Hi, my dear friends! Today I would like to tell you a little bit about my impressions of studying in Germany. As you know from previous blog posts, I moved to Germany 6 years ago to pursue my Master’s degree in International Business and Economics at Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences. It was incredible time filled with a lot of joy and, of course, adventures! I would say it took me a little bit of time to adjust to educational system in Germany and way it works since there are quite a few differences compared to Ukraine. So, in this blog post I would like to tell you more about differences between university life in Germany and Ukraine!
GERMANY. The first thing that was surprising for me is that in Germany during Master Degree Program you can choose which lectures you want to attend, and therefore which focus of studies you will have at the end. The only point is that you have to reach certain amount of credits (ECTS) to be able to start writing your thesis. Otherwise, the choice is all yours. I have a degree in International Business and Economics for example, but my focus of studies can be marketing because I decide to attend more classes of this type. Your grades mostly depend on your exam, which accounts for 80% of your final grade, while only 20% goes to an assignment during the semester (generally, it is a group presentation, midterm exam or a paper). Therefore, you just attend lectures, listen to what information professors have to say and then based on that you write final exam. Usually classes are very interesting and engaging.
UKRAINE. In Ukraine, if you choose a degree program, you receive a tailored schedule of lectures and all of them are obligatory to attend, you cannot skip something just because you do not like statistics! The array of lectures is very broad; you will get a glimpse on many different disciplines, although sometimes you might hate few of them. Classes are divided into lectures and seminars, where during lectures professors give you a necessary amount of information needed for the class. Then goes seminar, for which you need to learn information given during lecture, you have to prepare some assignments, fill in exercise book or write a small report on a given topic. You work hard during the whole semester in order to receive a great overall note. In Ukraine all student also have something called “record-book”, where your professors write down all notes received during mid-term tests or papers as well as final exam.
GERMANY. In Germany, whether you choose to attend or not attend, 80% of the note for the class is contributed to the final exam. In my case, many times, I had to do a part-time job or an internship and I simply could not attend some lectures. At the end, I just prepared for exam and anyway received a good note. Of course, in my personal opinion – it is always better to attend lectures. Miss it only if you do not have any possibility to attend at all. You will not need to beg your classmates for lecture notes at the end and try to understand their confusing handwriting. Professors also give good tips for exams during lectures, so make sure not to miss those.
UKRAINE. Another thing is how the study process goes – Ukraine has strict rules about attendance of lectures and seminars. Every lecture in Ukraine starts with a professor opening a journal of attendance and checking who made it to the lecture and attendance affects greatly the final note you get for the class.
Another quite an astounding thing is a grading system of Germany. It is the other way round compared to the one in Ukraine. In Ukraine 5.0 is the best possible note you can get during class, whereas in Germany if you get 5.0 – you FAILED! I remember calling my mom so excited and telling her that I got 1.0 for my midterm exam and seeing disappointment and confusion in her eyes.
GERMANY. Examination and its guidelines are very strict in Germany. Once you come to exam, you have to bring you student ID and each participant will be checked for ID. Without ID, you cannot take exam! Every exam in Germany begins with a check by professor on whether everyone is in good health and can take the exam. If you do not feel well before exam, you can take a note from the doctor and skip the exam. In that case, you will just have to take exam next semester.
In Ukraine, even if you will not bring your “records-book” to exam, you will still be able to take this exam and you can just come by to office afterwards and let your professor write your note down.
GERMANY. Another thing about examination in Germany – the time how long it takes for exam papers to be checked. Well, if you are expecting to receive it within next couple of hours or days – then don’t. Your final exam note will be known after few weeks or even month after examination. I remember having exam nightmares all those weeks.
UKRAINE In Ukraine, all you had to do is wait around the university for couple of hours after you write an exam – and there you go. Your professor invites the group into the class and lets you know your grade. Just couple of hours after exam! It took me a while to adjust to the way things work in Germany and let go of my worries about grades.
Well, that is about it in terms of main differences between educational process in Ukraine and Germany. And what surprised you the most in German educational system compared to your home country?