Travel

“No place is ever as bad as they tell you it’s going to be.” – Chuck Thompson

Things One Should Know Before Moving to Germany for Studies 31

The thought of traveling out of your country for the first time can be very daunting and exhilarating at the same time because you never know how will the stay going to be.

I came to Germany in January 2017, and this was the first time I was traveling out of my home country, India. Even though I was aware of the fact that life is going to be very different from India, but after coming to Germany, I realized how difficult even it was to imagine what fortune has kept for me here. Let me tell you, life is indeed very different from India (As I am from India I would be comparing fundamentally from that perspective, but there are many things which would be useful to people from other parts of the world). Below are various mentioned points where one can notice the difference:

1.Food: “There is no love sincerer than the love of food,”  said George Bernard Shaw.

If there is one thing which is certain after coming to Germany, that is no matter what you do, but you will be eating for sure 😉

But guess what? You will not be getting the same food as you get in your home country, and this alone has the potential to make your transition terrible.

Even though it is common for students or adults to cook by themselves in western countries but many countries, people use maid service for cooking, or they eat in mess/canteens.

But the scenario is dramatically different in Germany because even if you have mess either you won’t find food of your choice, or it would be expensive. You may discover Subway, McDonald’s, Burger King, Starbuck’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, etc. but that would burn a hole in your pocket.

So, does this mean one would die out of hunger? No, absolutely not. For example, what most Indian students do is they bring spices from India or buy from the Indian store (generally found in the major cities) and cook by themselves because even though you may have “Mensa (Mess)” in your university but as I said it would not satisfy your taste buds.

Tips: Learn cooking before coming to Germany because that would be your best skill to survive.

2.Laundry: You will have a washing machine in your flat or public washing machine in some cases. Charges for washing the clothes vary depending on whether you are using the public washing machine or you have one in the flat.

3.Cleaning: It is essential to keep your room and common area clean. If your room is found to be dirty after you move out the owner is allowed to deduct some/full amount of your deposit.

If you are not used to garbage segregation be prepared to for it. In Germany, glass, plastic, organic waste has different thrash bin.

4.Commutation: Germany is very well connected. Public transport is a way of life, and therefore you don’t have to worry much about it. One important thing to note is the frequency of buses and trains vary on the weekends.

Tips: Know about the apps which can tell you about the timing of the buses and trains like DB navigator, RMV, etc. Also, you can read a book or listen to an audio dictionary while commuting. The good part is you will not have much noise around, so, you can do your job peacefully.

5.Weather:  It is the scariest part. If you come in winter, you will experience the freezing coldness. Less number of sunshine hours. Summer is relatively safe as you do not need to load yourself with loads of clothes but many a time temperature reaches to 35-36 degree Celsius which may be a problem without fans or air conditioners (it is rare to have fan or AC in Germany).

Tips: Bring sufficient winter clothes if you don’t want to fall ill as soon as you come. Get the right winter clothes from a good brand (as they have temperature tested clothes). I bought from Decathlon, but you can choose any name you like.

6.SIM cards: It is challenging to decide which one to buy because you will get different SIM cards on their own merits and demerits. But, generally if you want to have it for an official purpose (i.e., for internship/interview calls) O2 or Vodafone is recommendable, but for international calls, Lebara is a good choice. Apart from the mentioned brands, you can find Rewe, Aldi, etc.

Tips: Mostly you should prefer WhatsApp call or skype but should have any one of the mentioned cards for urgent calls.

7.Groceries: There are a good number of supermarkets which you might not have heard back in India like REWE, ALDI, EDEKA, NETTO, PENNY, etc. You can buy your day to day stuff from these supermarkets.

Tips: First visit these stores and compare the prices of the items before buying because there is a considerable difference in the prices of the products in different supermarkets as there is no concept of maximum retail price (MRP) in Germany. Aldi and Penny are considered to be the most cost-effective.

8. Language: so far the most crucial point, I guess. Yes, I am saying this because even though, if your course is in English but to get into the job market without German fluency, is indomitable. Knowledge of the German language not only helps you to get a job but also it increases your chances drastically to gel up with the people here. Germans know that German is a tough language to learn therefore they appreciate if some take the pain to learn the language.

Tips: Try to learn at least basics of German before you arrive here. And keep on learning as much as possible in due course of time.

9. Economical Clothing Store: It is not hard to find big fashion brands in any of the city center in Germany, but as a student, many of us try to find that one economic store where we can get clothes, shoes, etc. for different seasons. And if you are in search of one, it is Primark. Primark is a fashion chain where you can find clothes and accessories for people of different ages.

Based on my personal experience I think its products are economical as well as good in quality.

These are some of the things which I noticed based on my personal experiences so far, I will keep updating the list as and when I find something new. Do share your views in the comment section if you feel something is missing on the list.

Thank you for taking out your time to read!

31 comments

  • Bablofil says:

    Thanks, great article.

  • ashish says:

    Hey , what about german people ? Can indians make friends with germans easily ? I am coming germany in october (winter sem) and as a new country i was quite unsure about how to pass time there without family and culture difference is there too.

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hey, Ashish!

      Yes, absolutely you can make German friends. As in any friendship, it takes time before they invite you to your home or hang out much with you. But German people are very good at the same time, not that outgoing like we Indians are. Therefore if you share the same interests and hang around with them you would surely have a few friends to bank on. Moreover, you can find and connect with expat community on Internations as well ( https://www.internations.org/).

      I hope this helps!

  • Priya says:

    Hi Naveen,
    Nice article!

    I want to study in germany just to get a job there after my Masters.
    I am already having 2 years IT experience. But I am not having any money for that, I need to take a education loan for my studies.
    So my only concern is what if i would not get job there, how i will pay off my loans. I am not financially Strong 🙁

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi, Priya,

      Thanks! Actually, many students have this problem.Absolutely, you can get a job and repay your loans with that money. But, let me tell you, it is not easy to get a job here without knowing the German language but if you are focused and work on your profile there are many jobs in English as well. I have many friends from IT who got a job, so that is not a problem. In case of more queries, you can shoot me a message on LinkedIn, I check it more regularly.

      All the best with your choices!

      Regards
      Naveen

  • aswitha says:

    Hey there Naveen,

    Hope you are doing good there..! I visited Germany last December it felt quite good and it is up to my tastes.So, I am planning to come to Germany next winter and my course in bachelors is mechanical so could you suggest me the current trending courses in masters that have a good scope of getting jobs there. what about the part-time jobs how much one could possibly earn through them??

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Aswitha,

      Yeah, thank you, I am doing pretty good here. So, it depends if you want to do the masters in engineering, management or something else. Don’t do the mistake of taking any trending courses without having a background in it. The point is in Germany relevant experience and knowledge is really valued. In addition, it is great to know the language as that increases the chances of getting job/internship here. A part-time job is not that difficult if you are in big cities. And at other places, good German skills would help you to find one. In the part-time job, you get the minimum wage fixed by the government approx 8.60 Euro.

      Naveen

  • Anvesh says:

    Hi Naveen! This article is very informative and precise.!! Hooe your doing well there, How much would an average Indian student earn through part-time while studying?

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Thank you Anvesh!

      If you would do workstudent in a company, you can earn approx.1000 Euro. If you do a part-time job at McD or somewhere else you can earn 600-700 Euros.

      You can visit my Quora account as well, where I have answered a few questions related to this, in case you are interested.

      Cheers!

  • Bhargav says:

    Hi Naveen, hope you are doing well..! I need to know about job opportunities in telecommunications sector and what are the chances for getting job for a student mastered in telecommunications and have B1 level in German language?

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Bhargav!

      Thanks, that would be difficult to say. I am not very aware of the technical job market.

      I hope you would find the information somewhere else.

      Warm Regards
      Naveen

  • Vaibhav Kashyap says:

    How can i apply for Studienkolleg in Germany? What are its requirements and how much money is needed for it?

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Vaibhav,

      No clue, sorry! Try asking in “Indians in Germany,FB group.”I hope you would get your answer there.

      Warm Regards
      Naveen

  • Prem Kumar says:

    Hi naveen..i want know whether germany is good for management studies like mba..and what about job opportunities after completion..

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Prem,

      MBA is not that well known in Germany, but it is growing. In Germany MSc in Management is very well known.

      That being said Germany has some good business schools where you can study.

      For a job, language helps very much otherwise there is significant competition for jobs in English. Moreover relevant work experience and internships generally help you to find a job.

