Germany vs Canada for International Students: A Comparison
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Germany vs. Canada: Which is Better for International Students?

Germany vs. Canada: Which is Better for International Students?

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Germany vs Canada which is right for international students? GyanDhan brings you a comparative guide on best universities in Germany vs Canada, requirements, cost, scholarships, job opportunities and more.

GyanDhan
Adwaidh S
Updated on:  25 Oct 2023  | Reviewed By: 
Aman 
| 3.55K | 15  min read

As globalization continues to bring the world closer together, more and more students are considering studying abroad to gain valuable skills and experiences. Two countries that have become increasingly popular among international students are Germany and Canada. In Germany, the number of international students is on the rise, with over 330,000 enrolled in universities in 2021 alone, which was a 5% increase from 2022, according to DAAD (German academic exchange service). Meanwhile, according to StatCan, a government agency, Canada has seen a significant increase in the number of international students, with over 380,000 enrolled in colleges and universities in 2021, a 14% increase annually.

In this blog post, we'll compare Germany and Canada as study destinations for international students, taking into account factors such as the quality of education, cost of living, job prospects, and cultural experiences.

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Top 10 universities in Germany

According to DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) there are a total of 422 higher education institutions in Germany, including 108 universities, 210 universities of applied sciences, 52 colleges of art and music, 30 colleges of public administration, 16 theological universities and 6 colleges of education.

Tabulated below are some of the best German universities, recognised globally and a point of attraction for international students:

Top Universities in Germany QS World University Ranking 2023

Technical University of Munich

49

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

59

Heidelberg University

65

Free University of Berlin

118

Humboldt University of Berlin

131

KIT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

141

RWTH Aachen University

147

Technical University of Berlin

158

Eberhard Karls University of Tubingen

169

Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg

189

 

Read more about: Public Universities in Germany

Do you know?

The public universities in Germany have an admission rate of less than 30%, while it ranges between 40% to 58.7% in Canada. Private universities in Germany have a relatively higher admission rate of around 60%.

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Top 10 universities in Canada

The Council of Ministers of Education stated that Canada has 223 public and private universities, and 213 public colleges and institutes. According to QS ranking 2023, the following are the top Canadian universities for higher education, popular among international students:

Top Universities in Canada QS World University Ranking 2023

McGill University

31

University of Toronto

34

University of British Columbia

47

University of Alberta

110

University of Montreal

116

McMaster University

152

University of Waterloo

154

Western University

172

University of Ottawa

237

University of Calgary

242

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Eligibility and requirements to study at universities in Germany

  • list items Minimum 60% marks in high school and college/university education transcripts required
  • list items GRE or GMAT scores (600 or above) necessary for MS and Ph.D. programs
  • list items English proficiency test scores in IELTS (6-6.5) or TOEFL (90-100) needed
  • list items Letter of motivation (generally known as the statement of purpose)
  • list items Letter of recommendation
  • list items Updated resume
  • list items A valid passport and student visa for Germany is mandatory.
  • list items Clear any of these tests for German-taught courses: TestDAF - C1/C2 proficiency is needed. International Higher Education Entrance - Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB).  German language test for admission to universities - Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH).  Goethe-Zertifikat. 
  • list items TestDAF - C1/C2 proficiency is needed.
  • list items International Higher Education Entrance - Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB). 
  • list items German language test for admission to universities - Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang (DSH). 
  • list items Goethe-Zertifikat. 

Application process for universities in Germany

Around 180 universities in Germany use the Berlin-based national service provider Uni-assist portal for the application process. One of the benefits of using uni-assist is that you only have to submit one application to uni-assist even if you are applying to multiple study programs. 

The uni-assist application process can be broken down into six easy steps:

  1. list items First, use the StudyFinder tool to identify your preferred study programs and see if they require international student applications through uni-assist. 
  2. list items Then, plan ahead and keep track of deadlines while studying the details of the application procedure. 
  3. list items Next, gather all the documents and get them translated by an officially certified translator and obtain certified copies of each certificate translation.
  4. list items After registering with the uni-assist online portal, create an online application for each study program and upload all required documents. 
  5. list items Submit uni-assist fees for all applications
  6. list items Then take all certified hard copies required by the application and submit them to uni-assist via mail.

 

It is also important to know that some universities in Germany have their own application process and only use uni-assist to verify the documents required to apply. In this case, students receive a Vorprüfungsdokumentation (VPD) (don't get scared of these German terms, this simply translates to "Pre-Review Documentation" in English) from uni-assist once their documents have been verified. Students must then send the VPD, along with their application and required documents, directly to the university.

Timeline to apply for German universities

The application timeline for German universities varies depending on the program and the university, but here is a general timeline:

  • list items Winter semester (starts in September/October): Applications typically open in May/June and close on July 15th.
  • list items Summer semester (starts in March/April): Applications typically open in December/January and close on January 15th.

Application fees for German universities

Generally, the fees range from 33 to 82 USD per application. Uni-Assist charges a processing fee of 82 USD for the first application and 33 USD for each additional application.

