You need to register if you live in Germany, even if you only are staying for one semester – it is illegal not to do it and in the worst case you can end up receiving a fine. It would be a good idea to register as soon as possible as the waiting list is very long. You need to book a time through the town hall’s website.
9) Know basic German words
The German dictionary is your friend. It is a good idea to learn a few basic words before you arrive as it will ease many situations. The Germans love their language and many elderly people feel most comfortable speaking German. “They will receive you with a smile if you try to communicate on their language,” Patrick, a Danish exchange student, says.
“You need to notice that many websites do not have an English version, so it is very helpful to know a bit German especially when you register for town hall,” said Daniel, another Danish exchange student. He also signed up for a German course when he arrived. “The German course has been super helpful for me,” he said with a smile.
8) Semester fee
At the beginning of the semester, you have to pay a semester fee. The semester fee will also cover a student-ID-card which can be used as your ticket for public transportation in Kiel. The university just arranged that the student card works as a ticket for traveling around Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg with the train; for free! This is a great opportunity if you would like to experience the Northern part of Germany.
7) The Mensa
The Mensa is the main canteen at FH and here you will find a good value for your money. But notice that it is only possible to pay with cash or your student card. In the building you will find a white box where it is possible to put money on your card – this might be a very good idea since the prices on food are cheaper if you pay with your student card.
Please notice that it is only possible to get money on the student card through a German debit card. Luckily for you, the Germans are very polite and helpful in order to transfer money, as long as you pay them back of course.
6) Weekend courses
If you thought that the weekends would be all fun and games – you might be wrong! Many of the optional courses in English are placed on the weekends. The courses often start a 9 am and last until the afternoon. Remember your lunch pack; all stores in Germany are closed on Sundays including the Mensa.
Did you know that Kiel was heavily bombed during the Second World War due to the fact that Germany’s marine base was located here? It is not uncommon that bombs are found at FH Kiel. No need to panic, the Germans are very good at handling the defuse of them. Actually, they found one this year at the university!
4) Student card
We already talked about it. But there are multiple reasons why you always should bring your student card with you. First of all, many buildings and classrooms are closed, and you can only access the doors with your card. As mentioned, the student card also works as a ticket for buses and the ferry. The ferry is a unique and fast way to get from school to the west side of the city. The Westufer (the west side of the city) side has many shopping opportunities and delicious restaurants.
3) Pay attention to the traffic light
Many of the traffic lights on smaller crossings are turned off in the evening. If you are driving around the city you must be very cautious. “I never knew that the traffic lights would turn off in the evening, so I thought that it was a mistake. I got nervous” Patrick said, he also brought his car with him to Germany.
In Germany, you won’t be able to do much without coins. The Germans are sticking to their cash and it can be difficult to come around without it. It is also very common that the local bakery or café doesn’t accept credit cards. “I went to a bakery in the city center and ordered a coffee and a croissant, as I wanted to pay with my credit card, the assistant refused it. It was very awkward to leave the store without my breakfast!” Luisa, who is a Danish exchange student, laughs. Credit and debit cards are mostly used in bigger stores.
1) Kieler Woche
If you haven’t heard about it, you most certainly will! Kieler Woche is the world’s largest sailing festival and at the same time also the biggest summer party in northern Germany. The whole city is turned into a street food market. There are multiple stages with live music and people are having a good time. Kieler Woche is for everyone and this summer three million people came to visit the sailing city. This is absolutely the party of the year and you do not want to miss it.
“Kieler Woche is really something I would recommend. The city is just turned into this big festive party with great food and beer! I was surprised that Kieler Woche is so big. There is really something for everyone” Daniel said.