An important aspect when studying in Germany is finding the suitable health insurance. One should think about this topic early because it is necessary for the application. It is said by law that every person that lives in Germany has to have a health insurance.
There is a difference between the compulsory health insurance in which one is a member automatically and the private health insurances that require certain circumstances. For international students there are some more appointments, for example the health insurance from EU-countries can be accepted in Germany. Those who already have an insurance in their home country should ask if this is accepted in Germany.
The weather in Germany is not as stable and predictable as it is in southern Africa. Low and high pressure systems change much quicker, due to the fact that Germany is influenced by dry continental air masses from Eastern Europe and by maritime air masses from the Atlantic. This, generally, leads to a moderate climate with good rains throughout the year. Extreme temperature lows and highs are rare. The weather varies from year to year, so rainy summers can be followed by spectacular sunshine in the next year.
Unfortunately, housing in Germany is one of the major challenges. Many foreign students look for an apartment upon arrival in Germany. It often happens and it is pretty difficult. At major university towns, there is a housing shortage. The number of students looking for accommodation well exceeds the offers. Moreover, the cost of accommodation should not be underestimated. For a small apartment, one could pay a rent of 300 € – 600€. The additional costs, for example, for water, electricity, etc. must also be budgeted.
The search for a suitable accommodation should start in your friend´s circle. People, who have been living for a long time at the University site, one can provide important tips, such as, which area offers good living quarters or the quality of public transport in that area. They often know which apartments are available and which will be available shortly, including information of the landlords.
In some cities, real estate agents have also specialized in the mediation of apartments to students. However, be aware that this service is not free. A successful mediation can cost up to 2 – 4 months’ rent in form of commission to the broker
Every foreign student should attempt, as early as possible, to open a bank account in Germany after arrival. Bank accounts can sometimes be opened in their home country, for the stay here which only has to be confirmed on arrival. The Deutsche Bank is especially well represented internationally; as a result, many students opt for a checking account at Deutsche Bank. Many payments, for example, the payment of the cell phone contract, the payment of rent or even the health insurance contract run without cash, so a normal checking account is very necessary. Some banks offer a free checking account for students, for the duration of the course. When deciding on a bank, besides the running cost of the account, other important factors include the existence of a branch office in the area, whether English is spoken, the cost of a cash withdrawal, etc.