In Vietnam, we often say “An cư lạc nghiệp”, which means that people can achieve success once they have a comfortable and secure living environment. For this reason, settling into a pleasant room is crucial for me to concentrate on my studies and accomplish my goals. As the dormitory at the university has limited capacity, it may be necessary to explore alternative options for accommodation. Among the different accommodation options in Germany, I find a room in a shared flat or Wohngemeinschaft (WG) particularly appealing.
Living in a shared flat is a great option for several reasons. Firstly, it will benefit you financially by sharing common expenses such as broadcasting fees (GEZ), electricity, internet, and other utilities. In Vietnam, it is typical to rent a room that includes all utilities, meaning that you wouldn’t need to pay anything extra.
In Germany, while utilities are typically covered in dormitories, the cost of utilities in private accommodation is often calculated as an estimated fee. At the end of the year, the actual costs are calculated, and the tenant may need to pay additional costs if the prepayments were not sufficient to cover the expenses. Therefore, sharing the costs with other flatmates can be an excellent way to reduce costs.
These experiences have been a significant part of my adventure in Germany, making them more abundant and memorable.
If you and your flatmates are close, you can even share cooking ingredients & household supplies to save money. For example, in my shared flat, we have a piggy bank together, and each person puts in 7 euros/per month. We use this money to buy essentials that we all use such as salt, pepper, milk, oil, rice, coffee, cleaning detergent, toilet paper, etc. By sharing these costs, we avoid paying large sums at once and can use the ingredients before they expire.
Another benefit of living in a shared flat is the potential to receive support from your flatmates in a variety of ways. By sharing housework, for instance, you can have more time to focus on your studies, while also keeping your living space clean and tidy. Furthermore, when you’re away from your flat, your mind is at ease knowing that your flatmates can help you to take care of your plants or collect your mail.
When living in an international flat, you have the opportunity to meet flatmates from different countries with their own unique backgrounds. I am always fascinated by the diversity of cuisine my flatmates bring to the table, and my own cooking style has greatly expanded as a result. Initially, I only knew how to cook simple Vietnamese dishes during my first semester in Germany, but I have now gained experience with many other types of cuisine. In addition, our get-together nights allow me to learn about life in different countries, which has helped me appreciate diversity and become more culturally aware. We also have the opportunity to practice our language skills with each other, and can also rely on each other for translations when needed.
Whether I am experiencing good times or facing challenges, I know that I can count on them for emotional support.
Last but not least, living in a shared flat offers an excellent opportunity to make new friends and expand your social circle. When applying to live in a shared flat in Germany, you often have the chance to have an interview with the current tenants. Thus, you can find those who share similar interests and personalities. Whether it’s participating in sports activities, traveling to new places, or simply watching a movie. This can lead to forming lasting friendships and the possibility of meeting new people through your flatmates‘ social connections.
After living in Germany for nearly four years, I have lived in three different flats across various cities. These experiences have been a significant part of my adventure in Germany, making them more abundant and memorable. Living with people from different cultures and backgrounds can be challenging, but approaching with an open mind and willingness to communicate can turn these challenges into cherished memories. Importantly, my flatmates have gradually become like a second family to me. Whether I am experiencing good times or facing challenges, I know that I can count on them for emotional support. In the end, my experience of living in shared flats in Germany not only provided me with great living spaces but also led me to lasting friendships and valuable connections.