As exciting as it was to finally get the university admit from Germany, leaving behind your friends and family is never going to be easy. Of course, you must be eager to meet new people, explore the new land, and soak up the new culture. But at the same time, the reality is that you are going to be alienated from the people you love and the hometown you grew up in. Moreover, you may need to make a whole lifestyle shift when you move to Germany.
There are a few things you can do to make this transition as smooth as possible. Let’s have a look at few of the practical things that you should take care before you leave your home country.
1. Bank Accounts
Before you leave your home country for higher studies in Germany, it is important to take care of your bank accounts. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Make sure that all your bank accounts hold the required minimum balance. This is important because if you forget to maintain the minimum balance, you may end up losing a significant portion of your money on "fall below" fees. It is always better to check with your bank to ensure that you have enough funds to cover any fees or charges.
Active Bank Accounts
If you are unable to keep a bank account active, it's a good idea to withdraw all of your money and close the account. This will prevent any unnecessary fees or charges from accumulating. Additionally, if you plan to use a bank account from Germany, make sure that internet banking services are active on that account. This will allow you to access your account online and manage your finances from anywhere in the world.
If you have a salary account (zero-balance), it will be converted into a savings account (with a minimum balance) after some time since no salary is being deposited. Again, you will lose money in this case if you do not maintain the required minimum balance. It is important to check with your bank and understand their policies on minimum balances and account activation.
By taking care of your bank accounts before you leave for Germany, you can avoid unnecessary fees and charges and ensure that you have access to your finances while studying abroad.
2. SIM card
As an international student leaving your home country for higher studies in Germany, it is important to ensure that you have a working SIM card with you. Here are some things to keep in mind:
By default, international roaming will not be active on your SIM card. If you plan to take your SIM card with you, call customer service and activate international roaming. If you have a postpaid plan, you will be able to do this on the online customer portal. This will allow you to use your existing phone number while traveling and stay connected with your friends and family back home.
Switching to a German SIM Card
Once you arrive in Germany, you will likely switch to a German SIM card. This will allow you to have a local phone number and avoid international roaming charges. You can purchase a SIM card at the airport or at any mobile phone store. It is important to check with your mobile service provider in your home country about unlocking your phone before you leave. This will enable you to use a German SIM card in your phone.
If you have a postpaid plan, it is a good idea to terminate it before you leave. This will prevent any unnecessary charges from accumulating. Additionally, if you plan to use a German SIM card, it is important to check with your mobile service provider about unlocking your phone before you leave.
VoIP Calling Apps
During your travel, you can use VoIP calling apps such as MobileVoIP or WhatsCall to call your home over the internet. These apps use your data plan or a Wi-Fi connection to make calls, which can be much cheaper than making international calls through your mobile service provider.
Matrix SIM Card
Alternatively, you can purchase a Matrix SIM card before you leave. Matrix SIM cards are specifically designed for international travelers and offer affordable calling and data plans. This can be a convenient option if you plan to travel frequently or for an extended period.
By taking care of your SIM card before you leave for Germany, you can stay connected with your loved ones and avoid unnecessary charges and fees while traveling.
3. Other records
As an international student leaving your home country for higher studies in Germany, it is important to ensure that all your financial records and investments are in order. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Income Tax Records
Before you leave, make sure that all of your income tax records are clean. This will prevent any issues with the tax authorities in your home country and ensure that you do not face any penalties or fines.
Ensure that your health insurance, life insurance, and other insurance policies are taken care of before you leave. This includes ensuring that your policies are still active and that you have sufficient coverage while you are abroad. If necessary, you can delegate your authority to someone else in your home country to manage your insurance policies while you are away.
If you have a provident fund or other investment accounts, make sure that they are taken care of before you leave. This may include ensuring that your accounts are still active and that you have sufficient funds available. If necessary, you can delegate your authority to someone else in your home country to manage your investment accounts while you are away.
Make sure that your credit cards are still active and that you have sufficient credit available before you leave. This will ensure that you can make purchases and pay bills while you are abroad.
If you have mutual funds or other investment accounts, make sure that they are taken care of before you leave. This may include ensuring that your accounts are still active and that you have sufficient funds available. If necessary, you can delegate your authority to someone else in your home country to manage your investment accounts while you are away.
