Study abroad for a semester in

Germany

Germany, located in the heart of Europe, is known for its rich history, diverse culture, and strong economic presence. It is home to some of the world’s leading universities and offers a high standard of living. The country is characterized by its beautiful landscapes, from the Bavarian Alps to the scenic Rhine Valley. Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 states, each with its own unique cultural identity and traditions. As a study destination, Germany attracts thousands of international students each year due to its excellent education system, affordable living costs, and vibrant student life.

Germany is best known for

High-Quality Education 📚: Germany is renowned for its world-class education system, with many universities ranking highly globally. It offers a wide range of programs taught in English, especially at the postgraduate level.

Excellent Public Transportation 🚆: Germany boasts an efficient and extensive public transportation network, making it easy to travel within cities and across the country. The Deutsche Bahn trains connect major cities, while local transport systems include buses, trams, and subways.

Innovative Tech Scene 💻: Germany is a hub for innovation and technology, with a strong focus on research and development. Cities like Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt are known for their dynamic tech ecosystems and numerous start-up opportunities.

Table of contents

1. Visa and Health Insurance 🛂

Securing the appropriate visa and health insurance is crucial for international students planning to study in Germany. The visa process ensures that students meet the entry requirements and can legally stay in the country for the duration of their studies. Health insurance is equally important, as it is mandatory for all students and plays a significant role in the visa approval process. Having comprehensive health insurance ensures that students have access to necessary medical care during their stay.

Visa Types

  • Student Visa (Visum zu Studienzwecken): For students who have been accepted into a full-time university program.
  • Student Applicant Visa (Visum zur Studienbewerbung): For students who need to be in Germany to apply for university or attend entrance exams.
  • Language Course Visa (Visum für Sprachkurse): For students attending language courses lasting 3-12 months.

Application Process

  1. Research Visa Requirements: Understand the specific requirements for the type of visa you need.
  2. Gather Necessary Documents:
    • Completed visa application form.
    • Valid passport.
    • Proof of acceptance from a German university.
    • Proof of financial resources (approx. €10,332 per year).
    • Health insurance coverage.
    • Academic transcripts and certificates.
    • Proof of German language proficiency (if applicable).
    • Visa application fee payment receipt.
  3. Submit Application: Submit your application to the German embassy or consulate in your home country.
  4. Attend Visa Interview: If required, attend an interview at the embassy or consulate.
  5. Wait for Processing: Visa processing times can vary, so apply well in advance.

Required Documents

  • Proof of Enrollment: Acceptance letter from a German university.
  • Financial Proof: Bank statements or a blocked account showing sufficient funds.
  • Health Insurance: Proof of valid health insurance coverage.
  • Language Proficiency: Test scores or certificates if required.
  • Passport Photos: Recent passport-sized photographs.
  • Visa Application Form: Completed and signed application form.
  • Academic Documents: Transcripts, diplomas, and certificates from previous education.

Application Timeline

Start Early: Begin the application process at least 3-6 months before your intended departure.
Processing Time: Visa processing can take several weeks to months, depending on the country and application volume.
Important Deadlines: Be aware of university application deadlines and ensure your visa application is submitted in time.

Tips for Success

Complete Documentation: Ensure all documents are complete and accurately filled out.
Financial Proof: Clearly demonstrate financial stability and sufficient funds.
Interview Preparation: Prepare for potential visa interviews by understanding common questions and having clear answers.
Health Insurance: Secure a visa-compliant health insurance plan early in the process.

Importance of Health Insurance

Health insurance is mandatory for all students in Germany. It ensures that students have access to medical care and covers a wide range of health services, from doctor visits to emergency care. Having valid health insurance is also a prerequisite for visa approval.

Types of Health Insurance

  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC): For EU students, the EHIC provides access to necessary medical treatment in Germany under the same conditions and at the same cost as residents.
    • Advantages: Provides basic coverage for necessary medical care.
    • Limitations: Does not cover private healthcare, non-urgent medical care, or repatriation costs.
  • Public Health Insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung – GKV): Available to all students, including EU students who may choose to enroll for more comprehensive coverage.
    • Cost: Typically around €100 to €120 per month for students under 30.
    • Advantages: Comprehensive coverage including preventive care and dental treatment.
  • Private Health Insurance (Private Krankenversicherung – PKV): Often chosen by non-EU students and those over 30 years old. It can provide more tailored coverage options.
    • Cost: Can be significantly lower than public health insurance, depending on the provider and plan. Swisscare offers plans starting at approximately €34 per month.
    • Advantages: More extensive coverage, faster access to services, and fewer paperwork hassles.

Country-Specific Requirements

Public Health Insurance: Generally more expensive but offers comprehensive coverage and is widely accepted.
Private Health Insurance: Must meet the minimum coverage requirements set by German authorities. Plans like Swisscare’s can be very cost-effective.

Finding the Best Health Insurance

wearefreemovers has developed a partnership with Swisscare with the intent of offering you reliable and visa-compliant health insurance for your stay in Germany. Swisscare offers tailored health insurance plans that comply with German visa requirements, starting at approximately €34 per month. Otherwise, find other health insurance options with our Insurance Finder.

Choose Swisscare

Swisscare is our suggested visa-compliant health insurance for Germany

Or discover other insurance options

Thanks to our Insurance Finder

FAQ

What happens if my visa application is denied?
If your visa application is denied, you will receive a notice explaining the reasons for the denial. You can address the issues mentioned and reapply, or appeal the decision if you believe it was incorrect. It’s important to carefully review the reasons for denial and seek guidance from the embassy or consulate if needed.

