Studying in Germany

Guest article by m.A. Dennis Bornhof
Student Advisory Service at IIK Düsseldorf

Studying in Germany as a career springboard

Germany is one of the most popular study countries for foreign students worldwide. The perfect blend of university quality, low costs and high quality of life make it a very attractive place. More than 350,000 foreign students are currently studying in Germany, laying the foundation for their future international careers. Germany offers a number of advantages over the classic foreign study destinations such as England, the USA, and Australia.

No tuition fees

An important point when choosing a university location is the cost of living. Especially here Germany can score points since the first degree at stately universities is free in almost all federal states. During your studies, you should expect a total of 800 – 1000€ in living costs per month. This includes all costs such as rent, food, learning materials, semester fees, and public transport.

High reputation

German universities enjoy an excellent worldwide reputation, especially in the subjects of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology (MINT), which are very popular with Malaysian students. More than half of foreign students in Germany study in those fields. The close links between universities and industry/companies also ensure excellent career opportunities after graduation. Especially German medium-sized companies in the technology sector are often world market leaders in their specialization. After studying in Germany, there are many job opportunities at home and abroad. The demographic change in Germany also contributes to the fact that more and more companies are actively seeking highly qualified foreign employees.

High quality of life

Germany ranks 4th out of 188 nations in the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Quality of Life Index. During the studies, this is, of course, an important factor, in addition to the quality of education, in order to successfully complete your studies. Only those who feel comfortable in their environment can develop their full potential during their studies. In most German cities, especially in university cities, there is also the possibility to buy Asian food and thus bring a piece of home into one’s own home.


There are many ways for students from Malaysia to be admitted to a German university. The most common school degrees for this are:

  • Diploma of the Institute Teknologi MARA or Polytecnic
    Direct admission to German universities of applied sciences.
  • SPM with STPM / A-Level / IB
    Direct admission to German universities and universities of applied sciences
  • SPM with AUSMAT
    After attending a Studienkolleg and passing the Feststellungsprüfung (FSP), subject-specific access to universities and universities of applied sciences is granted

The easiest way is to finish school with the STPM, the A-Level or the International Baccalaureate. If the right subjects have been chosen, the prospective students may apply for all subjects at all types of universities.

Learning German

However, one of the basic requirements for admission to a German university or university of applied sciences is in most cases the passing of a recognized German language examination (e.g. TestDaF, DSH or Telc C1 Hochschule). As a rule, knowledge of German at level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) will be accepted by any university. Passing this examination in combination with the correct school leaving certificate then enables access to the German higher education system.

University application

Unfortunately, however, the German higher education system is often complicated. Early and intensive planning is therefore indispensable. Often the subjects of the school-leaving certificate have to fulfill certain minimum requirements in order to be allowed to study the desired course of studies. We strongly recommend that you seek expert support, for example from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The Institut für Internationale Kommunikation (IIK) also supports parents and students in setting the right course for their studies in Germany. The IIK offers special full programmes which advise the students already during their graduation, check the necessary documents for the visa and university application already in Malaysia, prepare them for the language examination in intensive language courses and test training and supervise the students during the entire application phase up to enrolment.

Choosing the right fields

The choice of the right course of study is one of the most important prerequisites and should be made as early as possible. It depends, for example, on which combination of subjects you have to choose for the A-Levels. Malaysian students should therefore already determine a rough direction for their later studies after the SPM. For example, whether it should be a technical or a social science field of study. After this choice has been made, the corresponding subjects must be chosen in the secondary school leaving certificate. The IIK will be happy to advise you in this phase to ensure a smooth process. Also our partners in Malaysia like the German Malaysian Institute, Intec Education College, Riam Institute of Technology or our local partner agencies are happy to advise you and offer suitable programs, which are especially designed for the needs of a university career in Germany.

After finishing secondary school, the focus should be on good preparation for the required German exams. This normally takes 800-1000 lessons of German as a foreign language up to level C1. There also English-language courses of study in Germany. However, basic German language skills are usually required too and the choice is still mostly limited to master studies. Good command of German enhances your job opportunities dramatically. After your studies in Germany you have two years to study in Germany.

As you can see, studying in Germany offers a wide variety of opportunities and career step stones. However, as for all studies abroad a long-term planning, experienced partners and a big eager to learn are indispensable for success.

Introducing the IIK as educational partner for Malaysian students

The „Institut für Internationale Kommunikation e.V.“ (IIK) located in Düsseldorf and Berlin is a successful Germany-wide educational institution at the crossroads between higher education, applied studies, and professional in-company training. As a non-profit spin-off of Düsseldorf University, it is recognized worldwide for its professionalism in conducting international programs, where it largely benefits from its network of universities, academic colleagues and alumni all over the world (about 50.000 in 25 years).

For many years now, the IIK has been the partner of several Institutions of higher education in Malaysia like German Malaysia Institute (GMI), Intec Education College and Riam Institute of Technology. Those institutes prepare the Malaysian students with specialized A-Level programs for their further studies in Germany. For our partners, IIK organizes tailor-made programs including language test preparations, accommodations, and full assistance during the university application process. During the last years, more than 150 Malaysian students found their way to universities all over Germany through these cooperations.

The IIK also partners with several agents and language schools across the country to offer our services to individual parents and students. Furthermore, the IIK works closely together with Malaysian sponsorship Donors like MARA, JPA, and YTN to support their scholars during the programs at IIK.

IIK‘s activities also include running one of the country‘s largest computer-based testing centers with a focus on foreign language testing (e.g. TOEFL, TOEIC, GMAT, GRE). Intensive management and communication training are also important elements of IIK‘s course program, equipping students and professionals with key qualifications and the skills needed to succeed in their job.

IIK Firmenservice GmbH, a 100% subsidiary of the IIK e.V., offers language, communication, and management training tailored to the needs of the respective business as well as text and online services for companies., and TestDaF).

As a non-profit institution (e.V.), IIK works closely together with a long list of universities and institutions to promote internationalization and, with its independent financial means, supports various projects in this field, mainly:

  • International conferences and projects
  • Grants for students and teachers from Germany and abroad
  • Websites dedicated to the teaching of foreign languages (esp. German)
  • Awards and prizes

For additional information please feel free to contact the IIK at any time.

Students’ Insight

Adam Sanaf is a Malaysian student enrolled at the University of Applied Sciences (Hochschule Düsseldorf). He is studying product develepment & production in the 7th Semester. Prior to this, the GMI graduate visited IIK Düsseldorf to enhance his German language skills. MALAYSIA INSIGHTS asked him about his experiences as a student in Germany.

What are your tips for students who are considering studying in Germany?
You have to adjust your mindset to the way the Germans think because they have the right mindset when tackling a task which also applies towards your studies.

What do you like most about studying in Germany?
The university system does not put too much pressure on the students. It also provides a calm and peaceful environment for students.

How well did the language course prepare you for your studies?
I would say that the language course is the most important part when considering to study abroad in Germany. IIK has prepared me well enough for me to enter my university.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully, in five years I will already be working and preferably here in Germany. I would also to like bring back the knowledge gained in Germany to Malaysia and share it with my fellow countrymen.

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