Studying and living in Germany
Do I need a health insurance?
The German healthcare system with its dense network of highly qualified doctors is considered one of the best in the world. As a student in Germany, you benefit from optimum medical care and affordable insurance coverage. This can be either with an inexpensive compulsory student insurance policy with a German health insurance fund or with existing health insurance coverage policy from your home country which is recognised in Germany. Whatever the case: you cannot register at a German university without health insurance.
For further information please see https://www.study-in.de/en/plan-your-studies/requirements/health-insurance_27548.php.
Health insurance for students
If you wish to study in Germany, you always need health insurance. All statutory health insurance funds in the country are obliged to insure students up to the age of 30 (or to the end of the 14th full study semester) at a favourable student rate. If you turn 30 (or study for longer than 14 semesters) in Germany, you can continue to be insured through a statutory health insurance fund by paying a higher premium.
Important: Foreign insurance companies do not always pay for all the costs of medical treatment in Germany. In such cases, you will be obliged to pay for additional expenses yourself.
You do not have health insurance that is valid in Germany?
If the insurance coverage you have in your home country is not recognised in Germany, you must take out a health insurance policy in this country.
Most students in Germany are insured with a statutory health insurance fund. In some cases, however, it is also possible to take out private insurance.
Insurance premium rates for students with statutory insurance funds are currently around 80 euro a month. This amount applies until the 14th semester and up to the age of 30. After this, rates increase to at least 160 euro a month.
Important to know: Spouses and children of the insured person are included in the insurance for free if they have no (or only a minimal) income of their own. Make sure you pay your health insurance premiums regularly, otherwise you will be struck off the university register.
Things you should know about German health insurance
- As a member of a health insurance fund, you will receive an insurance card which you are required to present whenever you go to the doctor's.
- There are many statutory health insurance funds in Germany. All of these insurance funds have to take you on as a member if you are subject to compulsory insurance. Basic contributions are identical. However, some health insurance funds charge an additional premium. So make sure you ask!
- You can only obtain medication in Germany from pharmacies, and many are only available on prescription. Even if you have a prescription from your doctor, you have to contribute between 5 and 13 euro per medication yourself. Depending on your financial situation and in the case of chronic illnesses, patients may be exempted from having to make personal contributions. Inquire at your health insurance fund.
- If you become so ill that you have to be hospitalised, you don't need to worry about the costs of treatment. These are paid for the most part by your health insurance fund (with a maximum of 10 euro personal contribution per day).
- For some kinds of therapy, medical check- ups and in particular dental treatment, you may have to pay a significant amount yourself. All doctors are obliged to inform you explicitly in advance of any additional expenses you may incur for so-called "individual health services", and it is up to you to decide whether or not you use these extra services. If in doubt, contact your health insurance fund.
- As a patient in Germany, you have a right to choose your own doctor. This means you can in general decide yourself which doctor to consult or which hospital you wish to be treated in. The only condition is that if you are a member of a statutory health insurance fund, your doctor must be registered on the German health insurance panel, in other words, he or she is entitled to settle payments with your health insurance fund.
How can I find accommodation?
The most popular form of accommodation among students is private shared accommodation, or "Wohngemeinschaften" (WGs) as they are known in German. The principle is that a flat is shared by several people. Each tenant has his or her own room while the bathroom and kitchen are used jointly. The cost of electricity, internet and telephone are also shared. For a room in a shared flat, you can expect to pay between 200 and 400 euro.
The advantages: Shared accommodation is much cheaper and more sociable than an apartment you rent on your own. It's easier to make friends and learn German when you have flatmates.
The disadvantages: You're never alone. Sharing accommodation sometimes requires tolerance, for example when it comes to issues such as noise, orderliness and different routines.
There are many possibilities to find accommodation in Darmstadt. The internet is the easiest way of finding accommodation in Darmstadt from your home country. You can often contact prospective flatmates by e-mail or Skype.
