First Steps in Germany

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The necessary steps one must when one lands in Germany


First Steps in Germany for International StudentsFirst of all congratulations on clearing the difficult admission and visa processes for Germany. You might think that the difficulties are all behind you now but thats not entirely true. You are going to start a completely new and different life now and its better to prepare for it.The most important thing is to get in touch with senior Pakistani students at your future university or the city. Some cities have organized Pakistani Students Associations (PSAs) while others may have no such organized group. In any case, you can contact students using the following links: key to understand here is that the seniors are helping you voluntarily and are not paid to do so. So be respectful and grateful in your conversations. Also, everyone here is quite busy. Try to figure out some things on your own rather than asking seniors for every small step. This might annoy some people and they might stop responding! The important information you can get from seniors is about accommodation and city/uni specific information. In some cities, PSAs arrange airport pickup and temporary accommodation for new students.AccommodationThere are 58 Studentenwerk organizations in Germany. These offer the best accommodation possibility for a student in terms of price and facilities. However, since the number of rooms is far less than the number of students, not all students can get a room there - most of them have a waiting list. Its best to register at the Studentenwerk in your city and then visit their offices on arrival. Many students get a room this way. To find the website of the Studentenwerk in your city, use the following map: than Studentenwerk, one can look for a room in a shared apartment (called Wohngemeinschaft or WG) or a single room private apartment. These are generally more expensive and difficult to get for international students. The idea of renting a 2-3 room flat and sharing it among new students is very unlikely to realize (especially in big cities). Nobody wants to give away their apartment to a group of new students who have no steady source of income. So its recommended to try more for individual rooms/apartments. Be careful while searching on websites for private accommodations; there are also fraudsters out there. Use the following links to search: at airport (Flughafen) and reaching your accommodationAlthough everything is marked clearly in Germany, it can still be confusing for new students to understand the transportation system here if they have never seen a well-developed one before. If some senior student agrees to pick you up from the airport and drop you at your accommodation, that can help you a lot. If this isnt possible, then you have to find your own way. Each city has its own transportation network. For example, a student is coming to Munich, he/she can search for public transport Munich and one of the first links in the results, websites for other cities transportation companies can be found. From these websites, you can plan your route by entering origin and destination and also check for ticket prices, network maps etc. Depending on the city, there will be an underground (U) or suburban (S) train or tram (Tram) or bus (Bus) connection from the airport towards the city center. The symbols in brackets are what you should look out for at the airport. Somewhere nearby, you will also find ticket machines. Keep some cash with you. In most cities, tickets need to be validated/stamped before entering the platform for trains or inside buses and trams. If you dont understand something or are unable to find something/someplace, ask people around you. Many people (specially young ones) do understand some English and even if they dont, they try to help out. There are also information centers at airports marked with a small i symbol.If you need to travel to some other city, then you will have to use Deutsche Bahn. Use their website: Bahn tickets are available from the red ticket machines at airports or railway stations. You will probably need to reach the central station (Hauptbahnhof) first from the airport in order to continue your journey to your final destination.City RegistrationWithin the first few days of your arrival in Germany, you should register yourself at the local city authorities. For this, you will need your passport and may also need to show proof of accommodation (rental contract). This step is called Anmeldung and you will be issued a document called the Meldebescheinigung. Whenever you change your address in Germany, you have to repeat this procedure. This document is very important and is needed for everything else.Bank Account ActivationNext, find a Deutsche Bank branch near your accommodation or university. Deutsche Bank is the bank having the largest number of branches in Germany and to find one near you shouldnt be so difficult. To activate your account, you will need your passport and Anmeldung/Meldebescheinigung. You can withdraw cash from your account at the bank but for using ATM, you have to wait till you receive your EC Card by post and its PIN. PIN for online banking and a TAN list for online transactions will also be sent to your postal address within the next few weeks.Health InsuranceHealth