4. Start to prepare
As a rule, students arrange their own accommodation in Germany. Affordable alternatives to a flat of your own are a room in a dormitory or a shared flat.
Unlike in some other countries you won’t automatically be given accommodation when you register at your university or college. Depending on where you’re planning on moving to and how much money you have available, it’s not always easy to find a place to live. You should start looking as soon as you can, ideally before you arrive in Germany. You can get help on how to find a place from your university’s International Office (‘Akademisches Auslandsamt’).
Many university and college towns have dormitories, and a room there is often the most affordable accommodation. But it’s not always easy to get a dormitory room at all university cities. Your chances will be better if you start taking care of this early. Ideally you should begin immediately after you are accepted to your course of study.
As is the case everywhere, private accommodation varies dramatically. From an empty room to a fully furnished flat, the private market offers pretty much everything. There are many online portals where you can look for a flat or a room. Rooms, for example, in a shared flat, are usually less expensive.
In a shared flat (‘Wohngemeinschaft’ or ‘WG’ in German) multiple people live together in an apartment, each having their own bedroom, but sharing the kitchen, the bathroom, sometimes a living room and occasionally the costs of telephone and internet connections. This form of accommodation is very popular among students. Living together with others also has the advantage of allowing you to make contacts quickly and improve your language skills.
If you don’t have accommodation when you arrive in Germany, you should figure out before you leave your home country where you can stay for the first few nights. There are many different possibilities, and the International Office can offer information and advice.
Studying under special circumstances