During your stay
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Welcome to Darmstadt!
This section gives you an overview of the things you‘re required to do upon your arrival as well as fun and cultural things and events in and around Darmstadt!
Those of you who have been assigned a room in one of the residence halls run by the Studierendenwerk, will move into their rooms typically on 1 September, or 1 March in the morning. The details will be sent to you by email.
The rooms in the residence halls are rented out without betlinen and kitchenware so you will need to buy those. Typically, after you have moved in, our student assistants will go buy these things with you in the city center of Darmstadt.
On your move-in day, you will receive a confirmation saying that you moved into your room. This document is called “wohnungsgeberbestätigung“ – you need it to register your address with City Hall later, so please keep it!
If you found a private accommodation on your own, please agree on a move-in date with your landlord! Please ask your landlord to issue a confirmation saying that you moved into your apartment/room, a so-called “wohnungsgeberbestätigung“ – you need this document to register your address with City Hall.
2. Welcome and Orientation Days
Our Welcome and Orientation Days take place during the first two to three weeks in September and March, respectively. Our program includes:
- Administrative matters: information sessions on all the things you need to know (such as how things work at h_da, how to open a bank account, how to sign up for classes, how to apply for a residence permit etc.) & a welcome meetup at your department
- German language and culture: There will be pre-semester German classes as well as a workshop on intercultural awareness
- Fun activities: a welcome dinner, trips to other cities nearby (such as Marburg, Mainz, etc.), trips within Darmstadt, and many more
The exact program will be sent to you by email in due course.
3. Paying the semester contribution fee (overseas & Turkey)
To complete your enrollment as an exchange student at h_da, please make sure to pay the semester contribution at the cash desk in the C10 building in cash. You'll find the exact dates for this on Meetup.
(This does not apply to students from Europe, or the EEA respectively. Students from Europe/the EEA are required to pay the semester contribution by bank wirement before their arrival in Darmstadt/Dieburg, see here).
4. Registration with the city
Every German resident has to register with the city within the first two weeks after moving into a new room or apartment.
Most of you will be living in Darmstadt. We will go to Darmstadt City Hall togehter within the fist half of September, or March, respectively.
Those of you living in Dieburg, please make an appointment yourself. Once you receive the appointment, write us an email. If one of our student assistants is available, they will accompany you to the appointment.
In order to have your address in Germany properly registered, please make sure you bring the following documents with you on the day of the appointment:
- your passport / ID card
- a document confirming that you‘ve moved into your room / apartment by your landlord (called “wohnungsgeberbestätigung“)
Students who stay in one of the residence halls run by Studierendenwerk Darmstadt will be handed out a document confirming that they have moved in to their rooms automatically on their move-in day. The document is called "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung".
Students staying at a private apartment or a room in a flatshare need to ask their landlord or landlady to fill out the form for them.
Dowload the "Wohnungsgeberbestätigung" (see "Formulare“ box – the document is called "Anmeldeformular Wohnsitz").
Radio & TV fee
In Germany, every household has to pay a so-called broadcasting fee (“Rundfunkbeitrag“) to use the radio and the TV. The fee needs to be paid, even though you may not consume any German radio or TV. It is a little less than 20 euros per month. If you‘re living in a shared apartment, the fee will be divided by the number of people living in your apartment. If you live on your own, you have to pay the entire amount.
5. Opening a bank account
For those of you living in one of the rooms of the residence halls run by the Studierendenwerk, having a German bank account is necessary.
In some cases, having a bank account in the EU/EEA is enough – but please check back with the Studierendenwerk.
Other landlords too may prefer their tenants to have a German bank account, but please check back with your landlord.
To open a bank account in Germany, the following documents are typically required:
- an ID or passport
- a confirmation of your registration with City Hall
- an enrollment certificate
This means you will not be able to open a bank account before you have registered your address with City Hall and paid the semester contribution.
There are many banks in Darmstadt as well as online banks with very different conditions. Note that we‘re not allowed to recommend a specific bank to you, but we will discuss general options during our information session on how to open a bank account.
We do recommend choosing a bank that lets you withdraw money from the ATM for free and/or where the bank account comes with a debit card (called “EC-Karte“ or “Girocard“ in German), as this proves to come in extremely handy.
If you require a blocked bank account for your visa or residence permit as well, you may want to consider choosing a bank that offers both a regular bank account and a blocked bank account. It‘s not a necessity to have the two types of bank account with the same bank, though, so feel free to choose different banks for that.
