Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Merry Christmas!

All the glitters and glimmer around you definitely brings the Carol mood and irresistible Holidays. Apart from decorating windows and lighting up star at Christmas tree, there are other ways too in which Christmas is celebrated in Germany. So here is sneak peak at how Christmas is celebrated in Germany.



Christmas markets: With all big and small markets which stay for a month, they light the town to their fullest along with with merry songs and festive mood. Go visit one at your nearest!

Chocolate calendars: Common sight at super markets and often gifted to friends and colleagues. They sound like a must! 

Stollen: This bread cake will be commonly available now. It is often baked, rolled in butter and sugar and kept for two or three weeks.


4 candle tradition: The four Sundays before the Christmas are lighted with candle. On first Sunday with 1 candle, second Sunday towards Christmas with 2nd candle and so on… This is called the advent period.


Merry Christmas!

Image sources (according to order of images used): http://www.thetourexpert.eu/world-christmas-markets/, 
http://www.chefkoch.de/magazin/artikel/437,0/Chefkoch/Stollen-Der-beliebteste-Kuchen-zur-Weihnachtszeit.html, http://www.eurotravelogue.com/2012/11/Germany-Christmas-Market-Tour.html

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Top 5 things famous about Germany

Cars
Mercedes, Lamborghini, BMW, Rolls Royce, Mini cooper, Audi, Volkswagen, Volvo... and the list can be still extensive. When it comes to cars, the Germans have mastered not just from tip to toe but also from inside out. German automobile industry contributes largely to its economy and holds a strong market worldwide. With the local transport as Audi and Mercedes, the country is home to several numerous world renowned car brands. They say if it is a car, it has to be German!


Bread
Germans are very fond of Breads, and thus one may find at least 10 types of breads in a bakery or supermarket here. The breads here are made from different types of grains, cereals and flower seeds and are like their staple diet.


Politeness and Patience
Many people say that Germans are very polite, and I am also of the same opinion. One often finds politeness even from a stranger, who is German. If you are in train and the train is jam packed (which is not a common sight here), you may still find people asking you if you were standing fine :) Hello and bye to everyone (even if you do not know them) at work place, good evening to the bus driver, thank you and sorry couple of times each day and so on... These experiences make one experience the warmth and politeness of Germans.
When it comes to Patience, you could be in a restaurant and waiting almost 10 minutes to get the menu or for getting your bill, but that is normal. Germans have lot of patience. People are not in absolute hurry to get inside the train or to drive their way zooming off the city roads. To let someone with really less stuff to bill go ahead at billing counter at supermarket is normal. If you are in Germany, asking after 10 minutes of ordering ‘How long will it take for my order?!’ restaurant is not normal.

Football
It is very known fact that Germans have a strong national football team, recently portrayed by their winning of FIFA 2014. Football fever, especially World Cup is celebrated in a manner no less than national festival. Children are often found getting trained in football and their elders too are never tired to play it :) I think it is like the Cricket fever in India. Apart from Football too, Germans are often active in Sports like handball, fencing, basketball, etc. Swimming, jogging and cycling are often carried out on regular basis. 


Punctuality
Be it trains, bus, office or party, Germans are very particular about time. ‘A minute lost is a penny lost’ is literally followed. The time schedules are followed up to the mark and you cannot be late if you are in Germany.

Although there are other things too which are famous about Germany, I will keep that for the coming posts and keep this one short ;) 


Image source: https://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/life/lifestyle-cuisine/rich-in-variety, http://wonderfulengineering.com/best-bmw-wallpapers-for-desktop-tablets-in-hd-for-download/, http://www.lagunaunited.org/faq/about/

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Happy Diwali ! It's festive time...

It has been long since I have been studying, working and exploring in Germany. I wish to dedicate this post to my nostalgia, pouring out during the festive days of Diwali!

