When you first arrive in Germany it may be a little difficult to blend in. You will most likely be running to the most famous locations, camera in hand, eyes wide, and German language lacking. After the initial enchantment, let yourself go and become immersed in the German way of life. Get rid of the details that make you look like a foreigner, such as the constant picture taking and any hideous hats; eventually even your accent will fade and you’ll look like a German in no time.
Studying abroad in Germany tends to make students more appreciative of hard work and more aware of respect toward others. Germans have a way of bringing out the potential in you, potential you weren’t even aware was there in the first place. Many students grow to love the German lifestyle so much that they extend their days in Germany for as long as possible.
There are several customs that may knock you off your feet, so it’s best to mentally prepare for changes here and there. One thing to keep in mind is that adaptability is an evolutionary process that is embedded in our genes, so don’t always act upon your gut, but rather your reason. Give this new habitat of yours a chance first before you turn it away. Make fun out of the awkward language misunderstandings and feel free to ask so you learn.
Beer & Conversation
The latter two are two very integral parts of life in Germany. The best way to strike up a conversation is to politely introduce yourself (without intruding). Don’t overthink it. Say hello and offer to exchange opinions and experiences about the similarities and differences between your countries. The funny examples should of course come first. Enjoy your new company over a glass of cold German beer and be sure to compliment it; beer is basically their trade mark. Your German will improve with every conversation.
The German Budget
Financially speaking, Germany can adapt to the depth of any pocket. Berlin is the cheapest city to study abroad in. Munich is notorious for issues with accommodations, because they are typically crazy expensive and hard to get. As a student, you will luckily have benefits, like university housing, free public transport via the tuition contributions, and several discounts with your student ID, at your fingertips.
Inexpensive food is easy to find, especially in Berlin. Eating in is of course the cheapest route, but if you are not that into cooking, there are numerous affordable options in every city, they just might not be particularly healthy. Delicious junk food can be found about anywhere and at about anytime starting at just 2.5 Euros. Beer is cheap too, not surprisingly, in the land of Oktoberfest.
Student life typically includes a lot of social time. All of the metropolises have several internationally known clubs where party people gather, but Berlin holds the crown in this category. The entry fees don’t exceed 10 Euros for most clubs, and students receive discounts for theatres and museums.
Whether you’ve chosen to study in Germany in English or German depends on your area of study and level of German. Most German universities have integrated international programs for master’s and doctorate degrees that foreigners as well as natives are welcome to attend. Nevertheless, the German language is something that comes with any type of study abroad program in Germany, even if you sign up for courses which are entirely taught in English.
Classes May Kick Your @**!
Many classes require you to give a presentation as well as write a 10 to 15 page paper. Some have exams at the end instead of a paper. The presentations are usually done via teamwork which gives you an excellent opportunity to make friends and practice the language. Germans however, tend to separate business from pleasure; school friends don’t typically become drinking buddies. Make sure you sign up on the lists that get passed around on the first day and pick presentation topics as soon as you can.
If ever needed, use your leverage. Whenever you lose an opportunity because you failed to get all the information correct, go to the professor and tell them you’re still getting accustomed to the university as an international student. They might show mercy and offer you some help.
Traveling the Country
Try to benefit from the amazing German Railway, you can visit the beautiful sights all over the country. Outside the urbanized areas, there are breathtaking areas like the Black Forest mountain tops and Rhine valley. Explore the ancient Romantic road, the legendary fairytale small towns, the picturesque gardens of Lake Constance, or the mysterious sea shores lining the white chalk cliffs of Rugen.
Germans have a reputation as being calculative, predictable, and even uptight, which in some ways can seem true, but they also happen to be incredibly adventurous and wonderfully loyal. When studying abroad in Germany, you will find out that a true German friend is a friend for life!