Germany has one of the largest student populations in Europe, with students from all over the world coming to study here. Unfortunately, this popularity among students can make finding housing a struggle, as demand is so high.
Types of student housing in Germany
There are various types of accommodation in Germany that are suitable for students. Although universities in Germany offer student accommodation, demand far outstrips supply, so many students choose to rent privately.
Most universities in Germany offer several halls of residence for their students. These are almost always run by the Deutsches Studentenwerk. There are usually several types of accommodation available to suit all preferences, from 1-bedroom apartments to flatshares of up to 20 students.
Instead of opting for university accommodation, plenty of students in Germany choose to rent privately. Renting a place to yourself will usually cost significantly more than university accommodation, and you will have to take care of things like utility bills and internet connection yourself. If you’re looking to save costs, taking a room in a flatshare (Wohngemeinschaft) is usually a very affordable option (and a great way to practice your German!)
How to find student accommodation in Germany
Finding a place can be tricky, especially in the larger German cities like Berlin, Munich and Hamburg where affordable accommodation is so scarce. To be on the safe side, international students should start looking for an apartment or room as soon as possible.
If you’re looking for ease and simplicity, university accommodation is probably your best bet, as it can usually be sorted out well in advance of your arrival. Be aware that places in university housing are in high demand, and you are not automatically allocated a room.
You will need to apply in good time, either through your university’s international office, or directly through your local branch of the Studentenwerk. This can usually be done online.
Student housing corporations
In addition to subsidised university accommodation, there are a great number of housing organisations in Germany that cater specifically to students. Prices are slightly higher, but this kind of accommodation can usually be sorted out in advance and offers a good way to meet fellow students.
Rental housing agencies
You might consider enlisting the help of a rental housing agency in your search for student accommodation in Germany. Many have properties suitable for students and can save you a considerable amount of time with your search.
Internet & Social media
The internet is a goldmine when it comes to searching for accommodation in Germany, especially if you’re looking for a room in a flatshare (Wohngemeinschaft - WG). There are many free websites and groups on social media where people advertise rooms in WGs.
Short-stay student accommodation
If you will only be staying in Germany for a short amount of time, you might consider short-stay accommodation for maximum convenience and minimum fuss, as short-stay properties will be fully-furnished and the rent will include all costs for utilities.
Tips for international students
Here are some final tips for any students navigating the German housing market:
- Use your network: Don’t forget to ask around, as chances are you know someone who knows someone who is looking for a housemate!
- Don’t rush: Make sure you read through your rental contract before you sign it.
- Get informed: Be clear about what is and isn’t included in your rent, especially if you are renting privately. Are energy bills included? What about water or phone line?
- Be cautious: Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of scammers out there targeting international students. Never pay any money upfront, wait to see the property and sign the contract. If something seems to good to be true, it probably is.
- Be social: Living in shared accommodation can be a great way to meet people at the beginning. If you live with German roommates, you can practice the language as well.