Record numbers of international exchange students - Germany 3rd in global ranking

Students in the lecture hall
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Around 370,000 international exchange students studied at German universities in winter semester 2022-2023, which is a significant increase by 5% compared to the year before. As stated in the new edition of “Wissenschaft weltoffen”, a report funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and published annually by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW), Germany is now on place three in the global ranking, after the US and the UK.

According to the Federal Minister of BMBF, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, and the President of DAAD, Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee, the increase of international students is an important lever for counteracting the dramatic shortage of academics in Germany. Among the main reasons for the rise of Germany to the top three study destination for international exchange students are the high quality of academic education, the absence of tuition fees and the good career opportunities for graduates on the German labour market. The country is attractive for international students also after they have completed their studies, and internationally competitive in this respect. Out of 16 OECD countries analysed, only Canada (44 %) has a similarly high proportion of international students still living and working in the country ten years after starting their studies as Germany (45 %) as the report “Wissenschaft weltoffen” reveals. BMBF and DAAD have been supporting this trend for a long time, with international student marketing formats such as My GUIDE (Link), a free service provided by DAAD, as well as its programme HAW.International (Link), which has helped universities of applied sciences to significantly increase their number of international students over the last years.

Contributions of DAAD Brussels to promote student and academic mobility in Germany 

The Brussels branch of DAAD is supporting this trend with its activities and events, and aims at contributing to enhancing knowlegde and awareness of Germany as an attractive study and research destination at international level. Recently, this has been the case during the “Energy for Europe – Green Hydrogen and the role of Higher Education and Research” seminar (May 2023) (Link), in which the opportunities provided by the DAAD ERA Fellowship Programme were promoted (Link) as well as the “EU-Afrika-conference: Applied Sciences as drivers for regional innovation ecosystems in Africa” (September 2023) (Link) which highlighted the importance of EU-African mobility and the qualification of talents. The Transatlantic Roundtable (October 2023) (Link) organised by DAAD Brussels in collaboration with its sister organisation in the USA, the Institute of International Education (IIE), focused on People-to-People exchanges. Dr Kai Sicks, Secretary-General of DAAD, and Benedikt Brisch, Director, DAAD Office New York, among others, shared insights into the opportunities and challenges of cross-transatlantic higher education mobility. Targeted future events with a focus on attracting talents to the German HE and research sphere, will take place in January 2024, in form of a seminar focusing on Artificial Intelligence, in which the DAAD’s graduate schools “Konrad Zuse Schools of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence” will be presented.

Further information


Screenshot of map with location of DAAD-office marked