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International students hit record level, says DAAD

Germany is home to over a quarter of a million international students for the first time in its history, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) announced on 26 July.

In 2011, over 11 per cent of students in Germany were from outside the country, the DAAD said during a conference in Bonn. About 23,000 of them were from China, but Germany is also a popular destination for Austrian, Bulgarian, Polish and Russian students, according to DAAD data.

The DAAD said that the high percentage of Chinese students is the result of over 750 higher education collaborations between Germany and China. “These collaborations are not only about student exchange, but also more and more about developing joint curricula and sometimes even exporting entire degree programmes to China,” said Niels Albers, the DAAD’s head of Chinese relations.

Data on student movements in Germany are published every year in the DAAD’s Wissenschaft Weltoffen study. About a third of Germany’s international student population are from Asia, and half are from Europe. Eastern Europe is still the main source of European internationals, but numbers from Austria, France and Spain are also increasing, the DAAD said.

Worldwide, Germany is the fourth largest destination for international students, behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, and it is the most popular student destination where the native language is not English.

However, German students are also eager to go abroad, the DAAD notes. In 2009, the latest year for which data are available, around 115,000 German students went abroad to start or continue a degree.