By Matthew Knott, News Editor of Study Travel Magazine

It’s been quite a week for Germany. Deserved winners of the FIFA World Cup on Sunday with a youthful, vibrant team that looks set to dominate football for many years to come, I’m sure the parties are still continuing across the country.

But turning to our core business of study travel matters, we’ve also had the announcement that the number of international students in Germany has never been higher.

I was delighted to receive a very comprehensive report on my desk this week from the German Academic Exchange Service, which shows there were some 282,201 international students at university level in 2013, with increases from all world regions.

According to OECD data on international student mobility at higher education level, Germany is the highest-ranking host country in which the native language is not English. Although there has been a proliferation of English-medium degree programmes, particularly at postgraduate level, it should be highlighted that the majority of students are still studying in German.

In an interview for a feature on global trends in higher education in Study Travel Magazine earlier this year, Ulrich Grothus, Deputy Secretary-General of DAAD, said the country had a number of attractions. The relatively low cost of tuition in Germany compared with the USA, UK and Australia, is certainly one benefit, but the country has a considerable academic reputation, especially in science and engineering, as well as a welcoming immigration policy, Grothus said.

And as we wrote in our most recent market analysis of the German language school sector, the demand for German higher education is filtering down, with increasing numbers of international students choosing German language and academic preparation courses.  

Low tuition fees may not be attractive for agents compared with the commissions that they can expect from sending students to the UK, Canada, Australia and the UK, but there is certainly potential in working with German language schools to tap into the burgeoning demand for Deutschland degrees. With a strong economy, recently introduced stronger post-study work rights, and DAAD plans to reach 350,000 students by 2020, this is only likely to increase further.

And almost uniquely among the top higher education destination countries – inbound data relating to China remains sketchy – Germany is also a top sender of international students, making the country a very major player in the study abroad industry, just as it is in world football.

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