DSW: Poor conditions for international students

International students in Germany: Social factors central to academic success

  • International students affected by financing difficulties, loneliness and housing shortage,
  • Internationalization: Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW) with joint conference for universities and student unions
  • Around 320,000 international students at German universities


Berlin, 1 June 2022 -Social factors such as secure student financing, psychosocial counseling and affordable housing are also key to the academic success of the approximately 320,000 international students in Germany. This was emphasized by Matthias Anbuhl, Secretary General of Deutsches Studentenwerk (DSW), today in Berlin at the start of a joint DSW conference of universities and student unions on the situation of international students.

"The pandemic acts like a burning glass," Anbuhl explained at the start of the conference. In the past two years, international students have been particularly affected by financial difficulties and isolation. The housing shortage is a constant problem for them.

According to Anbuhl, the difficulties in financing their studies were reflected in the fact that the bridging assistance provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for students in emergency situations due to the pandemic was disproportionately often claimed by international students. While they accounted for about 11% of students overall, they made up 30% of recipients of bridging assistance.

International students also suffered increasing loneliness during the pandemic; their social-academic integration on campus was significantly impeded by pandemic protective measures.

"With their psychosocial counseling services, with affordable housing, but also by promoting social interaction in their dormitories, the student unions make a decisive contribution to improving the tense situation of international students in Germany," Matthias Anbuhl sums up.

In addition to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine is also taking its toll on students and their supervisors at universities and student unions. Students from third countries who have fled Ukraine are also having a hard time. Matthias Anbuhl demands: "A political solution must also be found for them".

Around 70 participants from the International Offices of the universities and the student unions will take part in the DSW conference on 1 June 2022, entitled "International Students in Germany - Pandemic Tired? Successful? In Crisis?" 

The conference is organized by the Service Agency for Intercultural Competence (SIK) of Deutsches Studentenwerk. The Service Agency is celebrating its 20th anniversary with this event. It was founded on 1 May 2002 and has since been funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The SIK provides continuing education for university and student union employees and takes care of socio-political concerns of international students in Germany.

The DSW Service Center for Intercultural Competence online:

This press release online

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