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Everything you need to know as an Indian student moving to Germany

Everything you need to know as an Indian student moving to Germany
Archive photo shows Indian students at the TU Chemnitz, which has over 500 enrolled. Photo: DPA
More and more Indian students are choosing to come to Germany for their bachelor's or master's degrees. Here's what you need to know if you're one of them.

Given its growing international population and free tuition in public universities, Germany is an attractive place for young people to pursue their education. Here’s what you’ll need and what you can expect, moving to Germany as an Indian student:

Increasingly more Indian students are choosing Germany over the US or the UK for higher education. According to the Federal Statistical Office of Germany, there was a 20 percent increase in Indian students in Germany in 2019.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: Who are Germany’s international students?

Indians are also the second-largest national group of international students registered at German universities. 

While there has been a dip in the number of Indian students travelling to Germany in the past year, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) claims that the interest in Indian students to study in Germany has been relatively unaffected by the pandemic. 

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See also on The Local:

Where Indians in Germany Study: Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Technische Universität Chemnitz, and Free University of Berlin are the three most popular universities for Indian students. Studying in Germany has laid out the requirements for Indian students to get admission to a German university on their website. 

READ ALSO: How to finance your master’s degree in Germany as an international student

Travelling to Germany during the pandemic: Indians can currently travel to Germany under some conditions. Visa Facilitation Services Global has a detailed article on what these travel guidelines are

German study visa and residence permit: To apply for a visa, you will need a list of documents including an admission letter from your university, proof of English language and a valid passport. The German Embassy has listed the full list of documents needed to apply for a German study visa on its website.

Although the average waiting time for visas to be issued is 25 days, it may take up to 3 months for your visa application to get approved. There are several consulates accepting visa applications during the pandemic. For more information, visit the Indian Embassy’s website. 

Once in Germany, you must prove that you are a student by presenting your enrolment letter and registering your residence within two weeks after arrival, although this deadline has been extended to six weeks due to the pandemic.

Here’s more information on doing your ‘Anmeldung’ (registration). Study in Germany has more information on how to provide proof of enrollment and get a residence permit on their website.

Another important process is signing up for health insurance and providing proof that you are insured. If you are a student under the age of 30 enrolled in a degree programme at a German university, you can choose to register with a public health insurance provider so you can benefit from the statutory health insurance scheme.

Bikes parked in front of the University of Bonn. Photo: DPA

Students over 30-years-old, language and preparatory course students, PhD students, and guest scientists, however, only have the possibility of getting private health insurance. Germanvisa.org has some detailed information on how to get health insurance in Germany as an international student. 

Finding a flat: Finding an apartment to rent in Germany can be difficult, and so the number one tip is to start looking for one as early as possible. An affordable option is to apply for public student housing. These are called ‘halls of residence’ and are run by a state-run NGO called Studentenwerk. 

They offer residence to students all over Germany and house close to 40 percent of Germany’s international student population. Click out Studentenwerk’s website for more information on how to apply. 

If you’re looking for private accommodation instead, wg-gesucht, Immobilienscout24, and immowelt are among the most popular websites to find apartments for rent. Another place to look is German eBay, which has a special local feature called Kleinanzeigen. 

Here, you can find many different deals from apartments to cars to jobs and services. This website is essentially the German version of Craigslist.

On eBay Kleinanzeigen, you will find listings from current tenants rather than professional brokers. This is a popular site to post offers as it’s free for both the vendors and buyers (tenants), in comparison to ImmobilienScout24 where landlords need to pay a fee.

READ ALSO: 7 things you should know when looking for a flat in Germany

Another, slightly less explored place to look for housing is in Facebook groups. One such group is Indians in Germany, where Indian students occasionally make posts looking for other Indians to share an apartment with, etc. There are also Facebook groups exclusively for people looking to rent apartments in almost every German city. You can easily find them by entering keywords like ‘housing’ followed by the city name on the search bar.

Adapting to student life in Germany: Most websites and blogs that help international students make the move don’t touch on the emotional labour of moving to a different continent and into a different culture. It can be daunting at first to adjust to a new environment.

Thankfully, Germany has seen a surge in international students over the past few years and most universities have a diverse student body, so you will at least be surrounded by students who are also adjusting. 

Most German universities have a student life department, meant to help students with various advice and suggestions, from academic to personal.

It’s important to keep your mental health in check after going through such a big shift. While German universities generally do not provide medical services (including mental health services), you can seek help depending on the kind of health insurance you have. Check out this article to find out more about mental health resources in Germany for international students. 


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