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Things to know before studying in Germany

Things to know before studying in Germany

Edited By Hema Gopalakrishnan | Updated on Jul 06, 2023 06:45 PM IST

Things to know before studying in Germany- If you are planning to study abroad, you will likely include Germany as one of your options. It is because, whether you want to take up any of the STEM courses or go for a destination that has reasonable study costs, Germany ticks all the right boxes. Tuition fees are not required at public universities in Germany, while postgraduates only pay minimal fees for some selected courses, which helps keep the cost of studying low. These are some of the things to know before studying in Germany. So if you have decided to study in Germany, it is important to know about the country like its culture, food habits, dos and don’ts, and also the work opportunities available for students. Remember, you will be all alone to fend for yourself in a foreign land, and every bit of detail will come in handy. So, we present you with a list of things to know before studying in Germany.

Things to know before studying in Germany
Things to know before studying in Germany

Things to know before studying in Germany --our take!

Dos and don’ts when studying in Germany: Germans are a very affable people; well ok, they may be a bit frank, which may seem rude to some, but once you break the ice and get to know them better, you will come to appreciate their hardworking and genuine nature. One caution though: while they are not always looking to pick up a fight with any stranger that they meet on the street, still some things can piss them off, and therefore you should avoid them.

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  • Don’t ever try the Nazi salute: It will not only get you in conflict with the public, but you may even find yourself behind bars (and that too with a maximum 5-year prison sentence). Many Germans also get offended if you bring up the war, so stay away from these sensitive topics.

  • Appointments are made to be kept: If you have given someone time for an appointment, don’t back out at the last moment. Germans consider it rude and unprofessional; after all who has not heard about the famous German devotion to discipline, which today has percolated to every sphere of German life

  • Dining etiquette: Germans eat almost everything with a fork, and consider using fingers uncultured. So, if you plan to study in Germany, learning how to use a fork is a good idea.

Accommodation: If there is one drawback of studying in Germany, it is related to housing. Whether the city in concern is Munich or Karlsruhe, accommodation for international students in Germany is hard to come by, which has a lot to do with the fact that dormitories in the country aren’t administered by the universities; in fact, most universities don’t even have on-campus housing. Instead, it is organizations like Studentenwerk Berlin that are responsible for administering public dormitories in Germany. If you are studying at Freie Universität Berlin, e.g., you can stay in dormitories with a maximum travel distance of about 40 minutes by public transportation. The good thing in all this is universities work closely together with different housing providers to ensure that students get an affordable and safe accommodation to stay in while studying in Germany.

Turning back the wheels of time and then fast forward again: Germany has such a colourful history that you will be dazed, to say the least. Cities like Berlin, at one point in time, inspired giants like Bismarck and Marx, Einstein. Berlin has risen from the ashes, after it was turned into rubble by Allied forces during the Second World War. Today you can almost relieve those perilous moments in the century-old structures that line the city, museums and the iconic Berlin Wall. But the past no longer haunts Berlin, as a free-whiling spirit drives the people, and creativity thrives in the form of concerts and operas, while international stars jostle for their moment of glory under the sun. The story is no different in other German cities, as they too have unique qualities, but are somehow threaded together by a larger German identity. Studying in Germany, you can get soaked in this German spirit, but don’t forget to take some time out and explore the countryside as well, as it is no less impressive.

Learn the German language and get a head start: Learning German isn’t a prerequisite for studying in Germany if you apply for an international course, instead, you are required to show your English language proficiency. Nonetheless, if you are proficient in the German language, you can start your studies in Germany on the right footing. It is because, with language no longer being a barrier, you can attend many key seminars and lectures held in German, which you would otherwise skip. Additionally, you will be at ease when interacting with faculty, who might not follow English, and also be able to read German texts. Then again, learning the language goes much beyond just being an academic requirement, because upon mastering the language, you will be able to discover Germany in its true colours.

