Cost of Living in Germany for International Students

Are you an international student planning to study in Germany and wondering about the cost of living? Look no further! In this guide, I will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the expenses you can expect during your stay in Germany. From accommodation to food and drink, transportation, health insurance, and other miscellaneous expenses, I’ll cover it all.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a better understanding of what to expect and how to budget your expenses accordingly. So, let’s dive in and explore the cost of living in Germany for international students.


If you’re an international student planning to study in Germany, it’s important to understand the cost of living in the country. Germany is known for its high standard of living, but it’s also a relatively affordable country to study in. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the various expenses you can expect to encounter during your stay, so you can plan accordingly.

From accommodation and food to transportation and health insurance, we’ll cover all the basics. We’ll also touch on some miscellaneous expenses you might encounter, such as mobile and internet costs, language learning, and entertainment. By the end of this guide, you should have a solid understanding of the cost of living in Germany for international students and be better equipped to make a budget that works for you.


If you’re an international student planning to study in Germany, one of the most important things to consider is accommodation. There are a variety of options available to you, ranging from university dormitories to private apartments.

University dormitories are usually the most affordable option, but they may not offer as much privacy or independence as a private apartment. Private apartments can be more expensive, but they offer more freedom and privacy. It’s important to consider your budget and personal preferences when choosing accommodation in Germany.

  • University dormitories: Often the most affordable option, but may have limited space and less privacy.
  • Shared apartments: Also known as “WG” (Wohngemeinschaft), shared apartments can be a good compromise between affordability and privacy.
  • Private apartments: The most expensive option, but offer the most freedom and privacy.

When searching for accommodation in Germany, it’s important to start early and be prepared to put in some effort. Many universities offer accommodation services for international students, so be sure to check with your university first. You can also check online listings and classifieds, as well as local newspapers and notice boards.

Food and Drink

When it comes to studying abroad in Germany, one of the most important things to consider is the cost of food and drink. As an international student, you may be wondering how much you can expect to spend on your meals and beverages. Well, the good news is that Germany offers a variety of affordable options for dining out and grocery shopping. From street food vendors and cafes to supermarkets and farmers markets, you can find delicious and nutritious meals at reasonable prices.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that dining out can add up quickly, especially if you’re indulging in alcohol. So, it’s a good idea to set a budget for yourself and plan your meals accordingly. You may also want to consider cooking your own meals and packing your lunches, which can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. Overall, with a little bit of planning and budgeting, you can enjoy the delicious and diverse cuisine of Germany without breaking the bank.


Getting around in Germany is a breeze thanks to the country’s excellent public transportation system. Whether you’re living in a big city or a smaller town, you’ll have a range of options to choose from.

Public Transportation

The most common way to get around in Germany is by using public transportation. This includes buses, trams, and trains. Depending on where you’re living, you may also have access to subways, streetcars, and other forms of public transit.

The cost of public transportation varies depending on where you are and how often you use it. Many cities offer discounted monthly passes for students, which can help you save money if you’re using public transportation regularly.


Germany is known for its bike-friendly cities, so if you’re interested in getting some exercise and exploring your new home, consider biking. Many cities have bike rental systems, so you don’t even need to own a bike to take advantage of this option.

Just keep in mind that biking can be dangerous in some areas, so make sure to wear a helmet and follow all traffic laws.


If you prefer to drive, you can get a German driver’s license as an international student, but it can be a complex process. You’ll need to take driving classes and pass both a theoretical and practical exam. Additionally, you’ll need to have valid car insurance and register your car with the local authorities.

Keep in mind that driving can be expensive, especially if you’re not used to the cost of gas and parking in Germany. Additionally, many German cities have strict environmental zones, which restrict the types of cars that can be driven in certain areas.

Health Insurance

As an international student in Germany, it is important to have health insurance to cover any medical expenses you may incur while living in the country. In fact, health insurance is mandatory for all students in Germany. If you are under the age of 30 and do not have health insurance from your home country that is recognized in Germany, you will need to take out statutory health insurance.

There are two types of health insurance available to students: statutory health insurance and private health insurance. Statutory health insurance is provided by state-regulated health insurance companies and is typically less expensive than private health insurance. Private health insurance is provided by private companies and may offer more comprehensive coverage, but can be more expensive.