Ownership of Certain Assets
If you own certain assets, such as property or vehicles, make sure that they are taken care of before you leave. This may include ensuring that your assets are still in good condition and that you have someone to manage them while you are away.
If you have business partnerships or other business interests, make sure that they are taken care of before you leave. This may include ensuring that your partners are aware of your plans to leave and that you have someone to manage your business interests while you are away.
By taking care of your other records before you leave for Germany, you can avoid any issues with your finances or investments while you are abroad. This will ensure that you can focus on your studies and enjoy your time in Germany without any unnecessary stress or worry.
4. Education loan
Studying abroad can be expensive, and many students opt for education loans to support their studies. If you have taken an education loan, it's essential to take care of a few things before you leave your home country.
Meet the bank manager: Before leaving, schedule a meeting with the bank manager to discuss your loan and set up a plan to pay the monthly interest. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of your loan, including the repayment period and interest rates.
Documents: Make a note of the procedure to get the next installment of your loan and the list of documents you need to produce to the bank. For instance, you may need to provide a Semester Enrollment letter to show that you are continuing your studies.
Life insurance policy: You might want to consider taking a life insurance policy on the education loan to ensure that the burden does not fall on your parents in case something happens to you. Discuss this with the bank manager to explore your options.
By taking care of these aspects, you can ensure that your education loan is under control while you are studying in Germany.
5. Currency exchange
When you're traveling to Germany for higher studies, it's essential to take care of your currency exchange requirements beforehand to avoid any last-minute hassles. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Dispensable amount: You need to have at least a dispensable amount of 1,000 euros with you when you land in Germany. It's a good idea to split this amount between cash and a prepaid card.
Prepaid card: Most credit/debit cards will charge you additional service fees or higher conversion charges when you use them in Germany. So it's good to have money in a prepaid card instead. You can get a prepaid card from your bank or a third-party provider.
Find a good deal: To get the best exchange rate, you can do the following:
Use websites like GetMeForex to find the best available deals near your city.
Contact dedicated forex companies to get a quote.
Visit a few banks, Western Union, Thomas Cook, or other currency exchange providers to find out the best exchange rate.
Buy euros: Once you have found a good deal, buy euros and load your prepaid card with at least half the amount of money you are planning to carry.
By taking care of your currency exchange requirements before leaving, you can ensure that you have enough money to cover your initial expenses and avoid any unnecessary fees or charges.
6. Learn to cook
If you're planning to study abroad in Germany, cooking is going to be an essential skill to have. You'll have to prepare at least one meal of the day on your own, so it's important to have some basic cooking knowledge. Here are some tips to help you learn how to cook before you leave:
Start taking cooking lessons from your mom, dad, or any other family member who has good cooking skills. Learn how to make some of your favorite dishes and note down the recipes.
Learn a few variety of dishes which are quick and easy to prepare. Some examples include pasta dishes, stir-fries, salads, and soups. Look for simple recipes online and try them out at home.
Watch cooking videos on YouTube or other platforms. VahChef youtube videos are a great resource for learning how to cook Indian food. You can also find many other cooking channels that cater to different cuisines and skill levels.
Remember that cooking can be fun and rewarding, so don't be afraid to experiment and try new things. You'll be surprised at how quickly you can pick up cooking skills, and it will help you save money and eat healthier while studying abroad.
7. Do your shopping the right way
To make sure you don't overpack or miss out on important items, here are a few things you should keep in mind while shopping for your study abroad trip to Germany:
Make a checklist of all the essential items you will need and stick to it.
Research the climate and weather conditions of the city or town you will be studying in and pack accordingly.
Look for lightweight and compact items that can easily fit into your luggage.
Check with your university or accommodation provider to see what they will provide you with, such as bedding or kitchen appliances.
Avoid carrying too many books or other heavy items as they will take up space and add weight to your luggage.
If possible, buy items such as toiletries or other essentials once you arrive in Germany instead of carrying them from your home country.
Remember, you can always buy things in Germany if you realize you need something after you arrive. So, be smart with your packing, and carry only the essentials.
8. Install useful mobile apps
VoIP Calling Apps: VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) apps allow you to make calls and send texts over the internet instead of through traditional phone networks. This can save you money on international calls and texts. Some popular VoIP apps that you can use are Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, and MobileVOIP.
