You love the program, but what if the location doesn’t fit? Think ahead about your comfort with the area that you’re planning to study in. Do you need to study in a large city, or would you rather live in a smaller town where you’ll rub elbows with your fellow students in the supermarket? Whenever possible, it’s always a great idea to visit the cities that you’re interested in ahead of time on a college visit.
You may find after a semester or two that the program you’ve chosen doesn’t actually fit. So what if you want to transfer? The content in some study programs with very specific or obscure content can be difficult to transfer to other universities offering the same subject. Be sure to check ahead of time if the program you’re going to enroll in is compatible with other programs in the country.
Studying in some programs means sitting in large lecture halls with hundreds of other students, while others meet in small groups for discussions with their professors. Large demand generally leads to larger class sizes in Germany, and some subjects have a lot more demand than others, so be sure to take this into account when choosing your path. Business, for example, is much more popular than Protestant Theology. You can also take into account the type of university you’re applying to. Universities tend to have much larger class sizes than Universities of Applied Science.
History students read hundreds of pages per week, medical students dissect cadavers, chemistry students spend hours in the laboratories. How does the approach to learning in the study program fit you? Can you see yourself hunched over a book in the library for hours every week, or do you want something more hands on? The approach to study varies from discipline to disciple and from program to program, so be sure to get in touch with local students to get a sense of what it’s actually like to study before you make your decision.
Be sure to find out what the actual content of the program that you’re interested in is. Some programs that are called “Political Science,” for example, are very broad and will give you a general overview of the subject, while others have a particular focus. Uni Regensburg, for example focuses specifically on Eastern European Studies, while you’ll spend most of your time on statistical and empirical research methods at the University of Mannheim.
Your choice of a study program has a significant impact on your future employability. If you want to work in Germany after graduation, studying in a program with a practical focus on preparing students for work after graduation often makes more sense. The programs are more commonly offered by Universities of Applied Science. If you want a firm grounding for a future career in the United States, you may way to take a different approach. Studying Deutsch als Fremdsprache, for example, may not afford you many opportunities in Germany, but it will allow you to work in a myriad of fields in the States.