Get your studies off to a perfect start

An introductory course on how to start your university studies well prepared including videos, podcasts, tips and tricks from fellow students and web seminars!

Congratulations on your admission to study at the University of Stuttgart! You are probably very excited and have hundreds of questions on your mind about the next steps to take. No worries – we’ve got you covered.

This webpage will accompany you from when you are accepted as a student to when you arrive in Stuttgart ready to start your degree. We have carefully chosen the topics which you need to be aware of before you travel to Stuttgart. Of course, once you arrive in Stuttgart there will be (personal) support available to you as well. If you have any questions, you can always send us an e-mail or give us a call.  

A few words before we start: every journey is a personal one, so feel free to skip steps or come back any time you need further information. Within our three categories called "Financing your studies", "Pre-departure information" and "Arrival in Stuttgart", you will discover a number of chapters. Just click on the table of contents and it will take you right to the chapter you are looking for.

Is there anything else you want to know? Check the section with additional links in each chapter and read through other related websites by the University of Stuttgart as well as other relevant sources. 

This project is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts

Step 1: Financing your studies

(4 min read, two web seminars, one podcast and one downloadable document. Allow extra time to browse through further links.) 

In this chapter, you will receive information about financing your studies, which is surely one of the most important topics on your mind at the moment.

If you would like to dive into the topic, you can watch this recording of a web-seminar provided by the International Office at the University of Stuttgart. It is quite long and full of information – so make yourself a cup of coffee or tea, have whatever device you are taking notes on ready and find out all about how to finance your studies:

Financing your studies - web-seminar

Duration: 01:29:14 | Source: YouTube

Various departments at the University of Stuttgart offer web-seminars or workshops on how to finance your studies as well. You can stay up to date by checking the “News and events for students” section on the university's website on a regular basis or by following the IZ on social media. 

Working while studying

Please consider that the courses you have to attend during your studies are not compatible with a full-time job. So please make sure that you have multiple sources of income in order to finance your studies.

Your first few months in Stuttgart will be very exciting, please allow yourself enough time to settle in well, get to know your new surroundings, immerse into life on campus and start your studies. We highly recommend that you read through the "Working as a student" related webpage.

In order to plan accordingly, have a look at our timeline on when to find a part-time job.

Timeline to help you planning, when you want to find a part-time job

Last but not least: Many companies expect their (student) employees to have at least a basic knowledge of German. You can find all information about learning German in our section “The importance of learning German”.

Important: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many jobs which are generally considered as student jobs, e.g. working at a café might be only possible with restrictions. This may also change at any time depending on how the pandemic situation develops.

Cost of living

Another factor which will be of interest to you when calculating how much money you will need per month is the cost of living in Stuttgart. Depending on where you come from, prices may be lower, higher or roughly the same compared to what you are used to.

Cost of Living - web-seminar

Duration: 09:18 | Source: YouTube

If you would like to do some further research and find out what prices are like  in comparison to your home country, you can browse through the online shops of many stores. We have compiled the most important information for you in a document which is available to download.

Scholarships

It is highly unlikely that you will be able to finance your studies entirely by receiving a scholarship. Only 1% to 2% of all international students receive a scholarship. Again, it is important to receive money from different sources (e.g. your relatives, a part-time job, savings, student loan etc.)

Listen to episode #4 of the podcast to find answers to the five most frequently asked questions on scholarships by the staff at the International Office of the University of Stuttgart.

  • Make sure that you have enough money available for the whole duration of your study program.
  • Toolbox principle: Mix your sources of income, e.g. your relatives, part-time-jobs, savings, student loans, scholarships etc.
  • Find out if your visa allows you to work before adding a part-time job to your financing strategy. 

Step 2: Pre-departure information

(10 min read, one web seminar, one video and one downloadable document. Allow extra time to browse through further links.) 

Your flight is booked and you are about to start your adventure of studying at the University of Stuttgart. We have gathered together a few tips and tricks so that you can feel relaxed when you get on the plane to Stuttgart.

This chapter will focus on the things that you need to sort out before coming to Stuttgart. The four topics in this section will be applying for a visa, learning German, important information about German health insurance and useful information.

Visa - necessary or not?

