I still remember the day when I got my Acceptance for Masters in Germany, nervous and yet excited. Though I was prepared for my new excursion in the land of beer and cars, I still had my doubts about my transition and adaptability to a different culture and a whole new world.
But isn’t it same with everyone?! We all have expectations and confusions before coming to a foreign land. For me it was a perfect amalgam of fascination and stress for the first few weeks.
While at one hand I was curious to explore all expects of German way of life, on the other hand I was struggling to sink in to my surroundings.
Germany is a country of opportunities. Not just the technology, it also gives you a deep sense of creativity. You can choose what works for you pretty much with every city and every university.
German Universities hold a tradition of qualitative education, eccentric infrastructure as well as curriculum. Adding to this, icing on the cake is it most of the universities have no fees or very less.
Also living in Germany is pretty cheap for students as compared to other countries. All these reasons make it ideal for international students.
So breaking down the first few steps of handbook in pieces, what a student has to do when he comes to Germany.
1. Getting accommodation.
– Getting an accommodation doesn’t really sound like big of deal if you compare it with India. But here in Germany it is not as easy as it seems. As a student money is always an issue and living in a student dorm can be really helpful in saving some useless squandering. It is always suggested to apply for student dorms at least 6 months before coming to Germany since you will be on waiting list. But in case you are a bit late and couldn’t register yourself before, there is no need to worry. Many students usually go for their internships in other cities and they need tenants who can live during the time when they are not there.
After getting the accommodation, the first document that is needed is wohnungsbestätigung.this document can be obtained through the owners of the apartment you are living in or the Studentenwerk (Student dorms).
- City Registration
– Another very important and essential job in the to-do list is to register yourself in the city you are living in. The anmeldebestätigung or City Registration certificate is needed in all the future proceedings. For a city registration, make an appointment with the Bezirkamt anywhere in the city. Again, since at the start of semester all the students are moving and shifting, the catch here is even this has fairly long waiting list. It would be beneficial to take an appointment beforehand. Don’t forget taking your immatrikulationsbescheinigung (matriculation letter), passport and wohnungsbestätigung. With the given documents you are good to go!
Make sure you receive the Steuer ID or tax number in some days or you have to go again to your city registration office to get yours.
- Getting a Health Insurance
– Taking a Health Insurance is a compulsion in Germany. There are different statutory insurance companies such as AOK and TK that provide health insurance to the students. With the health insurance card you can easily visit to a doctor without paying the consultation fees. Everything is taken care by your health insurance company. Mostly every university has their sign ups with any of the health insurance firm, but you can always choose another one depending on your choice. After getting a health insurance, you will receive the Sozialeversicherungsnummer or the social security number at your house by Post.
- Opening a Bank Account.
– Living in a foreign land with not even the slightest idea whatsoever and you need the most is money. But to the surprise, even opening a bank account may take several days in Germany, so it’s always better to have some liquid cash with you when you come here. While coming from India, students generally have to maintain a blocked account which is necessary for their survival during their master’s course. This is usually taken care by opening a sperrkonto (Blocked account) in Deutsche Bank. The documents to be taken are immatrikulationsbescheinigung (matriculation letter), passport and anmeldebestätigung. It is to be noted that the limit for every month is 720 Euros to transact from your bank.
- Visa Extension.
– This is the last step of the whole cumbersome process in the handbook. If you want to avoid standing there in queue in cold chilly winters, I would recommend taking an appointment as early as possible from the Bürgeramt. With all the right documents such as Sozialeversicherungsnummer, Steuer ID, Immatrikulationsbescheinigung and passport, the extension would be a piece of cake.
This whole process may take about month or two so I would ask you to be a bit patient. Things take time in Germany, mostly because you receive all the important documents by post. Although the German system is pretty transparent so there is hardly any blunder that could take place.
This sums up the whole process of starting a new life in Germany. I hope it could help you all giving some basic insights.
Auf Wiedersehen J