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Eligibility and requirements to study at universities in Canada

To be eligible for admission to a Canadian university, the following are the general criteria:

For Post-Graduate/Masters Courses:

  • list items Up to 3 years of full-time work experience
  • list items GMAT score of 580-600 minimum
  • list items English language proficiency test scores such as IELTS (overall score of 6.5 with no band score less than 6 / score requirement depends on the course and institution)
  • list items Bachelor's degree of 4 years, with a 70% average
  • list items Some institutions may require written samples/copies of published work/portfolio
  • list items Statement of Purpose (SOP)
  • list items Letter of Recommendation (LOR)

 

For Undergraduate/Bachelor’s Level:

  • list items A minimum of 70% score in 12th grade
  • list items Mathematics at 12th-grade level.

Application process for universities in Canada

The application process for studying in Canada can vary slightly depending on the institution you are applying to, but generally, there are a few key steps you need to follow. First, you should research the universities you are interested in attending and their specific admission requirements. Once you have selected the universities, you need to apply through their respective portals. The most commonly used portals include the Ontario Universities Application Centre (OUAC), the Ontario College Application Service (OCAS), and the Study in Canada portal.

Timeline to apply for universities in Canada

The application timeline for Canadian universities vary depending on the program and the university, but here is a general timeline:

  • list items Fall intake (September/October): Applications typically open in September the year prior to the start of the program and close on January 15th of the same year. Some universities have earlier deadlines, so it is important to check with each university.
  • list items Winter intake (January/February): Applications typically open in June the year prior to the start of the program and close on October 15th of the same year. Some universities have earlier deadlines, so it is important to check with each university.

Application fees for universities in Canada

The application fees for Canadian universities vary depending on the program and the university. Generally, the fees range from 37 to 111 USD per application.

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Cost of studying in Germany vs. Canada

The cost of studying in Germany and Canada can vary depending on a number of factors such as the type of program, location, and lifestyle choices. However, in general, studying in Germany can be more affordable than studying in Canada for international students.

In Germany, public universities do not charge tuition fees for both domestic and international students, except for a few states that recently introduced minimal tuition fees for non-European Union (EU) students. In 2017, the state of Baden-Württemberg decided to reintroduce tuition fees for students from non-EU countries, requiring them to pay around 1,654.1 USD/semester. However, students are required to pay for administrative fees, health insurance, and living expenses which can range from 937 to 1,323 USD per month, depending on the location.

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In contrast to public universities in Germany, private universities do take tuition fees, which can range from 27,574 USD/year to 44,111 USD/year, depending on the degree level and study program. Generally, bachelor’s degrees require lower tuition fees than master’s degree programs.

On the other hand, studying in Canada can be more expensive for international students, with tuition fees varying depending on the institution and program. In general, tuition fees for international students are higher than those for domestic students. The average tuition fee for international undergraduate students in Canada is about 22,215 USD per year, while the average tuition fee for international graduate students is about 14,810 USD per year. 

Do you know?

International students in Canada are required to file taxes if they have been living in the country for more than 183 days, even if they have no income. However, in Germany, the tax system is more flexible for international students. If your monthly earnings are below €450, you are exempt from paying taxes. If you earn more than that, you can still claim refunds on various expenses such as moving, home repairs, work clothes, and training.

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Cost of living in Germany vs. Canada

Cost of living must be your concern in selecting a country, and the living costs in Canada and Germany parallel each other. The average monthly living costs in Germany can be 956 USD, which could be roughly 1,110 - 1,481 USD for international students in Canada. 

The table below compares the essential cost of living in Germany and Canada: 

Living cost category Germany Canada

Room rent 

441 - 662 USD

741 - 2000 USD

Travel

66 - 110 USD

95 USD

Food

221 - 276 USD

148 - 333 USD

Electricity

44 - 88 USD

37 USD

Internet charges

20 - 50 USD

37- 126 USD

Medical consultancy charges

33 - 66 USD

40 USD

Clothing

46 USD

18 - 59 USD

Entertainments

66 - 72 USD

52 - 111 USD

 

Now you are aware of the cost you need to invest to study at both countries, but what are the suitable options to finance your education, Scholarships are one of the ways which have been discussed in detail below, but taking an education loan is a feasible option to fund your studies, and you can check your loan eligibility on Gyandhan.

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Top scholarships in Germany for international students

Scholarship name Eligibility Benefits

DAAD scholarships

Students of graduate, doctoral, and postdoc studies. 

1,030 - 1,323 USD per month

Health insurance

Erasmus scholarship

Enrollment in Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters program.

Fully funded

One-year expenses are covered

Heinrich Boll Foundation Scholarship

Undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.

TestDaf level B2 proficiency.

937 USD per month.

Can be extended to one more semester

DeutschlandStipendium National Scholarship Programme

Academic excellence

Social commitment

331 USD per month

Mentoring programs

Networking events

Internships

Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Scholarship

Graduate or postgraduate courses in all subjects except postgraduate in medicine.