Pre-Diwali festivities were mostly cherished with shopping for Diwali dresses and decorating our house. The glowing lanterns not just at my house but also at every window in the vicinity brought a smile and assurance that cheerful holidays are on the eve. Searching hours for an elegant and eye-catchy Rangoli design and then getting right logistics through bargains at local street shops was an inevitable part. The smell of brown sand and night long Rangoli making, sometime with friends and sometimes with family, are memories forever. I also remember how everyone were suppose to wake up early morning and help mom cook sweets and then we all got dressed up in newly bought clothes. On the day of Diwali the house was lit with numerous Diyas (similar to candle) at windows and doors. The Rangoli on that day is special and large, to welcome Bhagwan (God) and the happiness together. The evening family Aarti (prayers) and then the firecrackers are still a vivid memory. The next day, was visiting and wishing day, cause its New Year. We visited all our relatives and friends to wish them prosperous New Year and share some joyful moments together. Eating sweets and snacks at the visitors is a must and one if the rare things that over-satisfied my sweet tooth. 
These are not just memories but one of the reasons of being the way I am. There are millions of others who have been molded differently due to these traditions. There are not just some emotional attachments, but the strings of life which are so strongly tied that there is literally nothing that can break them. 
I have relished and been part of the joyous tradition of Diwali since several years, but it is now that I profoundly understand the main motive of these festivals and the values behind them. I miss my Gharwali Diwali. The recent advertisement of Pepsi has been successful to positively lure me in pouring out my feelings, and I am sure it will motivate many this year to spend a Gharwali Diwali. Check out the video at this link or watch it here (below).

Happy Diwali and A prosperous New Year to everyone!


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Work culture in Germany

Are you planning to work in Germany? Or are you interested in having a glimpse of the work culture in Germany? Then, keep reading…

Kindly note that this post provides information which is based on my personal point of view, developed through my personal experiences of working in Germany and learned through the experiences of my friends in Germany.

The work environment in Germany is employee friendly and one often finds supportive and friendly colleagues at work. Politeness and clarity of thoughts are often portrayed and occasional parties are cherries on top.

However, one may find peculiarities in German working environment. It is very essential to adapt to the German working culture and blend in to progress. It goes without saying that learning the language is essential to clearly communicate and socialize. Apart from this, the other important notes are as follows:

1.  Punctuality is obligatory
I may not be the first person telling you that Germans are very particular when it comes to punctuality. However let me stress here, that the resolution of their particularity in punctuality could be as high as 2 minutes. Although, your boss may not have pointed it out, but he will definitely notice if you are 5 minutes late in a meeting. Thus, it is very important to be on time for your interview, meetings, appointments, etc. If you fail to be on time, then you must back it up with a good excuse.

2.  Formal and informal conversations
One must be careful to use ‘Sie’ (Formal ‘You’) while having a first time conversation with someone at work. And then one might ask for the permission to use ‘Du’ (Informal ‘You’). Normally after knowing each other, one often addresses his/her colleagues as ‘Du’, even at higher hierarchies.

3.  Breaks and chats
    It is not often that one discusses his or her personal issues at work. Also, breaks apart from the lunch break are not that often. Coffee breaks after lunch however are common.

4.  Be clear
    One is required to be clear in expressing his/her thoughts without indirect hints and descriptions. This implies for the tasks at hand and also for the otherwise routine at office. However, one must not forget that adaptability is the key, and one must be open to accepting tasks which may not be of interest. This not only provides a wider exposure but also helps you to develop multiple skills outside your comfort zone. One must also be careful about the rights and duties as an intern. One may find flat hierarchy while working, where approaching even the senior most people is easy, however it comes with a responsibility of being clear about your lines. There are several decisions which must be taken after consultation with your immediate reporting personnel. Thus, one must be aware of the office culture and hierarchy to follow.

Image source: Microsoft Clipart

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Amazon Prime

The 15th most valued company in world, Amazon, offers students studying in Germany with several perks! One such benefit is a year of free Prime Membership. Amazon’s Prime membership has several advantages, including the most popular one day delivery. It also provides streaming of TV serials and movies to its prime membership holders. If you are studying in Germany and still don’t have an Amazon Student account, then you can grab one here. Note that you will need your student bonafide certificate (‘Studienbescheinigung’) to prove that you study in Germany.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Gadget shopping

A bull in automobiles, Germany also has a competitive market when it comes to consumer Electronic products. With giants such as Siemens and Bosch riding on its back, it also houses research centres for several leading electronic giants. Germany also houses several big and small local brands such as Grundig, AEG, Infineon, TrekStor, etc. For a common man or consumer to this growing market, it all comes down to the quality for the price he pays.

