Studying in Germany - Munich

Having an idea to study in Munich, Germany !!! 

Here are some of my experiences which I would like to share with everyone and I believe it would be helpful for someone. As I study at Technical University Munich all my views and experiences would be more centered towards the city Munich, Germany.

First thought

The first thought that comes to mind when you think of studying abroad is whether people from my origin country would be staying in Germany. Fortunately, the answer is a definite yes. 

Germany has people settling from various countries and you can definitely find Facebook groups of people from your origin country as well as groups with students from your university. It is important that once get an admission from an university you join these groups and gain knowledge from the activities and posts posted in it. There is definite possibility that there are multiple groups and few named in German languages as well.

Munich specially is very international people from all over the world live here. The population of Indian, Pakistanis and Chinese are also significant apart from the majority of Germans and people from EU counties.

Most people who live here speak English and German. But it is highly valuable that you learn German language because you can't expect people in supermarkets, sellers, cleaners to speak English. 

Example Facebook pages: 


Studentenwerk apartments:

As a student the first major barrier one has to cross is finding a living place. It is not very difficult to find an accommodation rather it is not very easy as well. It is important that one applies for housing raffle from studentenwerk which usually occurs before the start of the semester possibly in the month of May. But you require an enrollment number from an university in order to apply for it. So it is important you apply early for the universities and get enrolled in the first or second phase of admission and have your enrollment number ready for applying the studentenwerk housing raffle.

You can find all the details about Studentenwerk in the below link and these are the cheapest and least problematic accommodations one can find within the city.

The main advantages from these dorms are: they have fully furnished rooms with bed, cupboard, writing desk and chair. They are also equipped with heating facilities, hot and cold water supply, The type of room depends on what is allocated for you. Usually they have single rooms with attached toilet and a common shared kitchen. There are also rooms which have single rooms with shared toilet as well as kitchen. Family room and other types of rooms are available as well but they don't make a major share. The rent varies accordingly as well.

Kitchen are equipped with heating ovens (not microwave oven), four hot plates, two wash basins, small personalised cupboards and a centre space for cutting vegetables or other preparations. The rules on how you keep the kitchen and toilet depends on each apartments and the students who live there. These are rules created and accepted among the people who live there nothing legal.

Also it is not legal for more than one person to stay in these rooms. If there is any complaint raised by some of your apartment mates then there might be a possibility of warning message. Although there are few people who stay together silently together to save money personally I would not recommend anyone to do the same and it is very difficult for more than one to stay in one room. They are not so large but decent sized rooms.

If you are unlucky and fail to get a room in the first major results, it is good that you start looking for private accommodations. May be if you are lucky enough you would get a room in the further allocations. But an important point to note is that it possible for you to change your preferences if you could go in person to the studentedwerk office. If you change your preference from one student dorm A to B you will be placed possibly at the end of the list in B. So sometimes it is advantages that many people may move out of B and you might end up getting an apartment early. Also sometimes your situations can be discussed with the office people and they might offer you a room out of courtesy but this is rare case scenario but if you are really facing serious trouble like you couldn't find anything for a long time after reaching here, please go to the studentenwerk office few times and inform your situation. Reading this everyone please don't approach the office simply then ultimately no would end up getting one. These are emergency and adverse case scenarios.

It is always important that you reply to the studentenwerk immediately once you receive any allocation of room. There are two types of email one is first come first served. So it is like whoever replies first gets the room. Second email type is deadline based. You can reply slowly but within the deadline. But it is advisable you reply immediately even if possible go directly to the respective office and sign the contract itself.

