The recent figures released by DAAD, the world’s largest funding organization for international exchange, have revealed that Germany continues to be one of the world’s most popular countries for international students despite the COVID-19 pandemic effects.
According to the report “Wissenschaft weltoffen 2022,” nearly 350,000 international students have attended higher education institutions in Germany during the winter semester 2021/22, an 8 percent increase compared to last year, Erudera.com reports.
“The number of international students has increased by a total of 89 per cent since the winter semester of 2010/11. They appear to be increasingly interested in subjects related to engineering, mathematics and the natural sciences. Last winter semester, it was 53 per cent of international students who registered in one of these study programmes,” the Scientific Director of the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW), Monika Jungbauer-Gans, said.
This increase in the number of students has put the country in the top four most popular countries for international students, just behind the US, United Kingdom, and Australia. Moreover, the number of first-year international students in the country has increased compared to last year’s winter semester, up to nearly 74,000 students.
Commenting on the figures, Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger said international students represent a high potential of skilled workers in Germany and highlighted the reputation of German universities and research institutions worldwide.
“It also shows that Germany has come through the Corona period comparatively well in terms of the number of international students,” the minister added.
Other data for the 2020/21 academic year show that most international students in Germany come from the Asia Pacific region, North Africa, and the Middle East. According to the DAAD report, China was the top source of international students in Germany last year, sending some 40,000 students. Second ranked India with 34,000 students, followed by Syria with 16,500, Austria with 14,500, and Turkey with 12,500 students.
Unlike the number of Chinese students, which has stagnated, Germany has seen an 18 percent increase in the number of Indian students over a year. Furthermore, the number of Indian students starting their first year of studies in Germany has increased by 33 percent.
“There was a decline of five per cent in the number of first-year students from China. India will soon replace China as the major country of origin for international students in Germany if these trends were to continue,” DAAD notes.
The report also points out that in 2019, around 138,000 German students went to study abroad, gradually decreasing by 3 percent since 2016, with many planning to graduate abroad. Most German students head to Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.