Maps: You will need maps to navigate around your destination place. Google Maps is a popular app that provides detailed maps, turn-by-turn directions, and information about nearby places.
Local Transport Apps: Local transport apps are essential for getting around in Germany. These apps provide schedules, routes, and real-time information about buses, trains, trams, and subways. Some popular local transport apps in Germany are MVV-Munich, BVG-Berlin, and RMV-Frankfurt.
Make sure you download these apps before leaving your home country, and check if you need to purchase any subscriptions or data plans to use them in Germany.
9. Eat whatever you want and if anyone tries to lecture you about your weight, eat them too!
Okay, this is a serious topic, especially if you are a foodie. You are going to miss everything from your favorite breakfast to your mom’s delicious dinner. Once you are in Germany, your food habits are going to change a lot. Eating with fork and knife becomes a common practice and you won’t reach out for water after your meal anymore. In the end, unless you are a good cook, you will have to settle for a bland food.
So take it easy on your diet for now. If you’re so serious about your fitness, you could start working out as soon as you land in Germany. But don’t miss out feasting on your favorite food when it is still possible.
10. Spend time with your family and get your personal things 'in order'
Leaving home for a foreign country can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to leaving behind loved ones. Spending quality time with family and close friends is essential to ease the transition and to ensure that you have their support throughout your journey. Here are some tips to make sure that you have everything in order before you leave:
Open Communication with Family and Friends
Talking to your family and friends about your future plans is important to ease their concerns and to make sure that everyone is on the same page. This can include discussing things like:
How often you plan to keep in touch with them (e.g., via phone, email, video chat)
Any special requests or things you want them to send you from home
Plans for visits back home or for them to visit you in your new country
How they can support you while you are away, such as checking in with you regularly or helping with tasks from afar
Leaving behind loved ones and familiar surroundings can be emotionally challenging, so it's essential to prepare yourself emotionally as well. Some ways to do this include:
Participating in activities that help you feel grounded and connected, such as spending time in nature or practicing meditation or yoga
Creating a support network in your new country, such as connecting with other students or expats through social media or local groups
Reminding yourself of the reasons why you are pursuing this opportunity, such as gaining new experiences, meeting new people, or advancing your career
Taking care of personal matters, having open communication with loved ones, and preparing yourself emotionally can help ease the transition to a new country and ensure that you are ready to embark on a new adventure.
11. Spend time with your best friend
Leaving your home country to pursue higher education in a foreign land can be a overwhelming experience. You are going to leave behind your family, friends, and the familiarity of your hometown. You may also have to make a significant lifestyle shift when you move to Germany. To make this transition as smooth as possible, it's important to spend some quality time with your close friends, especially your best friend.
Your best friend is the person who knows you inside out, understands your strengths, weaknesses, and has been a part of your life's major milestones. Before you leave, take some time off from your hectic schedule and spend it with your best friend. Do all the crazy things that you wanted to do together. Go on a road trip, take a long walk, explore your hometown, or simply spend some time talking and reminiscing about the good old days.
This is the perfect opportunity to create some lasting memories together before you embark on your new journey. When you're in Germany, you may find yourself longing for a good friend, and having those memories of the time spent with your best friend will help you get through the tough times.
Remember, this moment in time may never come again, so cherish it and make the most of it.
12. Hold your heart and say the final goodbye!
Goodbyes aren’t easy. Not only does your farewell go to the people closest to you but to all the thousand other things that were an integral part of your life till now. This farewell goes to your home country! You are never going to see your motherland the same again when you come back next time.
Here are some additional tips:
Take pictures and videos of the places and people you love. You can look back on them later and reminisce about your time at home.
Write letters to your loved ones to express your feelings and let them know how much you appreciate them. They will appreciate the gesture and it will help you process your emotions.
Plan a going away party or gathering with your friends and family to celebrate your time together and say goodbye in a positive way.
Keep in touch with your loved ones while you're away. Use social media, messaging apps, and video calls to stay connected and updated on what's happening at home.
Finally, be open to the experiences and opportunities that await you in your new country. Embrace the new culture, make new friends, and explore everything that your new home has to offer.
For now, sincerely thank everyone who is a part of your success on this journey and bid your final adieu.