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How to prepare yourself for your first semester in a German university

The first semester is crucial to start your studies and your life with the right step. Here is what I recommend you do and remember.

Let’s say you just moved to this city in Germany and you just got the keys to your room or apartment. You might think: now, what?

As students, we have many things to manage and get started with and sometimes it might be overwhelming, but you just need a plan.

Writing everything down is a great way to start.

It always helps me to see all the things I want to do, have priorities and deadlines clear. For example, you could divide tasks into categories such as university, study plan, deadlines and payments.
Once you do that, you will have a clearer idea of what needs to be done and your priorities but more importantly, you will not get stressed trying to remember everything.

A light blue notebook lies on a dark table, a pen can also be seen.
A light blue notebook lies on a dark table, a pen can also be seen.© Roberta

Now that you have a plan, it’s time to get started.

Get advantage of what the university offers

International offices, welcome days and events organized by the university. All these are opportunities to not be missed. First of all, they gently introduce you to the new system. Second of all, you get to know the different offices and services within the universities that offer help and guidance.

Be open

Be 100% yourself, but don’t be scared to talk to your fellow students, ask for help or simply for a coffee. You will be surrounded by many students that are experiencing the same as you and sometimes you will be able to share knowledge and support each other.

Be friends with the university system

One of the most important things, at least for me, is knowing how to navigate in the system. University websites usually offer a guide to how-to, which can be very good for getting started. They contain all the information you need on how to apply for exams and classes, to keep track of deadlines and tasks assigned by the professors.

These are just general guidelines that helped me get through the first steps.

At some point, your classes will start and if you don’t have an attendance obligation, still go to class. I have personally missed having class in presence, so that was for me the first reason to go. Moreover, when you go to class you can take notes and is crucial to not feel lost during your study process.

Last, but not least, you make friends

You will notice how easy it is to do that and what a great impact it will have to have friends during your first semester, not just for the reasons we all know. Meeting new people and making friends will make you feel at home. Your new home.

Do you have any tips on how to prepare for the first semester at a German University?

  • Cologne
  • Community
  • First steps in Germany
  • Helpful tips
  • Student life
  • Western Germany

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