Studying in Germany is ideally one of the most recommended options for students pursuing Engineering or Management courses. But like any other country, it comes with its share of things a foreigner should keep in mind. Germany is not always Oktoberfest too. Because at the end of the day, there are a lot more things that eventually lead to you having a good time at fests like Oktoberfest. While there’s nothing better than hands-on experience, this article will serve as a guide to what you can expect when you study in Germany.
One of the first things anyone hears about studying in Germany is the free tuition. That is partially true. While it is true that public universities in Germany do offer free tuition, it is usually for specific programs, and of specific lengths only. Otherwise, the fee is still nominal, ranging up to only a couple of hundred dollars. Private universities still continue to be just as expensive, however. Some universities however offer you the opportunity to travel the country if you enroll in certain courses. Most students avail this opportunity.
Unlike universities in US or UK where coordinators are at your beck and call, German universities expect you to figure things out on your own and submit the necessary documents and lectures to attend. For that reason, seniors in the program turn out to be more helpful than the program coordinators are. This is not because they begrudge international students. With free tuition, there just aren’t enough funds to maintain an appropriate ratio for student coordinators to students. Many times the coordinators are just overworked or handling multiple assignments. While they indeed help you, it does take some time.
Paperwork is the key:
German bureaucracy is the stuff of legend, and not always the good kind. Couple that with the fact that there’s no spoon-feeding, and international students are left bewildered and fending for themselves in the alien land. For that purpose, always save every document and file it. You never know when you might need it. File it in such a way that it takes seconds to show the appropriate documents whether it be at the local administrative office or your room rent. This might tip scales in your favor for getting a fancier accommodation or help with your visa procedures with your authorities. “If they hit you with official letters, you hit them with double paperwork” is the general motto.
Punctuality is highly valued:
If you are expected at a certain time, you ought to be there. Germans are known for their high levels of punctuality. This is something worth practicing before actually going to Germany because this might have far-reaching implications for your Visa and other programs as well.
While many colleges in Germany do have student housing, they are not exactly the cleanest buildings. If you want a true sense of nativity, apply for flat sharing. While the chance of you getting it on the first try is not particularly high, it is worth the hassle. It helps you in expanding your friend circle and getting to know the feel of the land. Unlike dorms in other countries, however, German dorms don’t have laundry facilities. All they have are washing machines with elaborate settings and no one to explain them. You just have to figure things out. But this builds a sense of individuality and independence.
Language and commute:
While in the larger states it is perfectly okay to get by with English, it makes life easier to learn the native language. Besides, most public universities that offer free courses require you to learn German. It certainly weighs in your favor with the local artisans and grocers and helps you figure out your way speaking of which, Local trains are the best way to go around. They are clean, well-maintained, and time makes them the most viable option.
Most student visas give you the permit to work 240 half-days in a year. During your semester, you are allowed to work for not more than 20 hours a week. It is strongly advised that you don’t work under the table. This opens you up to the risk of exploitation and deportation from the country if caught. This permit helps the students earn because where tuition is waived off, other livelihood matters occupy that space. Life in Germany is not that cheap either. After your graduation, provided you finished the entire program in the university, you are given 18 months to find a job to stay. Here, however, you have to fend for yourself by showing that you are capable of financial independence and will add value to the economy while working diligently. For that purpose, the visa arrangements have to be made well in advance, fully prepared.
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