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Germany or USA for engineering, I am really torn now.

  1. May 18, 2013 #1
    hi all
    it is just 25 days and I finish high school ,gonna be 19 years and 6 month then (is that old age for the freshman year?? BTW)?

    so when I graduate I have to decide...
    my main plane was to be attending Cleveland State University to study Electrical Engineering or Mechanical Engineering (not decided yet). but now I am thinking about this new country which is Germany.

    [I am Syrian],I am thinking about Germany because it will be much cheaper than the US.
    at CSU I will pay around 60 K (this is just the tuition) not including living expenses.
    while in Germany it will cost me nothing because I will be a Political asylum there and I will have government assistance and I can pick any major I want including Med school for free (this doesn't mean I want Med school,that was an example).
    but I am really thinking about the education quality as an important factor ,do you think Germany is as good as US in Engineering? or Germany would be definitely better than CSU??

    I am seeing Germany as a new experience ,plus I will learn a new language which I love BTW.
    and I can work while in college as much as I want.

    so what do you think??
    is not Germany well known for Mechanical Engineering??
    if you were me ,what would you choose?
    Last edited: May 18, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2013 #2


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    Gold Member

    I don't know about educational systems, but I've long considered Germans to be the best engineers on the planet. (That's saying a lot, considering that I'm half Scots.)

    And really... free? That's a no-brainer.
  4. May 18, 2013 #3
    when you pay 1000 Euro per year,I guess that's free.
  5. May 19, 2013 #4
    sharing your opinions would be appreciated guys.
  6. May 19, 2013 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    Trying to learn German while taking engineering classes in German would be tough, but it is tough to beat free.
  7. May 21, 2013 #6
    Lots of 19 year old freshman.

    In terms of education quality, I would say YES, generally speaking. Throughout Europe, students are expected to learn more independently (e.x. not a lot of required homework), FYI.

    Depends on which school in Germany.
    I don't know anything about Cleveland State, but at a glance it looks unique. They are not well known, not ranked at all by US News Report, but they are accredited in EE, and they are clearly a research institution (they offer doctoral degrees).

    "Germany" really isn't specific enough to give any further advice.
    Is germany the only other country you're considering?
  8. May 21, 2013 #7


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    I think there will be universities in Germany where classes are held in English language. As education is for free, most study programs select massively during the first one or two semesters. Universities expect a large fraction of the students to get disinterested when they receive some bad marks and finally drop out. If you have problems with the language it may be quite problematic to survive this time. However if you run into problems and can make it plausible that its because of language problems the "Prüfungsausschuß", a gremium of professors in charge of the administrative aspects of your studium (your first word from worlds famous German administration!) may exempt you from some timelines. Most universities also have dedicated departments to help foreign students and each faculty has a "Studienberater". I think it might be vital to inform yourself well about these possibilities. Also try to get into contact with some compatriots studying there and ask them about their advice. In contrast to the US you have to ask for help yourself and not expect that someone asks why you aren't proceeding as expected. However as long as you show interest and ask for help noone will let you drop out.
    It is vital that you inform yourself about the specific universities, as conditions vary considerably from university to university and between the federal countries (Bundesländer).

    Once you made a start, you have quite some unique possibilities to make practica in renowned enterprises like BMW, Siemens and the like. You might also consider to make your bachelor at a "university for applied sciences" (Fachhochschule) which might be easier to start with. If you are performing well, you could consider changing to a regular university for a master.
  9. May 24, 2013 #8
    Also, some FH have courses taught in English.

    I don't see the point in going to a no-name university in the US when with $60k you could probably live (like a student, in the Studentenwerk) for at least 6 years in a place that's ahem, not Hamburg or Munich.

    Never been to Germany, but I'd like to go, and have read quite a bit of stuff here and there, so take this with a grain of salt.
  10. May 24, 2013 #9
    It is advisable to learn the German language first, and then go for a Studienkolleg.
    Otherwise you might have a rough ride in the German academic system.
  11. May 25, 2013 #10
    Since several people mentioned how hard to beat "free education" is: Living expenses are not zero, of course.

    Another issue that surprisingly no one commented about, yet: The underlying reason for granting political asylum is not realizing how much the recepient would like to become an engineer. There is the moral part of it, that your post above sounds more like "free food" than "I have to run for my life" (the latter being the actual idea behind granting political asylum). In the end, about that part you have to judge for yourself. More of practical relevance may be the question what happens if the situation in Syria becomes better next year and you get thrown out of the country because the political asylum isn't granted, anymore.

    Btw.: Med school is free in Germany for everyone. The issue with med school is that usually you need almost perfect grades to get in (or alternatively be on the waiting list for ~6 years).
  12. May 25, 2013 #11


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    Homework Helper

    About this moral part, it is moral to use the opportunity to get the best education possible. One doesn't know how long Syria will take to become functional again, even if peace returns.

    Back on topic, I think learn the language first. Living in Germany, it should be easier. Is it possible to study German for one semester or something like that? And I believe that certain parts of Germany are more friendly to outsiders than others. I would definitely choose to study in a more friendly area. I have no opinion about where though.
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