query_builder May 31, 2017, 02:52 PM | Overseas Education
A Glance at Germany
Germany, officially called the Federal Republic of Germany, in German Deutschland or Bundesrepublik Deutschland, is a country located in north-central Europe, traversing the continent’s main physical divisions, from the outer ranges of the Alps northward across the varied landscape of the Central German Uplands and then across the North German Plain.
Germany is one of Europe’s largest countries and it encompasses a wide variety of landscapes: the tall, sheer mountains of the south; the sandy, rolling plains of the north; the forested hills of the urbanized west; and the plains of the agricultural east.
At the spiritual heart of the country is the magnificent east-central city of Berlin, which rose phoenix-like from the ashes of World War II and now, after decades of partition, is the capital of a reunified Germany, and the Rhine River, which flows northward from Switzerland and is celebrated in visual art, literature, folklore, and song. Along its banks and those of its principal tributaries—among them the Neckar, Main, Moselle, and Ruhr—stand hundreds of medieval castles, churches, picturesque villages, market towns, and centres of learning and culture, including Heidelberg, the site of one of Europe’s oldest universities (founded in 1386), and Mainz, historically one of Europe’s most important publishing centres. All are centrepieces of Germany’s thriving tourist economy, which brings millions of visitors to the country each year, drawn by its natural beauty, history, culture, and cuisine (including its renowned wines and beers).
Since World War II, Germany has made great efforts to both commemorate the victims and redress the crimes of the Holocaust, providing strong material and political support for the state of Israel and actively prosecuting hate crimes and the propagation of neo-Nazi doctrine. Clearly, modern Germany balances its national interests with those of an influx of political and economic refugees, especially North Africa, Turkey, and the Middle East.
Climate in Germany:
Germany's climate is moderate and has generally no longer periods of cold or hot weather. Northwestern and coastal Germany have a maritime influenced climate which is characterized by warm summers and mild cloudy winters. Most areas on the country's North Sea coast have midwinter temperatures about 1.5°C or even higher. Farther inland, the climate is continental, marked by greater seasonal variations in temperature, with warmer summers and colder winters. Temperature extremes between night and day and summer and winter are considerably less in the north than in the south. During January, the coldest month, the average temperature is about 1.5°C in the north and about -2°C in the south. In July, the warmest month, it is cooler in the north than in the south. The northern coastal region has July temperatures averaging between 16°C and 18°C; at some locations in the south, the average is almost 20°C or even slightly higher.
The German education system is different in many ways from the ones in other countries, but it produces high-performing students. The overwhelming majority of German students attend public schools. The whole German education system, including the universities, is available to the children of bona fide expatriates. The catch, of course, is that the classes are conducted in German, which is usually all right for school beginners but becomes more and more of a problem as the children get older. But, there are also many private schools. Although education is a function of the federal states, and there are differences from state to state, some generalizations are possible.
Children aged three to six attend the kindergarten. After that, school is compulsory for nine or ten years. From grades 1 through 4 children attend elementary school (Grundschule), where the subjects taught are the same for all. Then, after the 4th grade, they are separated according to their academic ability and the wishes of their families, and attend one of three different kinds of schools: Hauptschule, Realschule or Gymnasium. Grundschule teachers recommend their students to a particular school based on such things as academic achievement, self-confidence and ability to work independently. However, in most states, parents have the final say as to which school their child attends following the fourth grade.
The Gymnasium leads to a diploma called the Abitur and prepares students for university study or for a dual academic and vocational credential. Curricula differ from school to school, but generally include German, mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, art (as well as crafts and design), music, history, philosophy, civics, social studies, and several foreign languages. In recent years many States have changed the curriculum so students can get the "Abi" at the end of the 12th grade. Other States are making the transition but may still require a 13th grade.
There are several varieties of university-level schools. The classical universities, in the tradition of Alexander von Humboldt, provide a broad general education and students usually attend them for up to six years. However, in recent years there have been changes to the curriculum allowing a university student to acquire a Bachelor Degree after 4 years. The Technical Universities (Technische Hochschulen) are more aimed at training students for specific careers and are usually attended for four years. There are also Hochschulen for art and music.
There are also many private universities that offer various degree programs in a variety of subjects. Many of these institutions offer instruction in English, attracting thousands of students from across the world.
Thanks to the very high quality of education, German degrees are respected all around the world. Most of the German universities offer the undergraduate and master level courses free even to the foreign students. This is a huge attraction for students from India. However, the students need to have a very good academic record to get admission to one of the German universities.
