English and they can either respond in English or Spanish). I'll admit I have issues when they talk really really fast at times, and I have to tell them to slow down (I don't have this problem with Arabic though I have an accent in Arabic that can make it difficult for people to understand me at times but considering I never lived in an Arabic country, I only visited an Arabic country thrice and in totality if you add up all the time I've been to Arabic countries I only spent like three months in an Arabic country, an accent is to be expected though I have family that spoke it around me), but other than that I have a pretty decent command over Spanish.

          Learning the language is not an issue if you put the time and effort into it. To learn Spanish I made flash cards, I watched hours and hours of Youtube videos, I spoke to natives and allowed them to correct me, etc... Heck, my dad has an uncle that was proficient in seven languages, fluent in an additional six, taught several languages at a very good university, helped decode ancient documents, was a government translator, etc... My dad at one time was an Italian to Arabic translator for a church he used to attend as a child and when he came to this country (America) at twelve years old, by high school, he won spelling contests against native English speakers (even at his relatively old age, after having a concussion after falling down at one time and two TIA's, he's still way more competent than I am). If you are unwilling to even learn the language in the country you are traveling to then you are unworthy to go and live there. I have an uncle that got their degree in chemistry in Sweden as an adult. This person's native language is Arabic, when talking to family over the phone they speak Arabic but when sending and receiving E-Mails they communicate in English and this person has no problems speaking English. This person is fluent/proficient in all three languages (Arabic, English, Swedish). Most, just about all, of the Arabs that come to this country are fluent in English within a year or so, proficient within three. They all say and consider it an obligation to learn the language of the country they decide to move to.

          "Most Germans speak good English."

          So why is it that it's OK for everyone to speak English but Americans insist on being the embarrassing monolinguals of the world. When Europeans visit America they speak English. They often speak multiple languages. Many Arabs I know are fluent, even proficient, in multiple languages and they graduated from good colleges and universities with top scores, sometimes in difficult subjects, even when moving to this country at 20+ years of age, often times while working because they didn't come here with a lot of money. Yet when Americans move to another country the first thing they think is "oh no, I must learn the language and that puts me at a disadvantage because I'm much too lazy. Ahh, I don't really need to learn the language, they speak English after all." Seriously, if you want to move to another country the least you can do is give the country the courtesy of learning the language. Otherwise don't bother, you're just an embarrassment to this country.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 11 2015, @06:56AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 11 2015, @06:56AM (#194869)

            Expecting US-ians to speak European languages is like waiting for fire to freeze up.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Dogeball on Wednesday June 10 2015, @11:04AM

      by Dogeball (814) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @11:04AM (#194463)

      Because in the US, they pay tuition, but food and housing is free?

      You appear to be arguing against free tuition as a social mobility factor. Do you think that poor Germans seeking education are worse off than poor Americans?
      Or are you suggesting that Germany should do more to help poor USA citizens?

      This site [topuniversities.com] reckons the annual cost of study in USA is between $10k and $40k, depending on the institution type/state. Living costs in Germany are not going to be that much, and finances are not going to be a factor in the prestige of the university you choose to attend.
      Sure, you've got to find the money somewhere, but I can see an ambitious/motivated American from a less well-off background doing better for themselves in Germany than staying at home.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Wednesday June 10 2015, @12:50PM

        by c0lo (156) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @12:50PM (#194496)

        You appear to be arguing against free tuition as a social mobility factor.

        As a non-native English speaker (with 10y or so learning English as a foreign language), I did have some difficulties in finding a job in my first year after arrival in Australia. You seem to suggest that the Germans employers would embrace a USian which (very likely) didn't study German for more that 2-3 years? (or is it German frequently picked as a major in US highschools/colleges? No? I thought so.)

        • (Score: 1) by Dogeball on Wednesday June 10 2015, @01:56PM

          by Dogeball (814) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @01:56PM (#194526)

          I'm sorry you had a hard time getting work :(
          I struggled in South Africa, since fluent bi-lingual (pick two from Afrikaans, English and Xhosa) was a requirement for most jobs.

          You're probably right that it would be difficult getting work without a certain level of German proficiency, but for someone who knows that they want to go there, the US government rates German [effectivelanguagelearning.com] in the second easiest category of languages for native English speakers to learn, requiring 30 weeks of study to master.

          The second issue foreigners tend to face is jingoism; i.e would someone with a US accent find it harder to get a job than other non-Germans?

          In my experience, English speakers are amongst the touchiest about their precious language being spoken badly. Sadly, people in the UK who speak grammatically correct English with a strong foreign accent are often treated by locals as if they can't speak English at all, and it depends on where is sounds like they're from. It's possible that you faced some of this in Australia.

          From what I've seen, Americans in Germany have an easier time than most foreign nationalities have in the US.

  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @06:52AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @06:52AM (#194417)

    the student sub culture has so many significant perks so as to reduce the costs of living substatially.

    You will need insurance which can cost as little as .20c per day.
    But ya, why would you live in the toilet of the USA and PAY huge for an education when Germany is available for free?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Wednesday June 10 2015, @11:57AM

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 10 2015, @11:57AM (#194476)

      You will need insurance which can cost as little as .20c per day.

