Finding a flat (Tips, Links)


Alone or with others?

Hall of residence or shared flat? Alone or with others? Just two of many questions that you should ask yourself when looking for the right place to live.
Students in Germany either live in a hall of residence or in private accommodation. In contrast to many other countries, Germany’s universities do not automatically allocate a room when you register for your course. Rather, you have to go flat hunting yourself.

Living in a shared flat (WG)

Private shared flats (called Wohngemeinschaften in German, or just WG) are probably the most popular form of accommodation. Several students look for a flat together and each has their own room, while sharing kitchen and bathroom. The occupants also share the rent. Depending on where you study, you should reckon with 150 to 350 euros per month.

If you’re looking in major uni cities like Munich, Cologne or Hamburg, you should allow yourself enough time to find a room in a WG. It’s best to start before you leave home. Start by searching the internet. Numerous portals give a good overview plus the opportunity to send an email directly to a WG.
Other good sources for vacant rooms are the International Office and the noticeboards (Schwarzes Brett in German).

The upside: You immediately get to know some nice people, and the rent’s not too high. At the first meeting, you’ll soon realise whether your conceptions and those of the others are suitable for sharing a flat.

The downside: Depending on where you want to study, it can take a while before you find a room, because there’s great demand, especially at the start of the semester.


Living in a hall of residence (or dormitory)

WG Kitchen, Photo: Hagenguth/DAAD
Student services at your uni can make it even easier for you. You can buy a “Service Set” for between 158 and 358 euros per month and so secure yourself a place in a hall of residence (or dormitory). Depending on the university in question, the Service Set can additionally include health insurance, semester contribution and a Semesterticket for using local public transport. [WG Kitchen, Photo: Hagenguth/DAAD]
The upside: Most rooms in hall are already fully furnished and often have TV and internet connections.

The downside: In contrast to a private WG, you can’t choose your fellow tenants in a hall of residence.
Linktip: The “Studentenwerk” can help you with finding a free room in a dormitory


Living in a flat of your own

Chilling on the balcony, Photo: Ausserhofer/Himsel/DAAD
All those who love to have their fridge to themselves and need a lot of peace and quiet should rent a flat of their own. But beware: While rooms in shared flats and halls of residence are good value alternatives, a flat of your own can be a lot more expensive. You not only have to pay the rent, but also a deposit which your landlord or landlady will keep until you move out and leave everything in good condition.[Chilling on the balcony, Photo: Ausserhofer/Himsel/DAAD]
The upside: You’re the boss and do whatever you like, without having to worry about others.

The downside: It costs more than a shared flat and can be very lonely, especially when you’re completely new in town.

Whatever accommodation you choose, this advice counts for all three: Find a place to live as soon as possible. If all else fails and you don’t have a place confirmed when you arrive in Germany, hostels and guest houses offer a good alternative.

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