Record 250.000 foreign students in Germany

Nieuws | de redactie
1 augustus 2012 | A recent report by the DAAD indicates that Germany’s foreign student population has surpasses a record 250.000. Key partner countries are China, Russia, Bulgaria and Poland, while outgoing mobility continues to be relatively high as well.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) published a report, “Wissenschaft weltoffen 2012”,indicating that the number of foreign students surpassed a quartermillion for the first time. “Most of these hail from China, withRussia, Bulgaria, Poland, and Austria following by a clear margin,”the agency wrote in its press release.

Other countries in Europe (around half) and Asia (one third) arekey sources of the foreign student population in Germany. EasterEurope is swiftly gaining relevance with countries like Russia,Bulgaria and Poland playing a particular role. All in all,internationalization efforts are more balanced in Germany comparedto other higher education export countries like the U.S., U.K. andAustralia. This is due to the fact that going abroad is popularamong German students.

Press statement

2011 marks the first year that foreign students registered atGerman universities numbered over 250,000 – this represents 11.4%of all students in Germany. Most of these hail from China, withRussia, Bulgaria, Poland, and Austria following by a clear margin.These results stem from the current issue of the data report”Wissenschaft weltoffen” (Science Open to the World) which theGerman Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) publishes annually incooperation with the HIS-Institute for Research on Higher Education(HIS-HF). Key focus is given to Chinese students, scientists, andresearchers at German universities.

Strong ties to China

Over the last few years, the largest proportion of foreignstudents has come from China: In 2011, the number of Chinesestudents matriculated at German university came to 22,828 – withthe figure still rising. They have an above-average level of studysuccess. “Discovering another understanding of what it means tostudy and learn is a very enriching experience for young Chinese”,highlights Professor Chen Hongjie from the renowned Pekinguniversity in his contribution. German scientific culturecharacteristics such as independence, a critical stance, asystematic approach, and thoroughness leave a deep impression, saysProfessor Chen.

An underlying reason for this rising trend is the existence ofmeanwhile 750 cooperations between German and Chinese universities.”Increasingly, the trend is not limited to the exchange ofstudents, scientists, and researchers but also encompasses thejoint development of curricula or even the export of entire studycourses to China”, explains Niels Albers, head of the DAAD’s ChinaDivision.

Better balance between outgoing mobility and incomingforeign students

All in all, Germany has never seen so many foreign fresherstudents matriculate as in 2010, when the figure reached66,400. Around a third of foreign students hail from Asia andapproximately half come from Europe. Here the Eastern Europeanstates such as Russia, Bulgaria, Poland are the key players. Andyet, the number of Western European students matriculated at Germanuniversities is continuing to grow. In this respect the keycountries of origin are Austria, France, and Spain.

After the USA, UK, and Australia, Germany holds fourth placeamong the key guest countries chosen by international students.However, in contrast to the above three English-speaking countries,Germany also has a high number of own students pursuing studiesabroad: the figure reached 115,500 in 2009. Thus it has a farbetter balance of internationally mobile students matriculated athome and abroad.

The data report “Wissenschaft weltoffen” is published annually.It provides details on the current status of international studiesand research and is complemented by an extensive range of dataprovided on the internet, accessible It can be downloaded as a PDF fileat

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