Germany is a known international student hotspot due to it being home to one of the best education systems in the world, and accessible tuition fees. Thus, expect a lot of student-focused services in its institutions.
Know about the main school departments and organizations in Germany that you need during your stay there as an international student.
Your Institution’s International Office
Almost all higher educational institutions (HEI) in Germany have their own International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt). International offices are where international students can learn all the needed information about studying and living in Germany. This information can include questions relating to your degree program, admission, and accommodation procedures.
If your institution has an international office, expect to interact with its staff a lot of times, as you may need their assistance more than once or twice in your student life abroad. In fact, for many international students, the first contact they usually have with their chosen school is with the international office.
Aside from individual assistance, international offices also organized orientations events and buddy programs to make a life for international students easier.
Every semester, students are required to pay their school a fee, that is not a tuition fee, but a contribution used to pay for student services, and activities for students.
All universities in Germany have their own student services that aim to help students, from providing students with a place to stay, running cafeterias, to anything related to the needs of students. In fact, most student services even have a specific “service package” made for international students, to make transitioning to study life in Germany easier. Although the package depends per institution, they usually include a place in student residences, meals, and health insurance. Thus, international students usually have to book this package before starting their studies in Germany. Aside from the package and other services already mentioned above, most student services also offer student psychological counseling if ever they need it.
Departmental Student Organizations
These organizations are the most useful in case you have issues or questions about your subject. These organizations are usually run by students elected to represent other students in this particular subject.
Usually, at the start of a semester, departmental student organizations organize information events that students can check out to know more about their study programs and subjects. During these events, they also have the chance to get to know other students in their years.
Student councils are student bodies elected by the majority of the student population to represent their interests and relay them to higher education institutions. Student councils also ensure events for students like sports programs, and cultural events are available, plus, they also help students access various services including access to accommodation.
For international students, they organize tandem partners where students can practice conversing in German with a partner, to improve their language skills.
Aside from the ones listed above, there are other departments and organizations in Germany that give more specific services to students, such as the examination office, career center, and registrar’s office.
If you are still unsure where you should study in Germany, check out MSM Unify’s article discussing the top universities in Germany for international students.