Living in Oldenburg
Advisor for international exchange students (during their stay in Oldenburg)
Oldenburg is a good place to live. A mix of entertainment and culture – bars, restaurants and trendy venues as well as theatres and a number of museums – create a big-city feeling. Yet it is a safe place where you can get around easily on your bicycle, as most students do.
The Studentenwerk Oldenburg (SWO) offers affordable accommodation in student housing facilities [link leads to a German website with an overview of housing facilities in Oldenburg. Click on "mehr…" and then choose the tab "English". Or click on "Bildergalerie" for pictures]. Exchange students in need of accommodation should fill out the Application for Accommodation and send it directly to the International Student Office along with the Application for Registration as an Exchange Student.
- Student dormitories: Studentenwerk Oldenburg
- Private accommodation database for international students (Studentenwerk Oldenburg)
- Hermann-Ehlers-Haus: private student dormitory
- Oscar-Romero-Haus (student dormitory, catholic university community)
- GSG Oldenburg: student apartments
- Nordwest Zeitung (NWZ): online database of Oldenburg's regional newspaper
- WG-Gesucht: online database for shared apartments ("WG")
- Studenten-WG: online database for shared apartments ("WG")
In order to open a bank account, you will need the registration form of the city of Oldenburg ("Meldebescheinigung"), as well your personal ID card/passport and an enrolment certificate. Usually, bank accounts in Germany are free of charge for students up to 27 years of age, but it’s best to ask anyway. In most banks, you need an appointment to open an account.
With your ec-card, you can withdraw cash at the ATM and make cashless payments free of charge. As an EU citizen, your home bank account is usually sufficient for your stay in Germany and you do not need to open a German bank account. For non-EU citizens, the opening of a German bank account is required.
Don’t forget to terminate your account after your stay in Germany or else account maintenance fees might be demanded from you.
In Germany the broadcasting fee ("Rundfunkbeitrag") must be paid by every household. Every flat must pay a monthly amount of 17,50 Euro which can be splitted between flat mates. If you do not pay the fees you will receive a written reminder and possibly a foreclosure. This could lead to problems getting a visa/residence permit if you wish to return to Germany in the future.
The University of Oldenburg is located in Germany's Northwest, in the city of Oldenburg (Oldb). Public transport from the airports in Bremen (BRE), Hamburg (HAM) and Hannover (HAJ) is comfortable and effective.
An affordable way to get from Hamburg, Hanover or Bremen to Oldenburg is the "Niedersachsenticket" (Lower Saxony ticket). This ticket is valid in the regional trains (NOT in the IC, ICE and EC), buses, trams and subways in Lower Saxony, Hamburg and Bremen as well as in the buses in Oldenburg.
Please note: When traveling by train be sure to book the tickets to Oldenburg (Oldb), NOT Oldenburg (Holstein)!
The following bus lines run from the central train station in Oldenburg to the University:
- 306 going to "Universität"
- 310 going to "Wehnen"
- 324 going to "Infanterieweg"
In Germany, the law requires everyone to have health insurance. International students from EU countries or from countries with a social security agreement with Germany can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
International students from all other countries should find out if their health insurance from their home country covers their stay in Germany. If it does, then written proof of this is needed. If not, then a German health insurance policy is required. We strongly recommend to opt for a public health insurance (statutory health insurance). This costs about 105 EUR per month, and can be organised during International Orientation Week.
Once you decide and obtain a health insurance (either private or statutory), you have to stick with it for your whole studies in Germany – even if you study at another German univiersity. It is not possible to change from private to statutory providers later on. In the long run, private health insurance is much more expensive. Treatment is free of charge for owners of statutory health insurance; the doctor balances accounts directly with the health insurance company. If have a private health insurance you must pay the bill yourself in advance and you will subsequently be refunded by the insurance company.
In Germany, if you fall ill, you usually go see a general practitioner („Hausarzt“). You can arrange an appointment to see the doctor or you can just drop by during their consultation hours (without an appointment you most often have to wait longer). With your German health insurance, the consultation is free of charge. If you own a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you should discuss the billing options beforehand. Some doctors require you to pay immediately for their services, but you would be refunded by the health insurance company in your home country subsequently. Many doctors, however, balance accounts directly with the health insurance company in your home country.
