Expats figuring out how to Study in Germany

10 Tips for Studying in Germany

Once you have done all the hard work of researching courses, getting accepted to a university, applying for a visa, and actually arriving in Germany, it is time to get to it and start studying. In this guide, we will offer ten tips for studying abroad in Germany. As well as a few tips to studying in Germany, we also have a few hints about German culture and how to enjoy yourself.

Read on to see how you can make your new life in Germany as easy and enjoyable as possible.


1. Academic quarter

The Akademisches Viertel (academic quarter) is a phrase used in reference to classes at Germany universities. The quarter refers to a quarter of an hour, i.e. 15 minutes. Classes with an akademisches Viertel actually start 15 minutes after the stated start time and end 15 minutes before the given end time. The times for these classes may feature the abbreviation c.t., which stands for cum tempore in Latin (with time) or no abbreviation at all. This extra time period gives students who are studying their German Master's or Bachelor's courses on a large campus enough time to reach their next class or to grab a snack or drink in between lectures.

If a lecture does not follow this rule, you are expected to arrive by the start time. These classes may feature the abbreviation s.t., which stands for sine tempore in Latin (without time). Make sure you are always aware of whether this extra time is included or not. Which leads to the next tip…

academic quarter

2. Punctuality

Pünktlichkeit (punctuality) is very important in Germany. It is simply good manners to be on time, after all. At universities, workplaces and in everyday life, people in Germany pride themselves on being on time wherever they go.

As an international student, being on time for classes, appointments and meeting friends will help you in your studies and while settling in to life in Germany. It is often recommended to even arrive five or ten minutes earlier than the planned time.

When you first arrive at the university, it may be a good idea to give yourself 20 minutes or more to make sure you get to classes on time. As you become more familiar with the layout of the campus and where you need to go, being pünktlich (punctual) will become easier.

German Punctuality

3. Don’t be afraid of paperwork

You will have already done so much paperwork in preparation for studying in Germany, so you should be used to it by now. For all students and especially those from other countries, the paperwork requests continue while you are studying. Just as you may have received help from Expatrio with your paperwork for a blocked bank account or health insurance, you can usually find assistance with ongoing paperwork.

The International Office and Studentenwerk (student council) at your university can help with your understanding and completing of any paperwork that you may need to fill out. There is no need to worry about the paperwork, just consider it part of your life as an international student in Germany.

People doing paperwork

4. Choose German roommates

Students in Germany can choose from either the university's halls of residences, or dorms, and private accommodation. The first option tends to be cheaper, however, the supply of rooms may be limited and will need to be organized as soon as possible prior to arriving in Germany. The second option gives you more privacy and you don't have to follow the rules associated with being on university property.

Whichever type of accommodation you choose, having roommates is likely. As an international student, choosing a German roommate offers you many different benefits. You will start to learn German or improve your language skills. You will also be able to learn all about living in Germany and pick up lots of tips and ideas.

German roommates sitting together

5. Learn German

Learning German may have been a prerequisite for your degree course or you may be a complete beginner enrolled on an international degree course that doesn't require any German skills. Either way, learning some German while you are living in the country is beneficial for everyone.

In addition to reading paperwork, street signs and notices, being able to communicate with people is vital for a successful stay in a foreign country. From student friends to shop assistants, finding a part-time job to traveling around Germany, there are so many good reasons to learn some German. You can take a course, learn from a book, or study online.

Students learning German Language

Thousands of international students arrive in Germany to pursue a higher education degree every year.

If you’re one of the many incoming students from abroad, check out our video to understand the German education system’s particularities.

6. WG parties

Wohngemeinschaft or WG (apartment sharing) is how most international students choose to live while attending school in Germany. In addition to cutting costs and sharing the upkeep, WG accommodation is an integral part of student life.

WG parties are famous in Germany. They are a great way to make new friends and meet other students from all over the world. If you have a heavy workload at university and perhaps work part time too, going to parties is the ideal time for socializing and unwinding.

People at a WG Party

7. Oral exams

Some of the university courses require you to take an oral exam in order to pass. This is an important part of the assessment process. Your oral exam will be arranged at a time to suit you and the person assessing you.

You may be able to choose the topic for your oral exam, depending on your course and subject. You may have to prepare a proposal in advance regarding what you will be covering in your exam. The exams generally last around 30 minutes.

Oral exams offer you the opportunity to display your understanding of the material you have covered during the semester. Think of the exam as an interview, where you are answering questions and demonstrating your knowledge.

Girl prepares for oral exam

8. Lazy Sundays

As in other countries, Sundays in Germany are considered a day of rest. In addition, it is a day of peace and quiet, with noisy pursuits reserved for other days of the week. The shops are closed in many places and many people simply spend time with family.

As an international student, your friends are your family, so spend time together and relax. After a busy week of classes, studying and work, you will be ready to enjoy some downtime. Sunday is the ideal time to get out, enjoy the German countryside and breathe in the fresh air. And then it will be time to prepare to start all over again on Monday.

Lazy Sunday in Germany

9. Be organized

While at university, you are responsible for organizing your studies, as well as any extra requirements that come with being an international student. Attending classes and seminars is not always mandatory, so it is up to you to stay motivated and work to the best of your abilities in order to do well in your course.

One of the most important tips for effective studying is to manage your time well. You can set up an appointment at the university's academic advising department. After giving a little information about yourself you can receive expert advice on how to organize your studies and improve your results.

Be organized in germany

10. Be prepared: you may never want to leave again

When you first thought about studying in Germany, you may have had a set number of semesters in mind. Maybe you planned to earn your degree and then move back home or to another country in order to utilize it. Once you moved to Germany and have experienced not only the excellent quality of education but also how enjoyable it is to live here, you may never want to leave.

As one of the top economies in the world, Germany has strong business ties and excellent career opportunities. What could be better than putting your education to use in the country that gave you it?

People Having fun and do not want to leave Germany