Germany / Cologne / Leisure
Germany is one of the most popular destinations for international students. It is not only an attractive place to study; a German university degree is also highly valued by employers worldwide. Students in Germany benefit from a world-class education system.
Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the fifth largest in the world. Science and research have a long tradition in Germany and are highly valued.
Germany has been an immigration country since the 1960s – we are open-minded and tolerant. Over 80 million people live here – more than in any other country in the European Union (EU).
Germany is one of the founding states of the EU and supports the growing integration and closer union between the European states.
Germany is a safe country, also by international standards. And it can also look back on a long and famous tradition of higher education. Compared with other countries, the tuition fees at German universities are not very high, and the cost of living is at the EU average. Students also enjoy a lot of reduced prices, for example at theaters, museums, opera houses, cinemas, swimming pools and other facilities.
Germany is located in the heart of Europe. From here you can also easily explore its European neighbors.
German is one of the ten most widely spoken languages in the world and there are many ways to learn German, be it through a course or with German flatmates.
Its metropolitan vibe, diverse student scene and a cityscape abound with cultural and historical treasures make Cologne one of Europe’s prime university cities.
Cologne’s origins date back to the heyday of the Roman Empire more than 2,000 years ago. The former settlement of Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium soon flourished into a major trading hub.
Today, Cologne is Germany’s fourth largest city with a population of slightly more than one million and has evolved as a main economic and cultural center at the heart of Europe.
The city’s characteristic landmark and source of pride for every Colognian is without a doubt the magnificent Cologne Cathedral, locally known as the Kölner Dom. Towering over the quaint Old Town of Cologne at 156 meters, this masterpiece of Gothic architecture is the world’s third-highest cathedral and boasts around six million visitors a year, making it Germany’s most popular tourist attraction.
However, Cologne is by no means all about its Cathedral and has plenty more charms to offer: More than 40 world-famous museums, 120 art galleries, the Cologne Opera, a vibrant theater scene, a plethora of concerts and musicals as well as a city-wide passion for sports all testify to Cologne’s reputation as an international art and cultural metropolis. Visitors from all over the world are bound to feel at home immediately, as Cologne is a true melting pot of cultures: Close to one-fifth of its inhabitants have an international background!
Cologne’s economy is characterized by its amalgamation of different industries and trades. Home to the country’s most influential television and radio stations, Cologne is unquestionably Germany’s media capital and plays host to some of the continent’s biggest trade fairs. Quite a few of the world’s most renowned enterprises call the metropolitan region their home, in particular corporations operating in the automobile industry, biotechnology and life sciences, chemicals and pharmaceuticals as well as commerce and banking.
As a multicultural metropolis, Cologne has a lot to offer when it comes to spending your leisure time: Cultural and sporting events, myriad restaurants, a multi-faceted nightlife and lots more. In light of the manifold cultural and recreational activities in Cologne, you are presented with endless options of spending your leisure time. Renowned museums and theaters, musicals and concerts by famous artists, international art exhibitions and sporting events: Cologne caters to everybody’s needs.
Visa / Residency Permit / Living expenses / accommodation
Students from the EU countries don’t require a visa. A list of other countries that don’t require a visa please find here.
All other international students must apply for a visa at the German embassy in their home country. For this purpose, the ifs will send admitted students a letter of acceptance and admission.
All international students who do not hold an EU-citizenship and intend to stay in Germany for more than three months are required to obtain a residence permit at the City of Cologne’s immigration office upon arrival. Students must request this residence permit during the validity period of their entry visa. We recommend you do so immediately after your arrival in Cologne. The residence permit is issued as a chip card and bears the official German title ‘elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel (eAT)’. It is usually valid for one year and therefore needs to be renewed every year.
Generally, in order to obtain a residency Permit foreign students must present proof of sufficient resources to cover living expenses in the amount of € 735 monthly calculated for one year, which is equivalent to the current German student loan [BAföG] maximum rate. This can be done in several ways e.g. parental sponsorship, scholarships, or personal funds.
Living expenses in Cologne are difficult to estimate. However you should budget a minimum of € 700-800 per month. The cheaper rooms in student residence halls (approx. € 200-300) are taken up quickly.
On the open housing market rents for shared and single apartments go for around € 300-400. You should additionally budget monthly costs of 20-40 euros for electricity and around € 50 for telephone and Internet. For an estimation of the average costs of living in Cologne please see: www.th-koeln.de
The housing situation in Cologne is relatively difficult and so it’s very important to start looking for a place to live as early as possible. The ifs does not offer any accommodation finding services, but can provide you with helpful tips for your search.
Generally the Kölner Studentenwerk (KStW) is responsible for allocating places in the affordable student residence halls. However, due to the high number of applicants no places can be guaranteed.
This is why we advice you to also search for accommodation in the open housing market.
Enrollment at the Th köln / Health Insurance
Enrollment at the Technische Hochschule Köln (University of Applied Sciences)
The Technische Hochschule Köln (University of Applied Sciences) is a cooperation partner of the ifs. The enrollment at the Technische Hochschule Köln (University of Applied Sciences) may be mandatory for international students: This depends on your citizenship status and the duration of your stay in Germany.
Enrolling may be very useful since it provides students with low-cost tickets for public transportation and the opportunity to use the services of the international office, student sporting facilities etc. In any case, the enrollment is a prerequisite if you want to apply for BAföG (the Federal Student Financial Aid Program) or a scholarship of a German foundation. The current enrollment (tuition) fee at the Technische Hochschule Köln (University of Applied Sciences) is € 270.50 (state: Summer Semester 2019).
To enroll at the Technische Hochschule Köln (University of Applied Sciences), all international students must by law show proof of sufficient health insurance coverage. Foreign students can either get health insurance in Germany, or obtain a certificate from one of the German public health insurance companies attesting that their health insurance coverage from their home country meets German standards.
Useful link: www.daad.de