Shared accommodation links:
Student residences in Darmstadt:
The HEAG Wohnbau GmbH has several Student apartments in Darmstadt. They are located near the city centre at Steubenplatz, Friedensplatz, Kirchstrasse, Akaziengarten and a bit outside the centre Eberstadt- Süd. The rent depends on the room size and varies between 250€ up to 950€. You can get for example a room with 15m² in 4 room apartment for 320€.
The student residence of “Vegis Immobilien” is located in Siemensstraße 3 64289 Darmstadt-Kranichstein. It is about 5,5 km away from Hochschule Darmstadt and you can reach it by tram. They offer single and double Apartments (with bathroom and furnished) for 380€ and 630€ per month
The new “Elementum - Uninest” in Darmstadt is located at Havelstraße 9 and about 4 minutes’ walk away from Hochschule Darmstadt. Contract lengths can either be 25 or 51 weeks. All rooms are fully furnished including a kitchenette and bathroom. Prizes vary between 530,- € and 800,- € per month.
SMARTments student Darmstadt is located at Stephanstrasse 5 which is in direct neighbourhood to the Hochschule Darmstadt. They offer single and shared Apartments (with bathroom and furnished) from 450,-€ per month.
- Another possibility is to contact the Studentenwerk Darmstadt in order to find a room in the city. For more information have a look at http://www.studentenwerkdarmstadt.de
Tip: Apply for an apartment at the Studentenwerk Darmstadt as soon as possible, because they have only a limited amount of apartments available. You can do your application without the confirmation of a university online via: https://service.studierendenwerkdarmstadt.de/tl1/.
In case you will receive an apartment you have to show the Studentenwerk Darmstadt your enrolment receipt.
If you prefer to live on your own a small apartment may be the right choice for you. Check out vacancies on the internet in good time before your course starts. Local newspapers also publish advertisements for accommodation (often at the weekend) which are usually also offered online. You can rent apartments either furnished or unfurnished. You have to contact a private landlord and ensure that you are registered for electricity, gas, telephone and internet. Before landlords sign a contract, they often want to see proof of income or demand a security. Rent prices can vary considerably depending on the city area and amenities. You are unlikely to find an apartment for less than 300 euro base rent, or "cold rent".
Advice: Find out about what the rent includes and compare rent prices. Is your rent a so-called "cold rent /net rent" (without additional expenses such as water, heating and waste disposal) or "gross warm rent/final rent"? Additional expenses can amount to over 50 percent of the "cold rent". You are usually also required to pay a deposit (one to two months' base rent) and possibly also an estate agent's commission. Also remember other fixed expenses that have to be paid (for example, telephone, internet, electricity and insurance).
Private accommodation links:
How high are the living expenses in Germany?
One of the most important things you have to consider when planning to study in Germany are your expenses. Before leaving for Germany, you must ensure that you have sufficient financial resources.
The cost of living in Darmstadt amounts to a lower limit of roughly 1.000€ per month .
This amount covers:
- Health insurance (mandatory): approximately 80 €/month
- Room rent: approximately 300 €/month (± 10-15% depending on size of room)
- Food: approximately 300 €/month
- Other: approximately 250 €/month includes:
- Clothes 51€
- Learning aids 33€
- public transport 76€
- Telephone, internet 35€
- Recreation, culture, sport 62€
In addition to these monthly costs, the following expenses incur:
- Semester fee (bi-annually/mandatory): 256,00 €. The semester fee includes student services, student union and semester ticket, which enables students to use public transport in the Rhine-Main-Area for free during the entire semester.
- Tuition fee for the MBA- Programme: 4.950 € per Semester
Do I need a German bank account?
It is advisable to open a bank giro (checking) account, because only bank account holders are able to make transfers to other accounts with no additional charge (making cash transfers can entail a handling fee of up to 6 Euros). Most banks will allow you to open a student account if you provide them with your student documentation and registration document from the city council office. Student bank accounts are not charged any monthly handling fees.
