Things to know before studying in Germany
Updated on Jun 10, 2016 - 4:13 p.m. IST by Manashjyoti #Germany
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Things to know before studying in Germany:
If you are planning to study abroad, it is very likely you will 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 is light on the pocket, Germany ticks all the right boxes. Undergraduate fee, for example, is abolished at public universities in Germany, while postgraduates only pay minimal fee for some selected courses, which helps keep cost of studying low. Also, German institutes of higher education aren’t restricted to STEM courses alone, as courses like business management and humanities have proved to be immensely popular among international students.

But while academic reputation is, and rightly so, the guiding principle based on which one selects a destination, you stand to achieve more by reading up on other crucial facets of the country, like its culture, food habits, dos and don’ts, and also 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 a list of things to know before studying in Germany prepared for you, which once internalized, will help you at every step of your stay.

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


JaywalkingDos 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 meet on the street, still there are things that can piss them off, and therefore you should avoid.

  • 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.

  • Water bottles are not for the bin: Yes, you heard it right; and every time you throw a bin, you lose 25 cents. This is because, you are charged 25 cents extra for every bottle of water you buy, which you get back only when you return the empty bottle to the shop. Bottles that are returned this way are sent for recycling.

  • Getting drunk in public won’t cover you in glory: If you create a nuisance in public after getting drunk, you may be frowned upon.

  • 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 haven’t 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 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, accommodations are 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 is responsible for administering public dormitories in Germany. If you are studying in Freie Universität Berlin, for 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 wheelsTurning back the wheels of time and then fast forward again! Germany has such a colorful 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, in fact, 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 qualities that are unique, but 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, as instead you are required to show your English language proficiency. But nonetheless, if you are proficient in the German language, you can start off 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 than just being an academic requirement, because upon mastering the language, you will be able to discover Germany in its true colors, warts and all!

For courses other than 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 study in Germany can take any of the two tests to show their proficiency in the language:

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

  • The German as a foreign language test (TestDaF)

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 citiesBest student cities: German cities like Berlin and Munich aren’t ready to rest on past laurels, as can be seen by their continued presence in lists like best student cities in the world. 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, the 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 arrive at a conclusion.


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 "Agentur für Arbeit" (Federal Employment Agency) and the foreigners' authority

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

Also, laws regulating employment of international students are very strictly followed and non-compliance may even lead to expulsion from the country. Also, there is the concept of mandatory internship and optional internship. If you do mandatory internship, which is considered integral to your degree, it doesn’t affect your 120 day limit. But if you do optional international internship, it will be deemed regular employment and so deducted from your quota of 120 days.


Meanwhile, working as an academic or student Assistant has benefits, as you can work as long as you want.


Scholarship: While 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 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 then take the scholarship route 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.


One of the popular DAAD scholarships offered to international students is Educating Professionals for Sustainable Development (EPOS), which sponsors talented graduates with two years’ experience to undertake a postgraduate course in Germany. The funding is provided for 12-36 months and carries a monthly payment of â‚¬750 for graduate students and €1000 for doctoral students, in addition to tuition fees. Apart from DAAD, students looking to study in Germany are also encouraged to apply for Heinrich Boll Scholarship, another popular award that supports around 1,000 undergraduates, graduates and doctoral students across all subjects and nationalities every year. 


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 you stay in Germany, you can purchase it from statutory health insurers in Germany at discounted rates. Insurance fee could be in the range of 80 euros a month and includes benefits like health and nursing insurance. In place of the statutory insurance, students are free to go for private covers 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 time of enrollment.  


FoodFood: If you are a foodie, you have the perfect opportunity to embark on a culinary journey during your study in Germany. To start with, you will melt in the sweetness of German sweets, what with sweet brands like Ritter Sport, Haribo and Kinder, which come in many flavors and sizes, putting all the sweetness you can conceive on a single platter. Then there is the omnipresent Doner kebab, which is a special type of bread with meat fillings, and really puts your taste buds on fire. Another very popular item, and one that you need to have on your bucket list, is the currywurst. Also, while many of us have been hearing about the famous German beer-making tradition, you now have the opportunity to explore German beer by going on brewery tours, visiting beer gardens, and even attending beer museums. And believe you me; by the end of it all you are going to feel positively overwhelmed!


Stay tuned to for more news and updates on Germany

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Questions related to Germany

Showing 58 out of 58 Questions

I am bca student I want to take an admission in Germany for msc computer . what should I do? or what is my eligibility criteria?

Sanjay Khandelwal 20th Feb, 2020
You will have to look in the colleges and universities providing this course and see which has better ranking and are under your budget. You must have good score in UG. You will need a good IELTS score above 6 band. And see whether course is available in English. German language isnt must but start learning. Go straight to their website apply directly and wait for their response.

I have done my bachelors in Civil Engineering. I want to pursue Masters in architecture either in India or abroad. is it possible?

Deblina Maity 20th Feb, 2020

Yes, it is possible to do M.Arch. in India. But, there are only few colleges who provide this option and also you will get only two or three streams under M.Arch which are related to civil engineering like urban planning and development. But in abroad as they provide interdisciplinary courses so you have better options and scope.


which all universities in germany provide ms in embedded systems??

Nikki Nair 14th Feb, 2020

Hello Aswin

Well German universities offer a variety of courses,According to your preference

Some of the German universities that provide MS in Embedded Systems are

1.TU Chemnitz

2.University of Sttutgart(Infotech branch)



Well you can find many more public and private university on the official website (//

In this website you can sort your preferences ,location,and subject

I hope this helps

Thanks and Regards


i am planning to do ms in engg in germany !!! so how do i start?

Nikki Nair 14th Feb, 2020

Hello Aswin

Getting into German universities can be quite tough,As the give you world class education they also expect you too be quite advanced with your work

Here are some tips to start preparing

1.Complete minimum A1 and A2 exam in German language(Basic requirement),they have 2 types of course English taught and German taught

Even if you are getting into English Program they will still need German language for basic interaction

2.Get a good score (2.5 on German scale)

3.Collect your documents right away(All important marksheet)

4.Show your X-factor(can be anything from playing guitar to writing a book)

5.Apply at all German univ of your chioice

and then sit back and relax.

I hope this helps



iam completed my diploma mechanical engineering I want to study higher education in Germany so plz give me some information about this

deepika bala Student Expert 11th Feb, 2020
Hello Susan,
The diploma degree u pursued is validated in Germany but with the standard equivalent to German school of mechanics. You can contact the concerned university for diploma students acceptance and moreover the practical based learning  is essential for engineering courses which is not so common in india so you should definitely give it a try for great experience and exposure.
Best of luck .
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