Life in Germany as an International Student


Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jul 22, 2022 06:13 PM IST

Student life in Germany requires a balance of work, study, and a lot more things. International students get ample opportunities to study and work in the country. So, let us check out some more in-depth details on student life in Germany.

Life in Germany as an International Student

Moving to Germany can be an exciting experience for any international student as the country has a lot to offer. Germany is usually regarded for its low-cost tuition fees, affordability, and post-study work options without compromising the quality of education. The country receives a footfall of over 400,000 international students every year.

The picturesque towns are one of the captivating qualities of Germany that attracts various international students making their stay magnificent throughout. When we talk about Germany, we think of the wonderful heritage of castles, museums and architectural buildings.

To international students, apart from the beautiful countryside, Germany provides a wide range of study options, work opportunities, and high living standards. Let us take a look at how student life in Germany is an unforgettable experience for international students.

Why Study in Germany?

There can be plenty of reasons to study in Germany for international students as the country has a list of renowned universities. International students prefer Germany as their study abroad destination to beef up a successful career at an affordable cost. German universities offer a range of courses that includes mechanical engineering, data science, neuroscience, and much more. Germany is also popular for its touristy attractions like its historic sites, museums, cathedrals and the infamous Berlin wall.

On the academic front, all degrees and certificates provided by German universities are globally recognised and ensure excellent employment opportunities. Moreover, students can also study inGermany without IELTS. Universities in Germany offer various research opportunities as well. Academic-bent students are instantly smitten by Germany for these reasons.

While shortlisting countries, international students lay strong emphasis on student lifestyle and student-friendliness. Germany scores full marks on both aspects. The country is one of the safest places for students and the locals have a very welcoming nature. Additionally, the vibrant and dynamic lifestyle of the country combines both urban and rural life. During vacations or free time, international students can explore the country and enjoy the local festivals. Students can also travel to student-friendly travel spots like Amsterdam and Poland.

Germany, as a country, has a rich history which itself is a very big attractive factor for international aspirants. The educational and research opportunities in Germany, along with being home to many top international companies, make it one of the top choices for international students.

Want to know more about student life in Germany? Or, Life Abroad for an Indian Student? Ask our experts! To date, we have helped numerous students to study at renowned German universities.

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Cost of Living in Germany

German universities provide student housing for both international and domestic students, however, the number of rooms available remains restricted. With its low monthly rent, i.e. EUR 300/month, over 40% of international students in Germany prefer living in student apartments. Foreign students spend a majority of their monthly allowance on housing and hence, it gets difficult to survive for a longer period without proper financial planning. As a part of your financial planning, international students need to open a Blocked Account before arriving in Germany. This is an important prerequisite of your visa process and it will help you reign in your unwanted expenses.

International students can find it difficult to look for housing facilities in Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. So, it is advisable to make a reservation for student accommodation as soon as possible.

International students can expect the average cost of living in Germany to be around EUR 850 to EUR 1,300 per month. This includes facilities like food, public transportation and social activities, including housing. However, if a student is living in places like Munchen, Dusseldorf or Frankfurt, then it adds up to EUR 1,000 to 1,300 to monthly expenses. For more details, check theCost of Living in Germany for International Students.

Free Education or Low-cost Tuition Fees in Germany

Most Indian students prefer Germany as a cheap option to fulfil their study abroad dreams. Most of the public universities in Germany do not charge any tuition fees for both domestic and international students. Thus, many students believe that studying in Germany is free. However, this is not entirely true. German universities charge a minimal amount as a semester fee and not all courses are tuition-free. Even for this hindrance, German universities have the option of scholarships and financial aid to attract international students.

There are course-wise Scholarships to Study in Germany for international students that can help to get an additional fee waiver on their tuition fees. According to the government website, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) provides a range of scholarships for international students according to their home countries and courses.

Scholarship and Financial Aid to Study in Germany

Not every international student has a financially-stable background to fund their stay in any international study destination. So, most foreign students look for scholarships to help them complete their courses without any tension of refunding the money.

