Monday, 25 August 2014

Scotland Independence Debate Live - Darling V Salmond

Scotland Decides - Darling V Salmond

Here you can watch this debate live

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Foreign Students Must Know This Information For Studying In Munich, Germany

by Apurvaa Subramaniam
So you have decided to study in Munich. Well done, you have chosen wisely. Munich, the capital of Bavaria, famous for the Oktoberfest, is also home to a host of universities including 2 of Germany’s elite universities Technical University of Munich(TUM) and Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU). Here are some tips on how to make the most of your student life in Munich and experience the true “Münchner Gemütlichkeit”.
Editor's note: Don't miss out to have a look at the exciting study programmes offered in Munich!

Before Arriving

Plan and prepare in advance

Once you have are accepted to a university in Munich, it is essential to start your preparations as soon as possible, ideally at least 2 or 3 months before your arrival.


Non EU citizens usually require a Residence Permit to study in Germany. Keep all the required documents ready and apply well in time. Depending on your nationality, the visa may take up to 4-6 weeks to be approved and granted. It is compulsory for foreigners to purchase health insurance for their stay in Germany. Many foreign students are also required to open blocked accounts or ‘Sperrkonto’ in a bank in Germany before they can apply for a visa. Thus, carefully read through the visa requirements for your country in the German Embassy or High Commission’s website.


Student housing run by the Studentenwerk in Munich is usually the cheapest and most sought after option. However, it is generally very hard to get because the demand is much greater than the supply. Flat shares or WGs are a good alternative. It may take you a long time to find a suitable residence, so it’s better to start looking early. Websites such as are a good place to begin your search from.


Many organizations such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offer different kinds of scholarships. If you are going only for a few semesters on a Study Abroad program, your university may also offer scholarships.

Connect with People

Talking to people who are already in Munich or those who are coming to study like you is always beneficial. You could join or set up a Facebook group for all the students coming to your university for example. Reading blogs and forums is also worthwhile. Toytown Germany is a great resource for foreigners in living in Germany.
Many universities in Munich have a ‘buddy system’ i.e. you are allocated a buddy who is usually a student currently studying in the university. You can ask your buddy various questions about the university, life in Munich, and so on. Your buddy will often become a good friend as well. So do ask your university to allocate you a buddy.
For any course related queries it is best to contact your professors in advance. They are generally very helpful.

Have a Plan

Set goals, think about the things you want to achieve, activities you want to do and places you want to visit. You will be surprised at how quickly the time passes after your arrival, especially if you are staying for only a few semesters!

After Arrival

Make the most of your time

The first few days may be a bit tough with everything being new, but hang on because things will definitely get better!

Attend the University’s Orientation Programs

Most universities have at least 2 weeks of orientation for new students. These programs include providing administrative help such as getting your student ID, library pass, transport pass, registration in the KVR for foreigners, as well as campus tours and parties. Thus, not only are these programs useful but also a great way of meeting new people and making friends.

Manage your time wisely

The European university system is usually more flexible compared to the Asian system (from my choose your exam dates, enroll in courses in one semester but take the exams in the next semester and so on. While this gives students a lot of freedom, it also means a lot more responsibility. Hence, make sure you maintain a good balance between work and play.

Internships and Part-Time Work

A number of career fairs are held every semester in the main universities of Munich. It is fairly easy to find internships here, even for foreign students as fluency in German is usually not a must.
Lots of part-time work opportunities are also available in the university such as assisting professors, working at the library, campus bar and so on. This is a great way to earn some extra money.

Get Involved

For a richer experience, participate in various activities. There are a lot of different university clubs to choose from such as dance, debating, music, computer clubs and so on. The Olympiapark in Munich offers a lot of sports facilities. You can join a sports team as well.
The DAAD organizes interesting events such as the Tandem Reporters program. A host family program is offered during Christmas through which you can spend a few days in a German family’s home and thus experience typical German Christmas traditions.
Since most people in Munich speak English, it is not essential to know German. However learning a bit of German is certainly beneficial and will be very helpful if you travel to small towns and villages outside Munich. The locals also appreciate foreigners who try to integrate and learn their language and will therefore be friendlier. Most universities offer German as a foreign language.

