Today let’s talk money. How much it costs, how much you need, how much you can make and how much you can get for free.
So, how much do I need?
Living costs in Germany are relatively modest compared to some other European countries. On average, you can get by on €800-€900 per month, depending on your lifestyle and the location, e.g. in Munich you’ll likely need +€200 more. Check out this living costs comparison table for Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Frankfurt.
At public universities you can study for free, no matter what country you come from. There is usually a moderate semester fee (typically no more than €350 per semester), but this covers administration and public transport and gives you a number of discounts for theatre, museums, opera houses and cinemas.
How to fund your studies?
A side job can increase your budget, but it’s very hard to fund your entire living costs this way.
Once you are aware of the cost of studying and living in Germany, let’s talk about how you can finance it. There are two major ways to do it:
WAY 1: Student Job
A side job can increase your budget, but it’s very hard to fund your entire living costs this way (unless maybe you are applying for a developer job in the middle of your studies). On top of that international students do not have unlimited permission to work in Germany. You’re allowed to work 120 full days or 240 half days per year and a maximum 20h a week and you cannot work as a freelancer or have your own business in Germany. I’ll write a separate article about student jobs rules and opportunities some time in the future.
Since a minimum wage in Germany is right now at 9.19 EUR an hour, you can
count with around €650 (without tax) per month and more when working 20h per week. Keep in mind that you will still need a blocked account with around €10,000 per year when getting your visa. When reapplying for your visa, your income will betaken into consideration so you won’t need to have these 10,000 on your account again.
WAY 2: Scholarships
Their scholarship is €850 monthly for postgraduate students and €1,200 monthly for doctoral students.
Since living costs average €800-€900 per month and you’ll likely not have enough from your job alone, at least not from the very beginning, it is a good idea to apply for a scholarship. Good news is, if you have a scholarship, you don’t need a blocked account. Here you have several choices, we’ll take a look at three most popular ones.
The DAAD scholarships
DAAD scholarships are aimed primarily at graduates and doctoral students. Every year, DAAD supports over 100,000 German and international students around the globe. Their scholarship is €850 monthly for postgraduate students and €1,200 monthly for doctoral students. Check out their database to see all their scholarships.
They funds students with outstanding achievements in studies and work. About eight percent of the scholarships are granted to foreign applicants. This scholarship is 300 euros per month.
Can be used by German and EU students only, as well as some foreigners under certain conditions. The BAföG is a scholarship that covers all your living costs. It is 50% state grant and 50% interest-free loan that must be paid back in instalments after you finish your studies.
Finally, here are some more scholarship opportunities, make sure to check them out too.
So is it possible to study and live in Germany for free and on your own (not taking money from your parents)? It is possible! Maybe not from the very start, unless you will get yourself a full funded scholarship, but it is definitely possible. Let me know if you want me to do a research on what are the best and easiest scholarships to apply for.
I hope this post was useful and see you next time!