viernes, 28 de agosto de 2015

US students head to Germany for free degrees

BBC's Franz Strasser looks at the increasing number of Americans who are taking advantage of German universities.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video and answer the questions below. The activity is suitable for Intermediate 2 and Advanced students.

1 What qualifications does Anna Mass have?
2 How much do university students in Germany pay to attend university?
3 Which was Hunter Bliss’s main motivation to go to Germany to study?
4 What does Hunter spend his 600€ monthly expenses on?
5 What three reasons are given to justify the benefit of admitting foreign students at German universities?
6 Why hasn’t Katherine returned to the States?

In a suburb of New Jersey Anna Mass is getting her papers in order. After receiving (1) a bachelor’s degree in the US she decided to do her masters in Germany and save a lot of money.
Initially I was kind of thrown off because I thought there wasn’t any tuition for any of the universities and I thought maybe there’s a catch because I’m American and I always think that.
(2) Universities are free of charge in Germany, for German citizens and for everyone else. Thousands of Americans have heard the call and have enrolled overseas.
Hunter Bliss made the move last fall. At first, because the 19-year-old from South Carolina had never even been outside the US.
I heard things like I would be able to drink, have health care, I would get education, which is great. (3) My main motivation, of course, was saving money.
There’s about thirty or so students sitting inside listening attentively to this lecture being held in English, and that’s important because the University President has his wish that within five years every graduate programme at this university will not just be offered in English but in English school of symphony.
How is everything going?
Pretty good.
In the meantime, Hunter’s mother is glad. She can finance his education and living expenses without having to take on any loans.
Each month it costs about 600€ to live here: (4) My room, train tickets, school, gym, food, phone, health care.
But how long can it last?
The president of Hunter’s university says it’s almost inevitable that foreigners will have to pay in the future.
If we ignore the question of how to finance an outstanding university, the future reveal not continue of having outstanding universities in Germany.
But in the capital Berlin, the top destination for US students, politicians insist that college education should be a right, and not a privilege. And experts say there’s economic benefit for Germany too. If 40% of graduates stay in the country for five years, Germany recovers its costs.
Keeping international students who have studied in the country is the ideal way of immigration because (5) they have certificates which are needed, they don’t have a language problem at the end of their stay and they know the culture.
Katherine is one of those already paying back into the system. After finishing her master’s degree last year she’s still in Berlin living in a hip neighbourhood and working for a German start-up association.
I still could have gone but I know there’s some sort of comfort here, there’s, (6) there’s so many young people all thinking, believing that Berlin is this sort of dream world where anything is possible after you graduate.
For a country worried about an aging population, not charging young foreign talent could prove to be a smart long-term strategy. Franz Strasser BBC News Germany.