Can I change my health insurance plan after arriving in Germany?
Yes, you can change your health insurance plan after arriving in Germany. However, ensure that the new plan meets the mandatory health insurance requirements for students. It’s advisable to compare different plans and choose one that offers comprehensive coverage and fits your needs.

What should I do if I need medical care and don’t have insurance?
If you require medical care and don’t have insurance, you will need to pay out-of-pocket for all medical services, which can be very expensive. It’s highly recommended to have valid health insurance to avoid these costs. If you find yourself without insurance, immediately contact a health insurance provider to enroll in a plan.

Additional Resources

German Federal Foreign Office: For detailed information on visa requirements and application procedures.
German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD): For comprehensive information on studying in Germany, including scholarships and academic programs.

2. Cost of Living 💰

Understanding the cost of living in Germany is essential for budgeting and financial planning. Germany offers a relatively affordable cost of living compared to other Western European countries, but expenses can vary significantly depending on the city and lifestyle.

Detailed Breakdown of Living Expenses

Accommodation: Average monthly rent.
€300 – €1000/month
Food: Average monthly cost for groceries and dining out.
€200 – €450/month
Transportation: Average monthly cost for public transportation and other modes of travel.
€30 – €100/month
Utilities: Average monthly cost for basic utilities (electricity, water, internet).
€100 – €150/month
Entertainment and Leisure: Average monthly cost for leisure activities.
€50 – €250/month
Miscellaneous Expenses: Average monthly cost for personal items and services.
€50 – €250/month

3. Accommodation Options 🏠

Finding suitable accommodation is a key aspect of planning your study abroad experience. Germany offers a variety of accommodation options for students, each with its own advantages and price ranges.

Types of Accommodation

Student Dorms: Typically provided by universities, offering a social environment and convenience of living on or near campus.
Price: €300 – €500/month
Shared Apartments (WG – Wohngemeinschaft): An economical option where students share an apartment with other students, often providing a balance of privacy and community.
Price: €350 – €600/month
Private Apartments: Offers the most privacy and independence but usually at a higher cost compared to other options.
Price: €500 – €900/month
Homestays: Living with a local family, providing cultural immersion and a home-like environment.
Price: €300 – €600/month
Specialized Student Housing: Purpose-built student accommodations managed by private companies, offering a range of amenities and services tailored to students.
Price: €400 – €800/month

Find accommodation in Germany

Find the best student housing options with our Accommodation Finder

Tips and Resources

Start Early: Begin your search for accommodation well in advance to secure the best options.
Budget Wisely: Consider all costs, including utilities and internet, when budgeting for accommodation.
Consider Location: Think about the proximity to your university, public transportation, and local amenities.
Use Reliable Platforms: Ensure you book through reputable platforms to avoid scams and ensure quality accommodations. The ones you see on wearefreemovers have been preselected by us, so you can be more at ease choosing them.

4. University Information 🎓

Selecting the right university is a crucial step in planning your study abroad experience. Germany is home to some of the world’s leading universities, offering a wide range of programs and a rich academic environment. Our University Finder can help you discover the best institutions with a user-friendly interface. Access detailed information on institutions and effortlessly filter them by country, subject, and other criteria to find the perfect match for your study abroad semester goals.

Find universities in Germany

Try our University Finder and discover the best universities for your needs

5. Further Practical Information 🛠️

Transportation

Germany has an efficient and extensive public transportation system, making it easy for students to get around.

Public Transportation 🚆: Cities like Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt have well-developed networks of buses, trams, and subways. Monthly passes cost around €30 – €70 with student discounts available.

Bicycles 🚴: Many cities are bike-friendly with dedicated lanes and bike-sharing programs.

Long-Distance Travel 🚄: The Deutsche Bahn (DB) train network connects major cities and regions. Discounted tickets are available through the BahnCard.

Tips 💡: Always check for student discounts on transportation passes and consider buying a semester ticket if offered by your university.

Banking and Finances

Managing your finances effectively is important for a smooth study abroad experience. Here’s what you might need to know regarding banking and finances in Germany.

Opening a Bank Account 🏦: Most banks offer special accounts for students with low or no fees. Popular banks include Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and Sparkasse.

Documents Required 📑: Passport, proof of enrollment, residence registration, and visa.

Currency 💶: The currency in Germany is the Euro (€). It’s advisable to have a local bank account to avoid foreign transaction fees.

Tips 💡: Look for student-friendly bank accounts and make use of online banking apps to manage your finances. Consider using services like Xe.com for seamless international transactions.

Local Culture and Etiquette

Understanding local customs and social norms will help you integrate smoothly into German society.

Punctuality ⏰: Germans value punctuality highly. Always be on time for classes, meetings, and social events.

Direct Communication 🗣️: Germans are known for being direct and straightforward. Don’t be surprised by their frankness.

Recycling ♻️: Germany has an extensive recycling system. Familiarize yourself with the different bins for separating waste.

Public Behavior 🤫: Keep noise levels low in public spaces, especially in residential areas and on public transportation.

Do you still have doubts?

Book a 1:1 consultancy with us

We would be glad to help you guiding step by step in every application you have to complete or to simply solve your doubts.