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“Developing a culture of welcoming foreign students”

16.04.2013 - Press release

Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Minister of State Pieper met with senior representatives of Germany’s higher education system to discuss ways to further boost Germany’s attractiveness for students from abroad.

Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Minister of State Pieper exchange views with senior representatives of Germany’s higher education system.

On 15 April, Foreign Minister Westerwelle and Minister of State Pieper met with senior representatives of Germany’s higher education system to discuss Germany’s international reputation as a location for science and research.

During the talks Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement:

The German universities taking part in the Excellence Initiative make a significant contribution to enhancing Germany’s international competitiveness in the area of higher education.
Germany’s excellent education and university systems are a strategic factor for Germany’s reputation. Therefore our goal is to support our universities’ strategies for internationalization and to promote Germany around the world as a location for education and research.
The attractiveness of a country’s university system depends on its ability to ensure high‑quality teaching and research and to award internationally recognized degrees. However, socio‑economic conditions play an important role, too. We are pleased that German universities are seeking to develop a culture of welcoming foreign students, and we would like to support these efforts with a modernized visa policy.

High‑priority policy areas of the Federal Government

In its coalition agreement the Federal Government defined education, research and development as high‑priority policy areas. In line with the Federal Government’s Strategy for the Internationalization of Science, Research and Development, the Federal Foreign Office’s research and academic relations policy aims to strengthen Germany’s role in the global knowledge society and to address the growing challenges of international competition in a future‑oriented way.

Germany among the five most popular places to study

In the 2012 “Student Pulse” survey carried out by the German Rectors’ Conference and the German Academic Exchange Service, foreign students interviewed in 2011 ranked Germany fifth when it came to their favourite place to study. As to the reputation of university degrees, Germany came fourth after the United States, Great Britain and Canada. In the 2010/11 academic year, 185,000 foreign students were enrolled at German universities. This means that one in ten students in Germany is from abroad. Most international students in Germany are from up‑and‑coming countries such as China (2010/11 academic year: 23,000) and the regions of Central and Eastern Europe.

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