USA vs Germany: Which Country is Better for International Students?

USA vs Germany: Which Country is Better for International Students?

USA vs Germany: Which Country is Better for International Students?
Saru Niraula

Student's academic, social, and professional lives will all be enhanced by their experience studying in Germany as opposed to the USA. 

Around 10,000,00 international students are enrolled in programs at various levels in the USA, which is unquestionably the country that Indian students like most. 

Over 4,00,000 international students choose to study abroad in Germany each year, making it the most popular country in Europe. 

Regarding the expense of education, Germany outperforms the US and is a global leader in scientific and technological development.

Student's academic, social, and professional lives will all be enhanced by their experience studying in Germany as opposed to the USA. 

Top Universities in the USA

The top 10 universities in the US are in the top 20 worldwide, with five of those colleges ranking in the top 10. 

The following table lists the top 10 universities in the USA according to the QS World University Rankings 2023:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • The University of Chicago
  • The University of Pennsylvania
  • Princeton University
  • Yale University
  • Cornell University

Top Universities in Germany

The top 10 universities in Germany are among the top 200 globally and are steadily moving up the list. Take a look at Germany's top 10 universities:

  • The Technical University of Munich
  • Ludwig-Maximilians Universität
  • Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • Humboldt-Universitat Zu Berlin
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • RWTH Aachen University
  • Technische Universität Berlin
  • Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
  • Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

USA Vs. Germany:  Admission requirements for international students

Universities accept applications twice a year in both Germany and the USA. The two semesters are known as the Summer and Winter intakes at German universities, compared to the Fall and Spring semesters in the United States. 

You must submit an online application with the required fee and supporting documentation. 

For admission to undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States vs Germany, Indian students may need to submit various supporting documents, including reference letters, essays, and personal statements.

The educational requirements for admission to study in the USA and Germany are comparable. 

However, in addition to their English language skills, German institutions require that international students demonstrate a fundamental level of German language competency. In addition, various institutions may have different requirements.

USA Vs. Germany: Eligibility Criteria for International Students

The following are the basic requirements for admission to undergrad and graduate programs in the United States and Germany:

USA: Eligibility Criteria

  • For admission to UG courses, you must finish 12 years of education.
  • Admission to master's degree programs requires a bachelor's degree earned after 3–4 years of study.
  • For master's degree programs, you must have an IELTS score between 6.0 and 6.5 and a minimum of 5.5 to be admitted.
  • In addition to GMAT or GRE results, universities may need SAT or ACT scores for undergraduate courses.
  • For management-related degrees like the MBA, work experience is also necessary.

Germany: Eligibility Criteria

  • You must finish schooling up to the 12th grade to enrol in an undergraduate program.
  • To apply for master's degree programs, you must have a bachelor's degree equivalent in Germany.
  • An IELTS score of at least 5.5 is needed for UG courses, whereas PG programmes need a score of between 6.0 and 6.5.
  • Additionally, evidence of German language proficiency, such as TestDAF or DSH, is necessary for admission to German institutions.
  • Universities may also need GMAT scores for admission to management schools and GRE scores for other programs.

USA Vs. Germany: Student life

Whether you decide to study in the United States or Germany, you will be able to interact with students from all over the world who are eager to share and learn just like you are.

Student Life in the USA

  • The QS Best Student Cities in USA 2023 list includes 18 American cities, including Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and more.
  • The faculty and staff at US universities are constructive, particularly when it comes to offering assistance to overseas students and making resources available to ensure a seamless academic experience.
  • In addition to receiving a top-notch education and exposure, university life in the US offers a variety of other benefits, like the chance to make new friends, participate in sports, dine out, go climbing or trekking, engage in other enjoyable activities, party, etc.
  • There won't be a shortage of alternatives even at your university because US universities promote involvement in various groups, sororities, fraternities, intramural sports, social service, and volunteering, among other options.

Student Life in Germany

  • Even better than the US, Germany boasts a well-established transportation network.
  • In addition, Germany's strategic location in Europe allows you to visit 26 of its surrounding nations during summer vacations with a German student visa.
  • You will have the chance to meet new individuals, primarily from Turkey, Portugal, and France, while studying in Germany, which will also help you build a strong network.
  • German is the official language of the nation. Thus, you can encounter a language barrier if you are not fluent.
  • Compared to the USA, the cost of living in Germany is also reasonable.

USA Vs. Germany: Tuition Fees for International Students

You should examine the tuition costs between the USA and Germany before deciding where to study. 

The fact that tuition is accessible at all public universities in Germany is one of the most striking aspects of learning there that sets it apart from other nations. 

At public universities in Germany, you need to pay a semester contribution fee of 100–350 EUR. Even if you only consider private universities, Germany has substantially lower tuition costs than the USA.