Easy and preferable dorms in my opinion (Top 3 only listed, rest are also good and possible)
1. Stiftsbogen         2. Heigelhof and Sauerbruchstraße         3. Studentenstadt

Private accommodation

If you're going through an unlucky situation you will end up searching a private apartment. Private apartments are also equally good. They provide similar services but the cost would be higher comparatively (above 350€/month usually). The important things to note while negotiating for a private apartment are: 

Don't pay anything forehand before signing the contract. There is a possibility of scam particularly online advertisements. Even it is recommended by someone it is advisable you see the landlord or the renter in person speak about the terms of the rent and get a rent contract "Mietvertrag". 
Carefully check the rent amount includes the cost for electricity, internet and room heating. Sometimes there is a possibility that these are additionally paid. Check whether it is "warmmiete (with room heating) or kaltmiete (without room heating)". More than one person living in a room is up to the renter or landlord to decide. If he/she is friendly you are lucky enough to save some money. Also it required to the know the caution deposit that has to be paid when signing the contract. If you're signing a SEPA mandate, the amount is deducted on a particular day every month without any further permissions. This applies to studentenwerk accommodation as well.

It is always important to buy a LAN cable and wifi router if needed because most living place would be provided with just the socket and not any additionals. If you're searching for private houses it is better to buy local newspapers and check the classifieds page for apartments. This avoids the fear of scam advertisements but they are published in German languages only.

If it is not possible to find any apartment within the city try finding one in the outskirts in Oberschleißheim and Unterschleißheim and even Freising but these are more suitable for students studying in Garching and Weihenstephan campus. Advantage of these places are less rental cost compared to apartments inside the city. Also it is highly advisable to join Facebook groups of apartments because many people sublet their rooms as they take up internship, thesis away from their dorms or go for vacations.

Example Facebook pages - Studentenwerk dorms: 

Example Facebook pages - Private dorms:

One another possibility which even I did because I didn't get selected in the first round raffle results was to join pre-study program. It is useful if you don't have any family members or contact person in Germany and its the first time you stay abroad and waiting to get international exposure. To be honest the course fee is at a higher end but ultimately you will end up making a lot of international friends and secured exposure to international experience. It can really help you understanding various things, know the city, know the culture and tradition, finish all initial procedures like residence permit registration, bank account opening etc., but also importantly learn German language. Overall it is a best program to take if you're ready to pay for it. 

Helpful links: 


Instead of saying this as a barrier I would say, the important skill you need to learn is cooking. This is one of the most cost saving thing more than accommodation. It is not easy to find places which costs less but it is always possible to reduce your total expenses significantly if you could cook a meal yourself. A decent meal in a normal shop would cost you around 4-5€ for one time. In canteen (mensa) it is possible to get meal in reduced prices around 2-3 € but this meal could fulfil your hunger for food but will never fulfil your hunger for taste. So it is always a wise option to learn cooking before arriving here.

So start cooking classes right now. Sit with your mom or family members note down the way they cook, prepare a cook book or learn yourselves to make variety of dishes. I guarantee, you can save significant cost that too if you are vegetarian definitely this is your only option. Only one in ten dishes would be vegetarian. Rest would be either a snack or a sweet dish which would never last in your stomach and you would become hungry as soon as you leave the building after the meal. If you are able to cook you would maximum spend around 15-20€ a week which would be less than an euro per meal and I assure you could cook a huge variety of dishes which is of your taste and preference. 

For emergency purpose, exam days get used to eating pizza's and pasta's. Ready-made pasta sauce is available just buy and mix with boiled pasta. This can make you fulfil your hungry but they are not really healthy stuff to consume every day but they are not really costly as well. Within the first month of arrival if you are not taking care of yourselves in regard with your food your health can deteriorate heavily. 

For the first few days before you set up a kitchen I can give you an advice for having food at mensa (canteen), cooking pizza and important if you're a student in main campus (TUM) it is preferable to have a good meal at the Döner Kebab shop near the college u-bahn station. It costs you around 3.5€ - 5€ per meal but it would be really filling. If you like to shed some weight from your pocket try eating in Indian or Chinese cuisines but these cause really heavy weight loss. 

You could find many Indian shops in Munich the usual one is "Bolloywood" near the TUM main campus. But this shopkeeper sells sometimes at crazy prices. It is advisable not buy any items that are available in normal supermarkets like salt, sugar, etc. You could buy most Indian groceries and vegetables (~5.70 €/ Kg). Don't forget to enjoy a non-spicy samosa for an euro whenever you like to have one. I guess you would consider yourself rich for buying one samosa for an euro. 