Depending on your citizenship, you might need a visa to study in Germany. Getting a visa, if necessary, is the most important thing which you will urgently need to take care of. Take your time and read through the visa information provided by the University of Stuttgart.

Please make sure that you inform yourself about the requirements as early as possible from a German embassy or consulate in your home country. It can sometimes take up to three months to get an appointment, so planning ahead is absolutely crucial.

You have an appointment? Great! Make sure to double-check that you have all the relevant documents in good time before your meeting. By doing so, You will save yourself a lot of time!

  • Inform yourself early enough if you need a visa to study in Germany.
  • Make sure that you have all the necessary documents when going to your appointment at the German embassy or consulate.

The importance of learning German

Learning German is an important step towards making sure that your time as a student is a success, even if your study program is taught in English.

An important part of feeling comfortable in your new home is having a basic command of German. Keep in mind that not everyone speaks English! German is spoken throughout the campus, and you will need it for your everyday life, while doing your grocery shopping or going to the doctor or pharmacy, etc. Knowing the German language opens doors to the culture and people and helps you get settled.

Learning German is important, and learning it properly even more so. If you start mastering a new language, always keep in mind that there are four parts to it: reading, listening, talking and writing. If you make progress in all four fields, you will be able to use your German skills faster than expected. So make sure that you enroll in a class to make your student days a success unless you have already registered for a German course with the International Office.

Tips on how to successfully learn German:

Learning vocabulary is key to your German knowledge. Try this learning hack with flashcards. There are also some apps which use the same system.

What you will need:

  • Empty flashcards (they need to fit into the card index box)
  • A card index box with five compartments
  • 15 minutes of studying time a day

On day one, you will need to write 20 words (one word per card) on your flashcards: the German word on the front and the translation on the back. Make sure to include a German sentence in which the word is used to help understand it better. Start learning all 20 words and put them into the second compartment of your box.

On day two, you will add 10 more words and revise the other 20 as well. All the words you can remember will move a compartment further, while all the words you forgot will be put back into the very first compartment. Carry on doing this until you have added all words you need to learn. Keep on practicing until all the cards are in compartment five. 

This might sound odd, but we encourage you to watch German some TV series! With a TV series you will meet the same characters over and over again. Soon you’ll learn their character traits, even if you do not understand every word. You will know who the villain is or who’s love story is about to unfold.

If watching TV is not for you, you can also start reading German books. Many are available in simple language and with a translation included. Newspapers are for more advanced readers and are also available online. Be aware that some newspapers might require a subscription to access all their articles.

If you are already quite fluent in German, you can also try and listen to a German radio station (available online) or a German podcast.

This is a fun video talking about German TV series and movies.

We encourage you to talk as much German as you can. Maybe you have friends who are also learning German, or you have already been assigned a buddy or uni mate? Maybe there is a language café in your city or a German club with similar offers?

Curious about some ‘false friends’ in German and English? This video is perfect for you!

  • Learning German is very important, even if your study program is taught in English.
  • When learning German make sure to concentrate on all four areas: reading, listening, writing and speaking.
  • Find out what options are available for learning German after arriving in Stuttgart.

Health insurance

In order to enroll at a Germany university, it is required by law to have German health insurance. Getting health insurance will be one of the formalities you need to complete after you arrive in Stuttgart. However, we would like to provide you with some information so you can make an informed decision.

Health insurance - web-seminar

Duration: 07:25 | Source: YouTube

You will be asked to show proof of German health insurance during the enrollment process, however the health insurance will only be valid from April 1 or October 1 of each year and it will also take a couple of days to purchase it. So please make sure that you have travel health insurance for the first month (or until the semester starts). However, do not buy travel health insurance for your whole stay since you will then have two insurance policies.

There are two different health insurance options in Germany: public health insurance and private health insurance. Non-EU students under the age of 30 have to purchase mandatory student health insurance from a state health insurance provider. 

There is a fun video about health care in Germany! You can watch it if you need a short break from all the serious information in this chapter.

  • There are two health care options in Germany: public and private.
  • Student health insurance only takes effect after enrolling at university (from October 1 or April 1 at the earliest when the semester starts).
  • Travel health insurance is recommended for your first month or so in Germany.

What to bring and what to know

The formal part of this chapter is over, very well done! When it comes to packing though, many more questions might come up.