Media Markt and Saturn are the two defacto shopping places for consumer electronics. However, online shopping at amazon.de, ebay.de, notebooksbilliger.de, etc. is also common. Occasional sales and offers in this product range often helps the consumer save a commendable amount. However, one must be very careful in reading the terms and conditions, failing which one might end up paying high amounts after the end of specified low cost period. In case, you are still learning German, then kindly visit this page and also note that the translations of terms and conditions is not always accurate and might result in misinterpretations of some statements!
For those new to shopping electronic products online in Germany, here is a list of websites which will help you to buy, compare prices and get offers for online shopping of electronics product range.

modeo.de
amazon.de
mytopdeals.de
ebay.de
cyberport.de
notebooksbilliger.de 
eteleon.de
idealo.de







Image Source: http://www.buy-sellelectronics.com/cash-4-electronics/home-electronics/

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Oktoberfest

Last Sunday brought an end to the 16 day long traditional and lively fest in Germany. The fest was enjoyed with 6.3 million visitors and 6.7 million litres of beer, but it also accompanied 720 arrests, 3,646 lost and found objects, including 900 ID cards and passports, 530 wallets, 330 cell- and Smartphones! But not many know about the roots of this 200 years old Bavarian fest centred in Munich. The tradition was held first time when Prince Ludwig married to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12, 1810. Since then the fest has been celebrated each year (except twenty four times due to epidemics and wars).
The fest is also called a “Beerfest”. There are seven enormous beer tents line, called “Wirtsbudenstraße”. This beer is brewed by Munich’s six largest breweries and also has an extract value of about 13%. A litre of beer is called “Maß” and costs about €10.

A glimpse of the ten beer tents:
  • Augustiner: Only tent still serving the beer from large wooden barrels
  • Bräurosl (Pschorrbräu tent): It is 104 years old but still a capacity of 8400 seats
  • Hackerbräu tent: Only tent with a revolving stage in the middle
  • Hofbräu tent: Most international tent as it is well known amongst tourists
  • Löwenbräu tent: Traditional meeting place for fans and players of 1860 Munich football club
  • Ochsenbraterei - Spatenbräu tent: Ox eaters
  • Winzerer Fähndl - Paulaner tent: Bavarian charm and the occasional celebrity adds to the spirit of this tent. If you are lucky you might also see players from FC Bayern Munich sometimes here!

Apart from these there are also other smaller local tents adding to the celebration and serving the crowd. If you plan to visit this fest and also enjoy stay in Munich during this fest days, then you might wanna start planning today!

Munich Oktoberfest 2015: September 19 - October 4

Image source: http://www.beer100.com/beercalories.htm

Monday, 6 October 2014

Winter Jackets

Chilling winters are all set to set in, in coming days. The temperatures have started to drop and jackets are out of the closets again. Here are a few discounts and sales on winter jackets, in case you are looking for one. 
 
  • Free shipping until 19.10.2014 by C&A (online shopping), for offer: click here 
  • Upto 50% discounts by H&M (online shopping), for offer: click here 
  • Upto 70% discount by Sportsdirect (online shopping), for offer: click here
Image source: http://www.mormonshare.com/lds-clipart/outer-clothing

Finding a job!

As we drag ourselves to the end of our studies, we are challenged with a mighty wall, called Gateway to industry! We look for a lavish entrance to this industry, with a blazer and filled in pockets and dream ourselves with a BMW in just sneak of time. As much as this might sound exaggerated to some, it is true that finding job after your master’s or bachelor’s studies is a challenge for many of us. 

