Germany is fast recovering from the pitfalls of international travel bans and has regained its position as a hot favourite for Indian students looking to study abroad.

Latest figures by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) have shown that there has been an increase again in the number of international students at German universities in the current winter semester.

This follows a sharp decline in numbers in the number of summer enrollments in 2021 when Covid-19 travel bans imposed on several countries, including India, by the German government derailed international travel.

According to the snapshot survey by DAAD, at least 330,000 international students are currently enrolled at German universities.

The number of international first-semester students has also grown again despite the pandemic and, according to DAAD projections, is at least 72,000. Almost 160 German universities participated in the survey.

The survey predicts the number of international students to continue to rise.

“The survey of our member universities allows us to look forward to the new year with hope: despite the pandemic, the number of international students in Germany continues to increase,” said DAAD President Dr Joybrato Mukherjee in a note.

“The number of first-year students from abroad has also risen again after declines in the last winter semester. Increases of around 13 per cent or more are much better than expected in the summer. These figures are a very good sign for the attractiveness of Germany as a place to study. They also show that the joint commitment of member universities and the DAAD to attracting and supporting international students is paying off, especially during the worst pandemic in 100 years.”

According to the findings, the surveyed higher education institutions (HEIs) reported an increase in newly enrolled international students from India and a few other countries including Turkey, Iran, Italy and France. On the other hand, decreases in the numbers of newly enrolled students from China, Syria and Cameroon were reported. Around 29% of the institutions surveyed reported over 10% increase in the number of fresh student enrolments from India.

Overall, the number of newly enrolled international students increased from around 64,000 in the 2020-21 winter semester to around 72,000 to 80,000 students in the 2021-22 winter semester.

The rise has been fuelled by a couple of factors. One, there has been a very rapid recovery in the numbers of guest and exchange students (non-degree) at most German HEIs after the significant slump in the previous year. Also, universities in particular are recording significant increases in the number of international degree-seeking students in master’s programmes.

31% of the higher education institutions saw increases of at least 5% or more in the number of international students enrolled. Around 40% universities reported stable numbers.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the survey shows a clear return of international students to campus: around 80% of the surveyed universities estimate that at least three quarters of international first-year students are now in Germany.

Only 7% of the universities assume that less than half of the international students are already present. Teaching currently takes place as a mixture of in-person and digital distance learning: around 80% of the universities surveyed indicated this kind of hybrid teaching mode.

DAAD surveyed around 270 higher education institutions between early and mid-December and received 158 responses. Around 65% of all international students in Germany are enrolled at the surveyed universities.

Source: The Economic Times