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International students just keep flocking to Berlin and other German cities. Why? Source: Franz12/Shutterstock.

Once again Germany comes out on top in Study.EU’s European university rankings for international students.

Despite the United Kingdom being the first port of call for many students due to its universities often ranking as some of the best in the world – along with the US – the rankings of 30 European universities showed Germany to be way ahead of its neighbours for international students.

The UK secured second place with a score of 75.8, with France in third at 68.6, not quite matching Germany’s impressive 80.7 score.

So why is Germany so popular?

Highly ranked universities

While Germany’s institutions don’t quite have the reputation of the UK’s, Study.EU CEO Gerrit Blöss told The Local many German universities are ranked highly in international rankings for various reasons.

The UK does well in “typical” rankings but German universities tend to receive much higher scores for quality of teaching.

Additionally, as almost all courses are offered in English, Germany is stealing students who previously would have headed to the UK and Ireland for their studies.

Education is cheap

“Germany’s offer of mostly tuition-free, world-class universities remains hard to outrank,” Study.EU said.

At state-run universities, no student, domestic or international, has to pay tuition fees.

Instead, they pay administrative fees every semester – that also cover public transport costs – which range from around EUR100 (US$122) and EUR500 (US$613).

The UK unsurprisingly comes in last for affordability due to high living costs and sky-rocketing tuition fees.

Students can continue to live in the country after studying

The final ranking category looked at international graduates’ life and career prospects with Germany ranking “really well” according to Blöss. However, he acknowledged there is “always room for improvement.”

Graduates are able to remain in the country for up to 18 months on a “residence permit” after they complete their studies – far longer than the UK where students from outside the EU are usually unable to stay for longer than a few short months.

The rankings considered graduates who wished to stay in Germany as well as those who wished to move back home – the majority of whom come from Asia and Africa, The Local notes.

Universities are working with graduates to increase employability in Germany

German universities are aware more needs to be done to integrate international students into the job market and as a result, are working on strategies to ease this process.

Currently, 12 percent of Germany’s students are foreign, however many of them do not speak German.

Blöss claimed if more graduates were able to speak the local language, it would increase their likelihood of gaining employment in the German job market. Both universities and the students themselves have a role to play in that aspect.

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