German educational system

To study or not to study?

If you are not sure whether studying is the right thing for you or not, you should keep the following things in mind: - Studies in Germany might be very theoretical. If you like to dive deep into specific scientific questions and abstract theories, this could be a good choice for you. If you are a practical type, do not like to read a lot and want to see concrete outcomes at an early stage of your work, you should think about a vocational training (Ausbildung (https://support.kiron.ngo/5634...

How can I find a suitable educational program in Germany?

To find out more about which study program might be right for you, try this online interest test (https://www.hochschulkompass.de/studium-interessentest.html)from Hochschulkompass (in German) or another orientation test (for example, from was studiere ich (https://www.was-studiere-ich.de/)). You may also want to try the tools from Hochschulkompass (https://www.hochschulkompass.de/en/degree-programmes/study-in-germany-search/advanced-degree-programme-search.html?tx_szhrksearch_pi1%5Bsearch%5D=1&...

What to study?

Are you unsure about what you want to study? Don’t worry, this is the case for almost everyone. We have put together some points to help you think about it and make a decision. First, you should always decide for a field of studies that fits your interests and strengths. It will be really hard to finish a study program that does not interest you. Sometimes people study thinking about getting a job with a good salary, but they do not like it in the end. Think about: - What you have done ...

What should I know about the German educational system?

The German educational system is quite complex, and there are several options available. It is generally very important that you complete your high school (if you don’t have a high school diploma, read how to complete your schooling here (https://support.kiron.ngo/475874-How-can-I-complete-my-schooling-in-Germany)). Education systems differ across the 16 German Federal States (Bundesländer), so we recommend you inform yourself about the education system in the federal state where you are living ...

How does the secondary schooling system in Germany work?

Underage youth in Germany are obligated to attend school, usually between the age of (ca.) 6 and 16. After elementary school, secondary schooling is split into two phases: - the Sekundarstufe I (lower secondary schooling) which usually comprises grade 5-10, - and the Sekundarstufe II (upper secondary schooling) where pupils can (but are not required to) continue schooling for 2 or 3 years. Pupils can visit different types of schools and obtain different kinds of school-leaving qual...

What are alternatives to studying at university?

If you do not want - or do not (yet) fulfil the requirements - to study at university, a professional qualification may be a good alternative. A professional qualification in Germany is widely recognized and means that you received specific training in a certain area, and that you have documented proof of being a skilled professional in that field. Take a look at the online orientation tool from hop-on (https://hopon-newcomers.com/en/) for orientation in the professional educational system in ...

What are alternatives to Studienkolleg?

The usual way for people who want to study in Germany, but don’t have a direct university entrance qualification (HZB) (https://support.kiron.ngo/541241-How-can-I-get-the-university-entrance-qualification-Hochschulzugangsberechtigung---HZB)is to visit a Studienkolleg (https://support.kiron.ngo/133747-What-is-the-Studienkolleg-STK). There are a few universities which have their own preparatory programs as an alternative way to access their degree programs, especially for refugees. Usually, the...

What are dual studies (Duales Studium)?

Dual studies are a study model that combines theory at a university with practice in a company. This allows you to gain a certificate at a Bachelor level and work experience at the same time. Sometimes dual studies also include a vocational training (Ausbildung) certificate. There are many types of dual studies. However it is important to know that dual studies are quite challenging because they demand a lot of time, energy, and flexibility. In order to know if you are eligible for dual studies...

What is a Fachhochschule (University of Applied Science)?

Universities of Applied Science (Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften or Fachhochschulen = FH) are a specific type of university in Germany. Compared to traditional universities, FHs offer courses and research that are more practically oriented. Most of the FHs focus on one or a few professional fields. They are also smaller than traditional universities. An important part of the program is the practical training or internships. Many FHs offer programs called dual studies (https://support....

What is vocational training (Ausbildung)?

The vocational training is a 2 to 3 year training that qualifies you for a specific profession. It is: - more practically-oriented than studies at university - clearly structured and does not leave you as much freedom in the choice of courses. There are two different kinds of vocational training: - The dual/company-based training (betriebliche Ausbildung): Here you are already working and learning the practical parts of the job in a company while having corresponding theoreti...

How do I apply for vocational training (Ausbildung)?

First, we recommend you inform yourself about vocational training (https://support.kiron.ngo/563414-What-is-vocational-training-Ausbildung-). When you decide what type of training you want to do, you need to look for a company and/or a vocational school. To find available places you can use for example the homepage of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (https://jobboerse.arbeitsagentur.de/vamJB/startseite.html?aa=1&m=1&kgr=as&vorschlagsfunktionaktiv=true) (Enter the keyword “Ausbildung” to do your res...

How can I write a good letter of motivation (for Germany)?

A letter of motivation, is a crucial document in your application. Make sure to have a look at some sample letters for your field (do an internet search) to get a general idea of structure and content. Writing a letter of motivation can be challenging, so start to write at least one month before the deadline. Once you have completed one letter of motivation, you can use that as a template and edit it accordingly for applications for other programs. Adapt the letter to the new application, and m...

How can I prepare a good CV (for Germany)?

A CV or Curriculum Vitae is a document detailing the qualifications, professional experience and other skills you have acquired. Make sure to have a look at some sample CVs for your field (do an internet search) to get a general idea of structure and content. General suggestions: - Make sure your CV has a universal format and looks orderly. The most important part of a German CV is making sure there are no gaps. If you were not working, or studying for one or two years, write what you ...

What is a BAMF integration course?

Integration courses (Integrationskurs) are organized by the BAMF (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge) and are designed especially for migrants. Integration courses usually have to be taken full-time but in certain cases they can also be taken part-time or in the evening. They are divided into two parts: - Language courses (from level A1.1 until B1.2) - Orientation course designed to give you more information about living in Germany. For more information about integration...

Where can I find general support and legal counsel?

Unfortunately, Kiron is not able to provide you with legal counsel. We can however provide you with some general support, including a mentoring program (https://support.kiron.ngo/308929-What-is-the-mentoring-program)and psycho-social counseling (https://support.kiron.ngo/348045-What-is-counseling)and some useful links for legal support. Below are some links of organisations and services which can support you with starting your life in Germany: - Adressen.asyl.net (https://adressen.asyl...

How can I have my degree recognized?

If you completed a degree in your home country and want to have it recognized, you should check the anabin (https://anabin.kmk.org/anabin.html) website to know how your degree is assessed in Germany. Use the sections on higher education degrees (https://anabin.kmk.org/no_cache/filter/hochschulabschluesse.html) and institutions (https://anabin.kmk.org/no_cache/filter/institutionen.html) (which tells you if your university or high school is recognized in Germany). For the actual recognition of a ...

Where can I find a (side) job?

There are multiple ways to find a (side) job in Germany: - Usually, the student services (often called Studierendenwerk) have a website where you can find job offers and other information. Most students look for “student assistant” jobs, which are often announced in mailing lists of the university (or your faculty). You may also approach your professors directly and ask about vacant positions. - Check announcements in newspapers and on the information boards (Schwarze Bretter) at your un...

How can I find a job after graduating?

After finishing a professional qualification, you will have a better chance of finding a good job. There are some work fields, however, where finding your first job may be more difficult. In general, employers are looking for people who already have practical/professional experience. Most study programs do not include practical experience, so it can be helpful to get this experience through internships, voluntary work or through side jobs (https://support.kiron.ngo/853887-Where-can-I-find-a-job...