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How to navigate life in Frankfurt as a master's student: Tips and tricks
Master of Finance / 19 February 2024
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Master of Finance Class of 2025
Lusine Afrikyan is a Master of Finance student at Frankfurt School. Before starting at Frankfurt School, she graduated from the American University of Armenia.

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Hello there! I’m Lusine Afrikyan, originally from the beautiful country of Armenia, and I am now embarking on my Master of Finance journey here in Frankfurt alongside my husband and our loyal dog. Transitioning to a new country is a bold step filled with unexpected twists and turns. I aim to shed light on those twists and share insights to smooth out the turns, especially when it comes to finding a place you can call home.

Home hunting

Securing a place to live in Frankfurt can be a puzzle, especially when you’re planning your move from miles away. The options are there: student dorms, shared flats, or your own apartment. Each has its charm and its challenges.

We needed space for our little family, so we opted for our own apartment. Here’s a little nugget of advice: use your network. Friends, university connections – they’re lifesavers. For those leaning towards student dorms, especially ones tailored for FS students, act swiftly. They’re convenient and close to campus but in high demand. They cost around €600-700 per month.

If sharing a flat is more your style, dive into your cohort’s pool of Facebook and WhatsApp groups. Connect with fellow students looking to team up and split the cost, typically between €400-500 a month.

Renting an apartment solo or with your family involves navigating a competitive market. Websites like Immobilienscout24 are your digital compass in this quest, but remember, the competition is fierce. It’s wise to start your search 4-5 months in advance. If you’re looking for a space for two, like we were, brace yourself for the budget – the cost is around €1000-1200.

Keep in mind the distinction between ‘cold rent’ (Kaltmiete) and ‘warm rent’ (Warmmiete). Cold rent refers to the base rent of the apartment, while warm rent includes additional costs like utilities, heating and even waste disposal services. So, when you’re budgeting for your new home, consider the warm rent to get a realistic picture of your monthly expenses.

Also, tread carefully when it comes to furnished apartments. The photos might showcase a well-decorated space, but it’s essential to read the listing details. Sometimes, the furniture belongs to the previous tenant, who might be willing to sell it to you for a substantial sum. If not, you might find yourself starting from scratch, purchasing everything from kitchen essentials to the smaller furnishings that make a house feel like a home.

Munching and budgeting

Let’s talk about the cost of eating and grocery shopping in Frankfurt. If your taste buds are leading you to restaurants, know that it’s a pricey affair. A meal for two can set you back €30-50, and a coffee break can cost anywhere from €2-5.

For daily groceries, stores like Lidl and Aldi are your budget-friendly allies, while Rewe and Edeka offer a wider range but at a higher cost. Tip: catch the weekend discounts and explore local markets for fresh produce. And remember, Sundays are quiet days here – shops close their doors.

If you’re mostly cooking at home and occasionally treating yourself to a restaurant meal, your monthly food budget might land between €300-500.

Essential expenses: Insurance, Residency Permits, and more

In Germany, staying covered is key. Health insurance is a must, and for us international students, options like Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) are a godsend, especially with their English-speaking staff and easy online processes. If you’re moving with your spouse, the good news is they get covered under your plan at no extra cost.

Remember, securing your residency permit is crucial, and involves a fee of approximately €130.

Don’t forget about the unique ‘TV tax,’ a mandatory monthly fee of €18 whether you use these services or not.

Transport is an integral part of student life. Your FS student card is more than just an ID; it’s your pass to explore. For roughly €240, you get 7 months of travel within Hessen. Want more? You can upgrade your pass to roam across Germany, adding a touch of adventure to your academic endeavours.

Frankfurt: Your gateway to European wonders

Frankfurt’s central location is perfect for those looking to explore. Cities like Paris, Luxembourg and Brussels are just a short trip away. Within Germany, destinations like Heidelberg, Cologne and Munich are easily accessible for weekend getaways or day trips.

In summary

Navigating life in Frankfurt is a journey unique to each individual. The cost of living and experiences vary based on personal preferences and lifestyle choices. It’s essential to research thoroughly and plan according to your needs and budget. From finding a place to live, managing daily expenses, ensuring you’re covered for essentials, to embracing the adventure of European travel, your time in Frankfurt is yours to shape. This vibrant city offers a rich tapestry of experiences, waiting for you to make it your own.

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