What it’s essential know earlier than finding out… in Germany

First European destination for international students, Germany attracts many French people. Procedures, budget, student life… Before going to Goethe’s country, l’Etudiant takes stock of what you need to know.

In 2016, Germany attracted nearly 7,000 French students, according to data from Campus France. The country stands out for appearing in the fifth largest host country in the world and like fifth favorite destination for French students. With its attractive job market, its world-renowned higher education institutions and its intense cultural life, Germany has many strengths.

prestigious German universities

The German higher education system is a little different from ours. A distinction must be made between universities, technical universities, “Fachhochschulen” (equivalent to our IUTs) and specialized schools. There are no engineering or business schools as we know them in France. However, as Germany is part of the European Union, the diploma you validate is recognized in France thanks to the European credit transfer and accumulation system, the famous ECTS.

Some universities are among the most prestigious in the world: 48 German institutions appear in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Among them: the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, the Technical University of Munich, the University of Heidelberg or the University of Humboldt in Berlin.

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what to anticipate

As a European citizen, you only need a priori your identity card (up to date)although in some cases you may also be asked to prove that you are able to finance your living expenses.

Health level, remember to order yours European health insurance card (free)that allows you to take care of your medical care on site. Take out civil liability or emergency repatriation insurance. Notify your bank of your departure abroadto make sure you don’t have to pay additional bank fees once there.

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Once you have found your accommodation, you must register in the register of residents (Einwohnermeldeamt).

Budget: a very reasonable cost of living

The cost of living is generally more affordable than in France (-26% on average) except maybe for transportation, internet or electricity. The average student budget (for rent, food, tours, etc.) €794 per month, according to the Deutsches Studentenwerk, the equivalent of the regional center for university and school works in France. Here are some Cost of Expat numbers to give you an idea of ​​what to expect.

Cost in Paris cost in berlin percentage difference
Monthly rent of a room in the city center € 1,186.45 € 901.85 – 24%
Monthly pass for public transport 75 € 81 € + 8%
Modest restaurant for one person 15€ 8 € – 46.7%
fast food menu € 8.60 7 € – 18.6%
Water bottle (1.5L) € 0.87 €0.51 – 41.4%
Local beer (0.50 L) € 6.50 € 3.50 – 46.2%
Rice (1kg) € 1.79 € 1.69 – 5.6%
Potatoes (1kg) € 1.92 € 1.41 – 26.6%

If you go via Erasmus +, you will only have to pay to enroll in your French university. The application fee alone is approx. 50 to 500 € per semester, depending on the Länder (Efederal state of Germany, Editor’s Note). Financial aid is possible: the Erasmus+ scholarship (between €150 and €250 per month as part of a study trip), international mobility assistance (€400 per month) or scholarships offered by the DAAD (German university exchange office) for certain courses.

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Note: All students must also pay semiannual contributions (the “Semesterbeitrag”), with an average of around €270. They often include a transport part, allowing free use of subways and buses. But don’t hesitate to invest in a bicycle, one of the favorite means of transport for Germans !

Accommodation: opt for shared accommodation

Student residences can be a good plan, but they are quickly taken over. In the private park, instead of studios, it is the setting that is widely acclaimed. Reference sites to find your accommodation: WG-Gesucht or Studenten-WG. German rents generally range between €210 and €360 per month for students. But it can be much higher in cities like Munich, Frankfurt, Bonn, Hamburg or Cologne.

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Student life: good to know

The German student card gives you access to many advantages – much more than in France! To benefit from transport discounts, the Bahn Card can be a good solution. O European Youth CardIt’s also a good plan to know: valid for one year, for €10, it allows you to benefit from discounts throughout Europe.

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