Attracted by the cheap and often free tuition, a large number of international students are studying in Germany. This has put a significant strain on the university housing system and opened up the market to private accommodation providers. The question is, then, do you go for university or private housing when studying in Germany?
Affordability and availability
Accommodation offered by universities is typically a lot cheaper than private housing, with subsidised housing also available. The cheaper rates do come at a price though, with many residence halls across Germany having a reputation for being dull and depressing. The relatively cheap tuition has led to many international students using their extra cash to upgrade to more modern, private accommodation.
Naturally, there is also only a limited number of spaces for subsidised housing on offer, with waiting lists stretching to as long as one year. If you’re on the ball and have started looking early, great. For the rest of you, going private might be your best bet by now.
You should keep in mind the type of experience you’re looking for when choosing your accommodation. Shared apartments, known as Wohngemeinschaften, are fairly cheap and the shared living spaces are a great way to meet new Germans straight away. Keep in mind though that the reason you're likely to meet Germans is because it is not easy to get a room in a Wohngemeinschaft as an international student. It is a lot easier to get a place in a private student residence, where internationals can get a contract in a furnished apartment.
Due to the influx of international students, modern private accommodation in Germany is booming. The FIZZ student accommodation offers micro-apartments with a bed, workspace, kitchen and bathroom all to yourself. You’re not isolated either; outside your door you’re met with a multicultural community of students from all over the world.
How to find the perfect place
Your host university is the most obvious place to start. Most student unions in Germany have accommodation services which provide contact details of trusted landlords. The notice boards around your university are also a great place to look if you’ve already arrived. Or you can check out the Just Landed housing portal for Germany for more information. Good luck!