Officialization 1: WTF comes next?


A view of the Universität des Saarlandes from a nearby hike.

Officialization TOC

WTF comes next?

Before I left the US, I was told that as a US citizen, the most common process for getting set up in Germany is just to come over on my US passport (which automatically grants me the Shengen visa for 3 months), and then deal with the student visa once I am here. I also have to deal with enrolling in the school (“matriculation”), which is a separate issue.

The problem was that once I arrived, I really had no idea the order in which I was to do things. Does the visa require me to have a bank account to show proof that I can support myself? Does the bank account require me to have a physical address? Or maybe does the apartment require me to have a bank account or a visa?  There was a lot of info given in the documents I received from the school, but it wasn’t well organized.

In any case, I’ve finally spoken my department at the university, who are incredibly helpful, and they are going to help me out with things, where “things” seem to be:



This is a lot of stuff, so I am going to break up each of these into separate posts which will be forthcoming as I complete each task. Most likely, I will need to edit this post after I’ve finished all of my write ups for you (i.e. like a month from now), but I think this will be a good start.

Actually, I have to say, that although things up until this point have been confusing, they haven’t been horrible. The people who I go to speak with about these problems are very helpful. They sort of admit that the process is overly complicated, laugh things off, and don’t take most things too seriously. They are able to do this because they live here and they know the system. They know when they can laugh things off, vs. when they need to pay closer attention… but I am not afforded this luxury.

I couldn’t imagine doing this in the US. People here in Germany (especially people under 40) speak amazingly good English, and are willing to help you out. In the US, no one speaks anything but English, so if you don’t speak English, you are SOL.

It seems to me that part of the problem with being a foreigner here in Germany is less the language barrier (you can usually translate things, or find someone to help you), but more your the lack of awareness about the system and processes involved. I’ve had to learn a lot from my cohort students (thank you everyone for sharing your knowledge!), because there was no clear place to get information, and we each have learned different parts as we go.



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