Frequently asked questions

 
What does the participation in Summer University cost?
 
We are asking for a course fee of 550 €. Housing costs are 600€, whether you're staying with a host family or in a dorm.
 
 
How exactly will I get the fee to Stuttgart?
 
After approval of your application you will receive an official letter of acceptance from us. Following this, you will receive an invoice with exact instructions on how and when to pay the participation cost of 1150 €.
 
What does the fee include?
 
The participation in Summer University includes housing, unlimited public transportation within the greater Stuttgart area, excursions during subject courses (entrance fee to museums, galleries, guided tours, etc.), and program administrative costs.
 
 
What isn’t included in the fee?
 
  • The fee doesn’t include tuition from your own university
  • A fee your own university might need to charge to cover their costs
  • Transportation to Stuttgart
  • Transportation to the university before registration
  • Breakfast, lunch & dinner for students in a dorm. Lunch and dinner for students in host families(except on the weekends)
  • Medical/accident insurance
  • German class textbooks (approx. 25 €)
  • Personal expenses
 
 
Are there any additional costs besides the participation cost of 1150€ €?
 
We ask that you provide us with a deposit of 200 € in cash or check. This deposit is completely refundable and will be held until your departure to ensure that you leave your room tidy and in good standing. It is to be paid upon registration. The deposit will be returned to you during your last day of the Summer University.
 
 
What about the weekend excursions? Will they cost extra?
 
Yes, you will be asked to pay a 15 € registration fee for each all-day excursion. The excursions usually include transportation, lunch, guided tours, and entrance fees. Since we try to always update our excursions to include the most current events, we are not able to tell you in advance where they will go to. You will find out and can register for them during the first week of classes.
 
 
Can I take friends along on the weekend excursions?
 
Sorry, that won’t be possible. The weekend excursions are sponsored by the University of Stuttgart. If you booked the excursions through a travel agency it would cost you a lot more. That’s why the excursions are for participants only.
 
 
Do I need to contract a health insurance?
 
Yes, a valid health insurance will be absolutely mandatory while participating in Winter University. You will have to get health insurance on your own before leaving for Germany. If you have to visit a doctor here you’ll have to pay cash up front and will then get reimbursed by your health insurance at home.
 
 
Should I bring my medication from home or can I get any prescription drug in Germany?
 
Ask your doctor whether any prescription drugs you take might be available abroad. If you take a large amount of prescription drugs, obtain a statement from your doctor explaining why they are needed as well as a copy of the prescription with the scientific name. Make sure all medications, including over the counter products, are carried in their original containers. For prescription drugs, make sure your name appears clearly on the label to avoid any difficulties when going through customs. Please do NOT mail any prescription drugs to Germany. Customs will not allow them to enter the country under any circumstances but will destroy them instead.
 
 
If I decide to stay with a host family what exactly can I expect?
 
While participating in Summer University we offer accommodation
 
  • with host families (at least two people households, often with children)
  • in single households
  • or at student dormitories
 
We recommend accommodation with either host families or in single households. Advantages: We have met all hosts - families and single households - in person and have had very good experiences over the course of the years. In many cases the hosts have been offering their private homes for years to participating students and have shown outstanding hospitality.
 
Our hosts are actually representing German society: Small and larger families with toddlers and/or older school kids, singles, or apartment-sharing communities with two or more residents. As in real life we have young and older hosts, some of them smoking, some with pets, foreigners, working moms, single moms, and stay-at-home moms.
 
Please don’t expect to stay within walking distance to the university building. Especially families tend to live within the greater Stuttgart area and are willing to commute for up to 60 minutes on a daily basis.
 
Some hosts offer to accommodate more than one participant. In case you would like to stay with your friend in a private home, please let us know. We will try to plan accordingly.
 
We also try to meet your personal needs: In case you have special eating habits, similar hobbies, and interests, we will try to match you with similar hosts.
 
Unfortunately it isn’t possible to meet with all your requests, but please feel assured that we are trying our best to offer you accommodation according to all your needs and wishes. Even if we can’t offer the ‘perfect’ match, please give your hosts the chance to getting to know you. Living in private homes will offer you intercultural experiences that you won’t be able to make otherwise.
 
For more information: Living in a Host Family
 

If I decide to stay at a student dormitory what can I expect?

You can expect a medium-sized room which you don’t have to share with another student (male and female). The room has a bed, a desk, shelves, a closet and a washstand but no air-condition. Toilets, showers and the kitchen are on the same floor for common use (unisex!). In the kitchen you will be given a spot in the fridge and freezer for your food.

