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Living expenses
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The cost of living depends largely on your personal spending habits as well as on the location of your university. In big cities such as Munich or Stuttgart, the cost of accommodation and public transport will evidently be higher than in smaller university towns such as Aachen or Weimar, and besides, rental prices in the Eastern part of Germany are still considerably lower than in the rest of the Republic.
As a rule of thumb, you should budget between S $ 1200 and 1500 (EUR 600 to 750) per month for general living expenses, including rent, food, clothing, study materials, public transport, health insurance, leisure activities, personal everyday items etc.

Students in Germany enjoy numerous benefits and discounts such as subsidized meals at the university canteens and accommodation in student halls of residence (available to a limited number of students), discounted monthly passes for public transportation, inexpensive health insurance, the free use of university-owned sports facilities as well as student discounts on admission to cinemas, theatres, concerts, museums etc.
And all this for a small contribution of about S $ 50 to S $ 300 each semster ('Semesterbeitrag'), which - depending on the university - often includes a public transport pass valid for the entire duration of the term ('Semesterticket' / 'Studi-Ticket'). Some of the public universities charge additional tuition fees of ca. 500 EUR (~ 1000 S $) per semester.


Accommodation

For general tips on how to find accommodation, please refer to the FAQ section. In addition, the following website provides more information on the different types of student housing available (student halls of residence, shared flats etc.):
https://www.study-in.de/en/plan-your-stay/accommodation/


Some student affairs offices ('Studentenwerke') offer international students so-called 'service packages' for the first one or two semesters, which may contain the following: pick-up service on arrival from the airport or train station, accommodation in a student hall of residence, meal vouchers for the 'Mensa' (canteen), arrangement of health insurance cover, guidance counselling, special tutoring programmes, cultural activities etc.

To find out more about the availability, content and pricing of such 'service packages', or on student halls of residence in general, please contact your respective Studentenwerk:
http://www.studentenwerke.de/en


Health Insurance

Under German law, everybody studying at a state-recognized college or university is required to take out health insurance. Therefore you will need to submit an insurance certificate ('Krankenversicherungnachweis') to successfully enrol at the admissions office. No health insurance means no registration.

Students who are under 30 years of age, or have not yet completed their 14th semester, pay a very low premium for health insurance cover.
At present (Summer semester 2007), the monthly insurance premium amounts to 47.53 EUR.
An additional 7.92 EUR is due for the statutory nursing care insurance.
Any statutory health insurance company can provide you with more information and all the necessary application forms.
(eg. AOK - http://www.unilife.de/,
BarmerErsatzkasse - https://www.barmer.de,
TKK - http://www.tk.de/tk/faq/s-english/students-from-abroad/199676 etc.)

Students at colleges of preparatory studies, guest researchers, anyone taking part in language courses and students who are older than 30 years of age do not qualify for public health insurance.
Nevertheless, they still need to submit proof to the Aliens' Registration Office that they have adequate health coverage in order to attain a residence permit. Consequently, they have to take out private health insurance.
For competitive rates check out websites such as http://www.ausland24.com.


Student Life in Germany

University towns are full of life. Bookshops, cafés, music pubs, programme cinemas that show other than the mainstream fare and a wide range of sporting activities await you. A classical student culture has evolved around many of the traditional universities, such as Freiburg, Heidelberg or Göttingen, often preserved in a unique historical student district. When choosing your study location, make sure that you give some thought to what kind of town or city you would like to experience: industrial and urban, small and romantic... ?

The German academic year is divided into two semesters, the so-called winter semester beginning in October and the summer semester beginning in April.
Mid-February to mid -April and mid-July to mid-October are lecture-free periods. Those are the weeks in which students prepare for their examinations, work on seminar papers and dissertations, do internships, earn some money part-time or go on holidays!

Students at German universities are educated to become critical and open minds. From the very beginning, they are encouraged to ask questions and not simply to accept any claim or statement as given fact. What is presented to the student as scientific or academic knowledge is exactly what that the student is expected to analyze, question, review and check.


Climate

Germany has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. In the summer months from June to August, temperatures will usually climb up to 25 - 30°C during the day time, but without the humidity prevailing in the tropics. The average winter temperature is between 1.5°C in the lowlands and - 6°C in the mountains, although once in a while temperatures can drop to - 15°C. But don't panic - luckily, there is always central heating… Snow is common from December to March.

Despite being one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, Germany has a lot of natural beauty to offer. From the beaches of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea in the north to the Alps and the world-famous Black Forest in the south, innumerable forests, mountain ranges, rivers and lakes are waiting to be explored. Historic cities, towns and castles dot the landscape.


Multicultural Society

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People from all over the world have made Germany their home, either temporarily or for good. Of its 82 million or so inhabitants, some 7.3 million do not have a German passport, i.e. almost 9 per cent of the population is of foreign origin.


This diversity in the population naturally left its mark on the cultural as well as culinary landscape: Italian pizzerias, Turkish kebab stands as well as Chinese restaurants have become part of everyday city life and have helped turn Germany into a cosmopolitan and open society. Which doesn't mean the Germans would simply give up some of their own specialities: there are literally hundreds of different kinds of bread, 1500 varieties of sausages and - to top it all off - 4000 different kinds of beer!


Further Information
For more information about living in Germany, check out the following websites:
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