8% rise in international students puts Germany in top four

Germany can boast a record number of international students this year, ranking fourth next to the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Numbers of international first-year students are on the increase again, too, following a drop during the coronavirus crisis.

According to the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), around 350,000 of Germany’s almost three million strong student population were international students last winter semester, representing an increase of 8%, or roughly 25,000 students from the previous year.

The figures are contained in the Wissenschaft weltoffen 2022 report, part of a series the DAAD publishes annually with the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies or Deutsches Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung (DZHW).

Huge potential

Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger maintains that in terms of international students, Germany has fared comparatively well during the coronavirus crisis. Stark-Watzinger also emphasises that international students represent a huge potential for attracting highly qualified labour, and recommends that this be made even better use of in future.

DAAD President Joybrato Mukherjee agrees and has urged all stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunities arising.

“During the corona[virus] pandemic, there have been changes in the mobility flows of international students worldwide,” Mukherjee said. “Here, Germany has been able to maintain its good reputation among students and postdocs throughout the world and is now reaping the fruits of its constant efforts to provide quality and support for international students at our universities.”

“Overall, the number of international students has increased by 89% compared to the 2010-11 winter semester,” said Monika Jungbauer-Gans, academic director at DZHW. “Engineering and mathematics and natural sciences are attracting more and more interest, with 53% of the international students having enrolled for a subject in these fields last winter semester.”

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