Why do we study translation

study in Germany
Multilingualism: yes, everything in English: no!

Never before have so many foreign students been enrolled at German universities as today. After Great Britain, Germany is the second most sought-after country in Europe. Is such a culture of multilingualism emerging at German universities?

Studying in Germany is popular. This is shown by the more than 300,000 foreign students currently enrolled at German universities and technical colleges. This means that around one in ten students now comes from abroad - a record. That is the result of the study Science open to the world 2014 the Federal Ministry of Education, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Center for University and Science Research (DZHW). The report is compiled every year on the basis of the student and examination statistics of the Federal Statistical Office and shows: When it comes to the most popular study location in the world, Germany ranks fourth. Before that, only the USA, Great Britain and Australia come.

With a buddy through the jungle of authorities

The largest proportion of all foreign students in Germany come from China (12.5 percent), Russia (5.3 percent) and Austria (4.2 percent). More than two thirds of them move to Germany to get their bachelor's or master's degree here. Most of them study engineering, but law, economics and social sciences are also popular.

The results show that diversity is alive. But what is actually being done for the multilingual culture at German universities? The Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich (LMU) offers 22 English-language master’s courses. The university offers foreign students the opportunity to obtain basic information about their new study home before the start of the semester by organizing preparatory and language courses, excursions and welcome days together with the International University Club Munich. If the students are enrolled, they can take part in the so-called buddy program: Here, German students help foreign students to find their way around Munich and accompany them to authorities, for example. They are just buddies - real buddies.

"English and that's it - that's not enough for us"

A total of around 7,500 foreign students are currently enrolled at the LMU, around 15 percent of all students. "A lot that shows that our efforts are paying off," says Dr. Stefan Lauterbach, Head of the Department for International Affairs at LMU. “Nevertheless, it is not our goal, as the Technical University of Munich plans to do, at some point in time to offer all master’s courses only in English.” The reason why the 56-year-old cites the importance of the German language as a scientific language, because English is not in all subjects as resounding as in the natural sciences. “In the cultural and social sciences, German has its justification, so we don't want to bump into that horn: English and that's it - that's not enough for us.” This is how the LMU wants to accommodate Eastern European students who often use German as have learned their first foreign language.

Photo: TU Ilmenau / ari Multilingualism is also popular at smaller universities, such as the TU Ilmenau in Thuringia. "We have four English-language master's degree programs that are in great demand," says Dr. Frank March, head of the TU Ilmenau International School. Demand is booming, as can also be seen on campus: 13 percent of the students here have a foreign passport, 70 different nationalities in total. “Most of them come from China, Russia and Syria,” says March, confirming the results of the study Science open to the world 2014.

Internationality from home

Thuringia is very popular and, along with Hesse, is the federal state that has been able to attract the most additional foreign students compared to 2008. That means an increase of almost 35 percent. In order to bring all nationalities together, there are also many initiatives in Ilmenau to integrate foreign students on campus, but also to sensitize Germans to international students. A specialty is the ISWI, the International Student Week in Ilmenau. The associated student association of the same name organizes the world's largest international student meeting every two years for ten days. Hundreds of international students then meet in the small town on the Thuringian Forest and present their different cultures in various events. “They manage it better than if you were to take it the official route,” says March with a laugh.

Despite all the internationality, March, like his colleague in Munich, states: “There is one principle: We will remain a German-speaking university.” Because he, too, sees German as an important scientific language that should not be replaced by English.

In Munich as in Ilmenau, the principle will therefore be used in the future in addition to the expansion of English-language Masters Internationalization at home, which means making internationality - and thus also multilingualism - tangible for Germans at home. Among other things, all students should learn additional languages ​​at the local language institutes or be able to participate more in projects such as the buddy program.