It is a defacto that one must search through the vast pool of available jobs on job portals such as stepstone.de, jobmensa.com, etc (find more here). However, there are some common mistakes that one might make. Here is a list of points to consider while applying for a job! 

Send required documents only
Send only those documents which have been asked for and preferably in the same order. It is not advisable to send extra documents and in case you absolutely must send an extra document then a note must be accompanied specifying the aim for the same. Also, if you are missing a document, it is recommended to write a note with the reason for the same.

Do not give stale or contradictory information
In this time of digital era where social networking websites spread the word, one must be careful not to unknowingly spill erroneous information to your prospective job providers. If you are present digitally on social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Xing, etc., then you should provide correct and consistent details. The employers often check your background and at times might need only your digital footprint online then your actual CV document. So don’t forget to update your online information today!

Company Connect
While applying for jobs, we often have doubts such as application requirements, awaited interview results, etc., however there is not much that one does to resolve them. In case of any such doubts one must always take the effort to call the HR contact provided for the relevant questions, in the job posting. This not only helps to place your application as desired by the employer but also to add a voice to that name on CV. Apart from this, one must meet (pre-prepared)  the appropriate personnel of their desired employment provider, during Job fairs such as "Bonding" in Germany. This step, efficiently helps to improve your applications. 

Note: The post contains blog author’s personal view and the tips are provided in view of her personal experiences in Germany.

Image source: http://sofuze.com/job-hunting-in-july/, http://churchillbrook.co.uk/5-reasons-why-need-job-to-get-job/

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Choosing the right University


According to the facts, there are more than 400 universities in 175 cities across the 3.5 million km2 widespread of Germany. In general, these universities vouch for excellent education, highly qualified professors and lecturers and good infrastructure. The Universities in Germany are federally managed. Each state has a governing body which regulates the education in these universities. Majority (over 240) of the universities are government funded and thus one does not need to pay a tuition fee.
One might also opt for a private university, which generally comes at a high tuition fee price. As of today there are about 100 private universities, majority of which offer applied sciences education. According to the fact stated at daad.de, only 5% of students in Germany study in private universities. However, this number is on the rise. One must be careful that the private university has state recognized, failing which the education from such a private university may not be recognized in international market.

Following steps are useful to narrow down the list of available universities of applications!
  • Create a list of subject areas of interest for study and accordingly find out the list of universities which offer them (daad.de)
  • Check the world wide university ranking, subject wise university ranking and tuition fees
  • Contact the course coordinators for further information about the subject, exam regulations, industry relations, etc.
  • Find social groups (on facebook, etc.) of students already studying there and get reviews
More info: 
- On the right side top column you will find the profile of some of the German universities
- Check the section for admissions (http://www.allaboutstudyingermany.blogspot.de/p/about-us.html)
- Check daad.de

(This post is an extension to the section 'Finding right University' on page Admissions: http://www.allaboutstudyingermany.blogspot.de/p/about-us.html)

Source of facts in this post: daad.de
Image Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/expateducation/9433021/Foreign-universities-that-teach-in-English.html?image=5

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Buying a SIM!

The next next big thing after arriving in Germany is to get connected, aka. get a SIM! Then the questions start poruing out of one's mind...Which service provider? Postpaid or Prepaid? Is this the cheapest? etc... Here's a very short guide on buying a SIM.

Which Service provider? With several service providers available in market, the statistics suggests that O2 and Vodafone rule the market. In Aachen, one often ends up buying an O2 SIM, just because majority of their colleagues and freinds have O2 SIMs, and thus one can call them for free. Postpaid or Prepaid? It is advisable to buy a post paid card for a long term stay in a country. There are offers available while buying a SIM card. One can save on good deals and can also get a Smartphone on purchase of a SIM card! Although it sounds a little stretched, it is true (from my persanal experience!). So, one must explore all the available options before buying a SIM card. Following are the list of websites which may be helpful to do the same: mytopdeals.net, schnaeppchenfuchs.com, mydealz.de, idealo.de, cyberport.de, modeo.com.

















Image sources: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/07/21/sim-card-vulnerability-puts-one-quarter-of-all-phones-at-risk/

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Thesis your way...

