Things to Know Before Going to Germany 2023
As German is the official language of the country, natives speak German. You may find many English speakers too, especially in the cities. However, it’s always better to learn some basic German phrases before you go as they will help you navigate daily life. This will facilitate your interaction when you’re asking for directions and even when you’re shopping for groceries etc.
Like the other European countries, Euro is the official currency in Germany. So make sure to exchange your currency before you travel because initially, it may take some time to identify nearby ATMs once you arrive in the country.
Germany has an efficient and well-developed public transportation system which includes trains, buses and trams. People usually prefer to take trains because the train network is developed to precision. You may also travel to nearby countries as trains have a wide reach there. The tickets could easily be bought at the station or by using a local mobile app.
Germans tend to be punctual, so it is important to respect your commitments and be on time for appointments and meetings. It’s also polite to greet people with a handshake when you are meeting someone for the first time.
Tipping is not as common in Germany as it may be in some other countries. Although, it is customary to round up the bill or leave a small tip of 5-10% for good service in restaurants and cafes.
Most people forget to consider this aspect when they travel to Germany or any other place for that matter. Germany has European standard electrical outlets, so you may need to bring an adapter if your electronics have a different kind of plug.
Food and drinks
Although there is a wide variety of food in Germany, it is most famous for sausages, beer, pretzels, Black Forest Gateau and Currywurst. But there’s a lot more to the cuisine than that. Be sure to try some local specialties, but also be aware that many restaurants close early on Sundays and public holidays.
Bonus tips especially for Indian students
- Visa requirements: You will need a student visa to study in Germany. Make sure to check the specific requirements for Indian citizens and apply well in advance. You should also know about the APS certificate, which is now mandatory for studying in Germany (know more about APS here).
- Cost of living: Germany can be expensive, especially in big cities like Berlin and Munich. Make sure to budget accordingly and explore options for affordable housing and food. You can find multiple opportunities if you want to work part-time to cover your monthly expenses.
- Culture shock: Moving to a new country can be challenging, so be prepared for some culture shock. Try to keep an open mind and be patient as you adjust to your new surroundings. Always respect an individual’s choice and don’t interfere with their personal space.
- Education system: The education system in Germany may be different from what you’re used to in India. Give yourself the time to adjust to your surroundings and familiarize yourself with the system. Initially, it may be a little tough to have a social life, however, you can always engage in group activities or join social clubs.
- Networking: Building relationships with professors, fellow students, and professionals in your field can be important for your academic and career success in Germany. Be proactive in seeking out opportunities to network and make connections.