Germany - Destination Guide

Wilkommen ins Deutschland!

Almost 7,000 U.S. students choose to study abroad in Germany each year, and another 2,800 study in Austria. If you are reading this guide, you might be one of them some day. Most U.S. students study abroad in Germany in order to improve their language skills, learn about German culture, and focus on their academic specialties.

(Because the University of Iowa has only one study abroad program in Austria, this guide will focus primarily on Germany as a destination. Information on our Austria program will be interspersed with information about Germany.)

The Federal Republic of Germany is situated in the heart of Europe, with a population of 82 million (7.3 million of whom are foreigners). Germany is bordered by nine neighbors: Denmark to the north, the Netherlands and Belgium to the northwest, France and Luxembourg to the west, Austria and Switzerland to the south, and the Czech Republic and Poland to the east.

Germany’s landscape is as varied as its dialects. In the north, chains of islands can be found with extensive sand dunes, heath, and moorland. Dense mixed forests and medieval castles line the rivers valleys in the hills and mountains of central Germany. The industrial landscape of the Ruhr region is transforming into cleaner, greener spaces. The Alps, with their crystal mountain lakes, rise up majestically in the south.

The backbone of the Germany economy is its car manufacturing, electronics and pharmaceutical industries. Germany is not particularly blessed with natural resources, and thus depends heavily on a highly-trained and well-educated population to develop and maintain worldwide trade relations. It could be said that Germany’s natural resources are its science and research, as well as its philosophy and art.

A publication by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) titled, Destination Germany: A Pocket Guide for International Students, as well as the DAAD web site, have provided invaluable information for the creation of this destination guide.