Why online learning will help you shape your international career

Choosing to study as an adult is a big choice to make and it’s only natural that you want a good idea of the likely return on your investment. 

Why online learning will help you shape your international career
Shape your future by studying for an online degree or Masters. Photo: Getty Images

That may be even more true in a time of economic uncertainty such as now. Fortunately, as an English speaker in today’s world, you have a wide range of options for international study to help you develop new skills and shape your future career path.

Many of the most exciting opportunities in 2023 and beyond lie in distance learning fit for the digital age. At its best, distance learning offers students significant advantages, such as rolling applications, flexible schedules and innovative digital resources.

The International University of Applied Sciences (IU), which offers around 60 undergraduate and Master’s programmes in English, is a leading example of this. 

Based in Germany, IU has more than 100,000 students enrolled and many of them are studying online from other countries. In fact, the students come from more than 110 countries across the world.

What they have in common is that they are all attracted by a strong focus on real life skills and knowledge designed to help you shine in tomorrow’s world. 

Boost your career prospects with a fully online, fully flexible and internationally recognised Bachelor’s, Master’s or MBA at IU

Tech literacy and flexible learning

More than 85 percent of organisations see adoption of new technology and greater digital access as the key trends for transforming their business, according to The Future of Jobs Report 2023, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

If you’re reflecting on how to enhance your employability, you almost certainly have thought – or need to think – about how tech know-how could help you realise your ambitions.

The WEF report also highlights how technological literacy is fast rising up its list of the most in-demand skills, as is AI and big data.

Degrees in data and various IT-related fields are popular options at IU, along with programmes in management, entrepreneurship and much more

The pace of technological change can feel daunting. But when new technology is introduced with a clear focus on simplifying and supporting users, the potential benefits are huge. This is true in education, as well as in business.

If you want to study as an adult today, your biggest challenge may be figuring out how to fit a Bachelor’s or Master’s into your already overly busy life. Flexibility is now non-negotiable, not just ‘nice to have’.

As a student at IU, you can choose your start date and complete your degree at a pace that suits you – if needed you can take a semester off or extend your study period. 

During your studies, you get plenty of support to help you personalise your learning, plan ahead and stay motivated. Support tools include Syntea, a newly introduced AI assistant.

Syntea can serve up relevant course materials to help you with any questions you have about your studies, as well as helping you to assess your learning and understand which areas you should focus on.

Distance learning leaders: learn more about how studying at IU boosts your employability

Are you ready for the future working world? Photo: IU

Employability: a bridge to real-world practice

When your aim is to shape a better future for yourself, it’s wise to keep a close eye on your employment prospects throughout your studies. There are often opportunities to grab the attention of prospective employers long before finishing your studies.

For this reason, studying at a university with close links to the business world can really pay off. IU has been forming partnerships with top global companies for more than 20 years and has more than 15,000 corporate partners in total.

This means students at IU can gain crucial firsthand experience of working environments through internships and projects. The focus is on providing you with an education that bridges the gap between theory and real-world practice – so that you’ll be ready to thrive amid all the challenges facing workers in the 21st century.

The end result? An impressive 94 percent of those who study at IU find a job within three months of graduating. If you’re looking to move into a more senior role, IU also offers a range of fully online MBAs.

On the topic of real-world issues, you may also be happy to know that online education greatly reduces CO2 emissions. Not only that but IU supports renewable energy in India and sustainable agricultural management in Zimbabwe to compensate for remaining CO2 emissions. It’s the first online learning institution in Germany to be TÜV-certified for its CO2 neutrality.

Accessible and affordable

Removing geographical barriers to education is easier than ever as online learning continues to evolve. IU also aims to remove financial and cultural barriers to a good education, making its programmes accessible and affordable. 

While there will always be economic ups and downs, there’s nothing to stop you from focusing on what you can control to enhance your future prospects – and online education offers a powerful way to do that in 2023 and beyond.

Book a free and personal video consultation with an IU study advisor and find out how you could shape your future for the better

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Reader question: Can I take my child out of school in Germany to go on holiday?

Flights and hotels are usually cheaper at off-peak times when schools are not on holiday. We look at a reader's question on whether Germany allows children to miss a few days of school to ease family holiday costs or dodge busy periods.

Reader question: Can I take my child out of school in Germany to go on holiday?

Autumn is in full swing and many people in Germany are planning trips to enjoy some well-earned time off work over the upcoming Herbstferien

But what happens if your child misses a day or two – or even longer – of school to go on holiday with the family?

The short answer is that skipping school with no justified reason is not allowed, and Germany has some strict rules on this.

In Germany there is a Schulpflicht (school obligation), which means that children are required to go to school and participate in lessons. 

By law that means parents can’t take their children out of school to travel – at least outside of the designated school breaks, which vary from state to state. 

If they do so without prior agreement, they could face fines and even imprisonment in severe cases. 

Police in Germany do at times patrol airports to check that families are not breaking the rules. 

According to Rhineland-Palatinate broadcaster RPR1, some families in Bavaria experienced this first-hand earlier this year. They were caught by police landing at Memmingen airport with school-age children on the first day of school after the holidays – without having a school exemption for the children. 

German travel publication Travelbook got in touch with some states for more information on whether parents can take their children out of school for travel.

“Parents are not allowed to take their children to travel out of school, because vacation trips are not justified except in exceptional cases,” said Michael Kern, a spokesman for the Bavarian state ministry of education and cultural affairs.

This applies “regardless of whether legal guardians take teaching materials with them on the trip and assure that they will work through them with school-age children”.

In another example, the education ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia said: “Parents are responsible for ensuring that a child attends classes. They cannot take their child out of school for vacation purposes.”

However, in exceptional cases children can be excused or given leave from school in Germany. Ultimately the decision lies with the school administration. 

For families who want to travel outside of school holiday time, they should apply to the school for a leave of absence. It is also worth talking to the class teacher first to keep them in the loop. 

READ ALSO: Why are flights to and from Germany so expensive at the moment?

High school graduates read through their German Abitur exams at Spohngymnasium in Bavaria.

High school graduates doing their German Abitur (leaving) exams at a school in Bavaria. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Felix Kästle

What are the fines for taking children out of school?

Parents who are caught taking their child or children out of lessons on holiday without an excuse face a fine, which varies depending on the federal state and the school authority.

In general, the fine can be up to €2,500. In Rhineland-Palatinate the limit is €1,500, it’s €1,000 in Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, and up to €2,500 in Berlin.

Can you say your child is sick?

If you are denied a leave of absence from the school, it would be a little suspicious to call into the school to say your child is sick at the time you planned to go away. 

In this case, the school has the option of requesting a medical certificate. If parents provide one, the school will accept it. However, there is a chance that the school would investigate this further depending on the circumstances. 

So is it worth it? It’s a personal decision but it doesn’t seem like it. The risk of being caught playing truant is relatively high and can cause a lot of trouble with the school or even the police if it escalates. If you also get fined, the earlier start to your holiday would not be worth it financially. either.


Fine – (die) Geldstrafe

Holidays – (die) Schulferien

To skip school or work/play truant – blaumachen 

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.