Five steps to studying in Germany


Arrival in Germany

Welcome to your new place of study in Germany. Before you attend your first lectures, a few more small matters need attending to – opening a bank account, for example. Here, we explain the best way to go about it.

Register your place of residence

In Germany, you have to register at the “residents’ registration office” (Einwohnermeldeamt) each time you move. You have one week to do this from the time you find somewhere to live. You can also register your new place of residence at the “citizens’ bureau” (Bürgeramt). You can find out the address of the residents' registration office or citizens' bureau from the International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) of your university. You will find the addresses of the International Offices on the Web Site of the German Academic Exchange Service.

Open a bank account

In Germany, you need a bank account to be able to pay things such as your rent simply and rapidly. That is why you should open a Current account with a bank in Germany as quickly as possible. Most banks offer this kind of account free of charge for students. You will find further information, for example which documents you need to open a bank account, on the Make it in Germany site under Guide to “Living in Germany”.

Apply for a residence permit

If you travel to Germany on a visa, you will require a Residence permit to stay in the country for any length of time. To obtain one, you must register with your local foreign nationals' registration authority within three months of your arrival in Germany. The best thing to do is to ask the International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt) of your university which authority is responsible for you. You can find out more about this here.

Attend language courses

Are you about to sit the DSH (Deutsche Sprachprüfung für den Hochschulzugang ausländischer Studienbewerber) or TestDaf (Test für Deutsch als Fremdsprache) language exams for German as a foreign language or to take the exam „tecl Deutsch C1 Hochschule“ ? If so, you can do some intensive pre-exam preparation on the Internet or by attending a language course. The German Academic Exchange Service has compiled a list of suggestions. Even if you are a student taking an international course in which English is spoken, you will need to speak German in your day-to-day activities. Numerous universities offer special German courses during holiday periods. You will find a list of these in the German Academic Exchange Service database. During term time, you can attend further German courses in addition to your course of study. What courses are on offer varies according to where you study. At the start of the semester, register at your university’s language centre. You can find out more about German courses that you can take in parallel to your course from the International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt).

Getting off to a good start with your studies

To get off to a good start with your studies, you should first of all decide which modules you want to attend. The study and examination regulations of your course of study can be of help here, because, compared to other countries in Germany, you have to organise a lot yourself. If you feel unsure, you can make use of the advisory service offered by the student committee (Fachschaft) of your university department. The staff of your university’s International Office are also good people to ask for advice.

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