The Munich Handbook
The Munich Handbook
By: ZAIN HAIDER
This document presents somewhat an image of life in Munich and most of the things are based on personal experience and observations.
As the name indicates, it’s all about living an 8000 Euro life in Munich
Congratulations. You got admitted in TUM/LMU/Hochschule Munich and now you are ready to come to Munich, one of the beautiful cities of Germany. So, it’s time to do some preparations.
1- Bank account opening and fund transfer
The first thing to do is to open a bank account in deutsche bank and transfer the funds required for the visa. Visit the Deutsch Bank branch during the student service hours. Take the admission letter and passport with you. Fill the account opening form. The form will be attested by one of the staff and they will return the form to you which you have to send yourself to the main DB Hamburg branch. Since this doc goes to the bank, student charges won’t apply here so it’s economical if you find 3, 4 people who are sending the form and you all can send your forms in one package hence saving the cost. In one week, you will receive your account details on your email address. The fund transfer can be done through a foreign currency account. In my case, I used the Bank Al-Habib super saver foreign currency account. I went to the BAH branch in which I already had a PKR account. I called the nearest money changer to the branch with 8000 euro and handed over the PKR cash amount to the money changer which I withdrew from my PKR account. Immediately, I deposited the 8000 euro in my foreign currency account. It was safe and secure. It’s better to transfer 100-500 euro more than the amount required for visa as there are misc transfer charges involved in the process. BAH did not charge me for transferring the amount to DB as they offered me 2 free transactions but some amount was deducted by the 2nd bank involved in the process. So, within one week of fund transfer, you will receive the bank statement on your email and this is the doc which you have to submit at the consulate/embassy. 2nd transaction I made was the semester charges which was directly transferred to the TUM account from the same foreign currency account. Currently, the tuition fee of 500 euro has been waived off and semester ticket has been introduced. So you have to transfer 111 euro which include the semester ticket and the student union fee.
Try to look for cheapest one way ticket to Munich. Possible options are Turkish Airlines, Emirates, and Qatar Airways etc. By far Turkish Airlines offers the cheapest economy class tickets and a weight limit of 30+7 kg. But I know a friend who got the ticket at same price from emirates as he knew someone in the company. If you have a flight early in the morning 5, 6 am, you check in around 2, 3 am and at that time you can go through with a little bit more weight just like I did. I carried 33+10 kg excluding the laptop. My friend carried around 40+15 kg (an exceptional case as he had a “jugaar”). PIA employee sons/daughters can benefit from some special offer which drops them at Frankfurt and they can take a train from there to Munich but its tiring anyhow.
3- Travel insurance
It is just a formality for visa so the cheapest health insurance at that time was from Atlas Insurance, a 3 month package for 4800 fulfilling the requirements of Karachi consulate. At Karachi consulate, you submit the ticket and insurance after the clearance and then you get the stamped visa. At embassy, things are different, so you can look for something cheaper.
4- Laptop and accessories
Laptops here in Germany are a bit expensive so you can buy a laptop from Pakistan and carry it with u. I bought HP Probook with a built in webcam and microphone & a 16 GB usb with all necessary data. Alternatively, you can transfer the necessary data in your laptop hard disk and you can also buy a portable hard disk of around 1 TB. Seriously, I did not even use my usb device. It is just in case, you need to reinstall the OS.
Don’t forget to bring all necessary software, you think might be useful as some original software are quite expensive here. You can also benefit from some free software through TUM.
5- Network cable and wifi router
If possible, do bring an internet network cable (5 meter with RJ45 connector) and a router so that you can easily use internet on your laptop or smart phone while roaming around.
6- Things to bring along
i- Carrier Bag
One large suitcase for luggage with wheels, one medium bag for hand carry with wheels, college bag with laptop space, wallet with coin pockets
ii- winter stuff
one large, warm, water/snow proof jacket, one denim/air breaker jacket, full cap/Russian cap, muffler, thermals, socks, a pair of glove, CAT trainers, umbrella, jumper/high neck/sweat shirt/full sleeve sweater.
iii- summer stuff
Sunglasses, Shirts, t-shirts, joggers/sneakers, jeans, leather/denim belt, dress pants, kurta for eid, flip flops or chappals
iv- daily wear stuff
Vests, underwear, trousers, shorts, shalwar, bathroom slipper, lounge/kitchen slipper, cloth hangers, couple of glasses (if you wear)
Ispaghol, carmina, paracetamol, ansid, brufen, joshanda, any medicine which you use regularly, skin ointments.
vi- cleaning / washing
Toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, blades, soaps, shampoo, body wash sponge, surf, handkerchief, toothpick, ear cotton buds, table tissues, bath towel, towel napkin
3 pin plug with German socket, extension wire with multiple German socket board, Shaver/Trimmer
German socket is somewhat different from Pakistani socket. It is round with 2 grooves. Type “German socket” on Google and you can see the image.
viii- cutlery and utensils
plate, spoon, fork, glass, coffee mug, frying pan, cooking vessel with large spoon, knife.
There are no gas stoves in Germany but electrical stoves so the vessels and pans should be flat bottomed or flat based. Its best if you bring Teflon coated pan and vessel.
body spray, perfume, nail cutter, body lotion, face lotion, room freshener spray, hair oil, hair gel, comb,
ja namaz, clay for sajda, small Quran, dua/munajat book
print out of educational documents, photograph, admission letter, bank account document, NIC, Passport, ticket, travel insurance, Pakistani driving license
(entitles you to drive here for 6 months and then you have to obtain a German license. Its procedure will be mentioned in the Euro Trip header.)
xii- light food
Noodles, spaghetti, cookies, nimco, readymade tin food, shahi deluxe, toffee, chewing gum etc
xiii- smart phone
I-phone/nokia/Samsung smart phone with ear piece. Download the useful offline apps which you can use in Munich. for e.g., the transportation network plan of Munich, navigation map of Munich, german-english dictionary, translator, Munich prayer times, halal food checker etc.
LOTA (if possible), stationery (glue, tape, stapler, punch, pen, pencil, sharpener, scale etc), scientific calculator, file covers, registers/copies, bed sheet and pillow cover, blanket (in most cases not possible to bring due to weight limit), scissors, safety pins, sewing needles and threads, Iron (very rare usage as wrinkled jeans and t-shirts are in fashion), max 2 cartons of cigarettes (if you smoke)
The number of items you can bring along are limited to 30+7 kg or in some cases 23+7 kg. So you can adjust the quantity of the things. Alternatively, you can also buy many things here. Prepare a checklist of all the required items which can be useful while packing.
For cheaper smoking, watch the following video. All things required for this are available here. If you want and can find, you can bring the slider machine from Pakistan.
7- Accommodation and help requests
Unfortunately, accommodation is the biggest problem which all new comers face in Munich as housing situation is very tense here. Private accommodation is difficult to find and is expensive. Moreover, there is not much you can do unless you arrive here in Munich. As soon as you get your admission letter, apply in the studentenwerk (student union) dorms for accommodation. Look for those dorms where the waiting time is less (up to 1 semester). For e.g. stiftsbogen (haderner stern), heigelhoff str (klinikum grosshadern) etc.
Enter your name in the PWO_DE Yahoo group so that airport pickup and initial accommodation (max 1 week) can be arranged. Airport pickup is guaranteed but accommodation is not guaranteed so you have to be mentally prepared for where you have to go in case you don’t get any accommodation. You can explore the youth hostel option or if you are lucky, you can get the room in the studentenwerk dorm. Prior to your arrival, you will be informed about the person who is coming to pick you up from the airport and with whom you will stay initially (if possible).
– Initial days
1- First Hand Information about Munich
Typical day in Munich starts from 7 am in the morning and ends at 9 pm. Shops like Penny and Edeka open at 7 am and close at 8 pm. Sunday shopping is not an option in Germany. You have to buy grocery till Saturday 8 pm. All the hustle and bustle of the city is around the city center where the central station and Marienplatz is located. Main campus of TUM is 2 stops from the central station and LMU is very near to TUM main campus. Rest of the city is quiet, peaceful and green even in the day time.
Weather in Munich is cold most of the times of a year. Summer time is normally from Mar/Apr to August. Weather can drop to as low as -16C and go as high as 35C. There are no fans or ACs here so in summer, small pedestal fans need to be bought.
Transportation network of Munich consist of the Underground Lines (U-Bahn), the suburban trains (S-Bahn), the Bus network and the Tram network. The transport network of Germany is one of the best and efficient networks of Europe. U-Bahns, Buses and Trams can be found till 1 or 2 am. After that, night lines (buses) run from specific locations and cover most of the locations in the city. You can locate the route to your destination through the website www.mvv-muenchen.de
www.toytown.com is a good website regarding buying and selling stuff, finding room, jobs and misc information about the city in which you are living. You can find useful information about Munich here.
It’s better if you can find someone for help but don’t solely rely on it. Help yourself and try to solve issues independently. You can use the U-Bahn network map and the city map to locate the way to your destination. You can also ask the people on streets and they are very much willing to help. If you don’t know German, you can also find someone who speaks English (very common in Munich)
So now you are all done with the packing and all set to come to Munich. Upon arrival on Munich airport, the authorities may ask for your admission letter so make sure you carry the relevant docs in your hand carry and at a visible location. The suitable time for arrival is last week of September. As soon as you land on the Munich airport, you will look for the person coming to pick you up. Normally, the person is already waiting for you but make sure you have his contact details in case he is late and you need to contact him. The person will help you in carrying your luggage and drop you to your destination. You have to buy a “one day ticket” for using the transportation network. If your air ticket covers the transport network charges uptil the central station (hauptbahnhof), then you can directly purchase the 3-day ticket from the airport. Relax a bit when you reach your destination, inform your relatives of your safe arrival and take rest for the day.
DAY 1 – next day, wake up early in the morning and get ready for the work. You will have to buy a 3-day ticket (or if you already have one) and you can sort out the initial things to be done.
a- KVR city registration
The first thing to do is to register you at the KVR office which is also called “city registration”. The office is located at “poccistrasse” which is a U6/U3 station. You have to take your passport with you and the registration process is quite simple. The registration paper is just a paper with all your personal and Munich contact details. If you don’t have a room, you can present someone else’s address and all your posts and mails from the city authority will go to that address. Don’t forget to change the address when you get a room of your own.
b- University enrolment
For university enrolment, you need to present the missing documents for e.g. the degree and the health insurance.
i- TK/AOK are the 2 companies providing health insurance which is required for enrolment. The representatives of these companies sit in the main campus of TUM daily so it is very easy for the students to get the insurance immediately and get enrolled. Required docs are city registration and passport. You sign a 2 year contract and submit the copy to the admission office. Insurance card and other related docs will reach your address by post. Don’t forget to change your address by emailing the relevant insurance authorities, when you get your own room.
ii- If your degree or final semester transcript were also not present at the time of admission, you need to present the attested copies for enrolment. It’s better to bring the attested copies with you. In case you don’t have time for that OR Pakistani notary attestation is not accepted by them, you have to attest the copies from a German notary (which is expensive) or a church (which is cheap). In both cases, you need to know the location of the German notary or the church beforehand. When you hand over the missing documents to the admission office, you will get enrolled and the status will be updated on your online portal the next day. Don’t forget to collect the useful documents from the enrolment office like city map, transport network map etc. go home and rest for the day or explore Munich if you want to.
DAY 2 – wake up early in the morning and get ready for the next step
c- Enrolment certificate/MVV semester pass and DB account activation
After successful enrolment, the enrolment certificate and the MVV pass will appear on your portal in “print documents” section. Save a pdf of these docs in your usb and get a print out of these docs. You will get to know where to take a print out or if you can’t find someone near to your house, go to the university to get the prints. Now take these prints and the city registration paper, your passport and a photograph to the central station (hauptbahnhof or Hbf). There you can make a MVV pass for the semester which will entitle you to use the MVV network for the whole semester. Don’t forget to buy the ISAR semester ticket which will be available from standing machines in the Hbf. use cash for buying ticket. This ticket will be valid from 1st October. But after the expiry of the 3-day ticket, if you want to travel, you can purchase a weekly ticket on the basis of your student tariff control number for the remaining days of September or else you can choose to stay home till 1st October when the ISAR semester ticket is activated.
Alternatively, you can also get the MVV pass from the MVV office located at “poccistrasse” exactly opposite to the KVR office. You are already familiar with the location. There is a DB branch near the Hbf, where you can activate your bank account. For this you will need to present your passport, the bank statement which you gave for the visa and your city registration. All the necessary documents (ATM card, PIN code, TAN list etc) will then reach the address mentioned on the city registration.
Alternatively, you can locate a DB branch near your house and get the account activated from there.
– Next set of necessary tasks
Now relax for the time being as the most important tasks are done. Your friends will be arriving or would have arrived already. So you have the semester ticket with you and you can go hangout with your classmates or other Pakistani friends.
1- Applying for residence permit
The next most important task is to apply for the residence permit. This will be done from the KVR office. Make sure you reach there early in the morning as there is a long queue for the same. Required docs are application form (available from the KVR office), photograph, passport, city registration, enrolment, bank account details, health insurance, and 100 euro visa extension fees. To reach the location for residence permit, take a right turn from the information desk near the entrance of the building and go to the 2nd floor. Stand in the queue and present the form and the docs to the counter. Then you have to get a receipt of the visa fee from another location. Then you have to wait for the security clearance interview. It will take a whole working day for this so reach there as early as possible in the morning. It is also possible that the office hours are over by the time of your turn at the security clearance so you have to appear for it the next day. After all that process, you are now free. You can collect your residence permit card after 6 weeks from the same location. The residence permit award from KVR can also be of 1 year but normally they award a 2 year residence permit. In the former case, you can arrange the finances from your friends and get the permit for the next year. Later, you return the money to your friends as it is not blocked the 2nd year like it was in the 1st year.
Students, who live in apianhaus, they get themselves registered from some other office. Procedure is same but that office awards residence permit of 1 year and next year, you again have to show the finances and pay the visa fees etc. So it’s better to get yourself registered with someone’s address whose region lies within the authority of KVR.
2- Finding room
Since now you are in Munich, you can put your efforts in finding a room if you don’t have it uptil now. First of all, you can inquire your waiting number for the student dorm to get the idea when you will be able to get the room. The studentenwerk office at stiftsbogen (U6 haderner stern) manages the stiftsbogen, heigelhof and the nearby dorms. The studentenwerk office at studentenstadt (U6 studentenstadt) also manages a lot of dorms. You can also look for private apartments and rooms. studentenstadt offers emergency rooms and the room is awarded to the first 3 people coming to their office on a specific day (u have to be alert for this date and reach the location a day before as hundreds of students come there for the room). Similarly, olympiazentrum also offers emergency rooms. those who get an emergency room, also get a permanent accommodation in one of the studentenwerk dorms, most probably the same ones in which emergency rooms are located (not in the emergency rooms but some other proper room). If you have applied for the studentenwerk dorms in May, then most probably you will get a room in one of your applied dorms by 15th November as this is the deadline for submitting the enrolment. There are many international students, who get the room but are not able to come to Munich within the specified deadline. So their room goes to someone else and by November, many students get their own room.
– Exploring Munich
Now you are done with the necessary tasks and you are completely free. The best way to spend this time is to explore Munich till the classes start from 15th October. What you need is a camera, the ticket and few friends and you are all set to explore the city. There are many places to visit in Munich. You can visit the specific places or simply roam around using the MVV transport network. places to visit are Olympia park, Marienplatz, Englischer garten, Alte pinakothek, Hauptbahnhof, BMW showroom, Nymphenburg castle, Isar river, Ammer see, Starnberger see, Deutsches museum etc. the world famous Oktoberfest will be going on in October so you can also visit the place. Moreover, there are numerous celebrations for New Year, Christmas, Halloween, and Easter and so on. The ESN TUMi also arranges international events, trips, stamtisch (foreign dishes party), snowball fight and other entertaining events.
– University and studies
1- Campus visiting
Officially the semester starts from 1st October but the classes start from 15th October. Meanwhile, if you want, you can visit the main campus of TUM (located near theresienstrasse U2 stop) and the garching campus (located at garching forchungszentrum U6 last stop).
2- Course registration
The important task to do before 15th October is the course registration. Once you are enrolled, you will have access to all the institutes and the courses offered by them at TUM Online. You can browse through the institutes and the courses offered by them. Some courses have limited seats, so you have to register yourself to be able to attend it. For e.g. the German language courses and lab courses have limited seats so you have to look for the starting date of course registration and immediately register when the time starts. The lectures and tutorials from your curriculum have no limited seats so you can register for it afterwards. By registering for the courses and tutorials, you will have access to the slide notes and pdf files at www.moodle.tum.de which is an online platform for information sharing. You can use your TUM email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to log in. you will also get a timetable for the courses you have registered, in TUM Online.
3- University internet
You can use the free internet service at both the campuses. For this you have to download some software and then log in with your TUM email address. (Detailed procedure will be uploaded afterwards)
4- Books issuance and buying
(Detailed procedure will be uploaded afterwards)
– Finding jobs
Most people choose Germany because of low expenses of education. But for visa, 8000 euro is required, arranging which, is not an easy task for all of the students coming here. Some people take loans from relatives etc to manage the initial expenses and have to pay back their dues. So, almost everyone is concerned about the student jobs and about how to bear the expenses on own self. Fortunately, there are abundant jobs available in Munich for the students. In fact, People and students from other cities come here during the semester break for jobs. So for those, who are concerned about the loans, can easily pay back their loans within the span of 2 years. Even if you come with a sound financial background and you are not worried about the expenses, doing some job is good to keep yourself rolling.
HiWi refers to student job at the university. For getting a student job at uni, you need to know some software relevant to your area of education. For e.g. mechanical engineers having a sound knowledge of MATLAB, CATIA, and ANSYS can easily get a job at the uni. Electrical, electronics and telecom engineers having knowledge of MATLAB, SIMULINK, LABVIEW, and C++ can easily get a job. Computer and software engineers are most likely to get a job as most of the student jobs here are related to software, programming and IT.
Similarly, you can get a student job at a company (known as werkstudent) if you have some previous relevant industrial experience. Students get jobs in Infineon, Intel, Rohde & Schwarz and other companies.
b- Odd jobs
For those students, who are not well versed with software or do not have a past experience, student jobs at restaurants or stores are also available. If you can speak German, you have more options. Students get jobs in restaurants like burger king, McDonalds, KFC, Allianz arena, Olympia Park and stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, Zara etc. For these jobs, you have to remain in touch with the senior students and also the students from different nationalities. You can also check the groups and websites for such jobs.
c- Job documents
For all jobs, you need to present a tax card which can be made from the tax office at Deroystrasse near hauptbahnhof. Moreover, you need to get a social security card from your insurance provider. You can apply for this by visiting the insurance office, once you get your insurance card. For burger king and McDonalds, you need to present a health cert from a doctor which can be obtained from doctors near schillerstrasse (hauptbahnhof).
Additional information related to taxation by Farish Kagalwala
Tax class does not depend on being a student or not. Tax class I is for single, divorced or married people whose spouse isn’t living with them (e.g. separated or living abroad). If you are doing two jobs, then you have Tax class VI for 2nd job. for married people (also including students), the tax class is III if both partners are living in Germany.
Usually if one works up to 20 hrs/wk, there is no income tax (Lohnsteuer) deducted. What is deducted above €450 is Rentenversicherung (RV). this you cannot get back. if tax has been deducted, its mentioned on the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung which one gets at the end of the year in Number 4 (on the right hand side table).
– Overcoming homesickness / Being social
Adjusting in the new environment, away from family and relatives becomes very tough esp. when you have not been thru such times before. Home sickness is natural in such conditions resulting in skipping classes and staying home. It can take from 6 months to 1 year in recovering. It also depends on one’s own nature that how you feel around new people and new environment. Some people are introvert and do not easily mix with people. Such people are likely to remain stressed for quite a long time. Extrovert people, on the other hand, can easily mix and cope up with the situation within 2, 3 months.
Here are some tips to get rid of the feeling of homesickness and loneliness
– have a chat with your friends in Pakistan
– voice chat with family, relatives in Pakistan
– stick with pakis here in Munich
– arrange self sponsored lunch and dinner parties with classmates and paki friends
– attend the eid gatherings and cultural programs
– hangout with classmates
– visit to sightseeing places in BAYERN with friends
– Food expenses & cooking
a- Food type and Expenses
Food expenses can range from 100 euro to 160 euro per month depending on your consumption qty and what type of food you like to eat. If you are spending most of the day in uni, you can have a rich breakfast and then dinner after coming home. If you are not used to having breakfast in the morning, you can prepare something and take it with you. If you are used to having 3 meals per day, one option is to have breakfast in the morning, take something prepared for lunch with you and then cook dinner after coming home. But normally it’s very difficult to take something for lunch, so you can try something veggie at the university cafe or if you are at main campus, you can have Doner/Durum (confirmation is required for halal meat).
b- Initial cooking
It’s better if you learn a little bit cooking before coming here. If you have arrived here and don’t know cooking then initially you can make easy to cook dishes. Cooking seems tough initially, but it becomes fun when you have learned a little bit. Recipes of each n every type of food is available on websites with videos and text. You can make nihari, qorma, biryani, karahi and other traditional dishes easily and post the pictures to show your friends and family. Shan masalay are available in Indian and Pakistani shops near hauptbahnhof. Roti is available from Iraqi shops at Hbf or the Indian shop near the TUM main campus. Regarding Halal chicken, at Edeka, you can find a whole chicken from “Wiesenhof” with a halal stamp on it. It’s best if you want to prepare something from boneless chicken. It is relatively cheaper from the one sold at Iraqi shops at Hbf. Total boneless chicken is also available from a Pakistani shop near Frottmaning (U6 stop). Minced meat (qeema), beef and mutton are normally bought from the Iraqi shops.
c- Easy dishes
Noodles/spaghetti with chicken/tun fish and vegetables, mix fried vegetables, veggie/margarita pizza with custom tun fish/qeema/chicken topping, tuna fish cans, chicken curry, masala rice, lentils, chickpeas, potato onion curry, egg potato curry
fried eggs, bread, butter, jam, baguette (garlic bread loaf), juices, chocolate spread, fruit yoghurt, fruits, smoothies (you need a blender for this. A 400W Philips can be bought from Saturn for 20 euro),
….. (to be continued)