Author Topic: Studying in Germany (state sponsored education)  (Read 2834 times)

cptnemo

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Studying in Germany (state sponsored education)
« on: October 05, 2014, 03:39:12 AM »
Hi there!

I am fairly new to the whole MMM-thing - but it got me seriously thinking about my (prior) plan of education.

The whole college/degree-question has been discussed here quite extensively as my searches indicate. But I don't live in the US - so my entire situation is quite different from what is usually discussed here...:

The situation: I am 28 years old and live in Germany.

(That part is important for what follows. ;) In Germany college is paid for by the state. That means the education is free. And you even get an interest free credit by the state of which you have at most to pay back 10k. The state gives you 680 Euro each month: 50% you need to pay back - but at the most 10k. Again: a) you get a free education (no tuition or fees) and b) you get a huge amount of money for free from the state to live off - while the small amount (max. 10k) you need to pay back is interest free and you have 20 years time to do that...)

So, the question is not should I study - but what should I study... ;)

I have traveled a lot and worked in different areas - without a degree. At the moment I am doing college prep-courses that are a requirement here in order to go to college. That's all fine and I am doing very well at that. I am nearly done with that and would now have to chose a college course to follow up on it.

Previously I had settled on psychology and a training in psychotherapy. But the whole education last between 8-12 years (college + training) and training costs between 20-40k Euro. So, from a mustachian point of view: Pretty stupid.

What else can I do?

Well, my skills lie mainly in communication, logic, argumentation, language, systematical thinking etc. So I figured I could just study philosophy, be top notch in that field and then see what job opportunities I get with that. I also have the possibility to combine philosophy with a lot of different subjects, like business, economics, biology, chemistry etc.

Then I thought about what else I could/should do in order to secure a well-paid job... And now I am totally confused! :) I have been through this a felt thousand times in the last years - and every time I come up with a possible solution there is something else that might turn out as a problem... So I would like to ask your advice: What to study with my skills?

(An added difficulty is that I identify as a Stoic: That means I have a quite strict moral compass. ;) I won't work in advertisement or anything [business-related] that involves questionable ethics.)

Thank you very much! :)
« Last Edit: October 05, 2014, 03:41:19 AM by cptnemo »

Lyssa

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Re: Studying in Germany (state sponsored education)
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2014, 01:41:28 PM »
Hi, fellow German here.

If you want to have a realistic shot at FIRE (despite rather high social contributions and taxes) do not study philosophy or any "Geisteswissenschaft" as an only subject.

My SO has studied history (main subject), philosophy and political science and came to regret it dearly. And he is among the most successful among his peers, not stuck with freelancing barely paying the bills or one "befristetes Arbeitsverhšltnis" after the other.

Don't believe anybody telling you you can "do anything" with a humanities degree (in Germany) because you "learned to learn" or "learned to think". Employers will hire you less, pay you less and treat you worse than somebody with a more marketable degree. Even a decade after university. Not pretty but the truth.

If you can manage to combine chemistry, biology or economics with philosophy: more power to you.

You're also free not to formally study philosophy but take part in the courses (or at least it was pre-Bologna reform, perhaps different now). Or do as I did and study what you need to work and make money (law in my case) and read your Seneca, Hobbes, Schopenhauer and Rawls on your own.

I understand you're aversion against marketing (who in the MMM forum wouldn't), though more because of my introversion than anything else. However, I have come to re-think my moral compass quite a bit since my Abitur/A-levels in the sense that I found humans at every level of power and influence and in every business sector function pretty much alike. And kind people as well as psychopaths are to be found everywhere. Don't exclude any fields for reasons of them being "bad" before having a closer look. And don't automatically assume the best of people working in sectors considered "good" or "caring".

cptnemo

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Re: Studying in Germany (state sponsored education)
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2014, 11:32:36 PM »
Hi Lyssa,

thanks for taking the time to reply.

Yes, probably you're right. Mainly those whose speak about the extraordinary opportunities provided by a philosophy degree are philosophy professors... And they wouldn't tell you that in order to secure their demand, would they? ;)

Your approach to the matter is quite sensible. I have always oscillated between that perspective and the wish to do something "meaningful". But meaningful doesn't pay the bills, essentially. I read the classics on my own up until now - so I could continue that, that's true. ;)

It's a tough decision to make - but maybe I will have to orientate towards computer science. I can do it - but it's hard work. Then there is also the possibility to absolve an apprenticeship as a programmer ("Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker - Anwendungsentwicklung/Systemintegration").

