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Number of international students in Germany on the rise

The number of foreign students in Germany rose to an all-time high of 282 000 in 2013 and is expected to grow to over 300 000 in the current year. Germany is thus, behind the US and the UK, the number 3 destination of foreign students in the world, followed by France and Australia. These are some of the key findings of the 2014 edition of Wissenschaft Weltoffen, which the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) published in July. Wissenschaft Weltoffen is Germany’s equivalent to the Open Doors report on foreign students and study abroad in the US, published annually for over more than 50 years by the New York-based Institute of International Education (IIE). 

Not all of the 282 000 foreign students moved to Germany in order to take up studies, however. Some 78 000 of them are what Germans call Bildungsinländer, i.e. students with a foreign passport who grew up and went to school in Germany. The percentage of all international students in Germany’s is slightly above 11%. The number of new foreign enrolments grew even faster than the overall foreign student population. It stood at about 95 000 in 2013, almost 20% more than in any of the previous years. The largest single region of origin of newly enrolled Bildungsausländer in Germany was Western Europe (28 000), followed by Eastern Europe (24%) and Asia (14%). The single leading country of origin is China. 

Germany is doing also well in study abroad. About one third of all graduates in the years 2009 and 2010 have studied for at least three months abroad – most of them indeed for a full degree. Germany has thus long reached the Bologna mobility goal of 20%. But much still needs to be done to reach the government’s and DAAD’s very ambitious outbound mobility target of 50% (by 2020). 

This year’s Wissenschat Weltoffen contains a special section on mobility with the US.  Report (German and English) Press release (German only)