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Pre-Departure Information

Planning Health Coverage
Financial Planning
Getting in the right frame of mind and mood
Ready for departure? – Final Packing Checklist

Planning Health Coverage

Health insurance is compulsory for all Heidelberg University students.
You must take out health insurance in Germany or bring sufficient health insurance coverage from your country of residence. 
Students coming to Heidelberg for a full academic year must have unlimited health insurance coverage to qualify for a residence permit. The term "unlimited" has to be mentioned in the description of the coverage (pre-existing conditions, dental treatment, pregnancy etc. must be included). As insurances from abroad usually do not fulfill these conditions, we urge you to take out German health insurance at the beginning of your stay.

Students staying for one semester only may bring health coverage from home and still qualify for a residene permit. When deciding whether to bring health insurance coverage from home, you should carefully check the coverage and terms of payment or reimbursement stated in your contract. It will not be possible to receive a residence permit with very limited travel insurance.

Important note: Since German student health insurance coverage starts from the time of university enrollment only – and never before October 1st / April 1st respectively - we strongly recommend students to take out extra insurance coverage at home for the journey to Germany and for the period between arrival and enrollment / the start of the semester.

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Financial Planning

On average, the cost of living and studying in Heidelberg comes to about € 860 per month. Please be aware that you will have additonal expenses at the beginning of your stay:


Public transportation (with Semesterticket) per semester    ca. € 170
Studierendenwerksbeitrag    ca. € 100


The following is a breakdown of expenses that you might have on a monthly basis:


Rent (for a dorm room)  € 280 - 350
Health insurance (with state health insurance provider) ca. € 110
Mensa meals (approx. € 3.50 for a warm meal) € 100
Groceries € 70 - 120
Public fee for internet, radio and TV € 18
Telephone € 10-20



In order to receive a residence permit, you need to present to the Ausländerbehörde (local foreigner’s registration office) a statement of financial support proving that you have at least € 853 to live on for each month of your stay. This can either be a bank statement, a notarized parental letter or a scholarship certificate.





Getting in the right frame of mind and mood

Many students‘ motivation for going abroad is to learn another language, to get to know a different culture, and to see a new part of the world. Getting to know a different culture often involves experiencing many differences in customs, behaviors, values and beliefs, which, while fascinating, can also challenge the way you have seen the world. In order to minimize the effects of culture shock and to ease the adjustment process, it is important for you to prepare in advance for your time abroad by gathering information and impressions of what awaits you. One way in which this can be done is by contacting students from Heidelberg or other Baden-Württemberg universities currently studying at your home university. In this way you may be able to find a contact in Heidelberg before you arrive.

Another way to prepare for your trip is to read about international events in newspapers. German newspapers are for example: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (, Süddeutsche Zeitung ( and the weekly newspaper Die Zeit ( For current information on Germany, you can also visit:

It is important for you not only to be familiar with the culture that you will be entering but also to know your own culture. Knowledge of the customs and beliefs as well as the history and politics of your country can help prepare you to understand your reactions to the differences you come into contact with, in addition to help you cope with possible stereotypes and questions you encounter from Germans.

Students who would like to get a better insight into the German way of life may be interested in a short stay with a host family during their period of studies in Germany. These stays are arranged by Experiment e.V. and are offered in the Christmas break (two weeks) and at Easter (two weeks). Applications have to be handed in 6 – 8 weeks before the intended stay. For further information please visit

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Ready for departure? – Final Packing Checklist

The following is a short list of items – ranging from the necessary to the useful - that we recommend you to bring:

  • Passport (with visa for those students who need a visa before arriving, see section Residence Permits)
  • Zulassungsbescheid (letter of admission) from Heidelberg University
  • Financial statement (bank statement, notarized parental letter, etc.)
  • Documentation on Health Insurance (if you may bring insurance from home)
  • Student Identification, preferably an International Student ID card
  • Prescription medicine and prescriptions (Make a note of not just the brand name but also the scientific name. This will make it easier to find an equivalent.)
  • Clothes. Students in Germany tend to dress fairly casually. Jeans or skirts are fully acceptable for every day wear. In summer, the temperature in Heidelberg is around 25°C; winter temperatures only rarely fall below freezing. You should come prepared for wet weather; rain is more common than snow and is heaviest during winter and spring.
  • Linens. You can buy pillows, duvets and sheets at your residence or in a store.
  • Sleeping bag (in case you arrive too late to purchase pillows, duvets and sheets immediately)
  • Bath towels are not provided by the residence.
  • Toiletries. You might want to bring enough of your usual toiletries for the beginning of your stay. Since Germany has a good selection of all such items, shipping or bringing large amounts of toiletries is not necessary.
  • Appliances. Germany‘s electricity runs on 220V. You may need an adaptor and converter for any appliance brought from home. For standard items students from the UK need only buy a different cable when they get to Germany.
  • Mobile phone. We recommend you to check with your phone company at home whether you can use your own mobile with a German PrePaid card. PrePaid cards do not have a minimum duration and can be topped up according to your needs.
  • Internet. A safe and very convenient way to access the internet at Heidelberg immediately after your arrival is via eduroam. We recommend that you check whether your home institution is an eduroam participating site. If so, you will be able to obtain internet access across campus at Heidelberg University with your user credentials from home. To learn more about eduroam, please see
    Map of access points in Heidelberg:
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