for international students
Here we answer typical questions that international students may have on everyday life in Osnabrück, Vechta and Lingen. If you require further information, please contact the following institutions:
The topics at a glance:
- Which housing possibilities do Student Services offer?
The advantages of Student Services flats are obvious: they are much cheaper than other flats. Prices start at 160 euros. Most of them are close to the university and some are rented furnished. In addition, you can quickly establish contact with other German and foreign students in a student residence complex.
Each Student Services residence complex is supervised by a tutor for foreign students, who will be happy to help you if you have any problems.
Housing in these complexes is very popular and therefore scarce. You should therefore apply as early as possible.
The International Office at Osnabrück University helps exchange students and scholarship holders to register for a Student Services flat, if students register early enough. All other students please apply directly at Student Service’s housing division.
- Where else can I live?
You can also look for an apartment or a room in a shared flat (WG in German) on your own. But this may take some time, because living space is scarce in Germany. Therefore, you should look around early - preferably already from your home country.
Under the "Housing" section you will also find addresses for accommodation by private providers. Also, Osnabrück University offers a free online information platform for housing offers in the Osnabrück region. Or you can place your own ad to find an apartment.
A shared flat
When several people rent an apartment together and share the rent and ancillary costs, this is referred to as a flat-sharing community, or "WG" for short. In a shared flat all residents have their own room, but share a kitchen and bathroom. This model is widespread in Germany.
Living in a shared flat does not only save money. It is also a good way to make friends.
Let’s talk about money. You should know what the costs for studying in Germany are and what support there is for foreign students before you go abroad. Because going abroad to study only makes sense if you can afford it. Carefully calculate the costs you will have to bear, so that you do not end up with a mountain of debt.
And check what financing options there are. You can find out more about this in the Finances section.
- How much money do I need?
If you come to Germany without a scholarship, the German embassy in your home country and the so-called Foreigners’ Office in the German city where you will live during your studies require "proof of financing". This means that you must prove that you can finance your stay yourself.
The authorities expect you to have a minimum amount per month at your disposal.
You can find out from your university’s International Office how much this amount currently is and how you can give proof of it. They will also give you information on tuition and semester fees for your university or university of applied sciences.
- How can I open an account?
In Germany, regular payments such as semester fees, health insurance or rent are usually made by bank transfer. You need an account for these transactions. With the debit card, which you will then receive automatically, you can withdraw money from ATMs.
Many banks offer students a checking account with no fees. Banks and ATMs can be found everywhere in Germany. Choose a bank branch that is conveniently located and open an account there.
If the account is only free for students, you must bring a certificate of enrolment with you. This must be presented at the beginning of each semester.
To open an account, you will need
- your passport,
- your notification of admission to your university and (certificate of enrolment)
- a registration confirmation from the city’s registration office (Einwohnermeldeamt), if you are an EU citizen or the Foreigners’ Office (Ausländerbehörde), if you are not from an EU state.
- Are there scholarships for studying?
Yes, one way to finance your studies is with a scholarship. The advantage is that you do not have to repay the money. But there is a lot of competition and many applicants do not get a chance.
Scholarships are awarded by the state, churches, associations, business, political parties or private institutions. The awarding organisations themselves determine the scholarship criteria and purpose. There are scholarships for first-year students, for doctoral students, for good grades, for social commitment or unusual study projects. Some of these grants are aimed specifically at students from abroad.
You can find out which scholarships are suitable for you and which ones are available via the scholarship database of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
- Can I get a loan?
Theoretically yes but be careful. A loan, including interest, must be repaid within the agreed period.
The conditions of the KfW Student Loan are favourable. The institute approves loans without examining the assets and independently of whether someone receives so-called BAföG (state supported student financing). The KfW (a development bank) supports students who come from a member state of the European Union and are under 32 years of age when taking out a loan. Master's programmes are generally supported, a Bachelor's programme only if you do not yet have a university degree in your pocket yet.
The KfW student loan pays between 100 and 650 euros per month up to the tenth semester. In exceptional cases, this may be up to the fourteenth semester, although the amount is reduced monthly. Whatever the case may be, you must provide proof of achievement by the 6th semester at the latest.
You must repay the money within 25 years and start repaying 23 months after the last payment – at the latest. The KfW adjusts the interest rates for its loans on 1 April and 1 October each year.
- As an international student, do I get state funding?
Rarely. Although the German state offers students the possibility of two forms of financial support – the so-called BAföG and the so-called Bildungskredit (education loan). Unfortunately, however, foreign students rarely receive this support.
Contact Student Services’ student finance division to find out more about your options.
- Can I finance my studies with a student job?
Yes, provided you come from a European Union country. It is difficult if you come from a non-EU country. Because then you are only allowed to work to a limited extent.
It is therefore essential that you inform yourself about the regulations. The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) offers a helpful overview.
Typical student jobs include tutoring children or working in pubs and restaurants. Many companies also offer temporary jobs during the semester break.
Studying under special conditions
- I have a child. Can parenthood be combined with studying?
Yes. Student Services do a lot to help you combine parenting and studying.
We have our own day care centre in Osnabrück, the CampusKita. Here, children play and learn while you study with peace of mind about the welfare of your child. In addition, Student Services work closely with day care centers run by other institutions in Osnabrück, Vechta and Lingen.
Since the demand for day care is high, you should contact the CampusKita or another day care centre as soon as possible after your arrival in Osnabrück.
Detailed information on this topic can be found on the page Studying with a child.
- Studying with a disability. What do I have to consider?
Student Services offer personal advice for students with disabilities. Contact our psychosocial counselling division for a consultation.
Our housing division also offers barrier-free apartments.
Counselling and advisory services
Although studying in Germany is exciting, it can also be a great challenge - especially for international students. Fortunately, help and support are available. In addition to the various supporting offices and groups at your university or university of applied sciences, Student Services offer you the following:
- Friend and helper: The Tutoring Programme
The first contact persons for your questions are the tutors in the student residence halls. Look out for the posters with the contact details of the tutor who is responsible for your residence and feel free to contact him or her for help, information and advice.
- Psychosocial counselling of the Studentenwerk
Are you suffering from exam phobia, self-doubt, or due to conflicts with parents, partners or friends? Psychological problems make you ill. That's why you should seek advice in case of doubt. You are in good hands at the Psychosocial Counselling Centre (PSB).
- Advisor for international students
Student Services also has an advisor especially for international students. Turn to the advisor for personal support with any problems you may experience due to language and cultural differences.
Food, culture & leisure
Studying, studying, studying – it’s time to talk about leisure time.
- Where can I go for a cheap meal?
Near every university you will find a Student Services canteen. Nowhere else can you find so much quality for so little money!
In the refectories there are dishes for every taste: stews, salads, meat, fish, vegetarian and vegan dishes. There are typical German meals and dishes from all over the world.
In addition to the dining halls, there are cafeterias offering a small selection of hot and cold snacks.
- A cultural and leisure programme for Osnabrück, Vechta and Lingen?
Looking for leisure activities? The International Offices of the respective universities and university of applied sciences offer day trips, theatre visits, discussion groups and more.
The canteens and cafeterias of Student Services also offer opportunities to linger around and get to know other students. The residents of the residence halls also organise informal meetings. Go there and make new friends.