Masters thesis is an integral and important part of Masters' studies. Often, the area of research of the thesis improve the chances of working in the same domain after the completion of masters. The normal duration of thesis is 6 months. One is expected to do literature reviews, read authentic journals and research papers, before planning the flow of master thesis. Thus, one should anticipate working round the clock and plenty of coffee! Generally, one has two options of pursuing their Master thesis - one in a company, second at an institute.

Master thesis in a company
The advantages of doing the thesis in a company is adding up experience, improving the chances of a job and earning. The tough part is to get one! If one is working part time in a company or doing an internship in a  company, it makes it easier by continuing in the same company for Master thesis. If this is not the case, then one must start planning at least 3 months in advance, for doing a thesis in company. The post for student jobs might be of great help: http://allaboutstudyingermany.blogspot.de/2013/11/getting-job-as-international-student.html. One also needs to find a mentor in an institute at the university who can monitor the thesis at regular intervals. Finally, thesis in a company will definitely bolster the chances of getting a job in the same company.

Master thesis in an institute
Getting master thesis at an institute is normally on the basis of first come first take basis! If one is late, one might take longer to find a topic of interest. The institute normally does not pay for the thesis. So one needs to plan the finances for next 6 months of survival (http://allaboutstudyingermany.blogspot.de/2014/01/living-costs-for-student-in-germany.html)! It is not uncommon to work part time in a company or in an institute during thesis. However, it requires sheer time management and at times 'no break' schedules!. There are also scholarships available for last 6 months of the masters (which is often Master thesis) without a job. This link might help: http://allaboutstudyingermany.blogspot.de/2014/01/studying-in-foreign-land-brings-with-it.html
Thesis at institute may infer close monitoring and constant updates, corrections and recommendations from your mentor. This helps you to stay on your track and manage to survive till your deadline! Eventually, if one plans to pursue PhD after Masters, then thesis at an institute of interest is a recommended choice.

Towards the end of thesis, one requires to write down the research work done, in a comprehensible and detailed technical language. The work must also be presented to enlighten the audience
with the original objective, the end result and the application of your thesis. The thesis requires consistency and working much more than you anticipate, to get good out it. The final grades of thesis are of vital importance especially if one plans to pursue a PhD ahead. To sum up, Master thesis is a commendable learning experience!

All the best, if one's coming your way!

Image sources: http://www.writingvalley.com/thesis/how-to-write-a-thesis-in-5-straightforward-steps/

Thursday, 29 May 2014

A trip to Paris!

Paris at night!
With short and long holidays popping out of the routine schedule these days, time to have a look at wonderful place for a trip! Paris it is! 
Technically too far from Cologne (more than 480 km!) but easily reachable in 8 hours by bus! Here’s a list of places to see in Paris, apart from the inevitable Eiffel tower J
Arc de Triomphe in the evening
Paris, as they say, is the center of culture and beauty. From perfumes to a history at every turn on road, Paris is full of exciting places. Starting with the famous Arc de Triomphe, built in 18th century to honor soldiers who died in the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. In the evening it is a sight to see! Surrounded by ambient yellow light, stands this grand structure right in the middle of two busy lanes.
next on list is the well known Louvre museum. It is certainly a must visit place for art lovers. One of the biggest museums in world, attracting more than 15000 people each day! Although it does take a while to completely see the museum housing 35,000 objects of art!
Next on itinerary could be Moulin rouge. This 18th century cabaret is believed to be the birth place of can-can dance. It is marked by a red windmill on roof and gives a sublime dance entertainment for its visitors.
Another worth while visit in Paris is Champs Elysees. It is the most talked about street when it comes to the expensive streets in world! Famous for its luxury specialty shops and clipped horse-chestnut trees, it definitely can’t be missed! There are several other places to see, such as Montmartre, Invalides, Versailles, etc. and the list is pretty long. While you can discover different cultural and political aspects in Paris, resting cafes with generously special food delights are quite welcoming and plenty in the city.
Worth mentioning here is a South Indian restaurant, called ‘Sarvana Bhavan’. Its food is famous across continents (Germany, India, US, Singapore, Bahrain, Malaysia, UK, etc.) and it is must visit restaurant especially if one likes Indian food. Although one might have to encounter short waiting periods during evenings on weekends, but personally I think the food there, it is worth waiting for
Image credits: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris,http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:L'Arc_de_Triomphe_la_nuit.JPG