Travel and Make Use of Student Discounts

Munich as well as a lot of other places in Europe offer generous student discounts on transport, entrance tickets to attractions and performances and accommodation. So carry your Student Card everywhere and take full advantage of this.
Munich is also ideally located for travel to Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland to name a few. Ryanair operates a number of cheap flights from Munich. Deutsche Bahn also offers good prices if you book a few weeks in advance. Deals such as the Bayern Bohemian ticket are also worth checking out. Mitfahrgelegenheit is a cheap way of traveling to relatively nearby places by road.

Stay in touch after you leave

Join the Alumni Network

Sign up for your university’s alumni newsletter. This may be very useful in the future as it will give you access to a large network of people, job opportunities, seminars and other developments.

Preserve your Memories

Studying abroad will be one of the most memorable experiences of your lifetime. Thus, creating a blog or a scrapbook or writing articles about it will help you relive all the wonderful moments again and also serve as a guide to other students.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Important Facts About Student Jobs In Germany - Visa Limitations

1. Job search

Which important factors play a role in getting a suitable part time job as an international students?You should check regional job portals / search engines and newspapers frequently because that's where you will find most jobs. It's also a good idea to pay the company you would like to work for a visit and introduce yourself personally. That makes a BIG difference, because they get to know you and see who you are.
Is German a must have for a part time job?Well, that depends on the job. If you want to work in an international company, it might not be necessary to speak German. But as soon as you are dealing with customers, German is a must. Also German language skills will help you a lot with getting integrated in German society and to feel comfortable.
JobsWill there be anybody to help me with finding the right job?Yes, at every university there's the international office's help desk which is there to help you - also with finding a job and giving you useful information. Many universities also offer their own job portals for students and sometimes even career services. Also, please check (follow the button "JOBBOERSE") or (search here for your city to find information abut the local job market). Additionally the Studentenwerk (student union) your university town is a good source of information.
Is it true that the programming jobs are the most available jobs for students?Yes, due to the growth in the IT sector, chances are good that you will find a student job in this area all across Germany.
Since the economy has slowed down, is it more difficult to find a job as a foreign student?In Germany the financial crisis does not have such a big impact on the job market as it did in 2009. So you are lucky!
Where can I find internships online? is a good source for finding internships, as well as There are also many professional associations in Germany (so called  “Berufsverbaende”). They are a very good sources for qualified internships, too. You also find offers on the website of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit.

2. Money

Is the income from a part time job enough for a student to live and pay bills in Germany?No, that's not enough. In Germany, the costs of living are relatively high. Of course, this depends on individual rent costs and life style. In cities like Munich or Cologne for example you will need about 1 000 Euros while the living expenses are much lower in e.g. Leipzig or Dresden. All in all, you should calculate average monthly living expenses of about 670 Euro.
How much do students earn per hour?In the Cologne / Bonn region most students get 8 to 9.50 Euro per hour but in other cities this might vary from 6 to 10 Euros.
What is the minimum wage for non-EU students?It does not depend on your nationality. There is no minimum wage in Germany for students.
Do foreign students have to pay taxes on their earnings in part-time jobs?If your monthly income exceeds 400 Euro you have to pay taxes and social security contributions such as contributions to the German medical insurance. You also have to contribute to a pension program that is recognized in other EU-countries.
If I get a job and tax card, how much tax must I pay?You have to pay between 14 and 42 per cent income tax and between eight and nine per cent church tax respectively plus 5.5 per cent solidarity tax. It all depends on the total amount of your income. For example: A student assistant earning about 378 euros gross gets 295 euros net (provided that he/she is not married and has no children).
I have been doing a student job in a German research institute and have paid monthly taxes and social contribution. Now, for next few months, I do not have a student job. Can I benefit from my unemployment insurance via “Bundesagentur für Arbeit” (federal employment agency)?You can only benefit from the unemployment insurance if you have paid your unemployment insurance at least for 12 months during the past two years. Usually, a student does not achieve this status with a student job.
Are internships usually paid in Germany?It depends. This is up to your employer. Wages for internships range from zero up to 800 Euro per month. Yet the majority of internships are unpaid.

