Bill Clinton, Deng Xiaoping, Tung Chee-hwa, Sun Yat-sen, King Hussein of Jordan, Benjamin Netanyahu, Pierre Trudeau and Mahatma Gandhi are only a few world leaders, past and present, who made the most of their formal education through studying abroad. It could be argued that education is not just about straight academics. It is also about absorbing the culture that surrounds a person and learning about a fellow student's way of life. Germany, a country rich in culture and history, is offering two full-time and several part- time scholarships for post-graduate work in German institutions through its German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The programme, which has been running for more than 40 years, is a self-administrative academic exchange and support organisation founded by a group of German institutions of higher education. The purpose of the group's activities is to promote relations between German institutions and institutions abroad, through the exchange of students, graduates and scholars. DAAD's activities are open to all countries. Currently there are more than 140,000 foreign students studying in the country. Hong Kong's DAAD scholarships are open to students under 32 who are in the process of completing, or have recently finished, their Masters degree in any discipline. There are three streams of scholarships available. Two one-year scholarships are on offer covering tuition, living expenses and travel. The programme also covers an extensive two to six-month German-language course pre ceding the university studies. The scholarship can be renewed to other years if the project is going well and the professor in Germany supports the work. Many applicants often stay three to four years on a project working towards their PhD qualifications. There is also a number of three to six-month scholarships available which do not include the language course. In addition, there is a one to three-month scholarship for academics who already hold a PhD qualification and would like to do research in Germany. Students can choose from about 300 institutes. Kerstin Kippenhan, an instructor at the University of Hong Kong and a local DAAD representative, said the international co-operation of the programme was important for Germany as it provided a link with academic life in other countries. She said DAAD was proud of its scholarship operation as its graduates had helped foster political and economic relationships between their countries and Germany for many years. Among the graduates is Indonesian President B. J. Habibie who studied in the country during the 1950s. 'Usually after their studies, a person still retains a link to Germany. I wouldn't say this programme was economically or politically motivated. 'It was more so that after World War II it was decided to open Germany to foreign scholars and create a mutual relationship,' Ms Kippenhan said. 'German business is not directly involved in German universities. It is not as close as it is in Hong Kong. The programme is a pure academic relationship. 'Naturally, if someone studies a technological subject, for example, later on the person might use his connections or knowledge of German business centres in his work and everyone benefits.' Dr Chiu Sung-nok studied in Germany for three years using his DAAD scholarship to receive his doctorate in mathematics at the Technische Universitat Bergakademie Freiberg. He currently works as an assistant professor in the mathematics department of the Hong Kong Baptist University. His advice to applicants is to learn more German before going there. 'It was an experience that was rather different than studying in the US or another English- speaking country. 'The language was a problem and a challenge to learn a rather difficult language and some new ideas in mathematics. 'But the experience helped me,' Dr Chiu said. Ms Kippenhan said for students who wanted to study in the country for a long period it would be necessary to learn to read, write and speak German to cope with their studies. But for a short-term stay, English would suffice as the use of the language was becoming more common. 'More German universities are trying to become international in their approach. The number of German professors who have studied abroad [in English-speaking countries] has never been higher and their English is very good,' she said. 'They accept PhD candidates who could finish their PhD thesis in English but it is sort of an individual agreement between the professor and the scholarship holder.' Deadline for scholarship applications is 5 pm, October 16. For details, phone Ms Kippenhan at 2859-2045, or Dr Stefanie Eschenlohr at 2339-5666. Pictures reproduced here are from 'Universitaten in Deutschland', (Universities in Germany), a bilingual guide to the educational system.