The decision to move to Germany for my Master’s degree came quickly and unexpectedly, in fact it took me a couple of hours in Berlin to realize that this is the lifestyle I was looking for. After the graduation in lovely Paris, together with some friends of mine we decided to take a year off and travel through Europe. Our journey lasted for a couple of months and we got to see a lot of different places and people, diverse cultures and customs and various biorhythms. Passing through the Balkans left a mark, enlightening our naïve ignorance. However when we got back all I could think about was going back to that German peculiar Capital generating good luck and positive energy.
I went online researching the education system, checking how slim were the chances to study in Germany and for the second time I was speechless.
Firstly I found out German Universities offer programs for Internationals that are 100% in English alongside German Language courses for beginners for orientation. The interesting thing was that not only Internationals but locals as well attended some of these courses challenging themselves to study in a non- native language.
Concurrently, the next amazing thing about education in this country is the very fact that is almost free of charge. You pay zero euros for the semester but you have to pay some sort of semester contribution around 150-300 euros with free public transport included and sometimes even lunch at the student Mensa.
While I was staying in Berlin I noticed that the cost of living is reasonable, pretty cheaper than France I reckon. I found an apartment online near Alexanderplatz, it is huge and I share the rent with a guy named Timo who was already there. We clicked the instant we met so we are good friends now. We pay 200 euros each including electricity and other bills, it’s nothing fancy yet comfortable and homelike. As soon as I arrived there, I went out in a Flea Market close by and bought some tiny details to feng shui the whole thing so it appeared warmer and more welcoming. With less than nothing I bought Lamps and Candles, an old Chair, a Mirror, a rusted tin Bed and lots of frames. Starting from scratch got me all excited and in a rush.
Since we are living together we share all the expenses, like groceries, cleaning items, cable, internet and other essential stuff to lead a happy and healthy life. I spend around 700 Euros per month including Uni, nights out, weekend trips and clothing. Believe it or not I eat out very often enjoying different cuisines every time. When I don’t go out I cook and invite my new friends over for some calm and intimate ambient enjoying wine and challenging topics. German history has quite a twist therefore I enjoy it when different people interpret it differently every time.
I am doing my MA on Neuroscience in the Freie Universität and I am quite pleased so far. We don’t have too many classes during the week yet once we do its always interactive and competitive something that is highly beneficial for a student to keep engaged with the books and focused clearly. I have met a lot of interesting people from different backgrounds so we’ve kinda come up with a study group so each time we have a seminar or a presentation we gather and brainstorm either in the library or at my place, since it’s more spacious.
An ordinary day in my life would be as follows. I wake up at 6 am (whenever I don’t feel the urge to sleep till noon) put on my running shoes and go for a run. I come back and shower in my beautiful white bathroom with a view. I make myself and Timo a cup of tea and drink it while I am checking my emails and the last page of the newspaper with job offers; clearly I want to find a part time job. Then I go out to get fresh fruits and vegetables for the day, milk and yoghurt and my favorite whole wheat bread, just around the corner. When I get home I prepare my giant cup of cereal with fresh fruits some nuts and fresh milk, breakfast the most important meal of the day I take my lap top and walk out of the door.
When the weather is warm and sunny which unfortunately happens to be rare I go to the park and work on my thesis for hours, if not then I find a small and cozy coffee shop, different each time, sit down and work there. On my way home I enjoy walking into the busy streets saying hello to every stranger that passes me by. I make lunch while listening to German music, my effort on learning this highly complex language and wait for Timo to join me on the table. After lunch I usually watch a movie or read a book, sometimes I go to my favorite museum or gallery and get lost in my thoughts and emotions.When it gets dark, I like drinking a cold beer or a glass of wine with friends at home or outside in the open. I read some more pages of fiction before my eyes are closed for the day.
Some useful sites that will really help you, if you are like me and want to study in Germany!
- Studying Abroad in Germany – A Study Guide for International Students
- German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
- 45 Most Asked Questions About Studying in Germany
- Étudier en Allemagne – Un Guide d’Etude pour les Etudiants Étrangers
- Germany Student Visa – Information and Requirements about Germany VISA
- Study in Berlin is a useful guide with tips, information and advice for all International students
- International Programmes in Germany by DAAD