9 Tips for Students in Germany – Things I wish I knew!

8 Years ago when I came to Germany as a Student, it was quite a cultural shock for me. Things were very different compared to what I was used to. The first few months were quite challenging but I got the hang of things in time. As time passed I got to know many things that I wish I knew Earlier. That is why in this guide I want to share 9 Tips for students in Germany I wish I knew as a Student.

Search For Better Accommodation

Finding good accomodation in Germany as a Student can be an absolute Nightmare. Especially if you are a new arrival. Not knowing the language and the culture is an added stress on the top. That is why Finding a Good accomodation should be among your highest priorities as soon as you Get a visa for Germany.

I remember my first accomodation was in a 3 room apartment with a married couple occupying 2 rooms while the other was for students. It could have been a good experience but the Couple didn’t speak a word of English which made my life a living hell. On top of that my German was at A2 level which didn’t make things go smoothly.

Your experience may vary and some people even recommend living with the locals to get Integrated quickly, but I would recommend finding a place with Students first. This will ease you into German culture as students are most likely to share more compared to others.

To find a better Accommodation I would recommend Joining Local Groups on Facebook. Additionally Kleinanzeigen is also a great place to Find Accomodation in Germany.

Find Student Discounts

Almost every large business in Germany offers Discounts for Students. Students in Germany get discounts on Clothing, electronics and even on various Contracts.

Back in 2015 when I was in search of a Winter Jacket. I ended up in H&M and found out that students Got a Discount of 20% just for making an account on their website. I simply signed up and got a 20% discount. At that time I didn’t know this applied to so many things. For example, Notebooksbilliger, which is one of the biggest stores for Laptops in Germany, has a special Student discount program where you can get really good deals on laptops. You can also get cheaper travel tickets from Deutsche Bahn.

One thing I would recommend you do is to open a separate email address for such discounts and newsletter signups. Try signing up with protonmail and keep all those things separate from your personal and University email.

Tips for Students in Germany on Buying things

What should I buy from my home country when Coming as an International Student in Germany, is probably one of the most asked questions. Should I buy a laptop in Germany or should I bring it from my home country?

To all of those questions, my answer is to buy all Necessary things from Germany. Anything that can support you in your Studies as a Student in Germany should be bought from Germany. This includes laptop, mobile phone, study supplies like pens , printing paper, notebooks, research papers, anything that you can prove is necessary for your studies in Germany should be bought in Germany.

I say this because of 2 reasons. First reason is that The legal warranty period for new goods in Germany is 2 years. So if anything doesn’t work properly it can be easily replaced free of cost compared to sending that thing back to your home country or getting it repaired from your own funds.

The second reason is that you can claim all of your study related expenses in a Tax Return as you will learn later on in the video.

If you are getting value from this video Please hit the like button and consider subscribing.

Learn About the German System

It’s common knowledge that Germans are quite efficient. And in their efficiency they sometimes forget that people from other countries don’t have the same systems as in Germany. Most Germans assume you already know things that are common knowledge for them. For example, did you know that after working 6 hours you have to take a mandatory break of 30 minutes and after working for 9 hours there is another 15minutes mandatory break? So in order to work an 8 hour shift you actually have to be present for 8 and a half hours. I did not know this when I did my first job as a student. I was working 6 and a half hours for days just to find that I was only paid for 6 hours.

Another example would be the Ruhezeiten, many students I knew got into trouble because of this. These are quiet times between 10 p.m. to 6am when you should not make large noises on weekdays. On sundays and public holidays this quiet time is extended throughout the whole day

That is why it is absolutely crucial that you learn about the German system by asking your questions specially from your German Friends.

Learn German Language
Learn German Language

Checkout what your University has to offer

Universities in Germany have many offers that International students often do not know about. For example you can get cheap Semester Tickets for Travel, Free Software and even rent things out for cheap or even without any money. My University offered Cheap Field Trips for International Students which I found out in the Second semester. This included free transport, and cheap meals too. Thankfully I found this out soon compared to many Students who never knew such programs ever existed.