  • Sourabh says:

    Hello Naveen!

    Can you tell me which masters courses available for CSE graduate students in public University

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Sourabh,

      I don’t know that as a business student, but I am sure you will find that information on any institute website.

  • Goldy Gupta says:

    Hi Naveen! This article is very informative.My daughter wants to do her bachelors from Germany. I want to know whether it is safe for girls. will she get indian girls there to make friends or will she feel alone? plz also tell about cities which are less cold .Thanx in advance.

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Goldy!

      Thank you.

      I think if she is matured enough to live an independent life and you are willing to send her, the opportunities are excellent. She will learn a lot at an early age.

      If she plans to have an international career, this would be a wise decision.

  • loreida metaj says:

    Hi Naveen. I found very usefull this blog for me. I’m planning on studying master in Germany for finance, and I want to know if it’s hard to finish the master for 2 years or it takes longer? Also, it’s difficult to find a part time job in Göttingen ? Thanks in advance.

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Metaj,

      No, two years will be more than enough for you to complete your degree but the advantage is that German universities offer you a chance to take a gap year which helps sometime to do internships and projects, in that case, it can take longer (or if you flunk, which I am sure would not be the case ;))

      The part-time job should not be difficult to find if know German otherwise it depends. I don’t have specific information about Gottingen.

      All the best!

  • Kaustubh says:

    Hey! Great article. Do you mind telling me how Germany is for students of Business and Marketing related fields? And is it easy to get jobs or is there a crisis like the UK?

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Kaustubh,

      Germany is a good destination for Business and Marketing fields, and there are many opportunities which do not even require the German language to get a job or internship. One thing which has to be kept in mind is that be specific about what you want to do for example marketing can be conventional or digital, in digital marketing there can be many things such as SEO, SEM, Email Marketing, etc. therefore it is necessary to choose one field and focus on it. If you do this there is a good chance that you will get job/internship.

      Thank you!

      Regards
      Naveen

  • Amisha says:

    Hello!
    I just want to know I am a student of BMS 1st year, I want to clear my BMS degree after that I am willing to study in Germany, I want to complete my MBA from Germany is that a good idea and What will be the fees for MBA? And can we do part time job and study ?

  • Monish says:

    Hi Naveen,

    I am currently pursuing my Bachelors of computer application and I want to pursue my Msc Data engineering and analytics in TU Munich. I have been reading a lot about education in Germany and the job opportunities after Masters. There were a lot of pros and an equal number of cons. Now I am confused whether to proceed with my decision. After reading different articles I have come to this decision that finding a job in Germany is not a walk on the beach, it is bit hard. And also after finding a job I came across 42% tax which I did not Understand. I read a phrase(“To get a visa you need a job, to get a job you need a visa”) which mentioned about the visa in Germany for finding a job.

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Monish,

      If it would be so easy everyone would fly to Germany next day, don’t you think? And “To get a visa you need a job, to get a job you need a visa,” this sentence does not apply when you are a student here, you get the visa first. For more information, you may refer to my Quora answers: https://www.quora.com/profile/Naveen-Kumar-Sharma-9

      Thanks

  • Nishad Bapat says:

    hii i want to know the living expenses in cologne where i want to do a course in sports university there. i am from humanities background so i am doing development of international sports and politics. What are the steps to get a part time job there?

  • Pratheek says:

    Hi Naveen
    That was a beautiful article what I just read. But I would like to know more of how the 2 years of masters is distributed into…like how long is a semester, how many internals/tests/exams one has to attend in a sem and how many would there be seminars and ppt that one has to give and how would be the experience of an Indian student like us be there in a German Institute when we have studied in a different style in India throughout our lives.
    Also what’s the eligibility criteria for a BE graduate in India to get into a decent German Institute.
    I know this is a long set of doubts and questions… but I couldn’t help it. You seem to be trustworthy.
    Thanks in advance and I’m waiting for your reply/ answers.

    Regards
    Pratheek

    • Naveen kumar Sharma says:

      Hi Pratheek,

      Most of the details you can find on the university websites. Let me tell you something which you won’t find:

      Semester duration: Usually 4-5 months
      Exams Elements: For management students, it consists of class participation, presentation (1 o 2 depending on 3 or 6 ECTS i.e. credit), essays, and written exams

      Naveen

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