Over the last years, more and more Greeks have left their country for Germany and a more promising economic life. While this is reminiscent of past decades, today’s Greek immigrants are not unskilled workers, but eminent scientists seeking further specialization and a job.
The Deutsche Welle has explained the “brain drain” phenomenon from Greece to Germany in an eye-opening article. Between 2012 and 2013, Germany saw a 13% increase in its Greek student population. German surveys estimate that, in that period, 6,000 Greek students migrated to Germany, of which more than 1,100 had directly begun their studies in Germany.
As the national budget for education is constantly being slashed, the future of Greek universities looks bleak. The Deutsche Welle found that the University of Crete, among the best 100 universities in the world, recorded a 50% cut in state funding from 2011 to 2013.
The deputy head of the Goethe Institute in Athens, Urlike Drissner, notes that the applications for German language courses have reached a record high. In 2009, the number of students learning German stood at 1,700. It now exceeds 2,000.
“At the moment the numbers aren’t increasing, but I’d be reluctant to say it’s a sign of recovery from the crisis. It’s more a sign that money’s tight,” says Drissner.
Greek university professor Skevos Papaioannou noted that in Greece the funding for scientific research has been severely reduced. He expressed fears that, should investments and jobs fail to return to Greece, even more young Greeks will turn abroad for opportunities.