Students at the International Office

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. 

Step one: financing your studies

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, one video 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.

Rami’s journey

We would like to introduce Rami to you. He is a fictional international student who is about to start his studies at the University of Stuttgart. You can follow him on his journey to finance his studies:

Duration: 05:46 | Source: YouTube

Please note: This is only a fictional example that should give you an idea what to consider when planning your study financing. Please note that everyone’s situation is different and you might need more funding than is mentioned in the film.

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 International Office 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.

The timeline suggests how the process of finding a part-time job could look like.  In the first semester, you should talk with other students about a realistic workload on top of your studies. Afterwards you can start looking for jobs. This usually takes at least one more semester. It is helpful to have some knowledge of the German language. If you have any further questions, you can of course call us: 0711 658 658 66.
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. It contains many popular shops in and around Stuttgart, where you can buy all the things you need. Please note that these are just suggestions and you can search on the internet as well for other shops if you are missing anything!

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 two: pre-departure information

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 three: Arrival in Stuttgart

Step 3: Arrival in Stuttgart

(9 min read, eight 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!

The decision tree is supposed to help you to find a support program for you. They differ in the areas of support. You can decide on your own, which program fits your needs best. If you need support to decide for a program, you can of course call us: 0711 685 685 66.
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.

Video transcription

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!

 

Orientation week

Offered events: welcome guide, guidance on formalities, information on living and studying, excursions and leisure activities
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!

Who is who

Let us recap this course with this video. It gives you an overview over the contact persons at the University of Stuttgart already mentioned. Or do you have a question and you are (still) not sure whom to contact? If yes, then this video will guide you along the way.

Duration: 09:57 | Source: YouTube

Okay, you are ready to go and ask your questions? Then check the following homepages for the contact details. All offices are listed in the same order as in the video:

  1. International Office at the IZ
  2. Admissions Office
  3. Examinations Office
  4. Student Counselling Center (ZSB)
  5. Studying with a disability or chronic illness
  6. Service Uni & Family
  7. Academic Counselling
  8. Stuvus – Studierendenvertretung Universität Stuttgart
When you write to university staff follow these simple guidelines:
  • Avoid asking for information that can be easily found on the homepage.
  • Use an informative subject line, e.g. "Information regarding X"
  • Use a formal greeting and closing, e.g. "Dear Dr. Müller", "Best regards, YOUR FULL NAME"
  • Write politely, brief and to-the-point. Try to mention all relevant facts.
  • Re-read your mail before sending it. Correct any typos or mistakes in grammar and spelling.

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!

Add-on: Late arrvial and stress management

Add-on

(5 min read and two videos. Allow extra time to browse through further links.)

As the name already promises, this chapter is an add-on and can be regarded as a troubleshooter. We will take a closer look on two topics: The late arrival in case you are going to miss the start of the semester and also stress management. Please feel free to come back to the latter topic during any phase of your studies and whenever you feel that you need it.

I) Late arrival: What to do when you miss the start of the semester

The start of your studies is one of the most important parts of your studies and now you are going to miss it? That’s a pity, but please do not worry – you can still catch up! However, you might need to put in some extra efforts to receive all the information that you need.

Read through the section “Step 3: Arrival in Stuttgart” and check online which events will be recorded and which information might be already available on a website. 

Please note: During the COVID-19 pandemic almost all events take place online, so make sure to follow them even if you are still in your home country and travelling to Stuttgart seems far away. You will thank yourself later for planning ahead.

We have collected the most important questions and will provide answers as well, so read through our Q&A in order to know what to do. Any question missing? Let us know!

A: Please make sure to contact the study program manager or course director in your study program. He/she can guide you concerning introductory events and classes in your study program. Also, feel free to get in touch with the staff of the International Office. They can give you some general information on living in Stuttgart, orientation events and social activities for international students.

