Internationalization of Universities: The German Way

Marijke Wahlers


While German universities have traditionally followed a partnership-based cooperative
approach to internationalization, more recently, growing competition and increasing
resource shortages have resulted in the emergence of a more competitive approach.
Also with regard to international students as a target group, the cooperative and
competitive approaches have coexisted for many years, albeit virtually unconnected.
This has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of international students in
Germany over the past two decades. The question arises as to whether, and how, the
two sometimes contradictory rationales can, in the future, be harmonized. There is
much to be said for Germany further enhancing its international profile in the global
competitive market by consistently pursuing its partnership-based approach. There is
evidence that not only universities, but also the economy and society, reap long-term


Internationalization; Germany; German universities; recruitment; international students; tuition fees; cooperation; competition; brain drain; brain gain; brain circulation

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