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Germany > Education


The International Baccalaureate For Expat Pupils In Germany: Pros and Cons

Published Monday August 10, 2015 (13:01:00)

Image © dmytrok on Flickr

Education in Germany is second to none. In the last few years, foreign students from parts of Europe and Asia have moved to this country because of the quality of education. Germany has many international educational opportunities, affiliated with various universities from around the globe, like the American Board (AP), the British Board (GCSE) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program.

The demand for an IB diploma is increasing, not just among the locals but also with expat pupils. Though the IB program has been in existence in this country since 1971, many Germans are still not aware of it. The course is mainly taken by those who want to study abroad, or those who have moved to Germany from another country. Most of the expats living in this country prefer to have their children undergo the IB program.

At present there are around 35 schools across Germany which offer the IB Diploma course. This number is much higher compared to some of the other European nations such as France (11 IB schools), Belgium (5 IB schools), the Netherlands (14 IB Schools) and even Switzerland (27 IB Schools) but lower than Spain (47 IB schools) and The UK (190 IB Schools). However, there are a few criteria that IB Diploma students have to fulfill in order to be admitted into a college or university in Germany. This includes meeting the minimum requirement of having studied a foreign language, mathematics and science.

The IB integrated program is considered ideal for students who plan on “going global”. Howeve IB, like any other program, has its own plus and minus points.

Below are some of the pros of studying IB in Germany.


One of the best features of IB schools is that all the subjects are taught in English. This is a major advantage for expat students from the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, especially if they are not very fluent in German. Most of the IB schools encourage all students to converse in English, regardless of their nationality.

Global focus

Since the beginning, the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) has been known for creating challenging intercultural programs that are centered on international education. The course is designed to help students understand their culture and national identity. They are also encouraged to explore other cultures. Since most countries have IB schools, this course is ideal for those students who plan to move around.


Almost all IB schools usually have a mix of foreign and local students. The pupils therefore get more exposure to personal interaction with people of different cultures. This could make it easier for an expat to settle in. They may also come across other students from their home countries.

Quality of teaching

In most cases IB teachers, course designers & administrators are trained to deliver the curriculum in accordance with international standards. They are therefore encouraged to use the latest teaching aids and techniques. Students at all levels are required to meet the established benchmarks and criteria.

Practical learning

International schools do a better job of introducing students to subjects like Information Technology than many German schools. The number of extracurricular activities offered by them is also usually higher. Unlike other boards which focus a lot on theoretical learning, the IB Program encourages pupils to work on projects and assignments after some research. Right from the age of eight or nine, IB students learn to prepare presentations on topics covered in class. This enables them to think, remember and apply everything they have learned, without just cramming for an exam.

So what are the cons of the IB program?


The fees charged by international schools in Germany are very high compared to local ones. While the amount may vary from one school to another, most people end up paying around € 16,000 per year per student for IB education.


Homework is a normal part of school life but IB students are required to complete several projects a week, within a stipulated period of time. These strict deadlines could make learning quite stressful for any student.

Lack of recognition

While IB education is at least on par with (if not better than) the German board, many Universities ask the students to take an entrance exam before granting them admission. On the upside, IB students normally fare very well because of the quality of education they have received.

Have you or your children studied the IB? Share your experiences in the comments.

Read more Germany education articles or view our latest Germany articles

Discuss this article in our Germany forum or Facebook group



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