The Goethe-Institut is named after the renowned German scholar Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It is a non-profit German cultural institution operational worldwide, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations. The Goethe-Institut also fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information on German culture, society and politics. This includes not only the exchange of films, music, theatre, literature, and the like, but also the values of civil society. Goethe cultural societies and language centers have played a central role in the cultural and educational policies of Germany for close to 60 years. The Goethe-Institut draws its material from many sections of the cosmopolitan German society and culture, combining the experience and ideas of its partners with cross-cultural expertise, the principle of dialogue and partnership, offering support to all those actively involved with Germany and its language and culture.
The Goethe-Institut e.V. is an autonomous body and politically independent. Partners of the institute and its centers are public and private cultural institutions, the federal states, local authorities and the world of commerce. The Goethe-Institut carefully coordinates its activities with other mediators of cultural and educational foreign policy. The Goethe-Institut has its headquarters in Munich. Its president is Dr. Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, the General Secretary is Mr. Johannes Ebert. Every year the Goethe-Institut offers scholarships to deserving students from foreign countries to go to Germany and participate in higher levels of German language courses and also to do teacher training programs. ?
In India, the institutes are also known as Max Mueller Bhavans in honour of the famous German Indologist Friedrich Max Mueller. In order to expand the reach of the Goethe Institut, smaller centres named Goethe-Zentrum have been introduced a few years ago all around the world.
The Goethe-Zentrum in Trivandrum was established in the year 2008 and a branch was inaugurated in Kochi in February 2015. In 2016, approximately 1500 students from across the state came to the Zentrum in Trivandrum and Kochi to learn German, primarily to go to Germany for higher studies or employment opportunities.
As per the European Framework of Reference for Languages, the German courses are distributed in six levels, namely A1 and A2 (beginners), B1 and B2 (intermediate) and C1 and C2 (advanced).
When it comes to high-end technologies or sciences, Germany is second to none. A degree from a German university is a dream for millions of students across the world, including India. Germany welcomes Indian students to its universities and that too free of any tuition fees! Indian students aspiring to go to Germany for B.Tech. M.Tech or even MBBS do not pay any fees at all, but have to have sufficient financial means to meet the living expenses. For Master and Ph.D. students the Universities or the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) offers various scholarships to meet these expenses. The Master level courses are offered in English language.
→ Employment Opportunities
Once the students have completed their studies, they get a visa for 1.5 years to search for a job or start their own business in Germany. After getting a job, they can extend this visa for three more years and during this period, they can also apply for a permanent residence visa in Germany.
→ Knowledge of German
Only basic level German knowledge is required for admission to the Master studies. But for MBBS and other bachelor studies, the students have to have at least the B2 level, better the C1 level for the medical aspirants.
However, once the students have completed their Masters or Ph.D., it is always better to know German well, in order to get a good job in Germany and get integrated into the social life there.
2. Nursing and Para-medical
The first wave of nursing migration from Kerala to Germany started in the 1960s and they could successfully assimilate into the Germany society and their children and grandchildren have become successful examples of a non-German community in Germany and other German-speaking countries like Austria and Switzerland.
Recently, the German Government decided to permit qualified nursing personnel from countries like India to work in Germany. Nursing degree from a recognized University and minimum B2 level German certificate from the Goethe-Insitut are the pre-requisites for this.
The same goes true for the doctors also. They have to, however, have minimum C1 level certificate in German. Some German hospitals have even started to recruit qualified doctors from Kerala and offer them a bridging course here, before taking them to Germany.
4. Engineers and Software Professionals
Germany at present has a huge shortage of skilled professionals in engineering sectors. IT and other engineering graduates can seek employment opportunities in Germany, if they have basic level knowledge in German.
5. Churches – A tradition of long relationship
The churches in Kerala have a very long relationship with Germany. Gundert, Arnos Pathiri or Father Nagel are only a few names to mention here. Even today, hundreds of priests and nuns go to the Goethe-Zentrum to learn German before they are sent to the German churches.
In consideration of all the factors described above and the immense opportunities a country like Germany offers, the current young generation in Kerala stands to win profusely from the advantages offered from learning a new language like German.
Germany, being the economic powerhouse of Europe, but faced with a severe scarcity of skilled professionals and an aging population, invites qualified and competent resources from India. Please note that only the Goethe-Institut is authorized to conduct and issue the international certifications in German language. With the opening of its branch in Kochi, aspiring learners from Ernakulam and other nearby places are going to benefit from these opportunities. So, why wait any longer?
Dr. Syed Ibrahim
Honorarkonsul der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany