This article is published with permission and minor edits from the author’s website.
Many people have been asking me, how can I afford to study here in Europe? Do I have a scholarship? How did I even begin the whole application process? To answer all these questions, I’ve decided to write this article.
Honestly, studying in Europe is like a roller coaster ride. Of course there are a lot of paperworks and aside from that, you also need to be emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually, and mentally prepared.
Here are some information that might guide you throughout your decision making process.
Do you really need or want to study a master’s degree program abroad?
Do you feel jaded in your current work?
Do you want to learn more because you feel that you don’t have any career growth?
Yes, that’s the reality of being a young professional, but you really need to make sure whether studying a master’s program is the solution to your current dilemma. I put need and want in the question because there are a lot of motivations for needing and wanting a specific program. There are some people who apply for a job right after getting a bachelor’s degree so that they can have enough work experience and earn money.
However, some professions come with a better salary package if you have a higher educational degree. By having a master’s diploma, you have a better leverage to compete in the job market. Others choose to continue with a master’s degree right after their undergraduate studies to have enough time to think and decide what they are going to do after leaving school. This is like strengthening your skills before plunging into the real world.
Studying a masters program is a commitment. It is demanding, in terms of readings, presentations, and papers. As an Asian studying in Europe, it is far more challenging since foreign students should also learn the language of the country where they want to study. It might not be needed in English courses, but it is recommended so you can communicate with the people around you.
If you are 100% sure that you’re up to the challenge, then here’s the next step.
What is your target program and where?
Make a list of possible master’s degree programs which spark your interest. As you go through this list, google the universities that offer these programs. In this way, you will get an idea about where you will study, the requirements needed for your application, and the cost of your tuition fee.
There are a lot of news articles about Germany stating that all universities don’t ask for any tuition fees. I would just clarify that this does not mean that you will not have to pay anything for your studies.
There are still some private universities that ask for tuition fees. However, most of the universities in Germany only ask for “a semester contribution,” which includes the transportation ticket for the whole semester. In the university website, you can also see the breakdown of costs. The amount may vary depending where you will study in Germany.
There are also some regions that don’t recognized some of Asian diplomas. I was already accepted in a program but the international office rejected my application for the same reason.
Remember! If you experience this, it is not the end of the world. Although we cannot escape the fact that it is really tough to look for a region or a university that will credit your bachelor’s diploma as a bachelor’s degree and not a high school diploma.
Aside from this, you also need to look at your transcript of records. Some universities also verify if you took enough number of units to be considered in your desired master’s program. This means that if even you graduated with a Bachelor of Science and you want to have a Master’s in Humanities it might be difficult to get a spot.
This is just my experience and I don’t want to generalize. What I suggest is to contact the university directly if you’re interested to apply. It wouldn’t harm if you send an email directly to the program coordinator and ask whether you are qualified to apply for their master’s program.
Uni-Assist to the rescue!
Some of the universities in Germany use Uni-Assist to handle all applications. This means that you can’t submit all your documents to the University directly, instead they will refer you to Uni-Assist. You need to sign up for their system and look for the program that you want to apply for. In the webiste, you can also find the amount that you need to pay for the processing. What I like about Uni-Assist is that, they also convert your grades based on the German system.
DAAD and Erasmus Mundus are the two popular scholarship institutions that you can look up. They offer master’s programs from different universities where you must choose from if you want to apply for their scholarship. They have specific guidelines based on your nationality or region.
I’ve tried applying for Erasmus Mundus but the application was really competitive. If you don’make it to the scholarship program, you can still ask if they can consider your application without the scholarship. This means that you need to pay for your tuition fee yourself or look for sponsors.
Wait for your acceptance letter
Once you’ve submitted all requirements to the university or other institutions such as Uni-Assist etc., you need to wait for the acceptance or rejection letter. If you are accepted, then they will give you all the necessary information on how to process your visa so you don’t need to worry about that.
One thing I’ve learned from this experience is to do your own research. My experience might be totally different from what you will experience in the future. Rules change and you can’t expect that results will always be the same.
Second, apply in more than one university. As what we always say in any raffle draws- the more entries you send the more chances of winning. It’s the same with university applications. I think it is necessary to have one or two options or fallback.
Third, pray! It works 🙂
Do you have any similar experience in Germany? Let me know what you think!
Judee Bendiola is a Filipina media practioner, actress and model who is currently finishing her master’s degree in North American Studies, specializing in Media Studies in Germany. She has lived in three countries and continue to explore the world and blogs about it at www.judeebendiola.wordpress.com.