3. Working

Do Non-EU students need a license for part time jobs?No, you don't need one because a working permit is already included in your visa.
How many hours I can work per month?That depends on the country you come from. For example students from Non-EU countries are allowed to work up to three months during the semester, which means 90 days (= eight hours daily) per year or 180 half days (= four hours daily) per year. There is an exception however: Jobs as a student or graduate assistant may exceed the 90 days limit. For EU students the same rules apply as for German students. You have free access to the German labour market.
But please remember: You should concentrate on your studies. And even as a student from an EU country you are only allowed to work max. 19 hours per week during lecture periods.

What are the exact restrictions for Non-EU students working as graphic design freelancers? Am I allowed to do that? Am I allowed to write a bill? Unfortunately international students are not allowed to work as freelancers. But maybe this link helps: (German only):

Are we allowed to accept any type of work? For example as a lifeguard or English teacher? In other words: Is there a limit on the type of work?You couldn't work as a lifeguard in charge because you lack professional training, meaning an apprenticeship in this particular job. Generally you can work in nearly any kind of job as an assistant though.

Can I decide when I study and when I work?Not really because there are certain regulations. First of all, your studies should be your main focus. Also your amount of semesters is limited. In general you can only exceed your study period up to three semesters while studying for a bachelor's degree (six semesters). Also, many seminars are mandatory in the sense that you must attend them. Otherwise you won't be allowed to take the final exam.

What are the most popular jobs for students?Many students work as waiters, call center agents, as trade fair assistants or in the media sector. Furthermore, many work as student assistants at university, libraries or in tourism, for example as city guide sales assistant. It all depends on your skills.
Will my DAAD scholarship be reduced if I have a part time job and salary?It depends on the job you are planning to do. In any case you need to inform the DAAD and ask for permission. Depending on how much you earn in addition to your monthly scholarship, the rate might be reduced. You can also check this link for further information: universities ask for a certain amount of money to make sure you can pay your own bills. Can the money you get from a part time job be considered as your personal fund to afford university and personal payments?No, normally you can not earn so much money with a part time job.

Where can I find information about taxes in English?Please find more information here:

What kind of international health insurance do I need in Germany?Your health insurance from your home country is valid in Germany only up to three months. That's why you should search for a German health insurance company and get a new insurance that covers all requirements in Germany. In terms of social security, you are safe. You don't need any additional insurance.

Am I allowed to do an internship for a period of more than six to eight months in a company fully fledged as a student? Does it need to be an unpaid internship if it exceeds 90 full days or 180 half days? If this internship is mandatory for your studies (so called “Pflichtpraktika”) it is ok. If its voluntary - even if it is unpaid - then the 90 full days / 180 half days rule applies. If you exceed this limit, you need the approval of the foreign registration office (“Ausländerbehörde”). That applies only for non-EU students!

I am doing a language course now which is from nine to twelve pm. Therefore, I have much free time in the afternoon. Can I work for more than 19 hours per week or should I have any permission letter for that from an office?No, you are not allowed to work more. In general, you are only allowed to work with the approval of the foreigners authority and, in this special case, the federal employment agency. Furthermore, you can only work in the semester vacation. Anyhow, you should better concentrate on learning German which is not that easy at all ;-) Unfortunately.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Working And Studying On A Student Visa In Germany - Hourly Rate For Students?

A glance in your purse or wallet and it's easy to decide: You need some cash and so a part-time job. Perhaps you'd like to gain some experience in the German job market? Or make new contacts and put yourself to the test? There are plenty of reasons why students go to work while also studying. Just like the paths to a dream job.

Kellnern ist sehr beliebt, Bild: DAAD

Waiting, cleaning, babysitting You can best top-up your budget by taking a job at a university department, in one of the libraries or at another uni institution. Waiting is THE classic student job in cafés, pubs or bars. Other students look after guests at exhibitions and trade fairs, or work as delivery drivers and cycle couriers, go cleaning, work in a copy shop, or as a babysitter and so on.
You should also check the noticeboards (Schwarzesbrett) at uni, in the libraries, supermarkets and so on. Many unis also have a job agency service for students. Contact student services or the local job centre (Agentur für Arbeit).

