Studying in Germany – Why, what, and where?

The german secondary education system is diverse – and therefore partially confusing.
Studying at a German University means several years of further education after finishing school (A-Levels, 11-12 years for a „Fachabitur“ and 12-13 years for an Abitur) and before starting a job.

Studies are just one of many possibilities to qualify for a job. Some positions can be started „learning by doing“, other jobs (mainly in the construction sector) require an apprenticeship .
During your placement you are experiencing a company’s working environment for two to three years and learn all necessary skills for your job.

So the first question is if and what one wants to study. A university application requires a lot of work and a Bachelor’s degree takes a minimum of three years. Thus it is good to be sure of your decision whether or not you would like to study beforehand.

There is plenty of information about working and studying in Germany on the internet. The portal BerufeNet e.g. gives an overview about possible professions and the required qualifications or degrees. However studying is not the only way to guarantee a good working position later on. The website summarizes the world of secondary education in Germany.

There are several helpful consultation opportunities available to assist you during the decision process: the JobCenter offers job and study advice and every university has its own general study advice and course guidance. If you are insecure it is always a good idea to call in and get an appointment. Furthermore the Studium-Interessenten-Test (SIT in German; a test for everyone interested in studying) is available in German online. Your personal interests will be evaluated and you get a list of possible courses.

To get a first hand impression of university education in Germany you can register as a Gasthörer (visiting student). You will not study full-time but may attend single lectures or seminars without having to take an exam at the end. Attending lectures at several universities as well as at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar is free for refugees. Advice on how to search for courses and completing formulas is offered by the Netzwerk Welcome Weimar.