This update will focus on Cost of Living for International Students in Germany. Our previous articles have details on requirements for studying in universities located in Germany, List of free universities that do not charge tuition fees, information on visa processing, etc. If you missed older reports [open them in new tab].
The cost of living in Germany generally differs according to the city you are in, while Leipzig can be bizarrely cheap and affordable Munich is nothing likewise. Among the bigger metropolitan cities as Hamburg, Koln, Stuttgart and tiny yet cozy towns like Erfurt, Freiburg or Osnabruck Berlin is caught somewhere in the middle as a common ground to shed some perspective on a random students truthful cost of living when in Germany.
Berlin, besides being relatively cheap has also the advantage of being a huge city with numerous options given that in this same city one can live on a few hundred bucks straight and decent close to some millionaire celebrity whose limit is the sky. So to say, with few managing skills you are in for the kill.
As of October 2014, all of the Universities are free of charge; Germany has finally approved the abolition of tuition fees in the country. However before you get ahead of yourself, there’s no such thing as free lunch; yes all of the Universities are free of charge now but there is this thing called “Semesterbeitrag” considered a semester contribution that is mandatory and it ranges from 250 to several hundreds of Euros depending on the University. The benefits of this so-called contribution are the access to free public transport in and around the city area which long-term saves loads and loads of money.
Public transport in Germany is comfortable, fast and efficient. For the ones who appreciate weekend getaways and wish to explore the country, there is the Bahn- Card purchased annually that offers discounts ranging from 25%, 50% and 100%, basically a free ticket.
The annual price of this card varies from 57 EUR second-class to 114 EUR first-class under the 25% discount up to the 100% discount costing 4080 EUR second-class and 6400 EUR first-class.
Assuming that, while new in town one wants to share the apartment with a roommate, split rents in the common student neighborhoods go up to 300 EUR even cheaper, tax included. If you’re lucky enough to find out that you share the same interests with the roommate so you end up being friends you may as well start using the apartment fridge after all, split the food supply expenses and do some cooking of your own. In the end of a month you will end up saving a fortune.
Cheaper rents for the ones not able to afford this kind of a lifestyle are offered by dormitories and student residences meanwhile the student Mensa has always hot soup, meat and “karttofel” for less than nothing.
On the contrary, if you are used to having the space to yourself and most importantly can afford renting a flat on your own prices may vary from 350-800 EUR. The outrageously expensive deal breaker about renting on your own is the acquired deposition of approximately 1500 EUR in case any damage is done.
Shopping for groceries and essentials monthly won’t escalate a sum of 100 EUR and if you are sharing it with the roommate even less. Cooking in is healthier, make’s a perfect hobby and saves tons of money. This is another reason why sharing the apartment with roommates is much more fun, you get to cook for each other and dine together while cooking for one person is usually dull and kills the joy. Below you will find a list of the vital items every student’s kitchen must own:
- Milk (liter) – 0.69 €
- Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g) – 1.25 €
- Rice (1kg) – 1.70 €
- Eggs (12) – 2.00 €
- Local Cheese (1kg) – 8.00 €
- Chicken Breasts (Boneless, Skinless) (1kg) – 7.00 €
- Apples (1kg) – 2.00 €
- Oranges (1kg) – 2.00 €
- Tomato (1kg) – 2.00 €
- Potato (1kg) – 1.00 €
- Lettuce (1 head) – 0.99 €
- Water (1.5 liter bottle) – 0.55 €
- Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) – 5.00 €
- Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) – 0.80 €
- Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle) – 1.00 €
Recommended: List of free tuition universities in Germany.
In an average restaurant, a proper 3 dish meal including a glass of wine costs up to 40 E per person which is considered an affordable treat more or less. Dinning at local cafes or small neighborhood pubs is always cheaper, where surprisingly one can find a meal for less than 10 EUR. In a café/bar regular cappuccino is no more than 3 EUR, coke is 2 EUR, one beer domestic or imported ranges from 3-5 EUR and one pays 2 EUR for a bottle of water so you be the judge.
Tickets to cultural venues like museums, theatre, cinema, musicals or club entry fees range from nada to 10 euros max. As a student you always get some discount, everywhere, even in shopping malls.
Clothing in this city is a rather complex matter. Shopping in chain stores like Zara, H&M and so on is relatively cheap especially if you are patient enough to wait for the gigantic sales. Yet, Berlin fashion is known for its Vintage flavor therefore ironically clothing items in Second-Hand shops, worn and torn are utterly pricy.
Of course fashion victims shop only genuine seasonal in and chic’ therefore Berlin also has also its deal of Gucci, Armani and Dolce packed and waiting for you to pour your money away. For the ones who appreciate quality, a pair of leather shoes is nowhere to be found under a 100 EUR so Voila’…better appreciate them.
Bottom line, a monthly income of 600-800 EUR give or take will be more than sufficient to live happily and prosper.