Your Ultimate Guide to Student Life in Germany

student life
Masters Degree

Your Ultimate Guide to Student Life in Germany

Germany is the land of pretzels, Oktoberfest and Bayern Munchen. It’s also one of the most popular study destinations worldwide for students who choose to pursue their master’s degrees. However, Germans may have a reputation for being unfriendly or unwelcoming to international students but this is the farthest thing from the truth. Read on to learn more about student life in Germany and what else is a rumour and what you can expect to find when you head to study abroad in Germany. 

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Tuition costs

The first point that concerns most students who are choosing to study a master’s degree is the tuition costs. Students who choose to study their degree in Germany can be pleased to know that tuition costs are highly reasonable, if not nonexistent. You’ll only need to pay for textbooks and a small semester fee, if you come from outside of the EU. This semester fee ranges between 100 and 450 euros a semester to cover student life fees like student union fees and a discounted public transportation pass for you to get around during the time of your degree. 

Besides the low tuition fees, there are many scholarships and grants available for international students. One of the main entities that you should keep your eyes peeled for is the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). It offers many scholarships to international students to encourage them to study in Germany. You can also look on the websites of every individual university as many of them offer scholarships and grants to their students to help with their funding. 

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The next critical point for international students when it comes to student life is accommodation. Most students rent private accommodations while studying in Germany. Many tend to choose to flat share, as this is a cheaper option. In Germany, flat-sharing is known as ‘wohngemeinschaften’ or abbreviated as WG. the German for ‘flatshare’. Rent in German cities ranges from 550 to 800 euros, which isn’t the cheapest but when staying at a WG, you’ll split the costs between you so it can be significantly cheaper. Rent also differs based on which city you are living in. For example, renting in Berlin is cheaper than staying in Munich or Cologne, which is more costly for students.  You can also ask your university for recommendations for private accommodation that is trusted if you don’t know of any. 

Other students sometimes take the safer route and stay in the student dorms on campus or in private dorms, when deciding to pursue student life in germany. They are relatively cheap but aren’t easy to find availability in, so if you want this accommodation option then you should try booking your room in advance. This accommodation option costs students anywhere between 150 to 400 euros a month. 

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When it comes to student life and transportation, Germany is infamous for its excellent transportation network, with buses and underground and overground Autobahns and trains. The semester transportation ticket lets students travel for free per academic term, so they don’t need to pay extra for transport. This means you can have maximum freedom, at a very cheap cost. You can also get the chance to travel to neighbouring countries like France or Italy, as if you also decided to study in France

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Health insurance

If you want to study in Germany, you’ll need to be part of a health insurance program, as it’s mandatory with any degree program you choose. This is another point when it comes to student life that concerns international students. Having healthcare insurance gives you access to the German healthcare systems, one of the best worldwide. This amazing Healthcare system is a great reason to choose to study medicine in Germany.  

Study programs aside, health insurance for students is typically affordable and will give you many benefits. You should be sure to check the benefits covered by the healthcare plan you subscribe to so that you can ensure they fit your needs when it comes to your student life, without having to pay extra expenses as not all plans cover everything. 

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German student visa

Most students who choose to study in Germany will need a student visa, another critical point relating to student life. These can be acquired by visiting the German consulate in their home countries before heading to Germany. If you are exempt from a study visa, you’ll still need to get a residence permit if your course lasts more than 90 days. If you aren’t exempt, but your course lasts less than 90 days, then you can simply get a Schengen visa. If the course lasts for more than 3 months and you need a visa, you’ll need to apply for a German national visa card. 

Any visa needs some requirements to be acquired. The most important requirements for the German student visa are the following:

  • Filled out and signed application form
  • Valid passport or other identification document
  • Two photocopies of your passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
  • Children’s birth certificates (if applicable)
  • Photocopies of previous German residences (if applicable) 
  • 3 passport style photos 
  • Proof you are able to financially sustain yourself in the form of the following:

€10,332 deposit confirmation at a German blocked bank account or Letter of commitment from parents or guardians and income records proof or Letter of commitment by a German resident “Verpflichtungserklärung”, which can be acquired at Alien’s Registration Office by this resident to prove they will cover your costs while studying in Germany

  • Scholarship awarding certificate (if applicable)
  • Bank guarantee letter (issued by an official German bank)
  • Confirmation of admission in your study program or in German  “Zulassungsbescheid” by German university and stating details like start date and language of instruction.  
  • Proof that you have conditional admission, or in German “Bedingter Zulassungsbescheid” and confirmed intensive language course “Intensiv-Sprachkurs letter, proving you will be joining a German language course and passing it if the degree is in German, prior to study time. This course must last at least 6 months and not less than 18 hours of study per week.  
  • School diploma or bachelor’s or master’s diploma (whichever is applicable) 
  • Proof of student health insurance 
  • Proof you have passed entrance qualifications
  • Previous transcripts 
  • Proof of English or German language proficiency 

Read more:Most asked questions about International Student Life in Germany

Working during study

If you choose to study a bachelor’s degree or Master’s degree in Germany, you might want to work during your study time. Fortunately, unlike many other neighboring countries, Germany allows international students to work while studying. If you are studying full time, you are allowed to work up to 120 full days, or 240 half days, per year without a work permit.  

Keep in mind that this limit also includes voluntary internships, whether you are paid for them or not. There’s also a restriction that while working, they can’t work freelance or be self-employed. Here are some of the most popular jobs students choose to work in Germany while studying: 

  • Teaching/research assistant
  • Library supervisor
  • Waiter/waitress
  • Bartender
  • Babysitter
  • Dog walker
  • Shop assistant
  • Tutor

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Language Barrier

Many people who choose to study a master’s degree in Germany worry about the language barrier if they don’t know German or aren’t fluent in the language. This shouldn’t be a point of worry, however, as professors and university staff are fluent in English, even if you are in a German degree. You may have some issues in your day to day life dealing with people in the street or shops as not all speak good English. However, if you live in a big city like Munich, Berlin or Cologne, most people speak top notch English so you shouldn’t have an issue with that! 

Read more: Reasons why you should study a Master’s Degree in Germany in 2023

Social life

Social student life for international students in Germany is fun and exciting, with a great nightlife. Berlin is known for its unique clubbing scene as it’s the world’s techno capital. However, Germany isn’t all about partying, it’s also great for social activities like group hikes and yoga and sports classes, as Germans are big on staying fit. There’s also tons of beautiful scenery so you can always go out into the crisp, fresh air and have a lot of fun! 

student life

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Universities in German also have a lot of student clubs and societies, in many subject areas. There are international clubs for each culture, art groups and sports clubs, among many other clubs of interest. The Technical University of Munich hosts two big cultural student-centric events called the TUNIX and the GARNIX, which have an impressive line-up of live bands and tons of food stands with yummy foods.  

German universities also offer sports classes of all kinds, like athletics, beach volleyball and pilates that take place in sport centres near the university. Your student ID will also offer you many discounts or free entry to cultural places like museums, touristic destinations or galleries, where you can enjoy exploring local cultures while living the best student life. 

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In conclusion, studying in Germany is an excellent choice with a great student life, full of activities, an excellent healthcare system and a good transport system to get around. You’ll also get to live at a top standard of living and attend some of the best institutions worldwide, while you study the subject you love. How’s that for an awesome student life? If you still don’t know which German university you want to apply to, no worries! UniApp can help you find the perfect one for you so you can have the best study experience possible! 

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