Five to ten euros per hour

How much you earn on the side depends greatly on your knowledge and skills, the region and the business you would like to work in. The following generally applies: You can earn more in expensive cities like Munich, Hamburg or Cologne, but you also have to pay more for your board and lodging. Office jobs, waiting or promotional jobs are popular, as are student assistant (HiWi) jobs at a uni department, where students support their prof.
While you can earn around six euros an hour as a cashier in a supermarket or fast-food chain, working in an office or as a promoter could well bring you up to ten euros an hour.
Please Note: Regardless of what kind of job you decide for, it's almost impossible to completely finance yourself with secondary jobs whilst studying at the same time.

How much am I allowed to work?

There are labour laws that precisely stipulate how many hours students are allowed to work. The regulations vary according to where the students come from:
  1. Are you a citizen of one of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, or United Kingdom (Group 1)? You may work as much as you’d like without any additional permit. However, like German students, you should not work more than 20 hours a week during the semester. If you do, you will have to pay into social security.
  2. Are you a citizen of Bulgaria or Romania (Group 2)? The regulations for Group 3 also apply to you until 2014. Then you will become members of Group 1.
  3. Are you a citizen from a country not listed above (Group 3)? You are allowed to work 120 full days or 240 half days in a year. Those who wish to work longer require a work permit from the Federal Employment Agency and the Aliens’ Registration Office.

Leaflet: Gainful employment

The DAAD provides a summary of the legal conditions of working in Germany. Click here to download this informative leaflet.
Please note: The labour laws pertaining to international students are very restrictive, and if you break them, you risk being expelled from the country.

Compulsory internships do not count as work

Perhaps you want to do an internship during the semester break and wonder whether this counts as work? Internships are regarded as regular employment. This applies even when the internship is unpaid. Every day of your internship is subtracted from your 120-day employment credit. It's not work, if it involves a so-called compulsory internship as specified in your study regulations.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Germany - The Best Country For Foreign Students

Is Germany better at teaching university courses in English than universities in English-speaking countries?
Germany has been named as the most supportive country for overseas students, in an international league table.
Among the attractions for international students is the increasing availability in Germany of courses taught entirely in English, so much so that students can complete degrees without ever having to speak German.
In the international zones of these classes, students from Germany, the United States and China participate in seminars conducted by German professors speaking in English.
View from abroad
David Ravensbergen, a Canadian at the Freie Universitat Berlin, says these multiple layers of internationalism can puzzle other students.
"They say: 'Let's get this straight. You're an English speaker from Canada, and you've come to Germany to study in English. And to study about North America. What's gotten into your head?'"
But Herbert Grieshop, director of the university's Centre for International Co-operation, says that languages should not be a barrier to such globalisation and that international English might be more useful than some regional varieties.
David RavensbergenDavid Ravensbergen says the open access to German universities is a "well-kept secret"
"I wonder whether a Chinese student can understand us better than someone with a Yorkshire accent or some strange American accent," he says in flawless English.
The survey from the British Council which has placed Germany in first place is called the Global Gauge.
It comes ahead of a major British Council conference in Hong Kong examining university globalisation, called Going Global, which begins on Thursday.
The league table ranks university systems on measures such as openness, degree quality, how widely degrees are recognised, support for overseas students and how much students were encouraged to spend time abroad.
International policy
The UK was ranked in third place, with China coming fourth, ahead of the United States in sixth place, in a table showing 11 of the biggest players in the overseas student market.
The strongest overall performance was from Germany, which has promoted a deliberate policy of internationalisation.
There are more students from Germany studying abroad than any other European country and it wants half of its students to spend at least a term abroad, giving Germany one of the world's most mobile student populations.
The global market in overseas students has become a highly-lucrative business. The British Council estimates that it is worth £8bn a year to the UK economy.
But one of the attractions of Germany is that overseas students do not pay any more in tuition fees than home students.
Universities in many parts of Germany do not charge any tuition fees, which means in those places overseas students do not pay any fees at all.
No tuition fees
Freie Universitat Berlin, a top-ranking research university, has been part of this internationalisation project. It anticipates that a third of its students could be from overseas in the future.
"It's a well kept secret, that students are able to come here and there are very few barriers," says David Ravensbergen.
He is taking part in a seminar at the university's John F Kennedy Institute. It's conducted entirely in English - with language skills at a level where it is hard to distinguish between those who have English as a first and second language.
Julia German students are encouraged to go abroad: Julia Sunaric has studied in Spain, the UK and China
He is also impressed by the way overseas students in Germany do not pay higher fees. In other countries, he says it can be a case of "internationalism for those who can afford it".
"One of the strongest motivators is finance. To go to university in Canada means taking on debt. It's essentially free to do it in Germany. It's incredibly appealing not to have to mortgage your future."
Sophie Perl, a student from the United States, also echoes the appeal of being able to study abroad, while paying less than at home.
"I think the biggest factor is financial. In the US a graduate programme would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, in Germany it doesn't cost anything. And it doesn't cost more for foreign students than it does for German students."
Dr Christian Lammert, who is leading the seminar, delivers what he says is now a "completely international" type of course. Even the noticeboards in the corridor have information in English.


