Running between April 22 to May 12, the survey asked 350 students from 66 countries about future study plans in Germany and included students that wanted to come for the summer semester in March/April 2020 and were not able to travel as well as students for the semester starting this autumn.
“Safety is perceived as one of the most important factors when students chose their country to study abroad in”
While 82% said their plans had been affected by Covid-19, 73% of students indicated they were very likely to come to Germany, with 68% wanting to come to Germany “as soon as possible”.
Almost a third of students (30%) noted they had difficulties acquiring visas as German embassies were not issuing them at the time. Some 11% said they had delayed their entrance exams.
Despite the uncertainty, students are “quite optimistic and confident about their future”, Fintiba suggested.
“The replies indicate that the students are waiting to see how the future events unfold as they still have plans to travel to Germany once the Covid-19 crisis is over,” the company said.
Only 5% of prospective students are planning to cancel their study plans in Germany in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, or are cancelling their travel and are now studying online, it added.
Stakeholders have suggested that Germany will continue to attract international students beyond the coronavirus pandemic.
It is still not clear when the country will open up for international arrivals, and the government plans to extend a travel ban for German national to non-European countries until August 31.
Additionally, interest in Germany is gaining share, as the country ranks top for international students within non-English speaking countries, Fintiba managing director, Jonas Marggraf said.
“The fact that the development of the coronavirus pandemic was relatively mild in Germany compared to the big English speaking countries like US and UK and safety is perceived as one of the most important factors when parents and students chose a country to study abroad in,” he said.
International students are waiting for borders to open, Marggraf continued.
However, around 15% of students had to postpone their studies abroad with the intention of resuming their study plans at a later date, the survey found.
“We see the borders slowly opening again with European borders to start with.
“The start of the winter semester 2020 has been delayed to start November 1, so we expect that many international students will be able to come for their next academic year,” he noted.
A small majority of respondents indicated they felt “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the support provided by universities during the crisis, while 40% were “slightly satisfied” and 10% were “not at all satisfied”.
Fintiba has sought to assist students by introducing a Coronavirus news “ticker” to collect relevant information for prospective students, as well as a series of webinars to offer updates on current visa regulations, university procedures and travel restrictions.
The company has also strived to ensure that all students have their health insurance cover activated correctly, while Germany has provided interest-free loans to students and the APS assessment for Chinese students has been eased.
“Fintiba’s strategy maintains in place as to be the first point of contact to support international students on their way to Germany,” Marggraf noted, adding that when borders do reopen, it is essential to consider international students early on and ensure they “be allowed to enter the country from the very beginning”.