June 12, 2024

Exploring The Cost of Living in Germany as an International Student

Germany has a rich tapestry of history, picturesque landscapes, and cutting-edge innovation. This country stands as the beacon for international students dreaming of pursuing a memorable academic journey.

One of the most important aspects to consider is the costs involved in living in Germany. Therefore, in this blog, we will consider the different expenditures and other costs so you can plan your budget to study and stay in Germany.

Cost of living while studying in Germany as an International Student

Understanding the cost of living in Germany supports your effort to plan your finances effectively. It allows you to create a realistic budget to cover expenses such as university fees, transportation, accommodation, food, and leisure activities.

Also, developing an insight into the costs involved will help you avoid unexpected financial strain. Let’s explore the costs mentioned below so you are prepared to make more informed choices while eliminating financial stress during your academic tenure.

Types of Expenses Cost


What does this include?
Cost of Living 867 euros per month
  • Rent: 332 euros
  • Food: 154 euros
  • Clothing: 48 euros
  •  Transport: (car/public transport) 116 euros
  • Health: 96 euros
  • Telephone/Internet/TV-Radio License Fees/Postage: 32 euros
  • Study Materials or Equipment (books etc): 24 euros
  • Leisure, Culture and Sport: 65 euros


University Tuition Fees 1500 to over 10,000 euros
  • No tuition fees for state higher education institutions for Bachelor’s or many Master’s degree courses.
  • Charges may apply for second-degree courses, or if the primary study program was not completed within the allotted period.
Semester Fee 100 to 350 euros per semester
  • Semester ticket for the state of  North Rhine-Westphalia: 201.40 euros  
  • Social contribution to the Studentenwerk: 90.00 euros
  • Student representative body (AStA): 10.00 euros
  • Student sport: 1.75 euros
  • Faculty Student Councils: 2.50 euros
  • Fees for administration and hardship funds: 3.50 euros


Health Insurance 110 to 166 euros per month for Public Health Insurance
  • You will be charged approximately 110 euros per semester if you are enrolled in a study program that falls within 14 semesters of study and if your age is 30 or under

Managing the cost of living in Germany

Most universities in Germany are aided by the government, which is why many universities do not charge a tuition fee. However, while living and studying in this country as an international, it might be useful to reduce unnecessary expenditure. Here are a few tips:

  • At best, select a university in Germany where the tuition fee is not charged unless your study program is available at a university that charges a fee.
  • If you require support with the current budget you have for studying in Germany, you could find and apply for a scholarship. Some of the scholarships include:
    • The Deutschlandstipendium
    • DAAD Scholarships
    • Humboldt Scholarships
    • Helmholtz Scholarships
    • Erasmus+
    • Heinrich Boll Foundation Scholarships

These scholarships are based on merit, state-specific, or partial scholarships.

If you take a loan then you should know that public loans do not charge interest. Private loans charge a minimum interest rate. Also, several banks and universities have tie-ups that ensure you receive reasonable deals on loan applications.

  • Track and monitor your daily living costs

Keep a note of daily expenses and keep checking the amount you have left with you on a weekly and monthly basis. This can help you identify any over-expenses made. It can also help you ensure that you are not exceeding your budget allotted for every month. This includes your house and food costs like where you choose to live, the restaurants or cafes where you eat, etc.

  • Use public transport

The semester fee includes payment of your university public bus ticket. On the other hand, if you wish, you can use a bicycle to travel to the university. Either way, you can use the transport mode of your choice depending on your budget.

  • Get a part-time job

You can apply for a part-time job that can help cushion your daily expenses. As an international student, we recommend you try getting a job that pertains to your field of study. Doing this can add to your course credits. Also, you can work full-time during regular university breaks.

  • Apply for health insurance

If you are an international student under 30 years of age, you must apply for health insurance. The health insurance plan for students in Germany is affordable. It covers various expenses including regular medical check-ups, in-patient hospital care, basic dental care, and out-patient care.

Your journey to a bright career after studying in Germany is a transformative experience. At Expert Education, we are committed to illuminating your academic path to achieve career excellence. 

  • Is it expensive to live in Germany?

Living in Germany is relatively inexpensive compared to other urban cities around the world. 

  • How do I further save on my expenses while studying in Germany?

A few changes in the way you live can help you cut costs while studying in Germany. Instead of using private or public transport, you could use a bicycle to go to your university. You can eat in the university canteen to cut on additional food bills. You can move into shared accommodation so that the rent payment is distributed among you and your roommates.

  • How much would I usually have to pay for rent?

This depends on where you stay. However, to give you an average cost, you could expect to pay between 290 and 560 euros for accommodation. That said, rents in some cities like Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf are above average.

  • Do higher fees for educational institutes mean their quality of education is superior to those institutes that don’t charge a fee?

No, a higher fee does not reflect the quality of the education provided. Free-of-charge degree programs also provide high-quality education.

  • Do I have to pay taxes if I work as an international student while studying in Germany?

This depends on the 520-Euro-Minijob requirement where the affected person does not earn more than EUR 520 on a regular basis. Therefore, one may earn 12 x 520 EUR throughout the year in the minijob but as soon as this sum is exceeded, it is not considered a minijob anymore. However, in a single month, the person is still allowed to earn more than EUR 520, if one earns less in the other months to balance the higher wage. Therefore, if your annual income exceeds EUR 6240, you are liable to pay taxes.