12 Essential Steps to Start Studying Abroad in Munich

by Apurvaa Subramaniam

Did you ever consider studying abroad in Munich? Well, you should because it is a great place to live and study. Munich, the capital of Bavaria, famous for the Oktoberfest, is also home to some of the best universities in Germany and one of the main financial, technological and cultural hubs in the country. This means you will be surrounded by an international environment, have plenty of things to do in your spare time and benefit from several internships or job opportunities.

Here are some tips on how to make the most of your student life in Munich and experience the true “Münchner Gemütlichkeit” (that means Munich cosiness).

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1. Choose a great university and apply for it

Prepare everything you need for your study abroad time in Munich

Once you have been accepted to a university in Munich, it is essential to start your preparations as soon as possible, ideally at least two or three months before your arrival.

Examples of top universities in Munich:

2. Check the details of the student visa for Germany

As you have probably guessed already, if you’re coming from the EU or EEA, you won’t need to apply for a visa.

Only non-EU/EEA students will need a study visa for Germany. In this case, keep all the required documents ready and apply well in time. Depending on your nationality, the visa may take up to 4-6 weeks to be approved and granted.

Many foreign students are also required to open blocked accounts or ‘Sperrkonto’ in a bank in Germany before they can apply for a visa. Thus, carefully read through the visa requirements for your country and find out more details.

Before Arriving

3. Arrange your accommodation in Munich

Student housing run by the Studentenwerk in Munich is usually the cheapest and most sought after option. However, it is generally very hard to get because the demand is much greater than the supply. Flat shares or WGs are a good alternative. It may take you a long time to find a suitable residence, so it’s better to start looking early.

Also, take into account that the minimum student living cost in Munich is estimated at 1000 EUR/month.

4. Apply for a scholarship

Many organisations such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offer different kinds of scholarships. Additionally, your chosen university may also provide a number of scholarships or funding options.

Don't hesitate to apply to these opportunities well in advance. Find out more about tuition fees and scholarship providers in Germany.

marienplatz munich.jpg

After you arrive in Munich

5. Connect with other international students

Many universities in Munich have a ‘buddy system’ i.e. you are allocated a buddy who is usually a student currently studying at the university. You can ask your buddy various questions about the university, life in Munich, and so on. Your buddy will often become a good friend as well. So do ask your university to allocate you a buddy.

For any course related queries, it is best to contact your professors in advance. They are generally very helpful.

6. Attend the university’s orientation programmes

Most universities have at least two weeks of orientation for new students. These programs include providing administrative help such as getting your student ID, library pass, transport pass, registration in the KVR for foreigners, as well as campus tours and parties. Thus, not only are these programs useful but also a great way of meeting new people and making friends.

7. Enjoy a flexible learning style

The European university system is usually pretty flexible in terms of attendance or exam dates. For instance, you can choose your exam dates, enrol in courses in one semester but take the exams in the next semester and so on. While this gives students a lot of freedom, it also means a lot more responsibility. Hence, make sure you maintain a good balance between study time and social activities.

8. Apply to internships or part-time jobs in Munich

A number of career fairs are held every semester in the main universities of Munich. You can easily find out about internship opportunities, even if you don’t speak perfect German.

Lots of part-time work opportunities are also available in the university such as assisting professors, working at the library, campus bar and so on. This is a great way to earn some extra money.

More about jobs in Germany.

9. Attend as many social activities and events

There is so much to see and do in Munich, such as visiting the famous Deutsche Museum or the München City Museum. Experience the lovely and unique Oktoberfest or check out the numerous castles.

There are also a lot of different university clubs to choose from such as dance, debating, music, computer clubs and so on. The Olympiapark in Munich offers a lot of sports facilities.

10. Learn at least a bit of German

Since most people in Munich speak English, it is not essential to know German. However, learning a bit of German is certainly beneficial and will be very helpful if you travel to small towns and villages outside Munich. The locals also appreciate foreigners who try to integrate and learn their language and will, therefore, be friendlier.

Most universities offer German language courses particularly for foreign students, free of charge.

11. Travel and Make Use of Student Discounts

Munich, as well as a lot of other places in Europe, offer generous student discounts on transport, entrance tickets to attractions and performances and accommodation. So carry your Student Card everywhere and take full advantage of this.

Munich is also ideally located for travel to Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland to name a few. Ryanair operates a number of cheap flights from Munich. Deutsche Bahn also offers good prices if you book a few weeks in advance. Deals such as the Bayern Bohemian ticket are also worth checking out. Mitfahrgelegenheit is a cheap way of travelling to relatively nearby places by road.

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12. Have a great study time in Munich or in a different destination in Germany!

Do a thorough research before your travel to Munich and if you follow all the practical steps from above, you’ll surely have an enriching and fun study experience!

If you’re still not sure about studying in Munich here are some top subjects you might want to study in a different city in Germany.

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