Monday, 3 February 2014

Note on Study loans

BAföG (Federal Education and Training Assistance Act)

It entitles for a study loan to study in Germany. Non-Germans are entitled if they fulfil certain criteria. Both Eu and non-EU residents are entitles to receive (http://www.bafoeg-rechner.de/FAQ/paragraph/8.php). It is believed popularly that it is difficult to get this loan as a non-EU student though. Also, one must be less than 30 years to receive this loan. The loan is for those who have lived in Germany or plan to stay for longer duration in Germany. The loan repayment must begin within 5 years, after the completion of the study for which loan is received. Also, 50% of the amount is to be paid back interest free. (More info: http://www.bafoeg-rechner.de/)

Apart from this finance help for Students can be issued from specific banks, and student organisations. The information can be easily found at the International office of the University.
 

Monday, 27 January 2014

Trade Fairs in Germany

Trade fairs in Germany are instrumental for students studying courses related to Trading, Marketing and communication. It is widely known that about two thirds of the world's leading trade fairs take place in Germany. These exhibitions have a significant impetus around the globe and provide an opportunity of international exposure of niche and renowned business corporations. The facts of the Trade fairs in Germany say it all! 3 of the 5 largest exhibition centres in the world are located in Germany. To add on, 4 of the 10 highest performing trade fair organizers in the world are based here in Germany. This makes the German trade fair industry one of the leading service sectors both domestically as well as internationally. As much as it benefits the international traders, it also benefits German companies. These trade fairs are among the most important tools for business-to-business communication.
Exhibitors and visitors spend a total of around €12 billion every year on trade fairs in Germany. Overall these trade fairs boost annual economic output by €23.5 billion. There are many Trade fairs taking place almost every month in major cities. These are detailed below.

Cologne Trade fairs (Koelnmesse)
Cologne Trade fairs holds about 75 international trade fairs and 2.000 conferences with about 340.000 visitors. It claims to be Germany’s largest organizer of trade fairs on its own site. It is also the Number 1 trade fair location for more than 25 commercial sectors.
Here is the list of Cologne Trade fairs:

Duesseldorf Trade fairs (Messe Düsseldorf)
Messe Düsseldorf has organized about 50 international trade fairs, among which 24 are regarded as No. 1 events. Nearly one fifth of all the world‘s premier trade shows take place in Düsseldorf. The lines of business covered by Messe Düsseldorf are:
  • Plant, machinery and other capital goods 
  • Retail, skilled crafts and services
  • Medical systems and healthcare
  • Fashion and lifestyle
  • Leisure
Here is the list of about 50 trade fairs in Dusseldorf this year: http://www.messe-duesseldorf.com/

Nuernberg Trade fairs (NürnbergMesse)
NürnbergMesse is regarded as one of the 15 largest exhibition companies in the world and also amongst the Top Ten in Europe. It has organized about 120 national and international exhibitions and congresses and about 40 sponsored pavilions at the Nürnberg location as well as worldwide.
Here is the list of more than 50 Trade fairs in Neurnberg this year: http://www.nuernbergmesse.de/en/events/

Frankfurt Trade fairs
Messe Frankfurt organizes events for Technology & Production, Consumer Goods & Leisure, Textiles & Textile Technologies, Mobility & Infrastructure and Consumer Goods & Entertainment.