If you need to see a specialist, the “Hausarzt” will refer you to one. It may take some weeks to get an appointment there. If you get sick on the weekend or during public holidays, you can visit the emergency medical assistance service (“Notdienstpraxis”) in the Auguststrasse 16. It is open until 10 p.m. on a daily basis. Should you be involved in an accident or are taken severely ill, it is advised that you go to the emergency room of a hospital. If you cannot get there on your own or if it is too risky to do so, call the emergency hotline 112. The hospitals’ emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day.
All students are provided with wireless internet access in public university areas (lecture halls, seminar rooms, main library, and cafeterias) via eduroam. If your home university also provides eduroam, you can use our Wi-Fi with the login data of your home university.
In Germany it is very common to have liability insurance ("Haftpflichtversicherung"). This insurance covers the cost of damages you accidentally cause to persons and/or other persons’ belongings, this includes damages to rented accommodation. According to German law (BGB §823), you are personally liable with your entire income and savings for all damages caused by you, unless you have liability insurance. We strongly encourage all international students to take out liability insurance because otherwise they may face very large financial demands if they cause damage to anybody or anything. Such costs will not be covered by the exchange programme of the University of Oldenburg. You are personally liable.
You have to register with the City of Oldenburg Citizens' Office within a week after your arrival. This requires your passport/ ID card and a written confirmation from your landlord in Oldenburg ("Wohnungsgeberbestätigung"). Upon registration, you will receive a Certificate of Residency ("Meldebescheinigung"). Please keep it — it is important (e.g. for opening a bank account).
Exchange students from non-EU countries require a residence permit to study in Germany. Depending on the country of origin a visa will be necessary prior to your arrival in Germany.
Students need to apply for a residence permit no later than two months before the expiration of their entry visa (if needed), or otherwise one month after arrival in the country. Appointments with the Welcome Service of the City of Oldenburg (Ausländerbüro) need to be arranged online at abhol.oldenburg.de.
For students from Australia, Canada and the USA, it is sufficient to fill-in the Confidential Financial Statement in order to proof sufficient funding for the duration of their stay. This document should be completed before travelling to Oldenburg and provided upon appointment at the Welcome Service in Oldenburg.
Your CampusCard can be used as public transport ticket (“SemesterTicket”) and allows you to travel freely within the region for the full six months of the semester. It is valid for all public transport in Oldenburg and Bremen as well as for regional trains all over Lower Saxony. You can even go for a trip to Oldenburg’s twin town Groningen in the Netherlands. You receive your CampusCard after enrolment.
Important: The semester ticket
- is not transferable to another user/person.
- can only be used in the 2nd train class.
- is not valid in IC/EC trains (exception: IC/EC train between Bremen Hbf – Norddeich Mole, as well as between Bremen Hbf – Emden Außenhafen).
- is not valid in ICE trains.
- is not valid in "night owl disco busses" (NachtEulen-Bus).
More specific information on semester tickets and where they are valid:
Before your departure, you should take care of some formalities:
- Accommodation: Please arrange an appointment with the “Studentenwerk” to hand over your room keys (this should be done at least two weeks before moving out of the dormitory). The “Studentenwerk” will give you a confirmation.
- De-registering with the city of Oldenburg: You will need the confirmation of the Studentenwerk when de-registering with the city of Oldenburg. Send the confirmation, along with the de-registration form (“Abmeldung bei der Meldebehörde”), to the residents’ registration office.
- Bank account: If you opened a German bank account, do not forget to close it. Else, account maintenance fees might be demanded from you.
Students are permitted to work alongside their studies. If you are a student from a non-EU country, you are allowed to work 120 full (8 hours) or 240 half (4 hours) workdays per year. Prerequisite for this is a valid residence permit. This regulation does not apply to contracts with the university. Students from EU member states have no restrictions regarding working periods.