      There's probably little point arguing with an AC, but I considered getting a job and going back "home" because conditions seem better there than here, better future for my family, etc, and from memory the .de health care only average something like 3000 euro/year/person so its not as unaffordable as the US where our wealth transfer to the rich corporations is like 9000 euros. Despite spending a third, all their outcomes are better than the USA, they just don't have as many rich crooks as the USA produces. Also the public health insurance system was implemented as an income tax something like 7% of gross income up to 50K euro or WTF it was exactly. Not having the crazy military expenditures of the USA and not paying for 200 overseas military bases and multiple simultaneous undeclared wars means the .de pretty much get health care "for free" or in exchange for not having a (shit-ily run) world empire.

      As for why I didn't end up going, there's 80 yr old mother on one side, 70s year old mother on other side, you get the idea.

      Now a 20 year old kid with healthy parents who can take care of themselves would be pretty dumb to stay in the USA and not go to .de or, well, pretty much anywhere in Europe would be better than back home other than the economically collapsing southern tier (greece, spain, etc). I had to study the history of Spain quite a bit in Spanish class a long time ago, it'll be interesting to see how Spain turns out after the next revolution or if theres a breakup (catalonia and all that). I'm at the age where I can start thinking of how to get my kids out of the USA, get them somewhere safe, somewhere cops won't shoot them in the back, where they can get health care, where they won't be victims of criminals, where they can get an education, safe food, basically the anti-USA.

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday June 10 2015, @12:48PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 10 2015, @12:48PM (#194495) Journal

        I'm at the age where I can start thinking of how to get my kids out of the USA, get them somewhere safe, somewhere cops won't shoot them in the back, where they can get health care, where they won't be victims of criminals, where they can get an education, safe food, basically the anti-USA.

        I'm born and raised in America, and I'm thinking exactly the same thing. My wife and I have been talking about how to save for our kids' college, and I've had to repeatedly drive home the reality to her that if tuition is $59K/yr at a 4-yr American university today, in 12 years it will easily wind up putting 1 of our 2 kids $500K in debt to get a degree. I had been rounding out a strategy of getting our kids into apprenticeships, winning competitions, and starting their careers without taking the huge financial hit of going to college in America, but college for free in Germany sounds like a good deal. I speak German from my time as an exchange student there in high school, and my cousin's family lives outside Hannover (he was an exchange student in Switzerland and returned to Germany to build his career after graduate school), so we have more connective tissue to that place than most.

        Well, we'll see. Perhaps the revolution will come here, first, and we won't have to.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday June 10 2015, @01:15PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 10 2015, @01:15PM (#194501)

          Perhaps the revolution will come here, first, and we won't have to.

          Perhaps. The only successful business model for the past 40 years or so, has been find something people will "pay anything for" like health, education, "defense/public safety", housing, maybe cell phones, then charge them everything they got, squeeze all that blood from the stone cause they're dumb enough to pay anything for that so we'll screw them till they scream... Its the American Dream(tm) after all.

          Now what is left as a tool to screw us over? Food? Cheap cars? Contraception? recreational drugs? The business model of the last 40 years is running out of things to screw us over. There just isn't that much left, not to mention most of the blood has already been squeezed from those stones. You only get to destroy the middle class once, unless you rebuild it somehow in between.

          You can make a bunch of billionaires over the past 40 years by impoverishing a nation by screwing up their market for medical care, college, and houses. But how many billionaires can you make in the next 40 years by impoverishing a nation by exploding the price of condoms, beer, shitty corn syrup based food, and commuter cars? Not much, I figure. You can get a lot of buy in when the whole graduating class of Yale in years past will transfer a billion bucks each from the poor to their pockets, but when practically no one will get rich off a "condom bubble" its going to be hard to get buy in and cooperation, and greedy people are not known for cooperation even under ideal circumstances.

          I don't think the existing economic model has long left to run. Hope the new one sucks less and the transition isn't too awful for my kids.

          • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday June 10 2015, @03:52PM

            by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 10 2015, @03:52PM (#194560) Journal

            Well said. In my mind's eye I see the best revolution being everyone voting with their feet, like what happened to East Germany when Hungary removed its border fence with Austria. Erich Honecker's regime simply collapsed. Everything was non-violent, except for when East Germans sacked the Stasi headquarters. Those guys had it coming, but even then I don't remember any of them being killed because they had lit out for the hills.

            The American version I see is probably better called voting with dollars. Enough people put solar panels on their roofs and EVs in their driveways, and the fossil fuel industries that have had a stranglehold on America for 100+ years will collapse. Enough people 3D print what they need, recycling waste for feedstock, and all sorts of forms of centralized control collapse. That would probably be enough to erase this current model of economic production and the political system that pairs with it.

            --
            Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @07:06AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @07:06AM (#194419)

    We used to do that - attract top flight talents into our schools and keep'em in the country. Now we kick these graduates out and send our jobs to third-rate talents via h1b scams.

