Did you know that Germany is steadily gaining in popularity as a study abroad destination for Indian students? What makes the deal interesting is that international students have to pay no or minimal tuition fees and all they need to pay is for living, accommodation, travel and health insurance. Programmes are taught in both German and English; with a majority of the programmes being offered in German. Most leading universities plan to offer all programmes in English by the year 2020. This article will give you an insight into life as an international student in Germany.
All about the Euros
The German currency is the euro and it is imperative that your local bank account in Germany is operational before you arrive in Germany to study. When you come to Germany, carry adequate money converted to Euros for daily transactions. Unless your bank in India gives you an international debit card; normal cards won’t work in Germany. So be doubly sure about the status of your Indian debit card before you think of using it in Germany.
The cost of living varies from city to city in Germany; though not by a very vast degree. Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Heidelberg are the key cities with universities that attract international students.
To give you some idea about the average costs here are some prices for you to keep in mind:
- Milk (regular) (1 litre) - 0.74 €
- Rice (white) (1kg) - 1.45 €
- Water (1.5 litre bottle) - 0.41 € (Tap water is perfectly safe to drink)
- Monthly rent for apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre - 631.07 €
- Basic (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment - 216.63 €
Based on your lifestyle, how far or near you live from your university and your mode of transport; your costs will vary. Most local establishments offer students discounts on display of the university identity card. Discounts are also offered on the ticket costs for entry to theatres, opera houses, cinemas, museums, public swimming pools, and other cultural venues. The good folks at numbeo.com who have compiled all this data suggest that Cologne is the priciest German city and Bremen and Dresden the least expensive.
The part-time job rules are heavily favoured towards students from the countries of the EU. Students from non-EU countries cannot work for more than four hours a day. If you are lucky enough to find a job in your university itself; then you can relax and not worry about these stringent rules. You should always keep in mind that the labour laws pertaining to the working hours of international students are very strictly monitored. Unwittingly if you break a law, the government is well within its rights to deport you. So stay safe, ensure that you get due clearance from your University and ascertain that you are not breaking any labour laws.
Germany has an excellent public transport system that makes both inter-city and intra-city travel extremely convenient. One key thing that you should acquire is a public transport map of the city where you will be studying and a detailed transport network map of Germany in case you plan to explore the country during the holidays. The Deutsche Bahn German Railway Network offers last mile connectivity and is the best means of transport within the country. Based on which city you are studying, you will have access to buses, trams and the local metro train network. You may wish to buy/rent a bicycle if you find accommodation within your university or near your university. A second hand bicycle can be bought for as low as 60 euros and is a convenient and eco-friendly means of transport.
The winters can be quite extreme with heavy snowfall. If you are used to the harsh Indian summer then you will find the German summer quite pleasant. The temperature between day and night can vary quite a fair bit and you are advised to pack adequate warm clothing in the form of jackets and cardigans.
Life, Language and Culture
There is an image of clockwork precision, highly motivated industrious people, focused on their work, people who work hard and party harder! This image of Germany is quite true, with events like the Oktoberfest and the Berlin Film Festival drawing people from all around the world, Germany offers a great life experience. There is a focus on punctuality, cleanliness and being polite to a fault. Conversations are precise and true to the point and unless you know someone personally it is best to address a person by their second name, with an appropriate “Herr” or “Fraulein” or “Dr” as the prefix.
German is the primary means of communication and English is taught as a second language in schools. So at most places English can help you but it is strongly recommended that you complete a certificate course in German for your own good and ease of survival and chances of securing a post-study work visa in Germany.
Places to Visit
Germany offers a multitude of options for the discerning traveller; as a student you can save a fair bit on travel and coordinate with your university to secure accommodation at partner university Student Union accommodation units across the country. Alternatively, student hostels also offer safe and convenient accommodation for students. Here are some places that we would like to recommend you to visit:
Castles, castles and more castles, some straight out of a fairy tale – do visit the Kaiserburg castle in Nuremberg, the Heidelberg Castle and the Neuschwanstein Castle.
The Cathedral at Cologne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, do visit this place. The Church of Our Lady in Dresden is another wonderful architectural delight and place of worship that you should definitely visit.
Well guys Black Forest is not just a type of cake or pastry! It’s actually a picturesque region in Germany that you can visit and enjoy the beauty of Nature!
The Nuremburg Christmas Market, the Berlin Wall trail, the Oktoberfest, the Berlin Film Festival and the Europa Park are other places that you should add on to your list of places to visit. You can go through the website - www.germany.travel/en - for more information.
We hope that you found this article useful. If you are keen to study in Germany get in touch with our study abroad advisors for more information.