Originally Posted by AlexE
Maybe I can give you some insight based on my experience. Just as the background: I grew up in Germany and completed an engineering degree at one of the major technical universities. Afterwards I went to the US and obtained a PhD at one of the top-5 engineering schools before joining a management consulting firm in the US and ultimately switching into a industry position in Europe. So I have some first hand experience of the German and Anglo-Saxon educational systems.
Base on my experience it is unfortunately often not easy to make a call if going to university in the US/UK is better or worse than in Germany. There are some exceptions: If you want to major in law, (dental) medicine or education you should get your degree wherever you intend to work since foreign degrees are often not accepted to practice law, medicine or teach at high school in a country. In other fields such as engineering, science, management, economics, liberal arts those restrictions do not exist giving you a true choice between educational systems. Some things you may wanna consider:
- Educational style: The Anglo-Saxon system is more school-like (you will receive homework, class attendance is more or less mandatory, you will receive more guidance), the German system is based on personal responsibility (you can decide of you wanna attend classes or not, but ultimately you need to understand the content to pass the exams).
- Equipment: The prevailing stereotype on US/UK universities is that lab equipment, professor-student ratios, etc. are much better than e.g. in Germany. This is only true for the top schools there. I visited some tier 2 schools in the US and Britain which could only dream of the resources available to German universities.
- Prestige: Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Yale, etc. look great on any resume. However, be careful! The Imperial College in London or the University of Michigan ware world class universities. Unfortunately those names are not widely known outside of academia in Germany. This means you might have paid substantial money for a degree from an elite institution which nobody knows in your home country.- Experience abroad: Another SFer wrote that he isn't aware that international experience is a criterion for employment. This is (I am sorry for saying so) bullshit. In the US it is still not an essential criterion, but it is very beneficial to get a job in the big consulting firms (i.e. MBB) or global corporations. In many European countries and especially in Germany it is a key requirement for getting a job with the most prestigious employers. Forget about getting a job with a DAX company, a consulting firm, a Big-Four auditing firm without having studied/worked a year (or more) abroad
My recommendation would be to do a part of your university education abroad. However, I'd do the undergraduate degree in Germany and then go for a Master of PhD abroad. At graduate schools you will often be able to get an assistantship which comes with a waiver for the often horrendous fees and tuition at US/UK school.