insurance is a requirement for enrollment. For this, you will need Anmeldung, university admission letter and bank details. They will issue you a letter at the same time which can be used for enrollment. The insurance card will follow within a couple of weeks via post.EnrollmentIf you have already paid your semester fees/semester contribution, you can go to the Enrollment (Immatrikulation) Office of your university; if not, then pay your fees first. There you need to show proof of insurance and your original documents. You will then be issued enrollment documents. These are required for example, by Studentenwerk after each semester and may also be required for issuance of a semester ticket (for transportation).Applying for a residence permitThe student visa issued from Pakistan is for 90 days and it is recommended to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) as soon as you can. For this, you will need enrollment, bank statement, health insurance, Anmeldung, photo etc. Residence permit is also required for any work you might want to do.Important Notes: All offices are closed on weekends (Sat and Sun). Stores and shops are open till 8:00 pm only (except some near central station) and mostly everything is closed on Sunday. So if you are arriving on a weekend and dont have any contacts, take care about shopping limitations. It is good to bring some passport photos with you from Pakistan for the above procedures but even if your forgot them, you can get new ones using Fotoautomats at some train stations etc.Adjusting to your new environmentNow you have taken care of all important things. The first few days are usually quite hectic; running around the city for taking care of the above mentioned steps. After completing them, you can relax a little and observe your environment better, make some new friends and get used to your university and surrounding areas. If you made it so far, its quite certain you can deal with all this too and then get started with your new study life.International Office and Student GroupsAll universities have a student office or international office to help out students. If you have any problems regarding the above procedures or other matters, contact them. Some student groups also arrange for groups to do the above activities guided by a tutor. Make yourself aware of these possibilities and benefit yourself from them. Author: Farish KagalwalaDate: 16.07.2013This guide has been written keeping in view new Pakistani students in Germany. The information contained in the document is based on the personal experiences and observations of the author. It may not apply exactly to your case and is subject to change. It is the responsibility of the student to check recent information and act accordingly.Steps To-do after arrival in Germany (Personal Reviews)ByLucky AlionThursday, October 30, 2014 at 6:24pm1. University Enrolment / Immatrikulation:First thing first, in the working hours go directly to the university academic/student serviceandactivate your student status (or registration at the university). After a successful process they will provide you the information about the following steps to proceed.2. Grab a Residence Contract / Mietvertrag:Your residence address is very important in Germany for any future entries. You should have confirmed your residency before arrival to Germany. Otherwise, find a place to stay and sign your residence contract (doesnt matter if it is in the campus hostels, a place in the student apartments or a private flat or whatever).3. City Registration / Meldebescheinigung:Same like Union Councils in Pakistan. For legally living in Germany, you need to be registered with the city administration office. On the residency contract is written your 'from now onward' Home Address in Germany. Take this contract along with your passport and go to the city registration office calledBrgersamt or Stadverwaltung or Rathaus.4. Unfreeze the Bank Account / Bank Konto:Once you have those above mentioned 3 things, you can go directly to your Bank to unfreeze your account. As the bank card takes a while to arrive, you can also get cash for living expenses, University fee, hostel fee etc. etc.5. Biometric Photo:Your will need them for the health insurance card and the residence permit card.6. Apply for Health Insurance / Krankenversicherung:At the university student service center you will find a lot of information about different insurance companies in Germany. Choose the one of your choice and look for their office timings or take an appointment via phone call or email. Take your matriculation, photo, passport and other required documents7. Apply for Residence Permit / Aufenthaltstitel:The Visa that you get on your passport from Pakistan is just for entry to Germany and valid only for 3 months, it needs to be extended (converted to a residence permit).The above documents fulfill the requirement for your extension of visa and get a proper long time residence permit. Contact the foreign office (Auslndersamt/Auslnderbehrde) in your city and take an appointment for the visa extension.8. Enjoy your Stay in Germany / EUROPE:Stay Happy, make friends, except boiling eggs and frying potato chips learn how to cook, enjoy your every day life and dont worry ifWinter is coming, you will get used to it. Believe me its still better then Serbia, Norway and Canada and you will easily survive.