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cost of living in Germany

Cost of Living in Germany – Living Expenses, Accomodation and Tuition Fees

by Anup chowdhury
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Cost of living in Germany – Germany boasts an excellent  standard of living, public transport, healthcare and education system.  A majority of German cities are less expensive as compared to major European cities such as Paris, London, Rome, Brussels and Zurich. Every year, thousands of students from abroad decide to begin or continue studying at a German university. There are numerous  good reasons for this, which include International Programmes taught in English medium, excellent quality of education, low or no tuition fees, career opportunities after graduation and above all social security.

If you have limited German language knowledge you could consider taking an English-language program. There are a growing number of English-taught programs at universities in Germany, mainly at the postgraduate level. If you are a non-native English speaker, you may be required to provide English-language proficiency proof such as TOEFL or IELTS.

According to the Federal Statistics Office, the household expenditure in Germany is on an average EUR 600-900 a month, with Germans allocating 36% of their consumption budget to housing, energy and maintenance. Generally, the cost of living in Germany naturally depends on the lifestyle and the city or area of a city in which you live.

Students are expected to bear  the following costs while studying in Germany:

  • Living expenses
  • Health Insurance
  • Semester Contribution
  • Tuition fees

Cost of Living in Germany – Living Expenses for International Students 

When you are applying for a German Visa, you would need to show proof of funds for at least the 1st year of college which includes the cost of living in Germany. If it costs EUR 670 per month then it will be EUR 8,040 for the first year of college. This may vary from student to student based on their lifestyle in Germany.

Latest article – Are you wondering if you can study in Germany in English?

Table for average monthly living expenses for international students 

Rent and Utilities  EUR 323
Food and Drink EUR 168
Clothing EUR 42
Learning materials EUR 20
Travel cost EUR 94
Health Insurance EUR 80

Cost of Living in Germany – Accommodation

Students have to spend the most on accommodation as compared to other costs while living and studying in Germany. Halls of residence are occupied by 40% of the total international students in Germany. This shows that 60% of the international students living in Germany are residing  in private accommodations, either with other students or solely. Most of the students live in private accommodation because of low availability of places on the halls of residence as they run out very quickly. 

To stay in Germany in the initial days of your arrival as a student, you can move in youth hostels, guest houses or private B&B. You can apply on this link for a place in the hall of residence after arriving in Germany. This is a very popular way of getting accommodation in Germany, as about 30% of the international students in Germany apply for it. When you live in a flatshare in Germany, you have to share the same flat, utility costs and rent.

Cost of Living in Germany – Health Insurance

Public health insurance costs around EUR 80 per month if you are below 30 years old. If your home country’s health  insurance is not valid in Germany, you will have to get a new one there. Under some circumstances, if students work more than 20 hours a week as part-time, then they have to pay a contribution to their health insurance.

There is huge value in studying abroad but it can be quite expensive to study in country of your choice. Read about – Affordable countries to study abroad.

Cost of Living in Germany – City-wise living cost in Germany

Students will have to pay varying living costs depending on the cities they are studying in. Let us find out the city-wise  cost of living in Germany.

Cost of living in Berlin

According to Numbeo, a single person  spends up to EUR 767 per month in Berlin on expenses like  food, markets, transportation, utilities, clothing, etc. It does not include the rent. The city  is attractive to international students pursuing an education abroad. The top universities in Berlin are: 

  • Freie University
  • Humboldt University
  • TU Berlin
  • Berlin University of Arts

Living in Berlin is relatively cheap compared to other cities in Germany yet it totally depends on the student’s lifestyle. 

Cost of living in Munich

The average cost that a  single person bears on a monthly basis in Munich is up to EUR 836 without rent. Munich is one of the most expensive cities in Germany. 

Cost of living in Heidelberg

The average cost of living in Heidelberg for a  single person is up to EUR 779.22 per month without rent. Compared to Berlin, cities such as Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Bonn, etc. are much more expensive but students can still live and study in these cities if they are careful with their expenses.

Cost of living in Frankfurt and Hamburg

For a single person, it may cost up to EUR 830 per month to live and study in Frankfurt and Hamburg. They are the most expensive cities in Germany. Students pursuing higher studies from universities in these cities get global exposure and completing a degree or two from here earns you a high paid job in Germany or Europe.

Cost of Living in Germany – Semester Contributions

The semester contribution is not the same as tuition fees. The amount varies depending on the higher education institution, partly because different services are included in the contribution. On average, the contribution is around EUR 250 per semester. Part of the semester contribution is for student welfare contributions and fees. 

Cost of Living in Germany – Tuition Fees

State Higher Education in Germany does  not charge tuition fees for Germans, EU and International students. Since the 2017/18 winter semester,one of the federal states of Germany Baden-Württemberg has charged non-EU citizens tuition fees of EUR 1,500 per semester for their academic studies (Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, German “Diploma” degree or state examination).

Depending upon the “consecutive” or “non-consecutive” Masters degree program, international students might have to pay tuition fees. If you have pursued a Bachelor’s degree from Germany and want to pursue Masters in the same field in Germany, then you do not need to pay tuition fees. But if you have obtained your Bachelors degree from abroad (outside EU) then you need to pay tuition fees (again depends on the university you are applying for).

Get latest information on the top international German universities, top courses, application and visa process to get admission.

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