You will not be provided with towels, dishes, silverware, glasses and pots or pans. You’ll either have to make an arrangement with the other students in your kitchen or buy your own kitchen hardware.

As classes don't take place on campus please expect to commute for up to 30 minutes.

Will there be internet access available?

 
Please do not expect to have internet access around the clock, especially not at your host family’s house. For students staying at the dormitories, however, internet access will be available 24/7. There is a computer lab in the university building where your classes are held. You will be given a password upon registration with which you have access to the internet. The lab is open from 8 am until the end of your daily classes. Due to safety issues the last teacher leaving the building will have to lock the lab. Usually that will be around 4 pm (Fridays around 12:45), but depends on class schedules. So you will be able to surf and chat in breaks between the classes.
 
If you wish to use a computer during other hours, you will have to go to a commercial computer center. Please feel free to bring your own laptop but we do NOT have wireless access or LAN at our facilites.
 
 
What about drinking alcohol in Germany?
 
The drinking age in Germany for the lighter alcoholic beverages (beer and wine) is 16, for the heavier beverages (spirits, liquors, everything above 12.5% Alcohol) 18. Since you are older than 18 – and therefore an adult in Germany – we cannot keep you from drinking. Naturally, during your stay in Stuttgart, you want to explore the city’s night life and enjoy the good German beer and wine. Please remember that you are here not as a tourist but as a student representative of your university and maybe also a guest of your host family if you decide to stay in a private home. Therefore, do be careful with how much you drink and do not let it interfere with your studies or your host family’s life.
 
 
How is the food in Germany?
 
German food depends a lot on meat (mostly beef, pork and chicken), carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes) and vegetables (mostly salads and green vegetables like broccoli and zucchini). If you stay with a host family, please let them know in advance in case you have any allergies or special dietary needs.
 
 
What exactly is the absence policy?
 
We have a very strict absence policy. Daily participation is absolutely mandatory in order to get a certificate for the class. Please have in mind that Summer University is very intensive (135 hours = 13 ECTS) and you will also be able to get a lot of credits during a very short period of time. If you must miss a class, please inform your instructor and bring a medical note from a doctor in case you are ill. Please note that attendance, homework, daily preparation, and in-class participation are vital to your success in this course.
 
 
How do I obtain my credits?
 
Most participating institutions will give 9 credits for the German Language Course and 4 credits for the Subject Course. You are responsible for obtaining credit transfer yourself so please consult your Study Abroad and/or Faculty Advisor in good time.
The University of Stuttgart will supply your institution with a graded transcript at the end of the program.
 
 
How will I find out what German class I will be participating in?
 
There will be a general language placement test on the first day. You will then be placed in a class accordingly. Beginners, however, don’t need to be placed and can go directly to their classes on the first day of Summer University.
 
 
Is it possible to change my subject course?
 
As class sizes are limited to 18 students per class this depends mostly on how full the classes are. In general you can’t change after the subject classes have already started. Please make sure to let the course coordinator know at the latest upon registration day that you would like to switch classes. Although we try our best to grant every student his first choice subject course, sometimes it simply isn’t possible due to the limited class sizes.
 
 
Will my classes be on campus in Stuttgart Vaihingen?
 
As our regular students are still in class until the end of July in our building in Stuttgart South, Böblinger Str. 78E.
 
 
When do my classes start in the morning?
 
German classes will start at 8:45 am SHARP. As everything else in Germany, classes will start on time and will end on time, generally at 12:30. From 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm you will have a break to get lunch – either at the “Mensa” (cafeteria of the university) or at the shops nearby the university building where your classes will take place.
 
 
How do I move around Stuttgrt?
 
During your stay you will be provided with a public transportation pass from the Stuttgart bus and train system which allows you to travel freely in and around Stuttgart at any time.
Your classrooms will be right next to a subway.
In Stuttgart and Germany you don’t really need your driver’s license. The public transportation system is very good and has fair prices whereas rental cars are very expensive.
 
 
What about money and banking?
 
Probably the easiest way to handle money is with a widely accepted “check card.” If you have a debit card with a Visa or Master card symbol, you should be able to use it at ATMs in most European countries. If you have a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that is more than 4-digits, make sure to call your bank and have it changed to a 4-digit PIN (here, only 4-digit PINs are used). Also, contact your bank to ask about associated fees for withdrawing money from a bank outside your network.
 
A major credit card can be helpful in case of an emergency or to draw emergency cash advances. VISA and MASTER seem to be the most widely accepted credit cards, but other major credit cards are accepted as well.
 
Note: Although more and more stores – especially department stores – accept credit cards, many grocery stores and smaller shops do not. Therefore, always have some cash on you.
 
