Germany is home to some of the best universities in the world. With internationally renowned degree programs, graduates from Germany have an edge over the rest.
If you are interested in going there for higher studies but are not sure if you will be able to afford living there, this article is for you. The cost of education in Germany is a wholly different topic and will have to be covered another day.
Right now, I will show you the average amount of money you will have to spend on a monthly basis, while also showing how pricing varies in different regions.
This will hopefully help you plan out your budget well so that you get the most out of your time in Germany without breaking the bank.
General cost of living in Germany
The amount one spends during the course of normal life is known as living expenses or living costs. This includes things such as rent, food, electricity, and so on.
We covered the general cost of living in Germany for an Indian family in our previous post. You will get a rough idea about the complete expenses if you read through the above post.
Let’s talk about the specific costs especially for Indian students in Germany within this post.
As with most European countries, the cost of living in Germany can seem quite expensive to people in India. However, the good news is that tuition is completely free! (with a few rare exceptions).
This saves a huge amount of money that you would otherwise spend in another country, and this makes education in Germany an extremely lucrative option. It is no wonder students flock there in the thousands.
Going back to living expenses, here is a breakdown of the average monthly expenses one can expect as a student:
|Rent (including utility costs)||323|
|Transportation Costs (car/public transport)||94|
|Health Insurance, doctor’s fees, medications||80|
|Telephone/Internet/Radio, TV licence, postage||31|
|Books, stationery, etc.||20|
|Recreation, entertainment, and sports||61|
It is clear that a big chunk of the total expenses is going towards rent. Getting good accommodation is key to having a stress-free living experience, so let’s go into a little more detail about that.
The cost of accommodation differs across the country, depending on the city and the kind of housing you want.
The monthly rent for a flat is divided into Kaltmiete (cold rent) and Warmmiete (warm rent).
Kaltmiete, or basic rent, covers the use of the rented space and does not include the cost of additional expenses such as heating, garbage collection, cable connection, etc.
Adding the costs for waste collection, water, gas, heating, and other utilities in the house, which together is called Nebenkosten, or utility costs, gives you the Warmmiete, or total rent.
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You will also almost always be required to pay a Kaution, which normally amounts to three times your monthly Kaltmiete (basic rent) and serves as a security deposit. The deposit is returned when you move out if you leave the place in good condition.
The price of 323 EUR (27,442 INR) mentioned in the Living Costs table is the average cost, but major cities like Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt am Main would cost a lot more.
As an example, a flat in Frankfurt would cost nearly 595 EUR (50,550 INR).
Additionally, living somewhere in East Germany is considerably cheaper than living in West Germany. A flat in Leipzig would cost 379 EUR (32,200 INR) on average.
Types of Accommodation
1. Student Residence
These are the most affordable type of accommodation a student can get, and they are available in nearly every university town. You should be prepared to have roommates in this scenario.
The student residences run by DSW (student services) cost on average 246 EUR/month (20,900 INR).
The positives about student residences are that they are relatively cheap, and facilitate social interaction with other students.
The cons are that they offer little in terms of privacy, and the demand for them is extremely high. Bookings need to be done many months in advance to even have a chance of securing a room.
Unable to get a spot in any of the Student Residences? You can always opt to share a private flat with a few other people.
This type of accommodation is very popular among students, and the average rent comes to around 363 EUR/month (30,840 INR).
The positives, again, are they are more affordable, and you could also make some great friends.
The cons are that you need to be willing to compromise and deal with the habits and personalities of your roommates. As long as everybody is respectful of each other, this should not be an issue.
If you are not a social butterfly and would much rather have your own space, the next option is for you.
3. Private Accommodation
This type of housing offers you the most freedom, but you should also be willing to pay that much extra.
The average cost for a private flat would come to around 389 EUR/month (33,050 INR).
Positives are that you would have plenty of privacy and comfort. The cons are that the cost is high, and you will not get much in the way of social interactions with other students.
4. Temporary Accommodation
If you have not reached a decision regarding your housing when it is time for you to travel to Germany, you should try finding a stand-in solution.
Please remember that the prices I have shown for the different accommodation types are all the average costs. These would differ according to the city, and the size of the room you want. So it is a good idea for you to do some additional research on the German city you want to study in.
Food in Germany is moderately priced and is comparable to India. Your grocery shopping should be affordable if you plan carefully, eat minimal meat, and avoid eating out. Here are some average prices:
|Milk (1 liter)||0.70|
|Loaf of Bread||1.30|
|Chicken Breast (1 kg)||7.32|
|Rice (1 kg)||2.09|
|Apples (1 kg)||2.20|
|Potatoes (1 kg)||0.97|
|Wheat Flour (5 kg)||10.00|
|Mid-Range Wine (1 bottle)||4.99|
If you wish to continue cooking and eating Indian food, then your grocery shopping could turn out more expensive. As you can see above, they charge a lot for chapati wheat flour. Again, prices vary according to the place.
It would not be practical to pack your whole wardrobe to travel across a continent. However, clothes in Germany tend to be expensive.
My suggestion is to take as many clothes as you can from home while keeping the airline baggage allowance in mind.
|1 Pair of Trousers||30-100|
You will probably not have access to a car, being a new student in Germany. Luckily, public transport is efficient and affordable.
Single bus, tram, or metro trips usually cost between 1-2 EUR (85-170 INR). Monthly travel cards usually cost around 80-90 EUR (6,800-7,650 INR). However, students can receive a free travel card as part of their college semester fees.
Just a note: I mentioned earlier that tuition is free. That is true, but semester fees are completely different and need to be paid by all students.
Taxis on average cost around 9 EUR (765 INR) for a 2.5-mile car ride (approx 4 km).
Health Insurance is compulsory in Germany, and every student needs to have one. The statutory health insurance providers in Germany offer an affordable tariff for students up to 29 years of age. It gets more expensive if you are a student aged 30 or above.
There are service packages for international students that are offered by numerous Student Services. These normally include not only housing and meals but also arrangements for health insurance.
One option is to go for an international roaming package with your current Internet service provider in India (Airtel, Vodafone, etc.).
If you do not want that, then you can easily get a SIM card with a new number from any of the German supermarkets.
Just follow the instructions on the SIM card packet, and you will be all set. Some good providers you can look at are Telekom, O2, and Lebara.
Also, Lebara has a package that offers unlimited free calls to India at a monthly fee of 30 EUR (2,700 INR).
Here is a website showing some of the best data plans in Germany.
While you should definitely focus on your studies when you go to Germany, don’t forget to take some time off as well. There are plenty of things to do, and it is a great place to explore.
|Recreational activities (with student discounts)||EUR|
|1 Cinema Ticket||6|
|1 Theatre Ticket||6-30|
|1 Museum Ticket||2-8|
Working student in Germany
We talked a lot about the various expenses you might incur once you move to Germany for your higher education.
There is a way you can earn enough while studying to pay off your monthly bills. This concept is called the concept of working students.
You can watch this interview to understand the whole concept directly from a working student in Germany
Germany is one of the best countries for international students, with free education and first-class universities.
The standard of living is high, and there are plenty of opportunities available once you finish your degree.
I hope all this information was helpful. Good luck getting into your dream university!