hi. i am german and studied communication design in wuerzburg. right now i am doing my masters in the united states.
i can tell you quickly how you usually apply to a design school in germany:
for the fall 2005, the deadline for applications vary from december 2004 to june 2005, depending on the school you are applying for.
you need to send in a portfolio demonstrating your strongest work. sometimes you need to work on some given projects, so all students would have to send in the same designprojects (which i personally prefer). if you are successfull you will be ask to come for an interview. professors want to know about your personality. sometimes you also have to pass a written designtest. but dont worry about that, this is mostly to kill the time waiting for the interview, which would be on the same day.
if you pass all that, you will get accepted. in germany you do not need to pay tuition. education is for free. (it might change in the future - ridicilous…). however you do need to pay tuition if you join a private school. but as far as i know the schools you mentioned are state universities.
all you would have to pay are the so called “semesterbeitrag”, a little amount for one semester, covering paperstuff and other things made available for you in order to study. this semesterbeitrag also varies from school to school. in wuerzburg i payed 118 euro (ca. 130 dollar) a semester. nothing in comparison to the 20.000 bucks i have to pay in america!!! you wont find these incredible amounts in germany. studying and education is not a luxery yet and hopefully will never be.
check out these:
koeln internationale hochschule fuer design (shortly: kisd):
Hochschule der Kuenste Berlin (shortly: UDK)
Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee (shortly: KH)
Fachhochschule Wuerzburg-Schweinfurt (shortly: FHWS)
Hochschule fuer Gestaltung Karlsruhe (shortly: HfGK)
Hochschule der Kuenste Zurich (shortly: hgk)
I think you picked the biggest schools and probably the most wellknown. but remember there are also other schools which have a great education, for example i cannot complain about wuerzburg. the overall design approach in germany is different from the U.S., as we are influenced by the Bauhaus alot. some schools more others less.
You will find most information you need on the webpages. for some you need to know the german language. also: if you have any questions concerning the study you can call or write to the schools anytime. everybody is speaking english.
important also: the educationsystem in germany is changing in the next years. the diploma-degree will be replaced by the bachelor and master. the diploma from germany is seen as a bachelor degree here in the states. which is wrong, since the diploma lies between the bach and the masters. also consider: you will be expected to know alot and to think. think about concepts for example. the system there is less a “fullfilling one” and “getting ready to work”. as long as you are in school you can experiment, and think out of the box. there is nothing like a syllabus. as long as you are willing to learn and try out, you will be challenged and successfull. creativity is not coming from smoking a joint… kidding.
i myself having a hard time to study here… i miss my european system and thinking about going back.
so the choice to go to study in europe is a good one. you wont regret it! if you have any other questions, let me know. i will try to help.