Generally speaking, the German university system expects students to be very independent. This means - for example - students have to take care of issues like transportation or housing themselves. Usually, a German student ID enables you to use public transportation in the city of the university. However, you will hardly find a university in Germany that runs its own transportation system like GUC. Likewise, most universities in Germany have dorms for their students.
Being a guest student, you might be able to apply for a room there. Once you were admitted and handed over the key, you are expected to keep the room tidy (no cleaning staff) and to get along with your international flatmates (different cooking habits, different behavior concerning gender relations, differing political and religious world views…). Rarely, anyone will control you or your room as long as there are no complaints. This can be a very enriching experience, but it is sometimes challenging.
Also, the German university system (and work system alike) requires self-initiative and structure. There is always someone you can ask for help and support. But you clearly need to know what you want to achieve. In Germany, it is considered to be your responsibility to get the information you need (e.g. through internet research), to stay in touch with academic supervisors and other people important for your stay and to manage your time effectively.
GUC students have completed all these tasks very successfully and maintained good relations with their international colleagues and supervisors. However, if you ever get into a difficult situation feel free to contact GUC German Office and ask for support.
To read more about international students’ life in Germany, please go to:
Students in Germany either live in a university dorm or in private accommodation. In contrast to many other countries, Germany's universities do not automatically allocate a room when you register for your course.
GUC has its own dorm in Ulm, rooms are allocated through the Travel Office, Communications & External Relations Department. Please register with them as early as possible. In Stuttgart and Tuebingen, GUC has special arrangements, usually available semester wise (01 March-30 August, 01 September-28 February). Please contact our office (guc(at)uni-ulm.de) at least eight weeks in advance.
For all other cities you will have to go on flat hunting yourself.
One option is living in a shared flat (called Wohngemeinschaften in German, or just WG), it is probably the most popular form of accommodation among students. Several students look for a flat together and each has his/her own room, while sharing kitchen and bathroom. The occupants also share the rent. Depending on where you study, you should calculate with 200 to 400 Euro per month.
If you're looking in major cities like Munich, Cologne or Hamburg, you should allow yourself enough time to find a room in a WG. It's best to start before you leave home. Start by searching the internet. Other good sources for vacant rooms are the International Office and the noticeboards (Schwarzes Brett in German). The advantage: You immediately get to know some nice people, and the rent is not too high. The downside: Depending on where you want to study, it can take a while before you find a room, because there's great demand, especially at the start of the semester.
The other option is living in a dorm. German dorms are administered by Student Services (Studentenwerk). The room is usually fully furnished and might cost you between 158 and 358 euros per month. This often includes internet, TV and laundry facilities.
In big cities, it might be quite difficult to find a room on short notice and you can't choose your fellow flatmates. This list contains most Student Services in Germany:
Living at a student dorm might cause certain difficulties at the beginning. That’s why this new illustrated dictionary in three languages (german, french and arabic) aims to help foreign students. The illustred dictionary will help you to understand certain german behaviours and also aims to facilitate your communication with your flatmates or neighbours at the student dorm. http://www.studentenwerke.de/sites/default/files/46_Wohnheimwoerterbuch_d-fr-arab.pdf
Health insurance is mandatory in Germany and you will not be able to enroll at a university or start working as an intern without it. In most cases, the health insurance you got in Egypt to acquire the visa is not sufficient. It depends on the university what kind of health insurance they want you to have. Some universities accept private student insurance (e.g. MAWISTA, www.mawista.com). Other universities require a membership in a public/national health insurance (list of all providers in German: www.gkv-spitzenverband.de/ITSGKrankenkassenListe.gkvnet). While MAWISTA costs around 38 Euro per month, public health insurance is around 78 Euro per month. Please check the website of your host university’s International office or ask for details.
During the first days after your arrival in Germany you will probably have a lot of expenses. These expenses are very likely:
• Rent (300-400 Euro)
• Rent Deposit (3xRent)
• Health Insurance (78 Euro monthly)
• Semester Fee (depending on the university and city, around 100 Euro)
• Semester Ticket for Public Transportation (100-400 Euro, depending on the city)
• Registration Fee and Residence Permit (around 100 Euro)
• Mobile and Internet (depends on you)
• Furnishing, kitchen equipment, bed linen etc.
After you have found accommodation and settled down, your monthly living expenses for a regular student lifestyle will probably be around 700 Euro per month. This link provides a regional overview: www.stepmap.de/karte/deutschland-149592 Before you apply in Germany you should be aware that in principle you will have to live of your own personal funds or scholarship resources only. Regardless of your future status at your university there will never be a guarantee that you will get a job to support yourself during your stay.
Many things in Germany can’t be paid in cash, but have to be paid via bank account, e.g. rent and health insurance contribution. You therefore need to open a German bank account if you haven’t already opened an account with Deutsche Bank in Cairo. Some banks offer checking accounts for students for free.
For more information: https://www.study-in.de/en/plan-your-stay/money-and-costs/money-and-bank-accounts_27017.php
International Office of your University
In Stuttgart, Tuebingen and Ulm, your main contact person at the university’s International Office (IO) will be a member of GUC German Office.
In all other cities, please check the university’s website to find out about the contact person for new arrivals. The IO will guide you through the process of enrollment at the university, they might be able to help you with accommodation and support you when doing the registration with the Foreigners’ Registration Office.
They often offer all kinds of interesting courses, i.e. on intercultural communication, and a “study buddy programs” where you can get in touch with German students willing to help international students in their every-day-life.