Another thing many universities offer their students is Free or Cheap sports activities. My University didn’t have a swimming pool but they offered free vouchers to Local Indoor pools and even provided free pick and drop services for students who didn’t have a means to get there.

One of my tips for students in Germany would recommend going to the International Center if your university has one and also contacting the student union in your university to know about what they offer. And don’t hesitate to talk in English if your German is Weak.

Tips for students in Germay on Health Insurance

As a Student, getting Health Insurance is probably one of the First things you do when you arrive in Germany. In most cases you can’t even register with your University without it. As a new student I didn’t know about Private and Public Health insurances.

All new students were given forms for TK public Health insurance and we all filled them out without knowing what other offers there were. I was paying 90€ per month on that and this was my second largest expense after rent. This amount increased to 98€ just after a couple of months. I complained about this price increase to a friend of mine and he said that he was paying just 30€ because he had private insurance.

Now I am not saying that you should get Private health insurance instead of Public Health insurance. But 60 odd euros is a huge amount specially as a Student in Germany. That is why one of the tips for students in Germany would be to know about private and public health insurance. And even the various options available within Public Insurance.

In cases where you are struggling to make ends meet, Germany has options where you can apply for student loans in Germany.

Filing a Tax Return

Taxes are a complicated topic and students don’t often like to even think about them. But did you know that you can claim all expenses related to your Studies and Work related expenses in a Tax Return. Yes, absolutely everything. This includes your Semester Fee, Monthly travel tickets, Laptops and Mobile Phone Purchases. Any stationary that you buy. You can even claim costs for Thesis, Internship and Job Applications that you have sent.

On average, people get a tax refund of 1092€ per year. And students can get even more, if they apply for a tax return in the proper way instead of just writing their name on a paper and submitting it to the Finanzamt. You can easily use Software for Submitting a Tax Return in Germany

It took me 4 years to submit my first tax return and even then I didn’t claim many things which I should have claimed. And I really wish I knew then what I know now about Taxes in Germany. I have detailed articles on this topic here if you want to know more about Tax returns for Students in Germany.

Investing for your Future

As an International Student in Germany, one of the biggest if not THE biggest investment you can make for your future in Germany would be to learn the German Language. Without knowing the language you can only survive up till a certain point. Especially when you start your professional career, not knowing the German Language would be the biggest hurdle in your Professional Career.

Another thing would be to travel more, thankfully International students try to travel as much as they can while they are students. But for those who think they would be able to travel when they get a job. Trust me you would not be able to travel that much when you get a job. And even if you don’t have that much money , you can always find tickets with Flixbus and there is always the Deutschland ticket.

This wouldn’t be a finance blog if I didn’t include this in the tips for students in Germany. And that would be to Invest in the Stock Market. As a student you can invest in the Stock market as long as you are investing your own money. And you can even get a tax free profit of 1000€/ year . You can start with just 1€ and start saving for your future. I have a detailed guide on Investing for Students in Germany

Tips for students in Germany about Credit

Students often struggle with their finances. And due to that they get into a lot of trouble. One of the most common things I see students in Germany do is to get a new phone on a Contract. 60€/month for the latest Iphone might be a great deal but when you are struggling to get a job, this can lead to trouble very fast. On top of that, students often get Credit Cards to overcome their troubles and get into even more debt. That is why it’s absolutely essential to know about Credit Score or Schufa Score in Germany and how to use the Best Free Credit Cards in Germany responsibly without paying unnecessary fees.

*Affiliate link, I may earn a commission if you use the link and make an account at no additional cost to you

Disclaimer: None of the content in this article is meant to be considered as investment advice, as I am not a financial expert and am only sharing my experience with stock investing. The information is based on my own research and is only accurate at the time of posting this article but may not be accurate at the time you are reading it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *