FAQ - Answers for Frequently Asked Questions
(as of 01/Aug/2016)
1. FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
About the Student Buddy Program
The Student Buddy Program is a student initiative for international students. We help you during your first days in Germany – pick you up at the railway station in Chemnitz, help with authorities, introduce you to new people and new surroundings. Also, we organize cultural events during the semester to experience German culture and way of life.
The Student Buddy Program tries to help you in different ways. However, if you have questions on the following topics, it would be better to ask the authority directly because we have no access to it:
- information regarding your personal application for a degree program can be obtained at Student Service Point (admission office)
- information about your application for a dorm room can be received at Studentenwerk
- assessment of any course of study (we cannot assess a particular course of study and provide you with information on whether one course of study is better than the other one). You can contact student unions (FSR) of different faculties and ask questions regarding a particular course of study in more detail
Your buddy usually meets you in Chemnitz and accompany you to the dorm or any other place where you plan to stay. After that, s/he helps you with all the necessary steps preceding enrollment. Also, the buddy can provide you with some pieces of advice before your arrival in Chemnitz and during your stay here.
Citizens of some countries need to do a security check at the city Foreigner’s office. Your buddy could help you with that by translating the questions from German into English. Finally, the buddy helps you with exmatriculation, if you still need help by that time.
The buddy is a full-time student just as you are, so s/he has also her or his own responsibilities and plans, and cannot accompany you 24/7. So, time abroad is a perfect opportunity for you to become more independent. Thank you for understanding!
The sphere of buddy’s responsibilities exclude:
- Meeting you in any other city apart from Chemnitz (Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin, etc.);
- Looking for accommodation for you;
- Providing information about your course of studies
However, if the buddy wants to help you with these issues, s/he is welcome to do so.
No, participation in the program is completely free of charge. You only have to pay some small sum of money (usually up to 5 €) if you go on an excursion with the student buddy program.
All local buddies are volunteers and the number of international students increases every year. Therefore we, unfortunately, cannot promise that we will provide you with a local buddy.
First of all, please do not be upset! Each semester there are students who do not get a local buddy, but still, everyone manages to organize their first steps in Chemnitz. Think of it as a challenge that you have to handle independently. It will bring you a new experience and will increase your self-esteem!
We can offer you the following options:
- If you come to Chemnitz with a friend who has a TU Chemnitz buddy, you can kindly ask the buddy whether you can join them. Normally, it’s not a problem and buddies agree to help both of you.
- If you travel alone, you should be very well prepared. The following website and the app downloaded on your smartphone will help you during your first days: http://www.study-in-chemnitz.com/. We have made a checklist for you to show all the necessary steps during your first days at Chemnitz
- You can have a look at the FAQs of the TU Chemnitz student service point: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/studentenservice/faq.php.en
- You can also try to find people from your country via the internet (groups on Facebook, etc.) and ask them for help.
First of all, we would like to inform you that not all citizens in Chemnitz speak English. That is why we strongly recommend starting learning German as soon as possible. However, in recent years, the situation has changed. Authorities such as banks, health insurance companies, etc. have noticed that the number of international students has increased. That is why they try to have at least one person who can speak English. The following link can help you with your first independent steps in Chemnitz: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/international/incoming/patenprogramm/documents/Guide%20in%20Pictures%20for%20International%20Students.pdf
You can find a room or an apartment in the city. The rent for a room in a WG (Wohngemeinschaft = shared apartment) is approximately the same as in the dorm, but often you have to buy your own furniture. Here are some useful links that can find you a suitable room or apartment. Please note that not all of them provide service in English, however it is always worth trying! https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/international/wissenschaftler/wissenswertes/wohnungssuche.php.en
Only if s/he wants to help you in such a way (see above).
There are several options:
- stay in the hotel and wait till the workers in Studentenwerk have their office hours. However, this option is rather expensive.
- kindly ask your buddy to go to Studentenwerk and pick up the key. Tell the buddy your name and surname and the dorm and room number. Moreover, you should write to the contact person in Studentenwerk as soon as possible that your buddy (name, surname) is allowed to pick up your key for room nr… in dorm ….
If your buddy has no opportunity to do this or you do not have a buddy, please, contact us, we will help you.
Yes, you must pay the deposit beforehand within a given period of time, otherwise, you will lose your room.
No, you will get internet access in your room and on-campus only after you are officially enrolled as a student. The next day after enrollment, you can apply for the Internet and normally it takes 1 or 2 days (if it is the weekend, then until Monday) till you get it. Please, keep in mind that the process of enrollment can last up to one week.
The Process of Enrollment
There are the following possibilities:
- to transfer the semester fee when you are still in your home country. This will help you get the student card and internet in the dorm as soon as possible;
- to pay with a German debit card called EC-Karte (credit cards are not accepted) in the Student Service Point.
- in the bank when you open a German account or activate your blocked account. If you pay in the bank, it may take up to 5 days till the money is transferred.
- in any bank. You will have to pay an additional fee and you will need your passport as well as the receipt (e.g. in Deutsche Bank the fee is 15 euro, in Sparkasse – 5 euro, etc.).
If your health insurance is taken out in a country within the European Union, you can just take the insurance contract and the health insurance card and ask any state health insurance company to approve it. It would be nice if the contract is translated into English or German.
Students from any other country must have German health insurance even if you have got an international one from your country. It is valid only for tourist purposes and not for studying.
For more information have a look here: https://www.swcz.de/de/soziales/sonstige-themen/kranken-a-pflegeversicherung (German only)
All the state health insurance companies provide their clients with approximately the same services.
The process of enrollment can last from one day to one week. Usually, it depends on whether you have paid the semester fee in advance or can pay it with a German debit card on the spot. If not, be prepared to wait several days until the money is transferred by the bank.
In general, it’s possible to change your degree program within 18 months after you have started to study at TU Chemnitz. You need to hand in the application to the Student Service Point, and to the city Foreigner’s Office (because you will need to change your residence permit). Find more information here: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/studentenservice/zsb/index.php.en
Work and Internship
Please make sure that your visa is applicable for working in Germany. Usually, you are allowed to work 120 full days or 240 half days a year. You can work max. 20 hours a week during the semester. This rule is not valid during the semester break. Please note, it is important that your part-time job does not interfere with your studies and does not influence it in a negative way.
If your course of studies presupposes an obligatory internship or if you need to do it in order to write your BA/MA thesis, then there are no legal obstacles to doing it. However, if you want to do an internship at your own wish (you do not have to do it according to your course of study), you should apply for a leave of absence and show the application to the Foreigner’s office (Ausländerbehörde). The Career Service can assist you with finding an internship placement: https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/career-service/index.php
You can travel for free on any type of public transport in Chemnitz and in any place within the VMS-zone. In addition, within Saxony, you can travel for free by train (only second class). Please note that the student card is valid for local train service only.
If the town is situated in a zone other than VMS, you have to pay if you want to take a city bus. For instance, if you want to visit Dresden. You use your student card on the train to Dresden, but in Dresden, you will need a ticket, if you want to take a bus or tram. More information (in German): https://www.tu-chemnitz.de/stura/de/informationen-zum-studentinnen-jahresticket
According to German law, every household should pay the so-called Rundfunkbeitrag (a fee for TV, radio, and internet). It is obligatory for everyone living in Germany, including foreigners. Even those who are deaf, blind, or do not understand German should pay the fee. Every household has to pay the fee. What does it mean for you?
This means that if you have a shared apartment outside campus or live in the dorm where you share the kitchen and bathroom with other people (1-6 persons) (Dorms V52, V54, V64, V70, V72, Rh35, and Rh37), only one person has to register to pay the fee, and the others will pay him/her back. If you rent a flat on your own, live in a (small) apartment in the dorm not sharing anything with anyone, or have a room in dorms V66, Rh51, and TW3, you have to pay the whole fee yourself.
Please note: if you ignore the bills, you will receive reminders and will have to pay extra fees. For more information, please visit this link https://www.rundfunkbeitrag.de/welcome/englisch/index_ger.html
2. FOR LOCAL BUDDIES
The local buddy usually meets the international buddy in Chemnitz and brings him/her to the dorm or any other place where s/he plans to stay. After that, s/he helps the international buddy with all the necessary steps preceding enrolment. Also, the local buddy can provide him/her with some pieces of advice before the international buddy’s arrival in Chemnitz and during his/her stay here.
Citizens of some countries need to do a security check at the city Foreigner’s office. The local buddy can help the international buddy with that by translating the questions from German into English. Finally, the local buddy helps him/her with exmatriculation, if s/he still needs help by that time.
The sphere of the local buddy’s responsibilities exclude:
- Meeting the international buddy in any other city apart from Chemnitz (Dresden, Leipzig, Berlin etc.);
- Looking for accommodation;
- Providing information about your course of studies
However, if the local buddy wants to help the international buddy with these issues, s/he can do this.
- Real experience in intercultural communication;
- Meet people from all over the world;
- Prepare yourself for a term abroad;
- Take part in events and buddy meetings
- Improving your foreign language skills;
- Get a certificate for your social commitment (after helping at least two international buddies)
German language skills are not crucial for buddies. If you want to support new students, you are always welcome in the student buddy program!
We take into account the information you have left in the application. We try to find someone whose interests are most compatible with yours.
If you think that you will not be able to support an international student, you can inform us and we will find another buddy for her/him. Please, give us a positive answer only if you are sure that you will be in Chemnitz during the international buddy’s first days.
The international students require the most support during the first days after their arrival in Chemnitz. If you won’t be able to fulfill one of the tasks, just inform us. We will help you in this situation. Please note: it is very important to inform us if you cannot meet a student or pick up his keys from Studentenwerk because then we can help him/her. In this case, communication with us is crucial!
You can support as many international students as you wish.
If you feel that it is overwhelming for you to have more than one international buddy, you have to inform the international student about it. Though, experience shows there is almost no difference in having one or several international buddies, especially if they are friends. They arrive together, can spend time together, and you can engage in a conversation when you are staying in the line waiting for your turn at some office.