What to consider when studying abroad in Germany
Not only is Germany home to many of the top universities in the world, but the tuition and living expenses are surprisingly affordable, particularly when compared to countries like the United States.
Plus, because of the large number of international students who make their way to Germany every year, many programs are offered in English, so you might not even have to worry about being fluent in German. A few things to consider before taking the leap include:
- The costs of being a student in Germany
- How to save money in Germany
- The best things to do while you’re abroad and
- How to apply to a university in Germany as a foreign student
Is study free in Germany?
The great news is that public universities in Germany offer free undergraduate programs for international students who wish to study abroad affordably. However, there are other fees that you will need to cover.
Note: If you are going to be attending a school where you’ll need to pay tuition, scholarships and other forms of financial aid are available to help ease the financial burden.
How much does it cost to study in Germany
You might only need, on average, around $800 USD each month to cover your expenses in Germany,2 but this will, of course, vary depending on where you live and how you choose to spend your money. For example, areas in the southern part of Germany are considered the most expensive, while those in the east are considered the most affordable.
Also, remember that you do need health insurance while you’re living and studying in Germany, and you can choose from public health insurance and private health insurance, with the public option typically being the more affordable one.
Pro tip: Figuring out how far your money will go in Germany can be difficult. With the help of OFX’s currency charts, however, you can see how your home currency converts into euros, and this can help you estimate your overseas spending.
How to save money while studying internationally in Germany
Affordable living arrangements
If you aren’t going to be living on campus, you’ll need to factor in the cost of renting a place to live. Being strategic with your location could help you save money (for example, opting to stay in a more affordable rural area versus a more expensive city), but you can also use strategies like splitting your rent with roommates to reduce your costs.
Use public transport
When it comes to transportation, you can use the German rail system, and you can take advantage of student prices or purchase a rail pass to get around easily, efficiently, and affordably.
Use a money transfer company to pay tuition
Many international students don’t realize, at first, that merely transferring their money from their home bank account to their bank account abroad, or to their university abroad, can cost quite a bit of money, particularly when bank margins and fees are added in.
But, when you use OFX to move your money internationally, you could end up saving a lot compare to using your bank. So this is yet another simple way to save extra money that you can put towards other important things.
Things to do while studying abroad in Germany
While costs can vary from one area of Germany to another, one thing will remain the same no matter where you go: there will always be plenty to do and see.
From theaters and music venues, to restaurants, historical sites, museums, castles, opera houses, and more, you will have loads of opportunities to go out with friends or meet new people. Plus, with so many beautiful landscapes and parks to explore, you can take incredible photos that you’ll be proud to show off on social media.
Plus, when it comes to remaining financially stable while you’re in school, you can make it even easier on yourself by getting a part-time job working up to 20 hours per week, as international students in Germany are allowed to do so.
This can be a wonderful way to further immerse yourself in the culture, meet more people, gain valuable experience, and earn money that will allow you to cover your living expenses.
How to apply for overseas study in Germany
To get started, search for the schools that you’re most interested in attending in Germany, then follow the steps below.
Read through the application requirements carefully
For example, if you’re an undergraduate student, you might need to provide your high school diploma, university entrance exam result, or school-leaving certificate in order to fulfill the higher education entrance qualification known as Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (HZB). You might also need to complete an entrance exam, or submit proof that you can speak German or English.
Along with the necessary fees, other documents that you might be required to submit with your application include copies of any diplomas and degrees you’ve already earned, transcripts, a copy of your passport, and your passport photo.
Prepare for getting a visa
In addition to fulfilling the admission requirements for the school of your choice, you might need to prove that you can afford to live and study in Germany in order to get your visa. For example, you might need to provide proof that you have roughly $10,000 USD1 for living expenses, but this may vary depending on where you’re planning on living.
When it comes to getting your student visa, the requirements will be dependent on the country that you’re coming from. If you’re European, you’ll have the same rights as a citizen in Germany, but if you aren’t a European citizen, a visa and residency permit are likely going to be necessary for you to attend school there.
Organize health insurance
Next, you’d need to get health insurance prior to enrolling and getting your residence permit or student visa. If you live in the EU or EEA and you have public health insurance, you might be covered while in Germany. But, if you need to pay for health insurance, costs may range, on average, anywhere from $92 to $176 USD monthly.1
Study abroad without breaking the bank in Germany!
Germany is one of the most desirable destinations on the planet for studying internationally, and for many good reasons. Affordable tuition, a reasonable cost of living, and myriad opportunities to explore and try new things all make this country a great place to be while you work on enriching your skill set.