For studying courses apart from international courses, students are required to have adequate knowledge of German. It is because these courses are generally administered in the German language. Students looking forward to studying in Germany can take any of the two tests to show their proficiency in the language:

  • DSH - German language test for admission to the university for international applicants

  • The German as a foreign language test (TestDaF)

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In addition to Germany, TestDaF is held in over 90 countries. So, you can complete the test at home. However, DSH is held only in Germany and so to sit for the exam, there is no other option, but to travel to Germany.

Best student cities: German cities like Berlin and Munich aren’t ready to rest on past laurels, as can be seen by their continued presence among the best student cities in Germany. What such recognition does is it portrays a city in a very different light, where aspects like quality of life, employment opportunities, an active student community, and of course, general affordability get prominence. And it helps the student, in many ways; suppose, a situation comes where he has to choose between two universities of equal academic weightage and reputation, he can then take into account the positions of the respective universities in the best student cities in the world list to conclude.

Work opportunities: Students today aren’t easily satisfied, as they also want to work while studying in Germany. But while students of the EU are treated at par with German students and face limited restrictions to pursue work during study, students from other nationalities face some limitations. These include:

  • Permission to work for a maximum of 120 full or 240 half days

  • To work more than the prescribed limit, students need a permit from the Federal Employment Agency and the foreign authority

  • Additionally, students from outside the EU or EEA aren’t permitted to work as freelancers or be self-employed

Also, laws regulating the employment of international students are very strictly followed and non-compliance may even lead to expulsion from the country.

Scholarship: While the cost of studying in Germany isn’t a patch on the like of the USA or Australia, it still costs more to study in Germany than in many other countries. After all, you have to bear living costs and expenses related to other miscellaneous items like insurance and gym membership, which can rake up quite a significant sum. Many students make use of the scholarships in Germany to meet expenses, with DAAD being the most prominent of the lot. DAAD has the distinction of being among the world’s largest funding organizations that provide funding to international students and scholars.

Health Insurance: If you are studying in Germany, you have to buy health insurance just like in all the top study-abroad destinations. Just in case you haven’t bought health insurance back in your home country covering your stay in Germany, you can purchase it from statutory health insurers in Germany at discounted rates. Students are free to go for private coverage provided they provide similar coverage and are approved by the university. In either case, you are required to submit the certificate issued by the insurer to the university at the time of enrollment.

You might also like to read:

Benefits of studying in Germany

Work after Study in Germany

Study in Germany FAQs 2023

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. Is it easy to get a PR in Germany?

 You must have stayed in Germany for at least five years in order to be eligible for this permit (or three years if you are married to a German citizen). Additionally, you must be able to show documentation of your employment, financial stability, and German language proficiency. You may remain in Germany permanently if you have this permit.

2. How can I secure student accommodation in Germany?

You should start looking for an apartment as soon as you are admitted to college. The international offices of German universities can help. 

3. Is studying in Germany good for international students?

The majority of international students agree that Germany is a fairly cheap place to live when compared to other European countries. The country also offers a wide range of programs in English. In fact, you don't have to speak German to study in Germany. 


Questions related to

Get answers from students and experts

There might be discrepancies between your academic documents (graduation certificate with old name) and application documents (with new name). This can cause delays while German authorities verify the name change.

You might need to provide additional documents to prove the name change is legal and legitimate.

I hope it helps!

Correct Answer: The Potsdam Agreement  


Solution : The Potsdam Agreement, concluded after World War II, led to the division of Germany into East Germany (controlled by the Soviet Union) and West Germany (controlled by the Western Allies).  

Correct Answer: Portugal and England

Solution : Given:
(I) In the European Championship Games, the flags of six countries were arranged on top of pillars in the following way. The flag of Argentina was to the left of Portugal's bi-colour and the right of the flag of France.

(II) The flag of England was to the right of the Portugal flag but to the left of the flag of Germany, which was to the left of the flag of Spain.

So, the flags of Portugal and England are in the middle of the row. Hence, the fourth option is correct. 

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