To find out the Trade fairs in Germany in January 2014, you can find reliable information here:

Image sources: http://affecttalent.wordpress.com/tag/trade-show-models/, http://www.ksb.com/ksb-en/Press/Press-Photos/trade-fairs

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Student Health Insurance


German Healthcare system is considered to have one of the world's highly qualified fleet of doctors. As a student in a German University, one benefits from the optimum health care coverage in Germany through a German health insurance policy or one from their homeland. It is mandatory to have a health insurance while one studies (or even works) in Germany. It is usually recommended to take up a health insurance policy by a German health insurance provider, because it is easier for the medical organisations to process here. The private insurance policy from one's homeland may not be enough to insure the costs of German healthcare organisations here. It may also cover only a small number of German hospital services, which may not necessarily be in the same town as the University. Monthly Insurance premiums are generally set on graduated scale according to age, costing usually about 80 euros (age below 27 years). The most well known German health Insurance providers include:

TK

AOK
http://www.aok.de/nordost/englisch/student-health-insurance-208520.php

Once covered by a health insurance provider in Germany, one receives an insurance card. Student is usually covered in terms of medication costs at pharmacies (when prescribed by doctor) dentist operating costs, regular check-ups and more. Generally, there are insurance restrictions for the following services" tooth replacement, glasses, psychotherapy and pregnancy. For some insurance companies, there are certain waiting times for some treatments. As a patient in Germany, one also has a right to choose your own doctor. It is important to get a copy of insurance coverage terms , as soon as one is insured.

Image sources: Microsoft Office word Clip Art

Choosing your subjects!

Studying in a country where the Universities provide advantages of flexibility and encouragement to study across wide stream of possibilities, often demands higher personal initiative, attention and planning. In German Universities, students leverage both, selecting the area of interest and choosing the time to study them. This is a great benefit, allowing students to plan their own schedules for the semester, explore their areas of interest to even the widest possible choices. The general University course curriculum is divided into modules where each module consists of several subjects. Some of these modules are mandatory for a student towards degree accomplishment, thus are the subjects in these modules. Rest of the modules provide students with various options to choose their subjects. Also, the subject exams can be registered as per student’s convenience. All this definitely seems to be positive, but has its call for duty! 
Choosing wisely the options and planning the semesters in advance can be very fruitful in accomplishing the degree in appropriate time. In order to plan out the study courses and semesters there are various services available at the university itself. There are University advisory services for students, introductory events and international students’ guide events where a student can talk and consult to their seniors and the course coordinators. There are various country specific organisations too helping the international students to plan out their course of study. It is highly recommended to take advantage of these events and services at the University while planning the study courses. Apart from selecting the study courses, there are several other factors to keep a note of. Such as the lectures, exams, tutorials, etc. Each course usually, has number of pre-planned lectures, each followed by a tutorial, then eventually a written or an oral exam at the end of the semester. The students are required to register for each of these events for a subject. The lectures and tutorials and usually not mandatory however are of great assistance and advantage towards learning the subject. Course, tutorial or examination changes are often announced through emails or online notice boards. Apart from these, there are several seminars, projects and lab assignments that help to achieve that extra edge in learning the subject. 
All the courses or subjects are graded on a scale of 1.0 to 5.0 (generally). The highest grading is 1.0 and 5.0 is considered as a fail, where 4.0 would be a just pass. There are individual University regulations for re-appearing an exam for a course, which are readily available on the course, institute providing the course or University website. Also, the University generally provides the flexibility to change the registered subjects.

Image sources: Microsoft Office word Clip Art

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Scholarships & funding

Studying in a foreign land, brings with it a whole new experience of meeting people from varied cultures and backgrounds, to a change in thinking, ideas and learning. But, there are strings attached! One may find studying in European countries like Germany expensive, if not for the University fees then may be for the cost of living. However, it is possible to earn while you study through several means. Through a part time job (check out: Getting job as an International student, November 2013) and/or scholarships and funding. There are various types of scholarships available to partially or fully support your study and / or stay in Germany. There are a bunch of scholarships for new comers, for country specific students, for those in the last semesters of study, and lots more. The scholarship application package should usually consist of the identity and address proof, previous study transcripts, application form and CV. Please note that these are general guidelines and individual scholarship applications have specific requirements of documents for application. Personally submitting the scholarship application could be beneficial, not in all cases though.

