Author’s Blurb: When you think about studying overseas as a Malaysian, the top 3 countries of choice that come to mind are probably Australia, UK or the US. I personally went on an exchange programme to Australia during my degree as well, so when I saw that there was this startup advocating overseas studies in Germany, a country that’s off so many of our radars, needless to say, I was intrigued.
This startup is German Educare, which provides end-to-end support to Malaysian students who study in Germany, and it was started by a bunch of German graduates in 2017.
We spoke to its co-founder Jonathan Lau, whose own experience of studying in Germany kickstarted the inspiration for this idea.
He went to Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences and had the chance to intern at two German companies during his time there as well.
3 things he learnt that stuck with him years after he left were:
- Speaking up to the point: “I learnt to not beat around the bush and speak my mind, which can be considered quite rude in our culture but it makes life so much simpler.”
- Careful planning: “Before leaving the house, we will check the weather forecast for the day so that we can plan our attire and maybe even adjust our plans for the rest of the day. Public transportation is also punctual, so we will need to plan our journey well.”
- Being considerate: “Despite being very direct people, Germans are also considerate people. Germans will wait patiently for the service staff to serve them at restaurants, and will also clear their own table before leaving a fast food joint.”
Those were just a few of the examples that Jonathan shared.
However, they all sounded quite standard to me from my personal experience of studying in Australia, so I had to dig deeper to learn why he and his team were such advocates for pursuing tertiary education in Germany specifically.
A Land Where Zero Tuition Fees Is A Thing
Of course, when one considers studying overseas, price plays a huge factor.
I was lucky since I paid the same price of one semester at Monash University Malaysia while I studied at Monash Clayton during my exchange programme. A transfer programme or doing my entire degree there would have been much more expensive.
This is where I think studying in Germany holds an advantage over doing the same in many other overseas countries.
“Students do not need to pay tuition fees in public universities in Germany (with the exception of Baden-Württemberg) and that makes Germany an affordable country to study in, compared to Australia, UK or even the US,” Jonathan pointed out.
If you take German Educare’s pre-university programme, you’ll only be charged standard A level programme fees.
For their university preparation programme that’s conducted in both Malaysia and Germany, it’ll cost between RM45,000 to RM60,000, depending on how many months you’ll spend in Germany for it.
This includes the living expenses in Germany such as accommodation, transportation, and health and liability insurance.
Students are only required to pay for food, flights and their university application (which can be free or around a few hundred ringgit, depending on the university).
Aside from the pricing, there are other benefits as well.
If you like studying there enough, you’d be happy to learn that you have the opportunity to stay and work there too. In fact, graduates can stay for up to 18 months to search for a job.
“Professionals such as engineers are in high demand and as many Germans are retiring, this demand will only increase,” Jonathan added.
Germany also invests heavily in Malaysia, according to him, so German graduates will be sought after by the approximately 400 German companies here.
Plus, learning a new language is a useful skill that could be nothing but an advantage.
A Strong Support System For Studies And More
To study in Germany, students will need an additional year to master the German language.
This means that they would graduate and enter the workforce a year or two later, putting them at a slight age disadvantage compared to their peers when they return to Malaysia.
For someone who wanted to get through university as fast as I could (I’m no academic, and if life was a game I would be speed-running that section of my life), that sounds like a terrible idea.
But Jonathan assured me that it isn’t that bad at all. If graduates choose to return immediately after their studies, German Educare is prepared to connect them to German companies in Malaysia.
Having said that though, he shared that they advise their students to gain working experience in Germany first.
“The salary in Germany is higher and fresh grads can still save despite paying more for tax. Imagine, for every €100 saved in Germany, that’s about RM500 when they bring it back to Malaysia.”
Speaking of work, the one and only field that German Educare currently offers training and a work programme for falls under nursing.
When I questioned Jonathan about it, he replied, “We have been focusing on tertiary university education in Germany and we have only recently decided to introduce other pathways, starting with nursing.”
“Germany has an aging population so their hospitals are looking to employ nurses from other countries such as Malaysia—and the demand is very high indeed,” he reasoned.
Soon, they’ll be introducing Dual Vocational engineering programmes where students will be attached to companies for hands-on training and attend classes at a partner vocational school.
So far, German Educare has assisted about 150 students with their experiences of studying in Germany, and out of that number, 34 students have already begun their Bachelor’s degree while the rest are still in the midst of their preparation programmes.
Bottom Line: I can’t deny that after learning about German Educare, I experienced some envy over my lost chance to study in Germany. If I had heard of this opportunity back when I was considering which universities to apply to, I have no doubt that I would have seriously considered it.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: German Educare