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Life in Germany for International Students | Study in Germany44 min read

By August 14, 2020No Comments

Campus Life in Germany | Study In Germany

1) What is it like to study in Germany for foreign students?

Germany is a great place for international students. The diverse culture, the safe atmosphere, and of course, the almost free education are all benefits that appeal to international students. The fact that the high standards of teaching and education are maintained consistently across all German universities is also a positive factor. The language barrier, of course, does exist, and most international students choose to study German on the side, to better their prospects of networking and eventually landing a job. 

Germany is a beautiful country, with friendly people who are very welcoming to international students. On average, students spend around 850 euros/ month for living expenses in Germany. As such, it is the perfect place for students who wish to gain valuable knowledge and skills in their field, while also building lifelong connections.

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2. What is it like to study at a German university or college?

  • Firstly, as the tuition cost is low or free for Bachelor’s, Consecutive Master’s and PhD programs. in the majority of universities. Therefore, students who study in Germany don’t have as much financial stress as compared to students who study in other countries. This inevitably allows them to focus on their education and make the most of their stay in the country. 
  • German universities wish for their students to be independent and expect them to prioritize their studies as required. Moreover, the curriculum is structured in such a manner that it addresses and deals with current issues and trends in the industry. As such, students are able to apply their learning to current-scenarios, which helps ease their shift to the workforce. Moreover, German universities are equipped with great facilities for research and development, which also helps students gain valuable industry-related skills and knowledge.
  • As a student, you will probably be living in a hall of residence with your fellow students. However, if accommodation is not available for you on-campus, the universities are more than willing to help you find an affordable place. Living conditions are also great for students, and since you don’t have to pay much for your tuition, you can invest your money in living costs and leisure activities.
  • Travel and transport in Germany are easy. The public transport system is excellent as most universities will include a Semesterticket as part of your fees, allowing you free travel within the city. Also, as Germany is bordered by so many other countries, it is simple to cross the border for a weekend holiday, especially as travel to nearby European countries is free and doesn’t require a visa.
  • Language can bring people together or divide them. While your courses are taught in English, it would be easier for international students to socialize and network if they are familiar with the German language. Germans are very proud of their language, just like most cultures, and as such, it would be nice to show that you respect it.

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3. What about the part-time jobs in Germany?

  • Many international students, if they are not on scholarships or just wish to gain some experience, work part-time. 
  • An international student is allowed to work for 120 full days or 240 half days a year. Universities do not allow students to work for more than 20 hours a week during the semester, which means you can take up full-time jobs during your break. 
  • The student is required to possess a job permit from the Federal Employment Agency and the foreigner’s authority. 
  • Working within the university campus would be most ideal, due to the flexible work hours and the proximity to your classes. But getting a job on campus can be difficult, due to the high competition.
  • Most importantly, abiding by German employment laws is very important. The wages that a student part-timer gets would exempt them from taxes, as it will probably be below 450 euros a month. However, if you are a research associate and are earning more than this amount, you would be required to pay tax.
Part time job in germany for international students (1)

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4. How is life in Germany different from the US?

 

Life in US

Life in Germany

  1. Transportation can be difficult without a personal/private vehicle. Fuel prices are also cheaper and the public transport system is not up to the mark, making owning private vehicles more attractive.
  1. Most German cities are close-knit and most basic destinations are at walking or cycling distance. Public transport is also great, and fuel prices are high. 
  1. Healthcare in the US is very expensive, and not as easily accessible as it could be. 
  1. Cost of healthcare in Germany is comparatively lower, and in some cases, you might even be paid a “sickness fund,” as compensation for the loss of income when you are sick.
  1. According to Global Finance Magazine’s  “World's Safest Countries 2019” list, the US is ranked number 65. Moreover, the crime index in the US is 47.74.
  1. On the other hand, Germany takes the 20th spot on the “World’s Safest Countries 2019” list. The crime index in this country is 35.18.
  1. US employers are not required to provide paid leave by law. However, they do have a fixed rate for minimum wage and overtime pay. 
  1. German law requires all employees to receive a minimum of 21 days of paid vacation, apart from sick leaves and maternity leave. 

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5. What are the employment opportunities in Germany? How do you go about finding a job while you are studying?

Germany has the lowest unemployment rates in the EU, and if you have a university qualification and a strong grasp of the German language, you have a pretty good chance of finding employment in the country. Moreover, there’s a shortage of skilled professionals in Germany, mainly in the engineering, manufacturing, and healthcare sectors. So if you are planning to gain a degree in a field related to these domains, your chances of finding employment are pretty high.

Most students who study in German prefer to work part-time while they are pursuing their degrees. With a valid work permit, international students are allowed to work for 120 full days or 240 half days a year. Though universities do not allow students to work for more than 20 hours a week during the semester, you can take up full-time jobs during your break. 

You can apply for an extension to your residence permit and stay in the country for up to 18 months after graduation, while you seek employment or plan further education. Make sure that you apply for your extension before you graduate, so as to leave enough time for approval. Once you’ve gained employment, you must contact the Immigration Office, show validation of an employment offer, and apply for a residence permit for employment purposes or an EU Blue Card. 

 

The Federal Employment Agency (BA) is the portal to the largest job market in Germany. If you are searching for employment, this should be your starting point. Apart from this, there are also other job sources that you can look into, such as the EURES which is the network of European employment agencies. Many university students prefer to take up jobs on campus, but these are hard to land, due to the high competition.

Employment opportunities Germany (1)

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6. What jobs can I seek as an international student?

It would be best if you could find a job relevant to your major, as this would add to your work experience. But if you are unable to get a job related to your field, there are still several opportunities for international students on-campus and outside. 

1.Graduate assistants:

If you are applying for a master’s degree, then you might try to get a position as a graduate assistant. The job role could include supervising the library, leading tutorials or research literature for professors. Not only will this add to your experience, but you will also be able to earn a decent stipend. Moreover, the 120-day restriction does not apply to academic assistants. However, you must follow the rules set by the particular university and gain permission from the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigner’s Registration Office) if you wish to work more hours.

2. English tutors:

Germans are always eager for a chance to learn and practice their English, so English language tutors are always welcome. However, you would need to be extremely proficient in the language to qualify, especially if you hail from a non-English speaking country.

 

You may be eligible for other temp jobs. Please contact your university student services to identify legitimate job opportunities. If you choose to be employed as a student, please follow the international student labour regulations. 

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7. What are the transportation options in Germany for international students?

German cities are built quite close-knit, which means that your basic destinations are at walking distance or at least at biking distance. Besides, insurance and fuel costs in Germany are quite high, so most people prefer to walk or use public transport.

The public transportation system, which includes the Bus, Train (Bahn), Tram (S-Bahn), and Underground (U-Bahn), is also excellent. If your accommodation is a bit far from your campus or if you wish to travel around your region and explore, you might consider investing in a Semesterticket. They are relatively cheap and allow you to freely use public transport within a certain region. However, even without the Semesterticket, students are allowed to travel for free after 7.00 p.m. on weekdays and the whole day on weekends and public holidays. So you might want to consider your living arrangements before investing in a ticket. 

Trabsportation options in germany (1)

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