The other notable Indian shops are Punjabi Gmbh located little interior but better for heavy purchase. It could save you few cents for every item but difficulty is how you are going to carry it from the shop to the u-bahn station. There are also many Indian shops one in city central station (Hauptbahnhof), Munich East station (Ostbahnhof) and few other places as well. You would come to know them once you start discovering the city and get to know many people near your place. Just a caution note there is a brothel next to Punjabi Gmbh. If you are going for multipurpose no caution required. 
  • Bolloywood -  Augustenstraße 88, 80798 München
  • Punjabi Gmbh - Maria-Probst-Straße 41A, 80939 München
For the first time to set up your kitchen, it is also advisable to buy from online grocery shops. The common one and comparatively famous and reliable one is the following. These shops are really useful if your total shopping cart costs more than 37€ because you are eligible for free home delivery. 
One sad thing is you would get exhausted buying the same vegetables every time because in Germany they mostly use only potatoes. Apart from that, you get onion, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, peas, carrot and radish. Some items are available mostly as frozen vegetables like peas and beans but others are available as raw but the problem is the size and weight of these vegetables, they are excruciating. You will come to know when you visit the shops once. I'm not sure whether it is because of the temperature and environment or because of the fertilisers or because of any genetic modifications. People don't have any idea about ladies finger, drum stick and other typical Indian vegetables. 

In fruits if you are a fan of apples and oranges you have chosen the right place to live. You get them cheap and fresh. But if you wish to buy grapes, pomegranate or mangoes you start looking for part-time jobs soon. Not too costly just comparing with Indian prices. All fruits are available as juices so don't worry you can also become lazy enough like the residents here. Just buy it, shake it and drink it. Bananas are decently priced. Nuts are also available at moderate costs as well. 

You can find unimaginable varieties of bread and milk products mainly cheese here. Also, I guess most working people don't cook much here so a lot of ready to eat is available. Don't ask about the healthiness of this food. I guess it's more about the belief you keep and self consoling you do regarding the healthiness of this food. Another emergency food can be tortillas. These are basically maida chappatis or Indian bread made out of wheat flour.

You can get maida in normal supermarkets. It is called weizenmehl. There is a number which comes along which says about the type. Usually it is atta and refined atta is maida in India. Here they have various stages of refining sold as different type number. So weizenmehl 405 is maida. Finding atta is always a Sherlock job and I'm yet to find the right type. I possibly guess the full grain wheat to be atta. It is called vollkorn weizenmehl not generally available everywhere. Rava is also available in the name of Greiß.

Curd is available as yogurt but don't ask me whether you can turn milk into yogurt. I'm really not sure about it and never tried it. Weihenstephan has the best milk products but again you should be rich enough by heart to buy it. Various flavoured yogurt is also available and can be a useful dessert.

Chocolates, Cheap cakes and very cheap ice creams are also available here. Apart from this 80% of you requirement in food items are available in these supermarkets except the Indian masala items.

Supermarkets :
  • Cheaper products: Penny and Aldi
  • Moderate and Quality products: Lidl and Netto
  • In-between: Rewe (more bio-products)
  • Higher-end but huge variety: Edeka and Tengelmann
If you are from south India or prefer Tamilnadu style food. Here is the link to the cookbook I made before coming here. It was handwritten by my mom. I regret if something is in Tamil or doesn't match with your regional taste. Spoon numbers are mentioned in the book. It refers to various sizes of spoons for kitchen use which is available in the market.

Surprisingly, I find a lot of people who know cooking is men compare to women. So its high time girls learn cooking before they arrive here. Just kidding and not to harm anyone's feelings. I'm just stating this because it is important for women to take care of their health for their future and family.

On arrival

Electronic Gadgets

Once you are finished with all the visa procedures, flight ticket bookings, bank account opening, health insurance, enrollment, and fee payment it is important to know what to pack for shifting yourselves to Germany. I know the airlines wont allow much luggage to carry with but it always good to know what to buy and what not to buy from your origin country.

I would provide a possible checklist of items that you can probably follow in order to bring the required items while traveling. 

