Germany brought up famous people in science and art disciplines, among them
Ludwig van Beethoven (Bonn, Germany)
Johann Sebastian Bach (Eisenach, Germany)
George Frideric Handel (Halle, Germany)
Johannes Brahms (Hamburg, Germany)
Robert Schumann (Zwickau, Germany)
Richard Strauss (Munich, Germany)
Felix Mendelssohn (Hamburg, Germany)
Richard Wagner (Leipzig, Germany)
Albert Einstein (Ulm, Germany)
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (Leipzig, Germany)
Wernher von Braun (Wirsitz, Germany / Wyrzysk, Poland)
Gottlieb Daimler (Schorndorf, Germany)
Karl Friedrich Benz (Karlsruhe, Germany)
Carl Bosch (Cologne, Germany)
and many more.
May be in earlier times there were no universities but higher education is what nowadays drives the development of scientists, artists, and professions in other areas.
Having access to a university education is no guarantee for success or becoming a famous person but it establishes the basis for greater achievements.
There’s a huge difference between the education system in Germany and the United States:
first of all, the accessibility: German universtities are free (there’s just a nominal administrative fee per semester like less than 150 Euro or so) while American universities charge substantial tuitition fees in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Most of Germany’s universities are public universities, not private. Even though private colleges exist, they aren’t the favorite choice for students, not only because they charge tuition (even though less than American colleges), but public universities are the most competitive form of university in Germany since most students attend them. Those universities have valuable and complex connections into the corporate and research world which helps student to have a good start.
There’s may be for each discipline a certain university that is a preferred one by students, however, it seems not to make such a difference which university you attend. Many students make the choice by selecting their favorite city.
Study programs have 3 or 4 year degrees and it is possible to choose dual programs where you build the bachelor and master’s degree in 4 years.
You need to speak German since most lectures are held in German language.
Studying in Germany can maybe considered more flexible than in the USA: you ‘just’ have to write 1-2 exams (papers) per semester and you are responsible for the pace of your learning and how much time you spend attending the lectures on campus. Much of the studying can be done online.
However, there are certain requirements, depending on the program and discipline you choose to study: many disciplines require top-notch grades from high school to get admitted. Others require still a demonstration of good skills in an area and an affinity to the discipline.
Other than having good high school grades, the admittance principle levels the playing field and getting higher university education has not much to do with the financial strength of the parents. The German free education system is more fair.
That is basically what Bernie Sanders (former Democratic Presidential candidate 2016 and 2020 / and U.S. Senator) made part of his election campaign and envisioned for the United States. He had a huge followership among young people, up to 80% at universities, but ‘Main Street America’ is not ready yet, it’ll take at least one more generation. ‘Til then, you will have to have deep pockets or be ready for a life in the abyss of student debt (Forbes article about 2020 student debt crisis: https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2020/02/03/student-loan-debt-statistics/)
Where to start if you want to study in Germany?
Many international students study in Germany and in our following example we picked the LMU (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität) in Munich: International students account for 15% of the students (50.ooo in total).
Check their website for information for Students: https://www.en.uni-muenchen.de/students/
The International Office is the first port of call for students from all over the world who are interested in completing a degree there or just visiting for a semester or a year.
For other universities in Germany the procedure is similar and can be found on the respective university website.