How is it to live in Darmstadt and what can I do in the area?
Darmstadt is a Science City: This designation, which was granted in August 1997 with a certificate by the Hessian Ministry of the Interior, recognises the national and international importance of the city in the areas of science and research. As a medium-sized city with more than 140,000 inhabitants, it offers 120,000 jobs – a remarkably favourable ratio. The city is the economical and cultural centre of the southern Rhine Main area. Whether education, leisure, culture, shopping or sport – discover Darmstadt as a friendly medium-sized city embedded in region with an excellent infrastructure and rich of culture.
Darmstadt has a unique flair due to its promotion of the arts. This long standing tradition started with Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig and the establishment of the artists’ colony at the beginning of the 20th century. Darmstadt is a centre of European art nouveau as are Brussels, Paris, Vienna, Glasgow and Barcelona. On a hilltop, the landmark of Darmstadt rises up into the sky: the “Hochzeitsturm”. The artists’ colony Mathildenhöhe, the exhibition building, the wedding tower, the Museum Artists’ Colony and the magnificent houses of artists from the time of art nouveau give their unmistakable flair to this hill of muses.
Besides that, a lot of special events such as the Christmas market in Darmstadt exist, which, for example, offers arts & crafts from the market place to the castle. The smell of mulled wine and gingerbread, a diverse musical programme, city guided tours and a children’s programme round off the festivities.
Darmstadt’s city centre offers a large variety of attractive shopping possibilities. More than 400 stores are waiting for you and all this in close proximity to each other: In the pedestrian precinct everything can be reached within a few minutes and you have more time for the pleasant side of life.
In the summer you can swim in two natural lakes in the city. The bathing temple “Jugendstilbad” in the original historical ambience from the year 1909 is open throughout the year. Eight theatres, 18 museums and exhibition houses as well as a large number of libraries, cinemas and galleries present an extensive offer of culture in this major city. In addition, Darmstadt is the gateway to the attractive Odenwald area and to the pictorial “Bergstraße”. The surrounding countryside offers numerous objects of interest, cultural and leisure facilities – they range from the “Urpferdchen” of the UNESCO World Heritage Messel Pit to Frankenstein’s castle. Around the first weekend in July the “Heiner” captivates the city centre with one of the largest folk festivals in Germany: The “Heinerfest” offers not only merry-go-rounds and gastronomy, but also more than 100 free cultural events.
I am in Germany, so what is next?
As soon as you have found a room or an apartment, you are required to report to the registration authorities within the period of one week. Reporting to the registration authorities is a compulsory procedure for everyone who has a place of residence in Germany. You can find out the address of your registration authority from the International Office. To register, you must present:
- your passport, if necessary with a visa,
- your rental agreement or confirmation from your landlord that you have moved into his/her accommodation,
- possibly other documents such as the registration certificate from your university.
Important: The registration authorities will provide you with confirmation of registration. Make sure you keep this in a safe place.
Residence permit and foreigners' authorities
You need a so-called residence permit for the purpose of studying from the foreigners' authorities. You must report to this office in person within three months of your arrival.
As a rule, the following documents are required:
- confirmation of registration from the registration authorities (see above),
- proof of health insurance
- registration certificate from your German university,
- possibly proof of financial resources,
- your passport, possibly with visa
- possibly a health certificate. You can obtain more details about this from the German diplomatic agency in your country when you apply for your visa, or from the foreigners' authorities in your university town.
- possibly your rental agreement,
- sufficient cash to pay fees,
- biometric passport photos.
The first time you apply for a residence permit, you will be required to pay a fee of up to 110€, and up to 80€ for an extension. After four to six weeks, you can collect your residence permit personally from the foreigners' authorities. It is initially issued for a year but may be extended. The residence permit has been issued in the form of an electronic residence permit. You receive a chip card which stores certain data, including a passport photo and fingerprints.