My journey until now (The Why and The How): লিখেছেন Awsaf Rahman

Choosing Germany

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to go to U.S.A for my higher studies. More so cause I had my elder brother doing his PhD there.

So, just after I graduated on January 2013, I started preparing for my TOEFL and GRE exams. My preparations took a cruel hit as I lost my dad on May 31st. Everything changed. A lot of responsibilities suddenly on my shoulders along with a world of grief. I thought about postponing higher studies and staying here until at least 2015 but mom wouldn’t let me.

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So, I struggled but eventually took a month long preparation and sat for both exams. I scored 309 on GRE and 108 on TOEFL. Applied in three universities in their direct PhD program in the hope of getting a bit of funding and a position as a student assistant or research assistant. In the meantime, a couple of my friends were looking at German universities and trying to persuade me to at least apply with them even if I don’t go there. Because of their persistence and the fact that there were no application fees (in the ones they were applying to), I applied to Technical University of Darmstadt (Masters in Distributed Software Systems) and Saarland University (Masters in Computer Science). In the end, I got accepted in all three universities in the U.S and the two in Germany as well but didn’t receive any financial assistance. Mom wanted me to go to U.S and try to get an assistantship position after a semester or two, until then she will fund my stay and studies. But I wasn’t ready to just take a significant amount of money from mom in this situation, so I started considering Germany as a realistic destination when I learned there was very little tuition fees required. I had absolutely zero idea about the standard of education in Germany. Had a lot of doubt, so as I prepared for the next steps for getting I-20 from U.S universities, I quietly researched Germany in the background. To dispel any doubts, I read a lot of reviews, articles, comments on German education and also talked to a bunch of students already studying there. I looked at the master programs more closely and also gathered knowledge on if a German degree will allow me to move to some other country for PhD later on or not. It was all positive. Most universities are state funded so they are required to maintain a certain level of education which is why ranking of Universities inside Germany is of very little importance.  A little disadvantage everyone told me about was the language. But the way I saw it, if I could learn even a little bit of German, it would actually enhance my CV. Then, why not? So, I waged a little war in the house and eventually got my wish to pursue Germany as my destination.

What I had to do along the way

Apologies for that long and utterly boring story but hopefully, somewhere in there you’ll find your reasons to choose Germany as well. Now, for the ‘’how’’ part.

Basically, I started searching for courses using this website which I came to know about from my friends. I searched for Computer Science related courses that were taught in English and chose the ones that I mentioned earlier. Then I attested the photocopies of the necessary documents (O level, A level, Undergraduate Certificates, GRE score and TOEFL Score) and sent them to the university via DHL(Price: 2400 TK). (Note: Saarland University asked me to upload the documents in their online portal along with Recommendation letters.)  Each university required two recommendation letters. Saarland took around 1.5 months to give me an admission decision while TU Darmstadt took 2 months. I used Saarland’s offer letter to email ([email protected]) the embassy for an appointment on the 22nd of June and they replied with an appointment date of 17th July, a couple of days later. After applying to the universities, I went to their respective Studentenwerk websites and applied for accommodation (one should apply as early as possible). They sent me an email just before my visa interview to tell me I was waitlisted for a room in one of their halls. I used that email as proof that I did look for accommodation in the visa interview. For visa purposes, I opened a block account in City Bank. It takes very little time if you go prepared, i.e. with all your certificates, offer letter and passport. They charge around 7000 taka to open a student file. Then I went to prime insurance to get travel insurance. Again, that took a little less than two hours only. All they needed was my offer letter, my passport and medical certificate saying I am physically fit. After that I went to get my photo clicked. For my visa interview I needed my certificates and past admit cards along with Saarland University’s offer letter and 3 photos. My visa interview went relatively well. 21 days later, I got my visa and immediately booked my flight (Qatar Airways, 58,500 taka) for the 23rd of September. Now, I’m doing a bit of shopping and learning A1 level German at an institute called Die Sprache in Chittagong. Waiting to step into my new and significantly tougher life. Hopefully, I can face the challenges with all the patience in the world.

Final Comments

The process looks relatively easy but when you actually get down to work, you will be surprised. I was too but that’s where BSAAG came in. Every step along the way I had the best guides possible. The admins answered my questions and helped me tirelessly. I hope to repay them by lending a hand from now on.

In Shaa Allah!

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