Check out the table below to compare the cost of tuition for Indian students in the USA and Germany.


Tuition Fees in the USA (in USD)

Tuition Fees in Germany (in EUR)

Undergraduate degree



Graduate degree



Doctoral program



Diploma/ Certificate/ vocational training



USA Vs. Germany: Cost of Living for International Students

Even if you decide to study for free at a public university in Germany, you will still need to be aware of the differences in the cost of living between the US and Germany. 

While studying in the US, your monthly living expenses will be between $1,000 and USD 1,500. 

On the other hand, to cover the costs of housing, food, and other living expenses, foreign students in Germany need a minimum of 867 EUR a month, or 11,208 EUR annually. 

Your location, way of life, kind of housing, and several other things will affect your monthly budget.

The table below provides a thorough comparison of the cost of living in the USA and Germany.


Cost of living per year in the USA (in USD)

Cost of living per year in Germany (in EUR)







Utility bills



Phone & Internet



Public Transport






Health insurance



USA Vs. Germany: Student Visa Process

One of the most crucial documents needed for Indian students to study in the US vs Germany is a student visa. After being accepted into a program, the first step is to submit all the required papers and apply for a visa.

The steps to apply for a student visa to study in Germany vs the USA are summarised below:

Student Visa Process in the USA

  • To study in the USA, you require an F-1 student visa.
  • There are two fees to be paid: a 160 USD application fee and a 350 USD SEVIS cost.
  • From 15 days to 12 months for processing

Student Visa Process in Germany

  • A residence permit is necessary for stays in Germany longer than 90 days.
  • A 75 EUR application fee is necessary.
  • Processing period: 25 days maximum

USA Vs. Germany: Stay back Options

Understanding your alternatives for returning home after studying in any country is crucial to understanding your chances for the future. 

Germany and the USA each have a variety of stay-back possibilities. Here, we compare the main differences between staying in Germany and studying in the US and Germany:

Stay-back options in the USA

  • You can apply for Optical Practical Training (OPT) before or after completing your program if you want to continue your education in the USA.
  • With an OPT, you'll be able to stay in the US for a year.
  • If you are taking a STEM course, you can stay in the United States for three years after your program ends.
  • If you can demonstrate to USCIS that you are qualified for the post, you can apply for an H-1B visa and work in the United States for six years with a sponsoring firm.

Stay-back options in Germany

  • You can apply for a residence visa that will allow you to stay in Germany for up to 18 months after completing your study there.
  • You must hunt for a job during this time associated with your subject of study.
  • Before finishing your degree, if you can secure a job offer in Germany, you may apply directly for a residence visa or EU Blue Card.

USA Vs. Germany: PR Opportunities

It takes years to meet the eligibility requirements, making obtaining a PR in the USA arduous and drawn out. 

Like the US, Germany likewise has a stay-back requirement for PR recipients. However, there are options for shorter stays. 

See the following table to compare the PR procedures in the USA and Germany:

PR in the USA

  • If you meet the requirements, you can apply for a "green card" after living and working in the USA for at least 5 years.

PR in Germany

  • It is a requirement to reside and work in Germany for a minimum of 5 years to obtain a PR. After eight years in the country or if you marry a German citizen, you can apply for citizenship in Germany.

USA Vs. Germany: Post-Study Work Opportunities

Before choosing between the USA and Germany, it is essential to know the post-study employment options and average pay scale. 

Employers place a high priority on students from these two nations who have the necessary knowledge and abilities.

Post-Study Work Opportunities in the USA

  • While the best earnings in the US can reach 423,000 USD per year with experience, new hires can expect to make just 24,000 USD per year in their first few years.
  • A working professional makes an average salary of roughly 94,700 USD per year, depending on the business, employment description, position, experience, etc.
  • The US employment markets with the most demand are those in finance, management, data science, IT, biomedicine, engineering, advertising, and public relations, among others.
  • According to the QS rankings for 2023, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Harvard University, California Institute of Technology, and University of Chicago are among the top 10 universities worldwide for graduate employability.

Post-Study Work Opportunities in Germany

  • In Germany, a working professional makes an average salary of 45,700 EUR annually.
  • Jobs are available in several industries in Germany, including the building sector, electrical industry, mechanical industry, IT and telecommunications industry, and healthcare.
  • The tax rate in Germany is greater than in the US, which is a significant distinction to make.

With that, it's up to you to determine whether Germany or the USA is a superior country for studying abroad. 

The comparison above shows you the advantages and disadvantages of learning in the USA vs Germany. 

Since every student has unique demands, choosing between the USA and Germany is a personal preference. Only you can determine which country can best meet your needs.

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