There might few other queries for you regarding your electronic gadgets. In Europe and many other places, cellular carriers use the GSM system. These are not universal. Some of the newer phones have the correct 900 and 1800 MHz frequencies built into them, which allow their use in Germany [1]. Also, it is better to buy mobile phones, laptops, and tablets from India or your home country rather than buying here. This is not the US to buy electronics for cheap prices. The prices here are comparatively high and mobile phones don't release as fast in other parts of the world. Sometimes costs can be up to 1.5 times. But if you wish to buy an iPhone or higher-end mobiles with a contract with some service provider then it is the perfect choice to buy one here.

Regarding the mobile network service provider, I would prefer Lebara as it is offers very cheap calls to India and many other countries and also has many advantages like Lebara to Lebara free and comparatively cheap internet data packs. O2 is also another provider which has different network plans but comparatively costlier than Lebara and it is not possible to make calls outside Germany directly. If you are buying as a bunch of people I guess it would be beneficial to buy same mobile network so you can contact your batch mates for free of cost. There are also many other service providers but I guess it is better to go with these two.

O2 is preferred if you are going to buy mobile phones with the contract or you want a postpaid connection for reduced call rates. Except for O2, I don't think any other service provider requires proof here for buying a sim card. You can just go to shops and directly get a pre-activated sim. Just insert it and start making calls.

Once you reach here you can buy a sim card for Lebara any local shop whichever you see. For O2 I know only two places one near the TUM main campus and the other is at Marienplatz. Next to it you have Deutsche Bank as well. So it is better you come here with some time in your hand and finish both the work.

Avoid buying sim cards sold by supermarkets. Here supermarkets have their own sim cards like Lidl, Aldi-talk, etc. Buying Vodafone or T-mobile is costlier. I don't think Indian sim cards work here even on roaming. My sim card didn't work but it better you buy one on the first or second day. You need to say your mobile number for all the initial procedures you need to do.

Don't forget to use the WiFi present in the airport for making calls back home once you reach Munich. Also, you get perfect WiFi within the TUM/ LMU campuses. Download the following booklet as well as the WiFi certificate before you come from your country or you need to download using your mobile data back after coming here. Once you register you can accesses anytime when you are around the campus.

If you are in a dilemma to buy a laptop or tablet in Germany, my advice would be the following. If you have heavy laptops and your campus is Garching it's better that you get a tablet. Not sure whether Informatics students need a tablet, I don't know how many tablets dependent your course is. But if you buy one, buy a tablet from India for a low price better screen quality, and configuration. Don't assume you can buy one here. Ultimately you would be looking at or and start thinking damn I should have got it in India. The same holds for laptops as well. If you are an Apple user you can buy one in Germany.

If you are anyway buying a new laptop irrespective of any other ideas get a 14-inch variant, it is very handy, comfortable and you can move around with it always. Having a mouse is advantageous as well. During lectures, it would better if you have in some way the class notes/ lecture slides. Therefore having a handy electronic gadget would be helpful for you to study while you are in class, traveling to your class, or part-time jobs. Else it is possible to take printouts also inside the campus.

  • Main Campus TUM - IKOM lab (Recharge at room N2150) : 3 cents/pg B&W, 10 cents/pg color.
  • Garching campus - Photocopy centre (Recharge with student ID) : 5 cents/pg B&W, 10 cents/pg color

Other departments including Informatics I don't have an idea. Please refer to your student advisers. Anywhere else it is very costly some photocopy shops are near the main campus but overall anywhere it is very costly. For emergency purposes, most Edeka supermarkets have photocopier machines. Be rich to take photocopies there. Buying a new all-in-one printer is also a good option but the cost of the printer and the cost of a new cartridge would come almost the same. So it is better to buy an electronic gadget and take some printouts at the above locations.

Above all irrespective of what you buy don't forget to get two converters, a LAN cable (~5m with LAN/ ~1m with the router), a wifi router (optional - the same price as India here), and an extension card from India otherwise it is going to cost you a lot more than what you quarter of your mobile phone price for these items. The mobile phone mentioned here is a mid-range priced one. :P

The final important gadget is a night bulb (LED usually) that can be directly plugged into the socket (not just bulb - no holders here) if you use a night bulb at home otherwise not required if you can sleep in darkness.




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