Studying in Germany: Seven unusual academic traditions

Studying in Germany: Seven unusual academic traditions

Many international students consider attending university in Germany a dream come true. Germany’s excellent educational system, internationally recognized degrees, and emphasis on research and innovation have made it a popular study-abroad destination for students worldwide. Let’s explore the main features of studying in Germany.

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Seven unusual academic traditions in Studying in Germany

  1. Forget the applause, you simply knock. 

    • In Germany, “Akademisches Klopfen” is a tradition where people knock on tables instead of applauding.
    • People commonly follow this custom during academic events
    • Be aware of this tradition to avoid cultural misunderstandings.
    • Initially, you may mistakenly applaud, but you will adapt.
    • Academic knocking shows respect without disrupting the event.
    • It reflects German values of discipline, order, and respect for academics.
    • Observe and imitate locals to adopt academic knocking.

  2. “Sie” -ing on the safe side

    • In Norway and Sweden, professors are often referred to by their first names, similar to friends.
    • In Germany, it is customary to address professors by their last names “Herr” or “Frau.”
    • Use the formal “Sie” when interacting with German professors to show respect.
    • Over time, you may become less formal with some German teachers, but start with “Sie” to be safe.
    • This cultural etiquette demonstrates professionalism in Germany.

  3. Being as independent as possible

    • In Germany, there is a high emphasis on independence in academic studies.
    • Unlike in other nations like the UK, regular meetings with instructors to discuss progress are less common.
    • Independence is highly regarded as the academic norm in Germany.
    • This level of independence allows students to develop innovative strategies and tactics.
    • Students learn to have confidence in their abilities to excel in exams.
    • Self-studying methods are built to ensure success in exams.
    • The German education system encourages students to take responsibility for their learning.

  4. Please arrive on time to avoid being met with glares.

    • Punctuality is highly valued in German culture.
    • Germans place a strong emphasis on being on time.
    • If you anticipate being late, it is advisable to make alternative plans.
    • Even with a valid excuse, it is still preferable to send an email to notify others of your tardiness.
    • Notifying others shows respect and helps avoid unpleasant reactions.
    • Germans may give unpleasant glares if you are consistently late without communication.
    • While extreme excuses like an asteroid collision are unlikely, valid reasons should be communicated promptly.

  5. See you in “Mensa”

    • At German universities, the term “Mensa” refers to the cafeteria or dining hall.
    • German students often mention hanging out or taking lunch breaks at the Mensa.
    • The Mensa holds a significant role in German university culture.
    • It is common to see German friends or fellow students gathering at the Mensa during study breaks.
    • Contrary to popular belief, Mensa offers more than just a typical neighbourhood coffee shop experience.
    • People know Mensa as an intriguing and vibrant social hub on campus.

  6. Welcome week! Were you expecting loads of parties? Well, expect a bit less. 

    • In Germany, the “welcome week” at universities is not a fun-filled party week.
    • The welcome week typically lasts five days and is focused on lectures and campus excursions.
    • The primary goal is to provide information and help students familiarize themselves with the campus.
    • There are a few social activities, but the emphasis is on learning and orientation.
    • After the tours and information sessions, there is an opportunity to mingle in a pub.
    • However, participation in social activities at the pub is optional, depending on individual energy levels.

  7. Who doesn’t love a bargain?

    • In Germany, students enjoy various benefits and discounts.
    • Tuition rates in Germany typically range from $250 to $300.
    • The tuition fee includes a semester ticket for unrestricted use of public transport.
    • The semester pass provides discounts on food, clothing, museum admission, and more.
    • Students can freely travel within multiple German cities using the semester pass.
    • Despite student responsibilities, Germany offers these perks as a gesture of kindness.
    • Students can enjoy small discounts by being formal, independent, and avoiding excessive praise.

In Germany, students receive affordable tuition rates ranging from $250 to $300, which include a semester ticket for unlimited public transport and discounts on various items. These perks reflect the kindness of the German system, rewarding students who demonstrate formality, independence, and responsibility.

Read more at How To Abroad:

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