Germany offers a lot of scholarships to help international students pay or waive their tuition fees. Below we have listed a few prominent scholarships for international students:

  • DAAD Scholarship Programs: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdiens (DAAD) or German Academic Exchange Service focuses on the exchange of academics and researchers by offering scholarships and funding to foreign students. This scholarship is awarded to those who want to obtain a qualification in a full-time course.

  • Heinrich Bll Foundation Scholarships: The Heinrich Bll Foundation rewards over 1,200 scholarships a year to academically excellent undergraduates, postgraduates, and doctoral students of all subjects and nationalities.

  • Deutschlandstipendium National Scholarship Programme: This scholarship is awarded to students based on their academic achievements. It aims to support students from all corners of the world. Deutschlandstipendium National Scholarship Programme is awarded for two academic semesters.

Work While Studying in Germany

Any international student, who is not a citizen of an EU or EEA member of the state, except Bulgaria and Romania, can work in Germany while studying. Eligible international students pursuing full-time studies in Germany are permitted to work up to 120 full-time days or 240 half-days in a year. The best part is that foreign students are not required to seek permission from the German employment authorities and can alsowork part-time in Germany.

As per the legal restrictions in Germany, international students cannot freelance or be self-employed. Here are some part-time jobs suggestions for international students in Germany:

  • Academic assistants

  • Library supervisor

  • Literature researcher

  • Tutorial assistant

  • Waiter/Waitress

  • Babysitter

  • Bartender

  • Dog walker

  • Cashier

  • Writer

With work opportunities, students can learn to balance life and can earn some extra money for their day-to-day expenses.

Finding Accommodation in Germany

International students can find two kinds of accommodation in Germany. One is the economical option, where they can prefer on-campus accommodation offered by their respective universities and the other is staying off-campus or in private accommodation nearby the institute.

Student halls are located near the university campus allowing greater social interaction. This is a good option to save money on rent while studying in Germany. In the housing community, students get options to select a residence type as per their preference, such as single-bed rooms, shared apartments, 3 BHKs or a 4BHK. Apart from this, they can also get basic amenities like laundry services, TV rooms, kitchen facilities, WiFi, 24/7 security and water service included in the rent.

International students who prefer to stay in a private or off-campus residence can also get these facilities, however at higher costs. The rent prices are higher in places like Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt am Main as compared to other places in the country. Note that renting a place means paying a security deposit fund of at least three months of rent in advance. In this accommodation, students can generally get residence types like single-bedroom flats or sharing apartments, along with basic amenities like water, security and WiFi. For a detailed overview, check out our Guide to Student Accommodation Abroad.

Travelling in Germany

Apart from providing low-cost tuition fees, Germany is also famous for providing affordable transport facilities. International students can find on-time public transportation, a vast network of freeways, and intercity trains in Germany. During every academic term, several students receive a semester ticket which allows them to avail free public transportation in their respective areas or region.

This not only allows them a lot of money but also indirectly helps them in maintaining their finances without worrying about expenses. If an international student has a student ID, they can enjoy cheap or free admission to local museums or galleries during their vacation or holidays.

Medical Care in Germany

When it comes to medical care, the German healthcare system is one of the best in Europe. This is available to all residents in the country. European students can use their European Health Insurance Card as insurance, however, international students or non-EU students will be required to apply for German health insurance separately before arriving in the country.

Once done with an insurance plan, the agency or university will provide a health card which should be taken while visiting any doctor or going for any medical appointment. Note that it is a must for every international student to have insurance in Germany, be it a private university or a public institution. Without proof of insurance, foreign students may not be granted student visas to study in Germany.

How to Apply for a German Student Visa?

Many international students choose Germany to study abroad. As they belong to other countries, these foreign students will need a student visa before they can fly to Germany. After being selected by a German university, students should quickly start applying for a student visa. There are several documents one will need to show the visa authorities.

International students can enter Germany through a study application visa that is valid for three months. After three months, the foreign student can apply for a residence permit to continue their studies in Germany. The processing of the application may take up to 25 working days.

The required documents sent by the candidate will be transferred to the Immigration Office of the candidate's respective university for approval. Afterwards, it will then return to the embassy or consulate in their country. Make sure to submit all the required documents toavoid visa rejection in Germany. Students can also prefer to keep adocument checklist for visa in Germany.