As an international student, you may be eligible for reduced rates on health insurance through your university or a student union. Make sure to research your options and choose the best health insurance plan for your needs and budget.

Mobile and Internet

If you’re an international student in Germany, you’ll likely need access to mobile and internet services. Fortunately, there are a variety of options available to meet your needs.


Germany has several mobile operators to choose from, including Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and O2. Prepaid plans are a popular choice for international students, as they offer flexibility and no long-term commitment. You can purchase a prepaid SIM card at any mobile phone store or online, and then top up your account as needed. Rates vary depending on the operator and the plan you choose, but you can expect to pay around €10-20 per month for a basic plan with a few GB of data and some call and text minutes.


There are many options for internet service in Germany, including DSL, cable, and fiber-optic connections. Some apartments and dormitories include internet in the rent, while others require you to set up your own service. If you’re living in a shared apartment, you may want to consider splitting the cost of internet with your roommates to save money.

You can shop around for the best deals by comparing prices and plans from different providers. Keep in mind that internet speeds can vary depending on your location and the type of connection you choose. Prices range from around €20-50 per month for basic DSL or cable plans, and can be higher for faster connections or fiber-optic service.

Entertainment and Leisure

For international students in Germany, there are plenty of opportunities for entertainment and leisure activities. Germany is known for its rich cultural heritage, and you can explore various historical landmarks, museums, and galleries. You can also indulge in sports, outdoor activities, and nature walks in parks and gardens.

If you are interested in music and art, there are plenty of events and festivals happening throughout the year. From classical music concerts to contemporary art exhibitions, Germany has something for everyone. You can also join clubs and societies to meet new people and explore your hobbies and interests.

Keep in mind that entertainment and leisure activities can add up quickly, so it’s important to budget and plan accordingly. Look for free or low-cost events and activities, and avoid overspending on expensive concerts or events.

Books and Stationery

For international students studying in Germany, books and stationery are important expenses to keep in mind. Depending on your course of study, you may need to purchase textbooks, which can be quite expensive. However, there are also many ways to save money on books, such as buying used copies or renting textbooks instead of purchasing them outright.

When it comes to stationery, it’s important to have the necessary supplies for note-taking and studying. This includes items such as pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks, and folders. While these may seem like small expenses, they can add up over time.

To save money on stationery, consider buying in bulk or shopping at discount stores. You can also look for deals and coupons online or in-store to help reduce your expenses.

Overall, books and stationery are important expenses for international students in Germany to consider, but with a little planning and budgeting, you can make sure you have everything you need without breaking the bank.

Language Learning

If you’re an international student studying in Germany, learning the German language can greatly enhance your experience. It can help you communicate more effectively with locals, immerse yourself in the culture, and gain a better understanding of your coursework. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you learn German.

One option is to take a language course at your university or at a language school. These courses are designed specifically for international students and are often taught in small groups, allowing for personalized attention from the instructor. Another option is to use online resources, such as language learning apps and websites. These can be a convenient and cost-effective way to improve your German skills.

In addition to formal language courses, immersing yourself in the language and culture is key to becoming fluent. This can include practicing your German with locals, watching German movies and TV shows, and reading German books and news articles.

Keep in mind that learning a new language takes time and effort, so be patient and persistent in your studies. With dedication and practice, you can improve your German skills and make the most of your time in Germany.

Other Miscellaneous Expenses

As an international student in Germany, there are many other expenses that you may encounter beyond the main categories we’ve covered so far. These miscellaneous expenses can include things like:

  • Visa and residency permit fees
  • International bank transfer fees
  • Printing and copying costs
  • Membership fees for clubs or organizations
  • Gifts for friends and family
  • Emergency expenses, such as a new phone or laptop if yours breaks

While these expenses may seem small individually, they can add up over time and it’s important to budget for them accordingly. One way to do this is to set aside a small amount of money each month specifically for miscellaneous expenses, so you’re not caught off guard when unexpected costs arise.

It’s also worth noting that Germany is a cash-based society, so it’s a good idea to always have some cash on hand for small purchases or places that don’t accept credit cards. ATMs are widely available throughout the country, so it’s easy to withdraw cash as needed.

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