Excellent proficiency in German.

1,030 - 1,323 USD per month

304 USD as family allowance

An aid to health-related costs

 

Read more about: Scholarship for Indian Students to Study Abroad

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Top scholarships in Canada for international students

There are general and college/course-specific scholarships a student can think about in Canada, some of which you can find in the table below:

Scholarship name Eligibility Benefits

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships

Doctoral students.

37,042 USD per annum for 3 years.

IDRC Research Awards

Doctoral study on prescribed subjects. 

31,147 - 36,057 USD per year for 2 years.

Merit Scholarship Program by the Quebec provincial government

Doctoral and postdoctoral studies.

18,526 USD for doctoral studies and 25,935 USD for postdoctoral studies. 

Ontario Graduate Scholarship, University of Toronto

Graduate student of the University of Toronto.

7,410 - 11,115 USD per year.

University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowships

Master’s or doctoral student at the University of Manitoba. 

Annually 10,374 USD for graduate and 13,333 USD for doctoral studies. 

 

Must Read: Scholarships for Indian Students to Study in Canada

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Student visa for Germany

In Germany two visa options are there for international students: If you have received an acceptance letter from a higher education institution, you may apply for a German student visa. However, if you are still waiting for the acceptance letter or need to take an entrance exam, you can apply for a prospective student visa instead. The validity of prospective student visas is three months, and it can be extended by an additional six months if you are accepted into a higher education institution, or if you enroll in a foundation course or preparatory German language course within this period.

Note: To obtain a study visa for Germany, you must provide evidence of your financial means. This ensures that you are capable of covering the expenses associated with studying in Germany. As of January 2023, you are required to show that you have 1,030 USD per month or 12,361 USD per year in funds available.

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Student visa for Canada

To study in Canada as an international student, you will typically need to obtain a Canada study permit, which is a type of student visa. To be eligible for a study permit, you must have been accepted by a designated learning institution in Canada and provide proof of sufficient financial resources to cover your tuition fees, living expenses, and return transportation. You will also need to provide a valid passport, a letter of explanation, and any other documents required by the Canadian embassy or consulate in your home country. 

Once you have submitted your application, you may also be required to attend an interview or provide biometric information. If your application is approved, you will be issued a study permit that will allow you to study in Canada for the duration of your program. It is important to note that study permits do have expiration dates and may need to be renewed or extended, depending on the length of your program.

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Post-study work opportunities in Germany vs. Canada

Germany and Canada accommodate an expanding job market for various fields. Once you complete your studies, you have better chances to obtain a job with a good salary.

The table below presents an estimated range of salaries for jobs in diverse fields:

Career Prospects Average annual salary in Germany Average annual salary in Canada

Healthcare Professional

(Physicians, Pharmaceutical Researchers, Nurses, Administrative Assistant)

88,208 USD

64,368 USD

Engineer

(Project Manager, Technician, Mechanical Engineer, Chemical Engineer)

50,708 USD

62,875 USD

Business and Finance

(Financial Analyst, Financial Advisor, Business Analyst)

67,243 USD

72,212 USD

IT Professional

(IT Specialist, Software Developer, Data Analyst, App Developer)

66,141 USD

54,269 USD

 

If you want to be a permanent resident to Germany or Canada, the rules are convenient to accept the international population. In Germany, students can extend their residence permit up to 18 months after their studies to find a job. Eventually, you will get an EU Blue card for working in Germany, and then you can apply for PR after studying in Germany and working for two years. 

Permanent residence in Canada means that you must get a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) and work there for four years. You can extend the study permit till your passport expires. 

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Germany vs Canada: which is the right choice for you?

This was all about the key aspects one should take into account while comparing both countries. You should also in what cases these countries may not be the right fit for you. 

While Germany offers many great opportunities for international students, there are also some reasons why it may not be the best fit for everyone.

  • list items One drawback is the language barrier, as many university programs are taught in German and require proficiency in the language.
  • list items Additionally, the cost of living in Germany can be high, especially in cities like Berlin and Munich.
  • list items International students may also face some challenges in terms of finding part-time jobs or internships, as German language skills are often preferred by employers.
  • list items Finally, the application process for universities in Germany can be competitive and rigorous, which may deter some students.

 

On the other hand, there are various reasons to study in Canada but there are some potential drawbacks to consider.

  • list items One challenge for international students in Canada is the high cost of tuition fees, which can be prohibitive for some.
  • list items Additionally, like in Germany, the cost of living in Canada can also be quite high, particularly in major cities such as Vancouver and Toronto.
  • list items Another issue that some international students may face is the harsh Canadian winter, which can be a shock for those coming from warmer climates.
  • list items Finally, the competitive job market in Canada can make it difficult for international students to secure employment after graduation.  

To summarize, choosing between Germany and Canada for studying abroad can be a tough decision, but weighing the pros and cons of each country can make it easier. Take the time to carefully research both countries and their education systems to make an informed decision that will lead you towards your academic and career aspirations.

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