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by wonkey_monkey on Wednesday June 10 2015, @07:25AM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @07:25AM (#194427) Homepage

    When Katherine came to Germany in 2012 she [...] arrived in an East German town

    That's a clever trick.

    --
    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
    • (Score: 2) by pe1rxq on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:07AM

      by pe1rxq (844) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:07AM (#194436) Homepage

      East Germany only seized to exist as a sovereign state. Its teritories did not magically disappear and still exist in the eastern part of Germany....
      'Former East German' would have been more correct though....

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:03AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:03AM (#194446)

        East Germany only seized to exist

        Auch du Lieber! Du Anglandish is kaputt!

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ThG on Wednesday June 10 2015, @10:04AM

        by ThG (4568) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @10:04AM (#194458)

        Maybe on paper. We "wessis" still make all sorts of jokes about the "ossis" and that's not going to stop any time soon.
        Many things are different over there, but at least it's still Germany. Unlike Bavaria.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by Geotti on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:45PM

          by Geotti (1146) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:45PM (#194692) Journal

          Says the East German to the West German: "We are one nation!"

          Comes the reply: "Us too."

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:26AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:26AM (#194451)

      I didn't notice that the cardinal directions were abolished in Germany.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:43AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:43AM (#194453)

        only Ratzinger's

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @05:20PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @05:20PM (#194588)

          But he went south, not east.

  • (Score: 1) by jpkunst on Wednesday June 10 2015, @07:45AM

    by jpkunst (2310) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @07:45AM (#194432)

    "Keeping international students who have studied in the country is the ideal way of immigration," says Sebastian Fohrbeck."They have the needed certificates, they don't have a language problem at the end of their stay and they know the culture."

    I doubt it. As far as I can see, in my country (which isn't Germany) international students live in an English-only expat bubble, don't learn a word of the language of their host country, and they usually leave after finishing their studies.

    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:22AM

      by Immerman (3985) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:22AM (#194438)

      Ah, but does your country offer one of the strongest economies in the world to entice students to remain? Not to mention some of the best beer?

      • (Score: 1) by anubi on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:57AM

        by anubi (2828) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:57AM (#194444) Journal

        I had one of the sharpest mathematicians ( and computer programmer to boot ) I have known go back to Germany. He had been here about 12 years. He had finally had enough "American Bullshit".

        He emailed me not too long ago, telling me the wonderful little town he found, and how he is finally enjoying whats left of his life, and how great the beer is.

        Genetically ( and by surname as well ), he is true German.

        If I wasn't so old, I would love to jump ship and join him.

        He tells me they really appreciate the skills he brings to the table over there.

        While over here, he was just a beggar. Never at peace. Knowing management was always looking for a cheaper replacement.

        I get the strong idea that for a STEM education and employment, Germany is the place to be.

        Financial services, Litigation, and Compliance assistance: USA!

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:30AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:30AM (#194441)

      they usually leave after finishing their studies

      research shows that 50% of foreign students stay in Germany

    • (Score: 2) by Jerry Smith on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:39AM

      by Jerry Smith (379) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:39AM (#194442) Journal

      I doubt it. As far as I can see, in my country (which isn't Germany) international students live in an English-only expat bubble, don't learn a word of the language of their host country, and they usually leave after finishing their studies.

      In your country, students that want to study for instance Nordic languages and culture choose to do so in their own country, and not in those Nordic countries. Which is quite strange.

      --
      All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by sudo rm -rf on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:16AM

      by sudo rm -rf (2357) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:16AM (#194448) Journal

      From my experience (in Germany) most foreign students that do stay after university come from eastern and southern Europe. But that's of course only anecdotal*.
      Also, the summary states:

      She arrived in an East German town which had, since the 1950s, taught the majority of its residents Russian rather than English.

      That's true, but only until 1990, when Eastern Germany ceased to exist and became part of the BRD, a NATO member state. So most people under 30 years have at least basic knowledge of English.

      * a little research later on gave me following numbers for the East German town of Cottbus (Census 2011):

      Out of 5000 Students, 290 come from abroad, about half of them from Russia and Poland. English speaking countries are not even in the list and fall in the category "others"

      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:42PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 10 2015, @08:42PM (#194666) Journal

        That's true, but only until 1990, when Eastern Germany ceased to exist

        The GDR (DDR) ceased to exist. East Germany didn't cease to exist. There's even a radio station having it in its name ("Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg").

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @11:59AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @11:59AM (#194477)

      international students live in an English-only expat bubble, don't learn a word of the language of their host country

      As someone in Asia, I can attest that this not only applies to students, it applies to all kinds of English speaking expats working here. You can easily find expats that have worked in Asia for 10-20 years, and still never learned a word of the local language, and unable to speak the simplest sentences even if their live depended on it.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:16AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:16AM (#194449)

    Is the norm in many european countries since the 60s-70s.

    • (Score: 1) by macson_g on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:47AM

      by macson_g (4848) on Wednesday June 10 2015, @09:47AM (#194454)

      It's an article for American audience. They usually don't know that other countries in Europe even exist. And most of them still think that the bland, boring German beer is good...