International students have a pool of options to select the best and top universities for them. Over 45 universities in the country have been ranked in QS World University Rankings 2021. The ranking implies that almost every major city in Germany has a world-leading university. While studying in Germany, Indian students will realise that they have more independence in organising their study programmes as they are not linear.

They can meet people from different countries and learn different cultures and languages. Student life in Germany along with a part-time job can help students to learn the nitty-gritty of life and balance work with studies.

Here, teachers and instructors value time and hence, it makes the students punctual in all aspects. Apart from all the academic key points, international students also get a chance to explore the country during the holidays at a bare minimum cost to enjoy their stay in a wholesome way. International students can also enjoy some popular delicacies like kebabs, sausages and Chinese takeaways as they are also priced decently.

Altogether, international students do not need to go beyond their budget to live in Germany to fulfil all their dreams. They can enjoy their stay in the country without taking the burdens of their finances.

Feel this information is insufficient? Or, got any doubts regarding student life in Germany? Ask our experts at to resolve your queries as soon as possible.

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Is student life in Germany tough?

Yes, it can be said that student life in Germany is tough in terms of academic-related things like teaching styles and lectures. Being late to class is not encouraged or occasionally prohibited, and exams need careful planning and diligent study. However, with proper time management and hard work, student life can be exciting and one-of-a-kind experience.

Is Germany a good study abroad destination?

Definitely, Germany is a good study abroad destination. One of the top foreign student destinations around the globe is Germany. According to the most recent official statistics, there are currently over 400,000 international students studying in Germany, and that number is rising.

How much can an international student earn in Germany?

An international student can earn in Germany up to EUR 45,000/month if a student holds any part-time. However, you will require a tax identification number if your monthly income exceeds EUR 450, and a fixed amount will be deducted from your pay each month. At the end of the year, students can get this money back by filing a tax return.

Is it easy to find a job in Germany as a student?

Yes, it can be said that it is easy to find a job in Germany as a student. Almost every university in Germany has an employment centre where students can look for internships and job opportunities. While studying, students can benefit from career fairs hosted by the universities and get to know potential employers or apply for a job.

What happens if a student works more than 20 hours in Germany?

If a student works more than 20 hours in Germany, they stand the risk of exceeding the annual work hour cap which is 120 full days or 240 half days. Additionally, there is a EUR 450 monthly income salary cap. Standard German taxes must be paid on income over that amount; income under EUR 450 is exempt from taxes. If these rules are not followed, then legal action can be taken against the student.

Can I get PR after studying in Germany?

Yes, you can get a PR after studying in Germany i.e., after you graduate. You must have worked in Germany for at least two years after graduating in order to be eligible for this settlement permit. Additionally, the position had to have matched your German-earned academic credentials. You must have had a work permit, a self-employment permit, or an EU Blue Card after graduating.

Can international students stay in Germany after completing their studies?

Yes, international students can stay in Germany after completing their studies while they search for employment or look for a job. Students from non-EU and non-EEA countries who have a residence visa may petition to have it extended for an additional 18 months. For more information, check out Stay Back Period and Work Permit in Germany.

What is the cheapest city to live in Germany?

The following are the five cheapest cities to live in Germany:

  • Frankfurt (Oder) City Germany.

  • Krefeld City Germany.

  • Bielefeld City Germany.

  • Halle City Germany.

  • Passau City Germany.

Comparing Germany to other European nations, the cost of living in Germany is relatively low.

How long can I stay in Germany after my student visa expires?

The Germany Student Visa typically has a three-month validity period during which it serves as a residence permit. After the visa has expired, a residence permit serves as the official document of residence. Prior to the expiration of the visa, the residence permit application must be submitted.

Can I convert my student visa to a work visa in Germany?

Yes, you can convert your student visa to a work visa in Germany. While looking for suitable employment, students are free to work at any job. You can seek to have your residence permit for educational reasons transformed into an EU Blue Card or a work visa for skilled professionals as soon as you have got a job offer.

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