German students abroad, since 1991

In 2020, around 133,000 German nationals were studying abroad, with this figure dwindling by roughly 5% (in the region of 140,000) since 2017. Most of these students (approx. 90%) also intended to graduate abroad.

Looking at the development of degree-related mobility, it becomes clear that in the period between 2002 and 2010, i.e. during the introduction of the new, tiered degree system, above-average growth rates of 10% and more were achieved in one year. Since the introduction of the new degree types has ended, the absolute number of German students studying abroad has not increased further. In 2020, it fell by by around 5,000 students due to the pandemic. Their share of all German students has fallen slightly in recent years, partly due to the sharp rise in the number of students in Germany up to 2015, and then to 4.9% in 2020.

Temporary study-related stays abroad show a somewhat different trend. Between 1991 and 2000, the share of students with temporary stays abroad rose sharply (from 20% to 32%) and stabilized at this level until 2006. In 2009 and 2012, the figure was then somewhat lower at 30% in each case and fell again in 2016 to 28%.

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