Germany welcomes thousands of international students, on a yearly basis, to enrol in one of its world-class universities. This Western European country has grown in popularity among international students quite a lot in the previous years, and this is all due to the many advantages the education system in Germany offers.
When you arrive in Germany, you will find yourself amidst many other fellow international students. So, getting around and socializing will not be as difficult as you might think. But, to give you a heads-up, we have prepared a few tips for international students in Germany which might come in handy once you’re here (or even before that).
Here are a few tips if you’re an international student attending university in Germany:
Finding Accommodation as an International Student in Germany
Finding accommodation is among the most challenging parts of moving to a new country. You’re not sure whether the location is okay, you do not know whether you should live alone or opt for a flat-share, whether you should go for a furnished/unfurnished apartment, and so many more dilemmas. However, worry not, since, with the right information, you will be able to make the right choice.
Let’s go through the accommodation options as an international student in Germany:
- Student halls. One of the most cost-effective forms of accommodation are student residence halls. International students tend to like student halls since they are affordable as well as a good place to integrate into society. These halls have close proximity to the university campus, are well furnished, and affordable.
- Private apartments. Private apartments are also among accommodation choices for international students. However, rented apartments tend to be more expensive and not everyone can afford to cover the costs on their own.
- Shared flats. Many students decide to opt for shared-flats. This way, these students can share the costs of rent and utilities and create a budget-friendly accommodation option.
Additionally, there are different methods of renting in Germany. You may choose to rent through an estate agent, through online portals, or even through word of mouth.
Staying Safe as an International Student in Germany
Staying safe and comfortable in Germany is pretty simple since this country is generally known to be student-friendly. This means you will not find it necessary to apply special precautions in everyday life situations. However, there are a few details you should pay attention to while you are in Germany. After all, being in a foreign country always requires your utmost attention.
Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you arrive in Germany:
- The emergency numbers. In Germany, the emergency number is 112 and you can contact the police if you dial 110.
- Keep your possessions close. This is especially important when you’re in crowded places. Theft and pick-pocketing are common everywhere, not simply in Germany.
- Avoid empty public spaces during the night. Empty parks or deserted streets should be avoided while you’re alone during the night.
- Keep money/credit cards in separate places. This way, in case you lose your wallet, you will still have money with you.
Using the Different Modes of Public Transport in Germany
It is safe to say that public transport in Germany is pretty comprehensible and efficient. You can use all different methods of public transport, depending on your circumstances.
- U-Bahn. Also known as the subway/underground, this mode of transportation is quite popular in metropolitan cities.
- S-Bahn. Also known as suburban commuter rail, this transportation method operates within the city centre, including suburbs and nearby towns.
- Buses and Trams. You will find the bus or tram stop if you search for a round sign with a green H in a yellow circle.
- As an alternative to the aforementioned modes of public transportation, taxis are also known to be generally safe and efficient in Germany, although more costly.
Learning the German Culture and Customs
Known as the country of poets and thinkers, learning about Germany will surely keep you interested. In fact, this Western European country has such a beautiful culture, and its customs and traditions are surely one of a kind.
Here’s what you should know about the culture and customs in Germany:
- Language. Around 95% of residents in Germany speak the German language. However, four minority languages are also spoken in Germany, including Upper and Lower Sorbian, Romani, Danish, as well as North and Saterland Frisian.
- Western clothing is typical for Germans on a daily basis. Meanwhile, traditional German clothing includes knee-length leather trousers for men and a ruffled apron dress consisting of a bodice, blouse, and skirt for women.
- The majority of the population in Germany, around 60%, recognize themselves as Christian.
Additionally, Germans are known to be quite fond of beer and sausages. After the Czech, Germans rank second among the top beer consumers in Europe. The German cuisine consists of a wide variety of delicious traditional foods, including bread of different tastes.
When it comes to the architecture of Germany, you will find a wide range of palaces, castles, and cathedrals dating back centuries ago. The ancient architecture also comprises amphitheatres, roman bridges, as well as spas. Overall, it is a very picturesque country full of history.
Keeping Track of Your Expenses While in Germany
It has been estimated that an individual would need around 861€ per month in order to cover their living expenses in Germany. This means, a total of 10,332€ per year. Additionally, the monthly rent has proven to be one of the largest expenses while in Germany.
Taking into consideration that German universities require low or no tuition fees at all, what you need to worry about most is finding the perfect location to live in. In bigger cities, the average living costs are higher in comparison to the less-populated cities. Therefore, in accordance with the location of your university, you should opt for a city where the living costs are more affordable.
The cheapest cities to live in Germany include Bielefeld, Frankfurt (Oder), Halle, Krefeld, and Passau. While the most expensive ones are Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, and Bonn. However, regardless of where you live in, it is always essential you possess good financial management skills.
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