From there I would also have the opportunity to later get a degree in computer science - should that really be necessary. The computer-world is the way to go basically as I see it - a lot of freedom and good money there. But you also have to know what you're doing...

Well, I will think about this and then make a decision. At some point the thinking will have to stop and some action needs to follow.

Thanks again! I really appreciate your testimonial. :)

Lyssa

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Re: Studying in Germany (state sponsored education)
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2014, 12:29:46 AM »
Hi Lyssa,

thanks for taking the time to reply.

Yes, probably you're right. Mainly those whose speak about the extraordinary opportunities provided by a philosophy degree are philosophy professors... And they wouldn't tell you that in order to secure their demand, would they? ;)

Your approach to the matter is quite sensible. I have always oscillated between that perspective and the wish to do something "meaningful". But meaningful doesn't pay the bills, essentially. I read the classics on my own up until now - so I could continue that, that's true. ;)

It's a tough decision to make - but maybe I will have to orientate towards computer science. I can do it - but it's hard work. Then there is also the possibility to absolve an apprenticeship as a programmer ("Ausbildung zum Fachinformatiker - Anwendungsentwicklung/Systemintegration").

From there I would also have the opportunity to later get a degree in computer science - should that really be necessary. The computer-world is the way to go basically as I see it - a lot of freedom and good money there. But you also have to know what you're doing...

Well, I will think about this and then make a decision. At some point the thinking will have to stop and some action needs to follow.

Thanks again! I really appreciate your testimonial. :)

You're very welcome.

Computer science sounds like a wonderful choice for you. It does offer the opportunity to work in more flexible environments while still being paid good money. If you consider an Ausbildung as an alternative to university you may also want to have a look at FH or BA degrees. Less "university atmosphere" but good degrees and tutoring.

And keep in mind: you can study whatever you want (for free) after FI. :-)

All the best for your decision!

cptnemo

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Re: Studying in Germany (state sponsored education)
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2014, 07:43:57 AM »
Thanks, Lyssa.

Yes, after FI I can basically study whatever I want - so it's best to get the money coming in first. ;) And it's not an either or: I can read my Marcus Aurelius - and should ;) - while pursuing a degree in computer science and working in that field.

I already have sort of a background in that field since it's a hobby of mine (linux and stuff) and I do have about a year left until the next semester would start for me. So a lot of time to prepare.

I guess I should stop to chicken out and spartan the f* up. ;) I've got excellent grades and I'm smart enough - the only thing that's necessary is my work, discipline and endurance. But I guess, that's worthwhile considering the good payoff.

So, thanks for your input. I'll keep you posted to what this will eventually lead... ;)

goodlife

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Re: Studying in Germany (state sponsored education)
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2014, 11:49:23 PM »
I agree, don't study philosophy, that will not be lucrative at all and Germany being very rigid in terms of what people they hire, I think it's unlikely that you can just move into another field. In the US, a lot of companies hire graduates who studied someting totally unrelated, like investment banks often hire people with totally unrelated degrees for the sake of diversity of thought or whatever...but I don't really see that happening in Germany.

The other thing though...just because your education is "free" doesn't mean you should go study. There is opportunity cost and if you can make good money without a degree, then that's fine too. But given you are already 28 and if you really do want to go to university, then the main criteria in my view should be how much you think you can make afterwards, so Computer Science, Finance, Economics are probably good choices.

cptnemo

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Re: Studying in Germany (state sponsored education)
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 06:49:00 AM »
Thanks, goodlife for your answer.

Yes, given my age and the German hiring procedures a degree is a must if I want to go into CS.

The opportunity costs are relatively low as I can study in a city with very low costs of living - that still has a very good CS faculty and reputation.

Also, I do get money from the state on a monthly basis of which 50% I have to pay back. But the the credit is interest-free and the max-payback is 10k with a max. 20 year span of payback. So, taking all of these considerations together along with the average income of a CS graduate here in Germany to pursue that path seems reasonable.