The following checklist has been developed as a tool for Pakistani students who are orienting themselves to study in Germany.
This document has been developed to help you ask the right questions in order to help you prepare in each step of the process.
Germany has become a popular destination for Pakistani students since it offers free education (zero tuition fee) with ample chances of finding a job after completion of studies.
Researching your options online
When you are looking at websites to find a good programme abroad you have to realize there are many inaccurate or misleading websites around. You should always try to get to the source of the information, being the website of the institution.
Here are a few examples that should make alarm bells ring:
- If a website does not offer direct links to the University website it is a clear signal the website you were looking at is untrustworthy NOTE: Trustworthy websites usually have a suffix format/ending that includes the EU country’s abbreviation (e.g. for Germany .de, for the UK .ac.uk, and for France .fr)
- If the website has only a few institutions per country, that is a sign that the website is not working with many institutions (at best) and is not a good source to prepare.
- If you see different information on the University website than on the study abroad website you should always follow the University’s information.
Questions to ask during the Preparatory phase
While selecting countries/ Universities use websites such as: studyportals, findamaster, masterstudies, or rankings like Times Higher Education (THE), Shanghai ranking or U-Multirank or the QS ranking or when you know your EU country of choice try to do an online search for study in Germany.
For instance, https://www.daad.de/en/ is an example of the types of resources one could find online.
Additionally, ask yourself questions like:
- What is the reputation of the institution in question? (academic & service level)
- What are the language requirements?
- Is IELTS mandatory or not?
- Is proficiency in German a requirement (A1 Certificate)?
- Does my entry education level qualify myself for the programme?
- What is the cost of tuition?
- What is the cost of living?
- How much money will I need to put into a blocked account in Germany?
- Will the university help in opening up an account in a German bank?
- If I so choose, what are my options post-graduation/student employment?
- Can I contact current alumni? Is there an alumni group in Pakistan that I can reach out to?
- Does the university provide help on visa application?
After selecting a programme/Institution, you can find the answers to all of the questions listed below on the websites of the University of your choice – those websites are your main source of information. If the information is not to be found on the English website of the institution chances are you will need in-depth knowledge of the local language as well for an easy stay.
Questions to ask while gathering information
For each selected programme at each University, ask yourself:
- What is the application process?
- What are the application deadlines?
- What are the admissions criteria?
- What are the required language skills?
- Will the programme teach me skills that will help me succeed in finding a job after my graduation in Germany?
- Are there any scholarships for international students (Fully or partially funded)?
- If yes, what is the criteria?
Questions to ask during the Application Process
- Do I have all the required documents? (at least a certified copy of your degree, transcript of records, motivation letter, cv)
- Are all my documents translated by a certified translator?
- Are all of my documents attested by the Higher Education Commission (HEC)?
- Do I have certified copies of all my certificates and of translations?
- Did I make digital files of my applications?
- Did I pay handling/application fees (if relevant)?
Once all documents are gathered, you can apply either online or by post dependant on the institution. Regardless, you should always ensure that you are able to Track and/or Trace your application.
Questions to ask during the Pre-departure phase
When your application is complete and submitted it will be reviewed for possible acceptance by the institution (this usually takes 2-8 weeks).
- Do I know what steps I will be taking in the next months?
- Do I know how to arrange my visa?
- Do I know how to arrange housing?
- Is there an induction program/orientation when I arrive?
- Does the institute have a buddy system in place for international students?
- Are there Social media I can join?
- When should I arrive?
- How can I arrange health insurance that is accepted in the EU member state
- When are fees due?
Regarding your visa application:
Generally, the website of your institution will offer you tailor-made information regarding your visa process. The visa process may take anywhere between 2 weeks and 3 months.
Alternatively, the websites of the embassies and the national websites offer help, but it is strongly suggested to look at these if the university one does not offer the answers! Although the process is different per country but you will typically need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have my acceptance letter?
- Do I have proof of financial means?
- Do I have a copy of health insurance valid in the EU?
- Do I have a picture (in the right format)?
- Do I have a passport valid for at least 6 months longer than you visa you are applying for?
- Did I complete the visa application document?
- How much is the visa fee? https://pakistan.diplo.de/pk-en/service/2-study-visa-seite/1676104
- What documents do I need to submit? https://pakistan.diplo.de/pk-en/service/2-study-visa-seite/1676104
- When should I book online appointment for submission of application at German Embassy Islamabad? https://service2.diplo.de/rktermin/extern/choose_realmList.do?locationCode=isla&request_locale=en
For everything regarding visa make sure you use the right formats, wrong formats will lead to refusal of your visa! Regarding the proof of finances, realize that often the stated amount is actually the minimum you will need to live in your country of choice – you really need that and your tuition fee on top of it!
Questions regarding housing:
- Will my university help me? (Contact the university for clarification)
- What is the normal cost of student housing in my destination?
- Can I see the room before I pay?
- Can I share an accommodation with other students in the city?
- Can I stay a pay-in guest with a local German family?
Question regarding on arrival?
- Is there an introduction/welcome programme for International Students?
- Are there student organisations/associations I can join?
- Did I pay all fees?
- Do I have the contact details of the Pakistani embassy/consulate in that country?
- Will I be picked up by the university or should I make my own way to the university?
When you have arrived your studies will start, but the introduction and student organisation will help you build a social network and offer you valuable information and insights into Institution practical matters and your studies. Therefore, make some time to talk to the student organisation representatives or attend welcome sessions and introductory meetings.
Questions regarding Post Graduation
The following questions are designed to help guide you to the right source of information ensuring that you may then make an informed decision in a timely manner. Keep in mind that each EU Member State is different but offers similar post-graduation alternatives. Remember it is never too early to start thinking about your options:
- Do I have verifiable means to sustain my stay after graduation?
- Does my study visa allow for a job seeking period post-graduation or establish a business?
- What are the criteria for a work permit a work permit and am I eligible?
- Is there a reasonable chance I might find a job (e.g. is the field on a priority occupation list?).
- How do I learn to speak the local language?
- Are there student services/expat/alumni organisations that can help?
- Have I taken into consideration the unemployment rate (industry specific and overall)?
- What is the current demand for graduates of my programme in the local job market?
Should you wish to continue your education and pursue a PhD, in Germany, note that PhD positions in these countries are paid jobs.
Appendix: List of Important websites for students:
These are some of the important websites for Pakistani students who wish to study in Germany
https://www.daad.de/en/ --- DAAD official website
https://pakistan.diplo.de/pk-en/service/2-study-visa-seite/1676104 --- German Embassy in Islamabad
http://www.pakemb.de/ --- Pakistan Embassy in Germany