Banks in Stuttgart: e.g. BW Bank, Volksbank Stuttgart, Dresdner Bank.
Banks in Germany: e.g. Volksbank, Dresdner Bank, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank.
We would recommend you bring about 200 EUR with you to have some money to get started. Make sure that you have small bills for buying the first ticket for public transport.
 
By the way: The currency in Germany is the Euro or €. The Euro is also the currency in other European countries like Italy, France or Austria which makes traveling very easy within Europe.
 
 
How do I call home?
 
If you or your family and friends want to call Stuttgart use the following system:
++49 711 xxxxxx -> ++ = dialing code for a foreign country
49 = area code for Germany
711 = local dialing code (here: Stuttgart)
xxxxxxx = phone number (in Stuttgart 6-8 digits)
 
Regarding cell phones, there are four providers in Germany: Vodafone, T-Mobile, e-plus and O2. You can use their services here with your cell phone from home if you have a cell phone which works on GSM 1800 MHz and GSM 900 MHz, a so-called “tri-band cell phone”.
Those providers also have cheap offers for usage here (pre-paid starting at 15 EUR for a phone including 5 EUR credit)
 
 
Can I bring and use my electronic devices from home?
 
Germany’s electrical system runs on 220 Volts.

 

The plug looks like this:
The socket looks like this:

 

So you will need an adapter accepting your plug into the German socket.
Please make sure that the electric devices you bring with you work on 220 Volts and don’t melt or explode upon high-voltage contact.
 
 
How is the weather in Germany during Summer University?
 

See pre-departure guide.

 
Can I go shopping everyday?
 
Germany’s stores and shops might have different opening hours from what you’re used to. Grocery stores are generally open Monday through Saturday 8 am – 8 pm. The large department stores in downtown Stuttgart are open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 8 pm. Smaller stores like butchers or bakeries mostly open at 7 am and close at 7 pm Monday through Friday and are open until 1 pm on Saturdays. Some might be closed on Wednesday afternoons. All stores and shops – except gas stations – are closed on Sundays. If you are to arrive on a Sunday please make sure that you have what you need for the first day.
 
 
 
 
 
Living in a host family
 
When you are given the name and address of your host family (usually 1 month prior to the Winter University but it can be as late as 1 week before), please contact them immediately by e-mail, letter, phone or fax. Please do not wait until your departure because it is always good to get to know each other ahead of time. This is a good time to clear up questions, get to know the family, etc.
 
Communication: Some of our hosts speak English fluently but not all do. You are here to learn and speak German anyways. :-)
 
Internet access: Not all families have internet access but if they do, please make sure to talk to them about if and how you can use it.
 
Duties of student: Always remember: you are a guest and they are your hosts. Therefore, be nice and polite and take care of their property; be as quiet as possible when you come home late and keep your room tidy.
 
Duties of host family: Your host has to provide you with the things you need (i.e. a towel), with a key to their house and with food, namely breakfast on the weekdays and meals on the weekends. Talk to them if you would like to join them for dinner as well (maybe they would like to get to know your culture and you could cook one night yourself…).
 
Food: German food depends a lot on meat (mostly beef, pork and chicken), carbohydrates (pasta, potatoes) and vegetables (mostly salads and green vegetables like broccoli and zucchini).
If you have any allergies or special dietary needs, please let us and your host family know in advance so the diet can be adjusted.
 
Phone use: Most families will allow you to use their phone if you have a phone card which you can purchase in Stuttgart for about 5 €. Please be mindful to not occupy the phone for very long periods of time. The same goes for incoming calls: it’s of course alright to have your family contact you, but the calls should be limited to a healthy number.
 
Laundry: You can do your laundry at your host family’s house but please discuss with them how often you can use their washing machine. Some host families have a certain rhythm of doing their laundry and do not wish the washing machine to be used at all times.
 
Staying out overnight: If you decide to stay out overnight, please make sure to inform your host family. Otherwise, they might worry about your whereabouts.
 
Alcohol: Naturally, during your stay in Stuttgart, you want to explore the city’s night life and enjoy the good German beer and wine. Please remember that you are here not as a tourist but as a student representative of your university and as a guest of your host family. Therefore, do be careful with how much you drink and do not let it interfere with your studies or your host family’s life.
 
Guests: If you have friends or family who wish to visit your during your stay, make sure to ask your host family before you invite them to stay with you.
 
In general: Stay in touch with your hosts, talk to them about dinner plans, excursion plans or if you plan to stay out late.
If you have a problem, do not hesitate to talk to us and them. Usually, a solution can be found very quickly.