University’s office for disabled students
Where do I get support as a student with a disability in Germany?
As an international student, the university's International Office deals with applications, course information and enrollment. You can also ask about the services that the office provides specifically for students with disabilities when you apply or inquire about a course. Staff may also point you in the direction of the local Studentenwerk or the Advising Office for Handicapped and Chronically Ill Students.
There is also a great deal of support available online. DAAD, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service), provides information and support for international students. This organization also trains university staff on the particular needs of disabled students and ensures that they are treated fairly.
Students can apply for grants to cover the additional costs incurred due to their disability or illness, such as extra study time, a sign-language interpreter or aid.
The university's website or the relevant Studentenwerk will provide contact information for individuals or services that offer assistance locally.
How can I find out if there’s an assistance service at my chosen university?
Look up the International Office or the Office for Disabled Students at the university where you are interested in studying. This office will be able to advise which services are available for students who are handicapped or chronically ill.
There are various forms of assistance available to students with disabilities in Germany. These range from wheelchair-accessible accommodation to financial support for equipment or help with your studies.
Barrierefrei (accessible) accommodation is offered by Studentenwerke in Germany. These apartments are designed to accommodate the physical needs of students with mobility or visual impairments, as well as those who use a wheelchair.
Another German term you may see is Nachteilsausgleich (compensation for disadvantages), which are intended to create equal opportunities for disabled students. These accommodations vary between universities and the course you are taking. They may include the use of a computer instead of writing by hand or being allowed extra time to complete an examination.
In addition, there are many services available to all international students. These include general advice about your studies, counseling services such as psychotherapeutic and psychosocial, and buddy systems to help you to settle in to life as a student in Germany.
Do I need to prove my disability?
In order to secure grant funding, you will need to be able to prove that the additional costs being incurred are directly related to your disability.
Ensure that you open a blocked bank account. You will need one as an international student in Germany. Expatrio can help you to complete the necessary paperwork to open one.