Tough times, only online enrollments and online classes, financial stress and locked in your room. Find out whether you travel to Germany or not during Covid-19 restrictions and what you can do if you have already arrived?
In the years before Covid-19, the mindset of international was straightforward. Apply to a German university → get admission → to apply for a visa → arrive in Germany → settle → start your studies and find a student job besides to cover the expenses.
The pandemic year 2020 has affected everyone, especially international students in Germany. The year 2021 is no different until now and will tend to continue. The restrictions have been made lighter since March 2021 but there are still quite many concerns and a stricter lockdown again could be expected. For international students, things have changed tremendously during the pandemic and your journey is going to be the same.
Note: This article is very important for you if:
- You got admission for the summer semester of 2021
- You are planning admission in winter semester 2021-22
In this article, I will be explaining the changes that occurred and talking about the tough experiences that most international students share in common and what you can plan better during this pandemic. Also, I’ll try my best to refer to other links so you can make a better decision for yourself. I find it necessary to draw an image of the on-ground reality in Germany for international students that you may not be aware of before entering Germany so that you can foresee it and plan accordingly. To draw the sketch before I jump into the details, let’s have a look at the points below:
- Online enrollment and classes at German universities whether you are in Germany or your home country
- Finding accommodation before arrival
- How to plan mandatory quarantine
- Changes to after arrival steps like city hall registration, visa extension, etc.
- Social distancing
- Approximately €550 – €900 monthly expenses and no or low jobs opportunities
- How to use this time effectively from a financial and career point of view
Covid-19 Current Situation
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected everything in the whole world and every country is facing more or less similar situations. Right now every country has implemented its own restrictions. Germany has faced 2 heavy waves of the pandemic and similarly the lockdowns. Right now the number of infections has increased as the restrictions have been made lighter (March 2021). Having said that let’s see how it has affected the international students.
After reading this article, international students would have an idea whether they should plan to come to Germany or take online classes from their home country as universities are offering online teaching anyway. For those students who are already arriving for the summer semester of 2021, this article will guide you on how to manage your life during the pandemic situation. For others, it will help them whether to come now or take online classes from their home country and enter Germany later. The lessons are derived from the current situation and experiences of international students.
Let’s talk about online enrollment and online classes first.
Enrollment and Classes are Online at German Universities
Online Enrollments at German Universities
After the admission letter from a German university, you must enroll to begin your studies. As I mentioned before, things have changed, now you are only allowed to enroll online. You can do it from your home country as well. The only document you would need from Germany is your German student health insurance membership confirmation certificate.
Article about Enrollment Process and Document Requirements at German Universities in 2021 in the pipeline and will be released soon.
Online Classes at German Universities
No physical classes, only online teaching whether you are in Germany or your home country.
German universities have switched to online classes from the summer semester of 2020. Online teaching will continue until social distancing would not be necessary anymore. Both international and local students are taking classes despite their location. There is a possibility that some programs would need you to be on campus, therefore, confirm with the international office of your university if you should plan to come to Germany or stay in your home country until everything is back to normal.
Students Jobs Before and After Covid-19
2 out of 3 students work besides their studies to cover their monthly expenses in Germany. It took less effort for students who study IT than others to find student jobs depending on the city size, of course. Even before the pandemic, international students found it difficult to find students jobs due to the lack of speaking the German language. Jobs in IT are still not bad but limited due to a number of reasons e.g. onboarding new employees online. The pandemic has affected most businesses and a lot of people have lost jobs including most student workers. This leaded to financial stress for international students and many have left for their home country due to various reasons including financial situation.
International students who are already in Germany may be eligible for some funding opportunities in case of extreme situations and have a relaxation for the visa extension with respect to the proof of financial resources. New students arriving in Germany would not be able to get financial help during Covid-19 as their blocked account would have enough amount for around a year. I am gonna write a separate article on the funding opportunities for international students in Germany during Covid-19.
Should I enter Germany or take online classes from my home country?
It is totally up to you as every student has their own priorities set. There are a number of factors your should consider:
- Can focus on studies more back in your home country?
- Would you find it difficult to find a student job to cover expenses in Germany?
- If you don’t find a student job how will you fund your expenses for the next year?
- Do you have the blocked amount only for one year?
- Is it worth waiting for when universities and everything else is back to normal?
- And any other factor you could think of.
Important: If a student is not sure whether to apply for winter semester 2021 or later, they should definitely consider applying and take advantage of the online teaching opportunities. Trust me the world is going to be more digital than ever before and even faster digital transformation is happening. We have started Leazear with a similar intention.
If You Stay in Home-Country, Follow These Steps:
- Get a German health insurance certificate via Leazear for your enrollment. Your payment will only start when you arrive in Germany. Here you can find more information about German health insurance and how to apply online.
- Enroll online at your university.
- Select your courses being offered in the summer semester of 2021 and start classes online.
- Stay virtually connected to your classmates for study updates.
- When you plan to come to Germany do the below process.
If You Are Coming to Germany For Summer Semester 2021, Follow These Steps:
- Get Travel insurance for your visa. Here you can find more information about travel insurance.
- Get Health insurance for enrollment and visa extension when arrived in Germany. Your payment for health insurance will start from the date of enrollment.
- Open a German blocked bank account.
- Transfer 10332 euros to the account.
- Prepare other visa requirement documents.
- Get a visa appointment at your concerned embassy/consulate. Check the embassy/consulate website for the appointment process.
- Prepare for and take the visa interview.
- Apply for Student accommodation.
- After you have received your visa book the flight or even before.
- Get tested for Covid-19 according to the airline regulations.
- Get extra cash of approximately 1000 euros with you for initial expenses as your blocked account will take time to get activated. This amount will cover your first-month rent, rental caution, food and any other relevant expenses.
- Keep yourself safe during the flight and transits otherwise may get infected and put others at risk as well.
After Arrival in Germany – Follow These Steps:
- When arriving in Germany, you have to do the mandatory 10 days quarantine otherwise you may end up with a huge fine.
- At the time of arrival, you must get tested at the airport or the nearest test center. The result may take a few days. If you get your test result negative, you can quite the quarantine after 5 days.
- Get yourself enough food and essentials as soon as arrived to start your quarantine, get help if you could.
- Inform your neighbors that you have been traveling from abroad.
- Now that you are in Germany, you cannot visit any offices but you could most things online.
- You can check the city hall website and get an appointment after your quarantine and if they have the option to register your address online, do it that way of course.
- You would need to activate your blocked account to be able to pay for your expenses.
For after arrival steps download the Free study in Germany guide and keep visiting our website for fresh content every week. We are working hard to bring all the necessary information and keep you updated. Let us know, if any information is missing that you need. We’ll try to provide that on a priority basis.
Why provide all this information for free? Because once we came through the same way and kept facing difficulties at each and every stage even after arrival.
Students also ask us how to we earn money?
Leazear has partnered with service providers like German health insurances to provide you online certificate for your enrollment, visa extension and staying in Germany. Students have to get it any as you might know but make it faster.
We are a young German startup with big ambition to provide easier access to education and careers across border.
News: You can join Leazear international students’ community (platform is finally ready and started) that we have started building to reach out and help each other through the whole process. The more students join the easier and faster everyone’s journey will be.
More links to important articles will be updated soon here.