Study German: Opportunity Abounds!
By Christine S. Maxwell
In recent years, a renewed interest in studying German has occurred worldwide. India has had a surge of students who want to study German. A similar trend has occurred in the United States. Why study German?
Germany – An Economic Powerhouse
Recognized for its competitive and low-debt economy, Germany has emerged as a world leader. Germany plays a lead role in the European Union, influencing and directing many of its actions. Internationally, Germany has key trade agreements with emerging economies, such as those in Pacific Rim countries. Nearly half of the European Union’s exports to China are from Germany. See “China and Germany: Why the Emerging Special Relationship Matters to Europe”. https://www.ecfr.eu/page/-/ECFR55_CHINA_GERMANY_BRIEF_AW.pdf Germany is now the fourth largest world economy after the United States, China, and Japan. See “The World’s Top Ten Economies”.
What are the implications of Germany’s continued role as a world economic power? The demand for employees who know German has increased dramatically. In essence, knowledge of German is a huge economic draw. There are approximately 1,000 German companies doing business in the United States. About 700,000 jobs have been created in the U.S. as a result of the German presence. For more information see
Knowledge of German combined with the right skills may help job-seekers find a well-paying job in the global economy!
Still much of the world’s business is conducted in English. But knowing another language such as German gives employees an edge in working in a global economy. Cultural competence – or understanding the culture and being comfortable working and dealing with those from other countries – is a byproduct of language study. Businesses want to hire employees with this crucial understanding. Organizations and consumers are more likely to buy products from companies who understand them and often, the subtle cultural nuances of conducting business in the consumer countries.
German Educational System
The high cost of a university education in the United States leaves many American students with substantial student loan debt. The average student debt in 2016 for graduates of four-year colleges is almost $37,000! See “A Look at the Shocking Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2016”.
Students who do not want the burden of a large student loan have begun to look alternative options for higher education. A gradual trend is developing, as students seek lower cost or free educational opportunities in other countries.
Germany offers low-cost or free university educations to its citizens, as well as to foreigners. Known for its excellent education in technology and business, German universities are seeing an increase in applications from American students. At present nearly 10,000 American students are studying in Germany. See “Why American Students are Flocking to Germany – and Staying”.
Germany is encouraging this international and cultural exchange by offering many of its programs and degrees in English. Nonetheless, students need to live within the German society, so knowledge of German is helpful in everyday life.
Innovation and Exchange of Ideas
Students decide to study in Germany for many reasons besides language studies. Many students majoring in technology, science, and math seek educational opportunities in Germany. Their reasons may be for innovation and exchange of ideas. For example, a chemist learns how research is conducted in Germany and compares this methodology to that of his own country. He may introduce his country’s methods to his host culture. The chemist, upon returning home, presents new ideas to his existing community of study. Germany is also known as a haven for entrepreneurship. Thus the exchange and flow of new ideas and information, as well as innovative techniques, is beneficial to both countries.
Once again the study of German is of major importance. Whether one chooses to study German for the love of languages, economic, cultural exchanges, or innovation, learning German is definitely a wise choice!