A: Check online if recordings are available and/or if the information you missed is also on the homepage of the study program. If you already know some fellow students from your study program, ask them what you have missed and if you can borrow their notes. The International Office offers events such as a “Guidance on formalities” also several weeks after the semester start!

A: As already mentioned in this course, in German academics it is expected that you organize yourself. If you miss your introductory seminars, the organizers (e.g. the professors) will not send you an e-mail with the things you have missed. He/she is pretty busy and cannot update every student that missed a class. So, what you can do is ask your fellow students which information you need. If you haven’t met anyone yet, you can also contact the course groups (Fachgruppen in German). If you have informed yourself and read the information given to you, then you may send an e-mail to the professor and ask about the parts that are still not clear.

A: Please do not arrive to Stuttgart without knowing where to stay for the first few days. We highly recommend that you book a hostel or hotel room in this case. However, as the housing situation in Stuttgart is quite tense, it is quite common that students live in an apartment for interim rent. Read the information available.

A: First of all: Take a deep breath and read the chapter II that you can find below.

II) Do you feel stressed and everything is too much? Please read on!

You are about to embark on a great adventure, perhaps the greatest for you personally yet. So, feeling stressed is normal to a certain degree. You know yourself best and you know when the stress is about to exceed the level of “normal” – whatever this means to you. Please do not hesitate too long to ask for support, the earlier you know that it is too much for you, the better you can get support.

If you need some input on what stress is and some relaxation exercises, you can watch this recording of our series “Less stress – more success”. First, you will get some information on what stress is and what it does to your body. In the second video, you will get some valuable exercises to deal with stress

Video: Less stress – more success: basics

Duration: 18:22 | © Dr.-Ing. Eva Fenrich | Source: YouTube

In this video you will learn about the effect stress has on your body and why we even get stressed.

Video: Less stress – more success: exercises

Duration: 15:22 | © Dr.-Ing. Eva Fenrich | Source: YouTube

This video introduces you to several different exercises, which you can do if you feel stressed. You can try all of them and see which exercises feels right. However, please also watch the video on the basics, so that you have an overview of what causes stress.

These are the guided exercises:

  • 0:40 min: Orienting
  • 02:12 min: Regulating your breathing
  • 04:35 min: Centering
  • 06:50 min: mini meditation (body & awareness based)

Of course, this series can only help so much. If you feel overwhelmed, then please do not hesitate to contact the dedicated staff of the International Office. They can help you with issues with cultural differences and homesickness, financial distress, social isolation and much more. They are happy to support you. Anything you tell them will be treated confidentially. Together you can always find a solution!

If you are worried that you might not meet any new people or if you feel lonely, there are several programs which you can join.

First, check if you can (still) apply for one of our support programs. The buddy program ready.study.stuttgart offers events throughout the semester which are open to all students studying at the University of Stuttgart as well as all students living in a dorm by the Studierendenwerk Stuttgart. You can also follow the International Office on social media as new events will be posted there as well.

There are also so called Fachgruppen (course groups) for many study programs. They are organized by students from the study program, they have a good network and also offer events to meet other students. Additionally, there are also organized university groups (Hochschulgruppen in German) for different interests. You can check online to see which groups have registered and to find their contact details. 

In general, it might be a good idea to look for ways to continue your hobbies or find new leisure time activities in Stuttgart. This way, you can do what you are passionate about and connect with people who are interested in the same topics as you.

You could stay active with sports activities offered by the University Sports Stuttgart (Hochschulsport), look into volunteering opportunities in Stuttgart or get involved with the student community at extracurricular activities such as university’s orchestra, choir or theater group.

In addition, there are leisure time activities specifically targeted at international students. Some examples include the political workshops offered by STUBE or World University Service (WUS), excursions for international students with the student group AEGEE-Stuttgart or the international student group MERAKI which organizes cultural events at the University of Stuttgart.

Also, please also feel free to ask fellow students or the course director / study program manager in your study program about clubs or volunteering opportunities specifically in your field.

This picture showsDezernat Internationales
 

Dezernat Internationales

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