  • 1. Germany
  • 2. Australia
  • 3. UK
  • 4. China
  • 5. Malaysia
  • 6. US
  • 7. Japan
  • 8. Russia
  • 9. Nigeria
  • 10. Brazil
  • 11. India
Source: British Council
Outside the window it's a cold afternoon in a leafy suburb of Berlin. The nearby tube station has a folksy thatched roof and there's a wurst seller nearby.
But inside the classroom it could be anywhere in the academic world, with English as the lingua franca and a multicultural group appropriately enough discussing multiculturalism.
The idea of learning in another language, in your own country, does not seem to be a problem for German students. "It's very common to learn in a language other than your mother tongue, so it's not anything special or weird," says Lena Verbeek.
There is a generational divide though. "For my parents it was something very new. Learning in an additional language was something they never dreamt of doing, as they studied only in Germany. It's becoming more and more international."
Studying abroad
There is also an assumption that German students will spend time at universities in other countries. Julia Sunaric, studying managing and marketing, has studied at universities in the UK, China and Spain.
Sophie PerlThe lack of tuition fees, even for overseas students, is a big factor, says Sophie Perl
"I don't think of it as that special, because other people have similar CVs. In Germany it's really common to study abroad."
She also says that German students are drawn to universities which teach in English, seeing it as useful for jobs in globalised businesses.
"When a university has a lot of courses taught in English, it's a kind of a prestige thing. If students have the ability and motivation to speak English, it's a good thing. People come here for the international image."
But what's in it for the university? There is no financial incentive - and overseas students need extra support.
"It's been deliberate policy. We wanted to internationalise. We thought that it helps our students, our research," says Herbert Grieshop, managing director of the university's Centre for International Co-operation.
Outward looking
The idea of internationalism permeates the university. It was set up in 1948 as a university for the western zone of the divided city and has always promoted the idea of links with the rest of the world. The university's showcase library was designed by Sir Norman Foster.
Herbert GrieshopHerbert Grieshop says international English might be easier to understand than a Yorkshire accent
Mr Grieshop is speaking in a classic 1950s building, full of light and post-war optimism, and the open-arms policy towards overseas students owes much to a cultural faith in internationalism.
"It's good will, being a good neighbour. It's basic to our culture and our economy. We are an outward looking country."
"We think that global problems need global co-operation for research. And for our students it brings the sensibilities and the competencies they need in a globalised world market."
The university has not opened overseas campuses, but instead it develops partnerships through a network of overseas offices in countries including China, the US, Russia and India.
Pat Killingley, the British Council's director of higher education, says that an increase in international partnerships between universities has become a global trend. These partnerships can then become pathways, establishing a route for exchanges between students and staff.
For the UK's universities, she says overseas students are becoming particularly important for postgraduate courses.
"It's a hugely important trend, bringing students to the UK and supporting the research base. It's internationalising the whole system, she says.
It's a picture in which globalisation will "intensify" she says, expecting both more competition and collaboration between university systems.

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