15,000 Fewer First-Year International Students in Germany in 2020/21

There were 15,000 fewer freshmen students enrolled at German universities in 2020/21, according to “Wissenschaft weltoffen 2021” report which the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and German Center for University and Science Research (DZHW) published most recently.

Data have revealed that the number of first-year international students in Germany declined since COVID-19 disruptions began last year. During 2020/21, a total of 64,000 first-year international students began their studies in Germany, meaning 15,000 fewer students compared to a year earlier, Erudera.com reports. 

Almost a quarter of new students studied remotely, so they remained in their home countries. A year earlier, this number dropped only by 14 percent.

Nevertheless, Germany remains one of the most popular study destinations among international students behind the US, the UK, and Australia. A total of 325,000 international students were enrolled at German higher education institutions during the 2020/21 winter semester.

Germany is the home to many international students coming from different countries of the world. The majority of students in Germany during 2020/21 came from the following countries:

  • China (41,000)
  • India (25,000) 
  • Syria (15,000)
  • Austria (12,000)
  • Russia (10,500)

Due to the COVID-19 situation, Germany categorizes countries in two lists: high-risk list and safe list. Travelers from the first, including students, face additional restrictions.

Syria and Russia are included on Germany’s high-risk list, whereas China, India, and Austria are not considered high-risk areas. Syria has been added to the list since January 31, 2021, and Russia since July 7, 2021. Other countries which send most students to Germany annually but are considered high-risk zones are France (some regions) and Turkey added to the list on August 17, 2021.

Regions of France considered high-risk areas include Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin, Saint Barthélemy, French Guiana, French Polynesia, and New Caledonia.

Data from Wissenschaft Weltoffen 2020 revealed that the number of international students in Germany over the past decade has increased by 76 percent overall.

DAAD President Professor Joybrato Mukherjee said that survey data have shown that Germany has improved its reputation among international students thanks to the good management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a good starting point from which we can in future convince even more talented young people of the benefits of our education system and thus connect them to our country. All those involved should collectively grasp this opportunity,” Mukherjee said.

Travelers entering Germany are obliged to complete a digital entry registration. The country also requires some people to provide a COVID-19 negative test result or proof of immunity, as well as adhere to quarantine rules.

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