Cash and Bank Account
Before you travel to Germany, check exchange rate and international transfers fees. Take enough cash in Euros for daily expenses during the first days after your arrival in Germany (local transport, food, small purchases, first rent and deposit if necessary).
If you plan to use your credit card in Germany, you will need a four-digit PIN for credit card payments. Contact your bank for further information on PIN as well as fees for credit card payment and cash withdrawal.
We advise international students who stay longer than a few weeks in Siegen to open a bank account in Germany. You also need a German bank account for a part-time job. Banks often offer free current accounts for students under 30 years of age.
Costs and Expenses
Budgeting for living costs is an important part of planning for your studies in Siegen. You will need to provide evidence of sufficient funds, when applying for a visa. Currently the proof of financial resources requires 10,332 EUR per year (861 EUR per months).
Living costs can vary greatly depending on lifestyle and spending habit. In Siegen the average living expenses are lower than in other major German cities. We advise students to prepare for monthly expenses of approx. EUR 700 – 800:
» Rent and utilities: ca. 300 EUR
» Food: ca. 165 EUR
» Clothing: ca. 50 EUR
» Travel and public transportation: ca. 50 EUR
» Health insurance, medication: ca. 90 EUR
» Learning materials: ca. 30 EUR
» Phone, internet, TV*: ca. 45 EUR
» Recreation, sports: ca. 70 EUR
*The law, that requires the TV and radio license of currently EUR 17.50, applies to persons over 18 years of age. Students must register online on Rundfunkbeitrag - Online-Service. Check if your eligible for an exemption from the broadcasting receiving fee.
Initial One-Off Costs
After your arrival there will be inital one-off costs you need to consider where necessary when planning for your budget.
» Semester fee: ca. 260 EUR
» Residence title: ca. 110 EUR
» Deposit: ca. 400 - 600 EUR (two months' rent)
When moving into your new room or apartment additional costs may arise from necessary purcheses:
Rooms in the student residences are funished. If you rent an unfurnished private accommodation you need to provide your own furniture.
Cook Ware and Dish Ware
One-bed apartments or single apartments as well as rooms in the student residences usually do not include cook ware or dish ware. You will need to provide your own equipment.
Remember to bring your bedding or buy blanket, pillow and bed linen after your arrival. Student residences of the Student Services Organization Siegen offer a bedding set (pillow, pillow case, blanket, blanket case, bed sheet) for approx. EUR 50.
Financing Your Studies
To finance your studies, you generally need either financial reserves or support, e.g. from your parents. But there are some additional opportunities which help you to improve your finances.
Many students in Germany work part-time during their studies or during lecture-free period. Remember that you will need a German bank account to receive your pay!
There are several service units at the University of Siegen providing help and support for students looking for a part time job or preparing their job applications.
Regulations for Students
Foreign students who are not from EU or EEA countries may work only 120 full or 240 half days per calendar year (more than 4 hours = full day).
This regulation does not apply for student assistant. Participants of the DSH Intensive Course are only allowed to work during the lecture-free period.
Services provided by the University of Siegen
Further Financing Options
For foreign students, it is rarely possible to get a loan. However, if you are married to a German partner, are a refugee, come from an EU or EEA country, or have a settlement permit, it is quite possible that you will receive a student loan (Studienkredit).
Under the German Federal Training Assistance Act (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz), usually referred to as BAföG, students of universities and other secondory schools can receive financial aid for their education and training, which must be repaid proportionately after graduation. Only international students from an EU / EEA country are eligible.
Try to avoid getting into financial distress from the start. Plan your finances and, as far as possible, save money each month, in case you suddenly need a larger sum or you cannot work part-time.
It is also advisable to take out personal liability insurance. This insurance costs you only a few euros a month and helps you if you accidentally damage things belonging to others, or if you hurt somebody by accident.
If you, in spite of all precautions, unexpectedly and involuntarily get into financial difficulties, please contact us or one of the following places:
» General Students’ Committee (AStA)
» Congregation of Evangelical Students (ESG)
» Catholic Congregation of Higher Education (KHG)
Generally, you need not buy all the books you need to study. In the Unibibliothek (Library [UB]) you can get most of the material, borrow the books and copy or scan them for your use. Books that are not available in the UB can be ordered by interlibrary loan.
Foodsharing is an organization that cooperates with stores to pick up foodstuffs at the end of the business day that were not sold, to save them from being wasted. Everyone is allowed to use this saved food themselves, and everyone is invited to participate.
Second Hand Stores and Social Furniture Stores
In second hand stores, such as Kleiderladen, or social furniture stores you can get used furniture and clothing that is in good condition at a relatively low price.
With your semester ticket you can use the public transport throughout North Rhine-Westphalia free of charge. Therefore, a car is usually not necessary. If you want to travel cheaply outside of NRW, look for ticket offers for the train or use a ride-sharing service.
If you register your main residence in Siegen, you will receive a one-time refund of the fees for your semester ticket. Please contact the AStA for more information. Students in financial distress can apply for exemption from the semester ticket fees at the AStA. (Must be done every semester.)
Student Residence and Shared Apartments
Renting an apartment is relatively expensive. Try to get an accommodation for a more convenient rent in the student residence hall or find a shared Apartment WG).
With the Siegener Ausweis you get discounts on various offers in Siegen. You can apply for it at the Weidenau Town Hall in Department 5/2 Child, Youth and Family Support.
People in financial need get very cheap food at the Siegener Tafel. Persons with the --> Siegener Ausweis can take advantage of this offer.
It can also be worthwhile for students to prepare a tax declaration and file a tax return.