How to find a place to live in Germany – An Indian student’s experience

how to find a place to live in Germany

In his last interview with Employland, 27-year-old Shyam M. Ramaprasad from Mysore, India, who is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the Kühne Logistics University (KLU) in Hamburg, shared his experience of preparing for studying in Germany. In this interview, he provides information about finding housing in Germany. In this post: How to find a place to live in Germany.

Employland: Shyam, after receiving confirmation about admission to university, the next step for someone planning to study in Germany would be to find a place to live, right? Where and how do you live?

Shyam Ramaprasad: I live in a “Studentenwohnheim”, a student dorm, which has individual rooms and a shared kitchen, along with other basic utilities and amenities. Living in a student dorm has many advantages, including lower rent, exclusion from the payment for utilities such as water, heating and electricity (depending on the establishment), and the company of the students with whom you get to share the dorm. I now have friends from so many countries just by living in a student dorm! Some student housing also offer libraries and gyms.

Indian student Germany
Shyam Ramaprasad (27) from India is pursuing a Master’s degree at the Kühne Logistics University (KLU) in Hamburg Photo: Shyam M. Ramaprasad

It is, however, not always easy to get a room in a student dorm and there may be long waiting lists. I was lucky.
The entire process was handled by the student services team at the KLU who sent out a mail to prospective students who would be arriving in Hamburg about two to three months in advance of their studies. I immediately replied to the email to which I was provided with an application form. I took a print out of the form, filled it out, scanned it and emailed it back to the student services team and was assured the dorm, the move-in date and other details such as the address, etc. in the weeks that followed. All this happened around two months before I even moved to Hamburg.

It is also possible to live in a shared apartment, which requires you to negotiate with private landlords

If you don’t get a dorm, it is also possible to live in a shared apartment, which requires you to negotiate with private landlords. It should be noted that these accommodations might vary a lot with regard to rent, house rules, utilities, etc. and might prove to be more expensive than the student dorms. You might also be required to negotiate in German, and most of the paperwork and contracts are usually in German.

It is important to decide the best living situation for yourself by analysing your income and lifestyle

It is important to decide the best living situation for yourself by analysing your income and lifestyle. What are your priorities? How badly do you need a place at the heart of the city? How often do you go to the university, how many hours can you spare for your commute every day? What are your means of transportation? All these are things to consider.

There are various ways to search for places to live in Hamburg from abroad. As a student, the best way would be to contact the Student Services Board at the University. They can suggest an appropriate dorm, apartment or student accommodation based on your needs. There are also websites such as Studierendenwerk Hamburg, which can come in handy and can help you to apply to student dorms. This site also contains a list of private landlords.

Some of the student dorms have coopertions with Universities, therefore you might only be eligible to apply to a few of the dorms based on your respective university

Please note that some of the student dorms have cooperations with Universities, therefore you might only be eligible to apply to a few of the dorms based on your respective university. There are several other websites consisting of local listings, however, be cautious when using these. There are often fake advertisements and scams on these websites, so insist on visiting the property before signing any agreements or making any advance payments.

Employland: What do you recommend to people who have not been lucky in finding housing before reaching Germany?

Shyam Ramaprasad: It is possible to arrange for temporary accommodation at hostels and private homes through websites such as booking.com, hostelworld.com, Airbnb.com, couchsurfing.com, etc. My experience thus far with these websites has been great and I feel you can rely on them to find accommodation in any city in Germany. I feel staying in student hostels is a really good experience because you get to meet a lot of interesting people!

Employland: Shyam, Thank you very much for taking the time to share with us how to find a place to live in Germany!

Coming soon:
In this interview, Shyam described how to find a place to live in Germany. In our next interview, Shyam Ramaprasad will share with you what he loves about life in Germany and what preperations would have made life abroad much easier had he done them before moving.

Also in our blog:
Finding an apartment isn’t always easy, especially in Germany’s large cities. Often there is intense competition between dozens of apartment-seekers for one flat. We have six tips to make your apartment search less stressful and more successful.

Main photo: Photo: Shyam M. Ramaprasad

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