IMA/ZLW & IfU - RWTH Aachen University (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 6833-6843
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0563
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
In a global comparison of information websites on studying abroad, Germany is frequently ranked among the top ten destinations [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Due to a continuous increase in globalisation and, along with that, student mobility, the number of foreign students at universities is constantly growing, as is in Germany. Although it is named one of the students’ favourite places to study abroad, especially in the field of engineering sciences, the approval rate differs depending on the students’ country of origin. The overall amount of foreign students at German universities is still at a low rate of 11.5%. In order to increase the popularity of Germany as a place to study and also the rate of foreign students at German universities, specific measures need to be developed. As a first step, the impediments and reasons for deciding against Germany as country to study need to be gathered and analysed in order to be able to deduce recommendations for action.

Despite chances and advantages of coming to Germany e.g. with respect to an increase in career prospects, intercultural competencies, or independence [6], impediments such as financial reasons or perceived time and performance pressure might still be the decisive factors to not study there [6]. These impediments have been identified on the basis of a literature analysis. The results show, that the main obstacles named are the language barrier, the financing of the stay, and the admission to German study programmes. Since the impediments might blur the image of Germany as study location, measures are needed to display both obstacles and chances in an equal manner in order to make the country more attractive to foreign students.

In a consecutive step, interviews on exemplary experiences of foreign students in Germany were conducted and recorded via video camera. The interviews are used as recruiting videos and provide a low-threshold means to promote Germany as a place to study. These sample videos were realised by RWTH Aachen University in Germany. Foreign students present their reasons, prejudices, fears, worries, and chances with respect to their studies in Germany as recommendations for those who still struggle with the decision on where to stay abroad.

As the comparison of these two steps shows, the perceived impediments have not or merely partially occurred for the foreign students interviewed for the purpose of the recruiting videos when coming to Germany for studying. The main barriers – finding a place to live and the language – have not been experienced as impeding as was expected before the stay abroad according to the interviewees. The results of the two-step procedure indicate the need to further promote Germany as a place to spend a study-oriented stay abroad. They also display the demand for conducting more explanatory work on a low-threshold level with special regards to providing experience-based information on choosing Germany for a stay abroad.
Student mobility, globalisation, impediments, Germany, recruiting strategy, incomings.