Studying in higher education institutions, students are expected to look for accommodation themselves. Mostly students opt for cohabitation and hence prefer sharing a flat or an apartment. By this the costs of power, water, rent and other basic amenities are shared and prove to be cost effective. Average accommodation can cost around 280-400 euros monthly. Accommodation contracts are long term and short term contract options. Many prefer to stay in dormitories as they are cheaper options. They are important options for the freshmen, the first year students. University accommodations or dorms, are generally equipped with internet connectivity, laundry, drying rooms, play area etc. Laundry machines can sometimes require extra fee. Guesthouses, homestays are also the other options that students prefer. Some students prefer studios and that can cost 500 euros or even more. Generally it is cheaper to live in East Germany than in west. Shared flats and dorms give a ready opportunity to meet a lot of other international students and even German students.
Universities would normally provide assistance typically the agent details for rented accommodation. It is beneficial to stay in these as proximity to university is better, assistance easier and saves commutation time and money. Staying with the accommodation provided by the universities is wiser and help is easily available and within reach. Cities are smaller and university areas are not big enough in terms of area to house campus accommodation.
It is important to start searching and book options available well in advance with the increasing demand. In the popular cities in Germany, student’s accommodation becomes an issue if not booked on time. Students normally get housing faster for summer semesters than winter ones.
It is very much possible to feel lonely and homesick in this cold climate country. Knowing the German language becomes a great help and when you start communicating with the Germans, understand them then you will realise that they are very friendly people and very welcoming.
Most of the universities will arrange for a student to come and fetch you at the airport or the railway station, or bus station. First thing needed is registration and enrolment at the student’s services office. It’s the most important thing to do on arrival. You receive your student ID.
There is no induction week but some universities do have a orientation week. The first day is normally an official welcoming to students with the bigger universities having a special function arranged. Normally the students office is the contact point for all the assistance. Students are shown the universities around with the amenities and facilities provided.
Depending on the type of University and courses offered, the fees can range from 100-500 Euros per Semester to 10000 Euros per semester . Fees can be in form of semester contribution plus tuition fees. Public Universities in Germany offer free of cost education to even international students and hence Tuition fees are negligible.
Students only pay for free passes, etc. Private universities fees can range from 1500per semester to 10000 Euros per semester.
German Consulate rules ask for a blocked account to be opened with Euros 8640 as living expenses. Students normally manage with shared rooms and cooking at home. They have to pay for Health Insurance, food, books telephone, clothing, etc. Regular partying, eating out, or expensive accommodation can then work out to be a costier option. Students would in such cases require more money for living.
Compared to other countries Germany is very affordable country in terms of education and also in terms of living expenses. Highly popular destination amongst students for Engineering programs and Business and management programs as chances of getting state funded options is very high for the bright students. The countries inflation rate is very low and hence living is definitely affordable. Cities like Munich but many others not as expensive.
There are a good number of German Institutions and other large organisations sponsoring students and hence extending scholarships to them, merit based.
Education System and Universities in Germany
Each state is responsible for education in Germany.
- Kindergarten ie pre-primary education is provided between 3-6 years or age. Grundschule is Primary education. Nine years is compulsory education offered in various types of schools for secondary education.
- Gymnasium – Gymnasiums prepare students for university studies and generally are meant for academically stronger students. Students are prepared for Higher education and give their Abitur or the feststellungsprufung (university entrance qualification)
- Realschule – The Realschule for the intermediate students
- Hauptschule – Prepare students for the skilled education.
- Gesamtschule- a good combination of schools introduced late
Students now can study in either public or private universities. Education is imparted for free in the public universities. The private universities have tuition fees. Numerous options are available to students to progress in variety of fields like Engineering, Business, Science, Arts, and Design. They are offered to the locals as well as International students
Universities provide theoretical knowledge and are research oriented. They impart PHDs. The ones which give specialisations are the Technical Universities. A standard classification of universities can be Technical Universities and Applied Science Universities. Another classification can be Public Universities and Private Universities. There are some Dual programs by universities. These allow students to work full time as well as study. Such courses are funded by industries and students get paid for work and study in evening.
The public universities are funded by the state and the private universities are not. Students look to Germany with a hope of getting free education and many do get this opportunity.
- TU Berlin
- TU Munich
- TU Dresden
- TU Cologne
Applied science Universities are the ones which give industry oriented training. To give an example -F H Aachen University of applied Sciences
Applications to universities would require a minimum of first class. A few courses do require German language ability.
Working in Germany
Students are allowed part-time jobs up to 120 full days or 240 half days in a year when they are on study visa. Universities in Germany have a close contact with the industry and students can get internships largely due to this network.
People normally work for 5 days a week and are on holiday on Saturday and Sunday.
Conditions that apply vary depending on your Country of Origin and your signed contracts with the employers.
The skill gap analysis shows the demand of professions. Shortage skill list of Germany details the required fields of jobs and accordingly qualified candidates can apply for the jobs. The vacancies are published on a prescribed website every often. You can post your profile on the formal portal and the office contacts you. Candidate needs to looks for opportunities that are nearest to his filed of work. Internet is the best source to find your options of jobs. Most of these portals will be in German, but a few multilingual portals are available too. So you will sometimes find information written in English too.
Apart from these several other ways to look for jobs are Job fairs, News Paper, job portals, local employment agencies and government agencies. Some conduct online workshops etc too.
The international applicants are generally guided by departments which specially deal with foreigners. The important part here is language knowledge. Candidates who can read, write and understand German are better preferred always. Knowledge of German is the key to many a job in the country. A major part of the Employee’s selection criteria is his /her German Language knowledge. So working in Germany is directly related to German language ability. Better the language better are your opportunities.
A few points to watch and move ahead while working in Germany
- Strict Schedules
- Formal approach