About a month ago, two reporters from WGBH Boston visited the Rhineland to do a story on German higher education. While they were here, they took some time out to shadow a trip I was going on to scout out some destinations for our upcoming College Visit in June. The story came out yesterday, and I was very pleased at how well the NPR team presented the reasons why so many Americans are moving to Germany to study.
The initial reason that they wanted to talked to me was to discuss the fact that German universities no longer charge tuition fees. I made the point that this was only one of many reasons to consider studying here, but one of the students they interviewed at the University of Cologne made a good point about the pure economics that drive many people decision to come here.
At the same time, those who only consider studying in Germany for the price might not be taking into account the scale of the challenge they're taking on. At most German universities, you won't have the kind of creature comforts we've come to expect in American higher education, and you'll likely have to deal with culture shock, loneliness, and home-sickness, something not everyone is ready for.
That being said, there's a reason why the number of Americans studying full-time in Germany has doubled in the past five years. Students here have come to expect consistency, which comes from the egalitarian approach to education in Germany and the broadly shared consensus that everyone should have access to an education.