You have to consider the living cost and how to get a job as an international student, if you want to study in one of these tuition-free universities in Germany. We generally advise that you check the standard of living and how much it takes to take care of expenses per month. If you don’t already know about them, you can check details of FREE-tuition Universities in Germany and how to apply for admission.
In Germany (and in any other country), the standard of living varies from one region/state to another. There is usually an estimate of the amount you need to survive provided by schools you want want to apply to. If you have checked our post on how to find schools in Germany, you would understand what we are talking about.
Cost of Living in Germany for an International Student
At the time of this publication, there are many states in Germany with no tuition fees for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs at state universities. Students pay only a small enrolment or confirmation fee. Students will also take care of their own accommodation, food, transportation and other living expenses.
Every semester, students will pay a moderate fee to the Student Organisation and, in some states, an additional administration fee. This amount varies depending on the institution and cover different fees. See examples below;
Paderborn University: Approximately 272.52 EUR per semester. The fee includes a semester ticket covering all public transport costs in the local state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
Technical University, Munich: Approximately 115 EUR per semester. The fee includes a semester ticket covering public transport in Munich.
University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart: Approximately 160 EUR per semester. The fee includes a semester ticket, which partly covers public transport in the Stuttgart metropolitan area.
Cost of Accommodation, Food, Health Insurance for Students in Germany
As for enrollment fee, living expenses vary from one region to another in Germany. See the following examples below to have an idea of what we are talking about.
Munich: In order to cover personal expenses while studying in Munich, students are advised to budget at least 800-1000 EUR per month for accommodation, living, health insurance, books and miscellaneous expenses.
Stuttgart: Approximately 760 EUR per month to cover personal expenses.
Cologne: The cost of living largely depends on your personal needs and lifestyle. For your guidance, here are some average monthly figures on the cost of living during a study visit in Cologne, based on experience:
- Rent (including ancillary costs): 350-500 EUR
- Books and learning material: 50 EUR
- Food: 300 EUR
- Leisure activities: 100-250 EUR
- Health insurance: 75 EUR
You might think these are expensive if you have not checked the cost of living in Norway as an international student. There are a number of countries with tuition-free Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges in Europe, have you ever wondered why many people choose Germany over others? Well, the major reason is that it is relatively cheaper to live in Germany.
Finding a Job and Working as International Students in Germany
To be able to pay your bills and have extra savings, working and earning money alongside studying is a thing many international students in Germany have to do. The latest social survey carried out by the Deutsche Studentenwerke shows that in total around two thirds of all students go to work.
You should only use lecture-free time for going to work. For students who do not come from the EU or EEA countries, there is a limit to the number of hours you can work.
How Many Hours Can You Work As An International Student in Germany?
As of August 2012 international students who do not come from the EU or EEA are allowed to work 120 full or 240 half days in a year. You do not need any authorization from the Employment Agency, i.e. the German authorities to work for the number of hours mentioned.
International students who do not come from the EU cannot go self employed or work freelance. If you want to work more than 120 full or 240 half days in Germany, you must get the approval of the Employment Agency and the Aliens Department.
The exception to this rule, however, is the occupation of academic or student assistant. As long as your studies are not impaired by it, this work can be carried out for an unlimited period of time.
A good understanding of the German Language will greatly increase your chances of getting a job as an international student studying in Germany. Therefore, you may want to start learning as soon as you start applying. Phone applications like Busuu and DuoLingo can help you learn.