Telling your friends and family that you have arrived in Stuttgart safely is probably one of the first things you will want to do. There is a Wi-Fi connection on campus (‘eduroam’), however you can only log in once you are enrolled and this will take at least a few days.

If having Wi-Fi is very important to you, please think of other options. You might be able to buy a data bundle for Germany from a provider in your home country. Of course, you can also buy a local sim card after your arrival at the airport or in a supermarket. However, it must be formally registered so this might also take a while.

Are you moving into a dorm room by the Studierendenwerk Stuttgart or the VSSW? ? If yes, you should register for Selfnet on the day of your departure, so you will be able to access the internet for 14 days. Very important: please bring an Ethernet cable with you, as not all dorm rooms have Wi-Fi yet.

Of course, there are also several internet cafés and cafés offering free Wi-Fi to customers throughout downtown Stuttgart.

Sometimes things go wrong, no matter how well prepared you are. So think of a Plan B if you do not have any internet connection at all during your first days. 

There are already a ton of things that you will need to bring to Germany, so you might be wondering if you need some extra space for bedding. Then read on.

To make sure we're talking about the same thing, when we talk about bedding we’re referring to a pillow, a blanket, a pillow and blanket case as well as sheets – five items in total. You know yourself best, so if you need more items or fewer just make sure to bring them or buy them on arrival.

Are you moving into a dorm room managed by the Studierendenwerk Stuttgart or the VSSW? Then there will only be a mattress in your room, but no bedding at all. If you are studying in an international Master’s degree program you will be able to purchase it from the caretaker. For all other students, you can either bring bedding with you or buy it on arrival. However, most stores close at 8 pm at the very latest, so be prepared that you might have to find a solution for your first night. See the cost of living – checklist in the chapter “Everyday items and groceries” for tips on where to buy bedding.

You will need to buy a few everyday items as well as groceries after your arrival. The links provided in the cost of living checklist can give you some idea of where to buy the things you are looking for. We also have collected some low budget options.

Tip: All shops in Germany are closed on Sundays and on public holidays. If you arrive on Sunday you should either shop for the most important things directly at the airport (which can be very expensive) or treat yourself to lunch/dinner at a restaurant or café.

Cost of living - Checklist

Life at the University of Stuttgart

Duration: 05:15 | Source: YouTube

Dilara, Felicia and Omar work as student assistants at the International Office of the University of Stuttgart. They will tell you more about the seasons in Germany, the everyday items you might need like food or cash, the bottle return system, the transport system and their favorite places in Stuttgart.

Please note: The stores/malls mentioned are examples and not recommendations. Read through the cost of living checklist for further examples. 

Step 3: Arrival in Stuttgart

(8 min read, five videos and four podcast episodes. Allow extra time to browse through further links.) 

This chapter will focus on your first few days after arriving in Stuttgart, but we highly recommend that you take some time now and read through this chapter in advance. Of course, you can come back any time you want. And remember, you can always stop by the International Office at the IZ during their office hours at any time without making an appointment. They are happy to help you!

Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic the IZ will remain closed until further notice.

There will be two different parts to your orientation process. The first is your arrival in Stuttgart, with moving into your accommodation and the first few days. The second is the start of the lecture period when your long anticipated classes finally start. Exciting times!

Support programs at the International Office

Do you want a senior student to support you during your first few days or weeks? Then check out the three support programs available: the buddy program ready.study.stuttgart, the Intercultural Mentoring Program or the uni mates program. Follow the decision tree to find the right support program for you!

Decision Tree
Find the proper support program for you

Are you curious to learn more about the support programs at the International Office? Then make sure to listen to our podcast which you can find below! 

Podcasts

Listen to the episodes of the podcast for international students at the University of Stuttgart – no matter whether you are about to start your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. The podcast is recorded by the staff of the International Office and aims to give you all the information you need in order to start your studies well prepared.

The episodes are published at irregular intervals, so come back once in a while to stay updated and make sure you don’t miss an episode.

We wish you lots of fun listening! And if there is an episode that you would be interested in but you cannot find yet, let us know!

How to find your way around

Welcome to Stuttgart! You have arrived at the airport or at main station – so what do you do next? There are several ways to get to university or your accommodation.

