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10 things to know about studying in Germany

Moving abroad to study in Germany can be daunting, but these tips will help you find the best ways to get around the country, the foods to try and why it might be a good idea to buy a watch

    Grace McCabe's avatar

    Grace McCabe

    Content Writer, THE Student
    May 23 2022


    Germany is a popular destination for international students. The high standards of German universities allow students to develop contacts, expand their knowledge and refine their skills for their chosen career paths at the early stage of studying.

    As well as all this, there is so much for students to do while in Germany – whether it’s visiting historical landmarks, exploring nature or sampling the local cuisine.

    1. The cost of education

    Germany offers education at its public universities for generally small tuition fees, and sometimes none. Each term or semester, international students are charged a small fee ranging from €100 to €300 and an administration fee, which is about €50. However, some universities do charge non-European Union students tuition fees, but these are usually still cheaper than other countries.

    However, if you choose a programme at a private institution, you will be charged tuition fees just like students from the rest of Europe.

    2. Not everyone needs a visa to study

    Germany offers visa-free travel to students from select countries or areas including the EU, Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States. If you are from one of these exempt countries, you do not need to apply for a visa, but you will need a residence permit for any programmes lasting longer than 90 days.

    If you do require a visa, there are three options. The language course visa, the student applicant visa and the student visa.

    3. Learn the language

    Whether your university course requires you to speak German or not, the ability to speak the language is a benefit when studying in Germany. Many people do speak some English; however, you will find it easier to immerse yourself in the country if you know entry-level vocabulary. Many universities offer lessons for international students, and you can also learn with a private tutor or online.

    4. Finding accommodation can be tricky

    Accommodation in Germany can be quite different from student accommodation in other countries. Not all universities provide student accommodation, so it is common for students to live in private accommodation alone or to share with other students.

    It is common for international students to stay in temporary accommodation when they arrive. These include hostels, hotels and guest houses. This option allows students to begin their studies while they view the private accommodation nearby to select their permanent residence.

    5. Punctuality is important

    In German culture, it is essential to be punctual. You will find that public transport will be on time, and it is often considered rude to arrive even a few minutes late.

    So make sure that you plan your time in advance and ensure that you don’t run late for classes or social events.

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    The cost of studying at a university in Germany 
    Everything you need to know about studying in Germany
    Everything international students need to know about student visas for Germany

    6. Healthcare insurance is required by law

    It is required by law that everyone in Germany have health insurance, including international students. Most international students registered at a university in the country have the option to register with Germany’s public health insurance provider.

    However, if you are over the age of 30, studying a language and preparatory course, completing your PhD or visiting as a guest scientist, you must register with private health insurance. Public healthcare costs between €100 and €115 per month. Private insurance can vary in price, so it is best to contact the insurance provider directly.

    7. The cost of living is quite reasonable

    International students may find that they need about €850 per month for living costs. Food, bills, transport and clothing are all priced very reasonably. The only large expense that students might find is monthly rent. However, if you are choosing to share accommodation with other students, this will also help to split the cost.

    With the correct visa, international students also have the option to work part-time during their studies. In addition to the extra money students can make while working, they will also find this is a wonderful opportunity to develop their language skills, immerse themselves in the culture and meet new people.

    8. Fairy-tale surroundings

    Germany is the perfect mix of larger modern cities and smaller, idyllic towns. The towns of Marburg and Freiburg are filled with stunning castles and churches, while the bigger cities such as Berlin and Hamburg are full of art galleries, museums and bars.

    Germany is a great country to explore as there is so much to see and many different places to experience.

    9. The train system is brilliant

    Following on from the previous point, Germany is a pretty easy to get around thanks to the brilliant train system. Trains are very punctual, there are good connections across the country and ticket prices can be quite reasonable.

    You may find that you can get a student discount on train tickets, so take advantage and make sure you book day trips and weekends away to fully explore the country.

    10. Food from around the world

    Germany is a multicultural country, but it can often be tricky to find food from your home country. It is much easier in bigger cities such as Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt, which all have great food scenes including Turkish, Lebanese, Indian, Chinese and Thai restaurants.

    However, this may be a great opportunity to try some well-known German dishes that might incorporate some of the flavours you are used to, such as currywurst and saurkraut.

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