Many people have been asking me; how can I afford to study here in Europe? Do I have a scholarship or how did I ever begin the whole application process? To answer all these questions, I’ve decided to write this article.
Honestly, studying in Europe is like a roller coaster ride. Of course, there are a lot of paperworks and aside from that, you also need to be emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually, and mentally prepared. Here are some information that might guide you throughout your decision making process.
- Do you really need or want to study a Master’s degree program abroad?
Do you feel jaded in your current work? Do you want to learn more because you feel that you don’t have any career growth?
Yes, it is the reality of being a yuppie (young professional), but you really need to make sure whether studying a master’s program is the solution to your current dilemma. I put need and want in the question because there are a lot of motivations for needing and wanting the specific program. There are some people who apply for a job right after their undergraduate program so that they can have enough work experience, and they can also earn money. However, some professions entail a good salary package if you have a higher educational degree. So by having a Master’s diploma, this gives you enough leverage to compete in the job market. For others, they continue taking the Masters program right after their Bachelor’s because they still want to figure out what they will do after their studies. It’s like strengthening their skills set before plunging to the real world.
Studying a Masters program is like a commitment. It is demanding in terms of readings, presentations, and papers. As an Asian studying in Europe, it is far more challenging since foreign students should also learn the language of the country where they want to study. It might not be needed in English courses, but it is recommended so you can communicate with the people around you.
If you are 100% sure that you’re up to the challenge, then here’s the next step.
- What is your target program and where?
I suggest to make a list of possible Master’s degree programs which spark your interest. As you go through this list, try to search on Google which universities offer these programs. In this way, you can get an idea about where you will study, the requirements needed for your application, and the cost of your tuition fee.
There are a lot of news articles about Germany stating that all universities don’t ask for any tuition fees. I would just clarify that this does not mean that you will not have to pay anything for your studies.
There are still some private universities that asks for tuition fees. However, most of the universities in Germany only ask for “a semester contribution,” which includes the transportation ticket for the whole semester. In the university website, you can also see the breakdown of this cost and the amount may vary depending where you will study in Germany.
There are also some regions which don’t recognized some of Asian diplomas. I experienced that the head of the program already had accepted me, but the International Office rejected my application.
Remember! This is not the end of the world if ever you experience this, even though we cannot escape the fact that it is really tough to look for a region or a university who will credit your Bachelor’s degree as a Bachelor’s degree and not a High School diploma.
Aside from that, you also need to look at your Transcript of Records. Some universities also verify if you took a certain number of units to be considered in your desired Master’s program. This means that if ever you graduated with a Bachelor of Science and you want to have a Master’s in Humanities it might be difficult to get a spot.
This is just my experience and I don’t want to generalize. So what I can suggest is contact the University directly if you’re interested to apply. It wouldn’t harm if you send an email directly to the program coordinator and ask whether you are qualified to apply for their Master’s program.
- Uni-Assist to the rescue!
Some of the universities in Germany use Uni-Assist to handle all applications. This means that you can’t submit all your documents to the University directly, instead they will refer you to Uni-Assist. You need to sign up in their system and look for the program that you want to apply for. You can also see in their website; how much you need to pay for the processing. What I like about Uni-Assist is that, they also convert your grades based on the German system.
DAAD and Erasmus Mundus are the two famous scholarship institutions that you can look up to. They also offer specific programs from specific Universities. It means that you need to choose from their list. They also have specific guidelines or rules based on your nationality or region.
I’ve tried to apply for Erasmus, but the application is really competitive. If ever, you did not make it for the scholarship program, then you can also ask whether they can still consider your application without the scholarship. This means that you need to pay for your tuition fee or look for sponsors.
- Wait for your Acceptance Letter
Once you have submitted all the requirements to the University or other institutions such as Uni-Assist etc., you need to wait for the acceptance or rejection letter. If you are accepted, then they will give you all the necessary information on how to process your visa so you don’t need to worry about that.
One thing that I’ve learned from this experience is to do your own research. What I’ve experienced might be different compared to what you will experience in the future. Rules change and you can’t always expect that the results will always be the same. Second, apply for more than one university. As what we always say in any raffle draws- the more entries you send the more chances of winning. It goes the same with University applications. I think it is necessary to have one or two options or fallback. Third, pray! It works 🙂
Do you have any similar experience in Germany? Let me know what you think!