The fastest way is to take the “S-Bahn”, which is part of the VVS system, the public transportation network in and around Stuttgart. Three lines of the “S-Bahn” stop at the“Universität” station: S1, S2 and S3. The exit of the station is directly by the campus in Vaihingen.

Exit the “Universität”station in the direction of “Universitätszentrum”. From there you can easily reach the dormitories or the International Office on foot.

By the way, the same "S-Bahn" will also take you to “Hauptbahnhof” (main station) where you can change to the "U-Bahn" or explore the city center campus, if your accommodation is closer to the city center of Stuttgart.

Tip: Download the VVS app before coming to Stuttgart. You can easily type in the stations you are travelling from and to and it will show you the fastest way.

You need to buy a ticket from a machine or online. You will need to buy a ticket for two zones (“Flughafen/Messe” to “Universität”), which will cost approx. EUR 5. You can find more information on how to buy a ticket on the VVS website. The machines do not always accept cards, so be prepared to have a small amount of cash with you in order to buy a ticket. Please note that travelling with the “S-Bahn” without a ticket will result in a penalty fee of EUR 60.

Tip: The VVS offers maps,for example for disabled people or people with a baby carriage. These maps are called “barrierefrei ”, which means accessible. The“Universität”station has two elevators at the exit to “Universitätszentrum”.

00:23

In this fast motion video, you can see the way how you can reach the International Office from the station "Universität" and the exit "Universitätszentrum". It is the building with the yellow “IZ” on the Campus Vaihingen of the University of Stuttgart.

Traveling by taxi is quite expensive but it might be more comfortable, especially if you have a lot of luggage. The price for a taxi ride to the campus Vaihingen is about EUR 30, and to the city center campus costs even more. The price depends on the pay scale of the taxi company, the time of day you are traveling and the traffic.

We recommend that you plan to arrive in Stuttgart between Monday and Friday. If you are living in a student dorm, you will not be able to move into your room at the weekend. Stores are also closed on a Sunday.

So what can you do if you have no option but to arrive at the weekend (or on a public holiday)? Most important tip is to book some temporary accommodation until the following Monday, when you can move into your dorm room.

If you are living in private accommodation such as a WG (shared apartment), make sure to discuss all the details with the owner or roommates.

Your fellow students say "hi"

No one knows better about what it’s like to arrive in Stuttgart than your fellow students. This is why this chapter is dedicated to the many voices from your fellow students. The corona pandemic may still be ongoing, but your fellow students went out of their way to provide you with their views by giving you a glimpse into their homes or their nearby surroundings. 

We thank them all for taking part!

 

Events offered at the orientation week by the International Office

Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many events which are normally offered each semester will not take place or will take place in a different form. Please always keep yourself updated via the websites run by the University of Stuttgart.

You have arrived at the University of Stuttgart and the first week is about to start. You can get helpful information on many events which are offered by the International Office and your faculty. Make sure to join as many events as you can from both, because they complement one other. This is a sure path to a successful start to your studies!

International Office

The International Office offers various events in the week before lectures start. Of course, they will also support you in the best way possible even during these challenging times. You can, for example, join an online “Guidance on formalities” session, where you will talk about the formalities that need to be done after your arrival in Stuttgart. Small group events also exist as a result of the COVID-19 guidelines, such as a grocery shopping tour. You can find up-to-date information on the events offered as part of the orientation program.

Orientation program

Furthermore, you can ask for help on various topics from the International Office as well. If you have personal, social, emotional or academic concerns, the International Office can offer skilled and confidential counseling. They know that being in another country far from your family and friends at home can be quite challenging. Everything will be treated confidentially! 

Faculty

The faculties hold introductory events in the first days as well. The introductory events will help the beginning of your studies run smoothly, so don’t miss them! Many of them will take place during the first week of lectures of your first semester. Please check the website of your field of study for the specific program. The range of topics is quite broad: From introductory events about C@MPUS, the management system of the university, how to create your class schedule and the essentials of academic work.

Please remember that you are expected to be independent and proactive in looking for events, and that there is no fixed timetable for most subjects!

Well done!

Congratulations! You have finished this introductory course and are well prepared for your studies at the University of Stuttgart. We are looking forward to welcoming you in Stuttgart and wish you all the best for your studies. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the International Office. We are happy to help!

This picture showsDezernat Internationales
 

Dezernat Internationales

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