There are number of scholarships provided by DAAD organisation every year. It is beneficial to check this website for the available scholarships meeting your individual criteria, at below link 
Apart from this the University websites will also provide a list of available scholarships.


Here is a list of links, (apart from DAAD website already mentioned above) which will help you find such scholarships and funding:








Thursday, 2 January 2014

Living costs for student in Germany

Living in Germany as an international student could be expensive, with expenses starting from daily grocery shopping, study lamp, room heating costs, semester fees, room rent up to health insurance and more! Living as a student in Germany the average monthly expense is about 600 Euros.The expenses can be divided into three categories: Living expenses, University expenses, miscellaneous expenses.

Note: All the costs mentioned are with respect to cities like Aachen, Dresden, Duisburg, Essen, etc. The costs may rise in case of big cities like Munich, Dusseldorf, Cologne, etc. Also the costs can be varying with respect to the taste and lifestyle of an individual.

Living expenses
This includes expenses for room rent, daily grocery, heating for room, restaurant visits, and transport expenses. The total expense on average will range from 300 Euros to 500 Euros. (For more detailed list find it here: https://www.study-in.de/en/life/job-money/cost-of-living/) Although, many University provide students with travel facility up to a certain boundary at highly reduced rates (which are usually included in the semester fees). Apart from these, there could be onetime expense for furniture and kitchen cutlery, in case of unfurnished apartments. These expenses can range from 300 Euros to 700 Euros.

University expenses
This would constitute majorly of semester fees. Germany has been one of the most encouraging nations, when it comes to education. The government funding for about 11 major Universities  helps these Universities to encourage research projects as well as provide many courses at a very low cost. Thus in case of such courses the fees range from 200 Euros to 700 Euros. In case other courses the fees could range from 1000 Euros to 4000 Euros per semester. (A semester is of 6 months duration period). Apart from this, there could be other costs for industrial visits, ID cards, etc. which are low and will not generally exceed a hundred Euros.

Miscellaneous expenses
This will include costs for Health Insurance, medical expenses, occasional travel and trips, parties, etc. Health Insurance expenses usually range from 70 Euros to 90 Euros per month. Medical expenses will include occasional medicine costs in case of illness or uneasiness. This could also include special treatments, such as filling of the root canal at dentist (which is not generally covered by the Student Health Insurance). Party expenses and visits to night clubs will vary about 50 Euros, but travel and trip could be expensive especially if not planned early. There are also, student trips at low cost, with less time but with lots of new students, experiences and fun.

To conclude, if one manages to find a part time job, which is not an impossible feat (check out earlier post on this page “Getting job as an international student”), then the large amount of  the monthly expenses can be covered.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Winter Sports in Germany

Biting cold, drizzling snow, a hot cup a coffee and peek through the window-is tempting for winters! But getting outside and heating up through sports can be a pleasure of its kind. Germany has a long tradition of winter sports.  It dominates in sledding disciplines and is the only country in the world to have four bobsleigh, luge and skeleton tracks. These tracks are located in AltenbergKönigsseeOberhof, and Winterberg. Also Alpine skiing is a popular sport here as well as Eisstockschiessen or ice stock sport, is played in southern Germany.
Thus, there are a number of sports which one can easily take up at nearby sport centre to keep fit and warm, such as skiing, ice-skating, sleighing, etc. If it is still too cold for you then indoor sports are also a good option to keep yourself warm. This may include dance forms, swimming, table tennis, squash, etc.

Current popular Winter Sports events:

- New Year’s ski jumping in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 31.12.2013/01.01.2014
- Ski-Trail Tannheimer Valley - Bad Hindelang, 23. - 26.01.2014 
- FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 25./26.01. and 01./02.02.2014
- Sled racing in Bavaria, 05.01.2014 onwards
- Skadi Loppet 2014 in Bodenmais (cross country ski festival), 15. – 16.03.2014


There are also, popular winter parks, activities and tours:

- Winter wonderland in Berlin 

- IGLU-DORF 

- The ALMA Snowevent 2013