Accommodation / Housing
Unfortunately, housing in Germany is one of the major challenges. Many foreign students look for an apartment upon arrival in Germany. It often happens and it is pretty difficult. At major university towns, there is a housing shortage. The number of students looking for accommodation well exceeds the offers. Moreover, the cost of accommodation should not be underestimated. For a small apartment, one could pay a rent of 300 € – 600€. The additional costs, for example, for water, electricity, etc. must also be budgeted.
The search for a suitable accommodation should start in your friend´s circle. People, who have been living for a long time at the University site, one can provide important tips, such as, which area offers good living quarters or the quality of public transport in that area. They often know which apartments are available and which will be available shortly, including information of the landlords.
In some cities, real estate agents have also specialized in the mediation of apartments to students. However, be aware that this service is not free. A successful mediation can cost up to 2 – 4 months’ rent in form of commission to the broker.
Every university has at least one notice-board indicating the availability of apartments, often from persons who offer an available room in a shared apartment. Almost all universities have their own dormitories, which can be very helpful to many students. These accommodations are usually inexpensive but are often fully booked.
Student unions also assist one to find an accommodation on the private market. Home offers can be found on specialized internet portals such as this one www.live-like-a-german.com. International offices and secretariats offer good advice and support in finding housing. Some colleges have set up welcome centers that also can be used for assistance.
Banking facilities in Germany
Every foreign student should attempt, as early as possible, to open a bank account in Germany after arrival. Bank accounts can sometimes be opened in their home country, for the stay here which only has to be confirmed on arrival. The Deutsche Bank is especially well represented internationally; as a result, many students opt for a checking account at Deutsche Bank. Many payments, for example, the payment of the cell phone contract, the payment of rent or even the health insurance contract run without cash, so a normal checking account is very necessary. Some banks offer a free checking account for students, for the duration of the course. When deciding on a bank, besides the running cost of the account, other important factors include the existence of a branch office in the area, whether English is spoken, the cost of a cash withdrawal, etc.