6. German language and culture classes
During the months of September and March, we offer German language and culture classes:
German language classes
During our Welcome & Orientation Days, there will be pre-semester German classes which typically run for three weeks. We will also offer German classes throughout the semester. The classes are offered by the Language Center. For an overview of German classes, click here: https://sprachen.h-da.de/.
Even though some of you will be studying in English, we highly recommend learning some German. It‘s a nice feeling to be able to order a cup of coffee – eine Tasse Kaffee – at the café.
Everyone of us is wearing their culture-specific glasses through which they perceive other cultures. If you‘re interested in expanding your vision, attend our workshop on intercultural awareness!
my.h-da & OBS tutorials
h_da has two student management platforms - my.h-da and OBS ("Online Booking System"). Except for the Computer Science Department, all departments use my.h-da.de to sign up for classes and exams. The Department of Computer Sciences uses OBS. Watch the following tutorials:
In September and March, there is an info session on how to use my.h-da.de and OBS as well.
The exam periods for the different departments can be found here.
Moodle is h_da‘s e-Learning platform. Most lecturers use it to upload their study materials.
(Erasmus) Learning Agreement
Make sure you fill out your (Erasmus) Learning Agreement and have it signed within the deadline. Read our instructions! Please also send it to the Examination Office(s) that is/are in charge of you. They require it to issue an official transcript of records for you after you've completed your exchange semester.
Signing up for classes
The deadlines to sign up for classes are different from one deprtment to another. You will find them out during the Meet & Greet event at your department. The dates for the Meet & Greet events are posted on Meetup (see here for details on our Meetup group).
There will be a special Meet-and-Greet event at your department in September, and March, respectively. During the Meet-and-Greet event, the professor(s) in charge of international students at your respective department will welcome you to the department and tell you how things work at that department, which classes would be a good fit for you etc. The dates of our Meet-and-Greet events will be made available through the Meetup.
8. Campus Card & student account
After paying the semester contribution, you will receive
- your Campus Card (your student ID card and semester ticket / travel pass)
- a password to activate your h_da email account (you'll find the activation link further down)
The Campus Card and the password with which you will be able to set up your h_da email account will be sent to the International Office a few days after you have paid the semester contribution. Once h_da receives it, you will receive an email so you can collect if from our office.
With your Campus Card, you can:
- borrow books from the library
- use busses, trams and trains within the Rhine-Main (RMV) area (see below)
- rent bikes for free
- receive student discounts in movie theaters and other places
- use the laundry machine at the residence hall
- pay at the cafeteria / canteen
- have free entrance to Darmstadt Staatstheater (Darmstadt national theater)
Public transport travel pass/ticket
Your Campus Card is not just your student ID card, it‘s also your public transport travel pass (called Semesterticket) that lets you use almost any bus, tram and regional train in the RMV region (click “Übersichtskarte Geltungsbereich“ to see a map of all the places your Semesterticket is valid for).
9. Leisure-time activities
Studying is hard and we all need a break sometimes. Join us for one of our fun activities! There will be day trips to other cities in the Rhine-Main region or within Darmstadt and other fun activities such as playing board games, going climbing, playing sports, having a coffee at a nice coffee place and many more.
Our events will be announced on the App MeetUp and/or by email.
10. Registration for another semester
If you‘re staying for another semester, make sure that you pay the semester contribution for the second semester in time. This is necessary to keep your student status (and have a public transport ticket) for the next semester. It is particularly important that you pay the contribution in time if you’re in Germany on a visa or residence permit (or would like to apply for one soon).
The deadline by which the payment has been made and the exact amount (it may change very slightly from one semester to the next) can be checked here. Please bear in mind that as an exchange student, there is no administrative fee, so you pay 50 euros less than non-exchange students.Please send the money to:
Name of Bank Account Owner: Hochschule Darmstadt
IBAN: DE51 5005 0000 5093 4000 17
Explanation / Reference: [Your student ID (“matrikelnummer”) + name]
Should you not stay for another semester even though your were scheduled to stay with us for two semesters, please let us know as soon as possible.
If you have not been nominated for a second exchange semester by your home university but would like stay for another semester, you need to officially request for an extension of your exchange period.
Updating your Campus Card (Revalidation)
Once the fee is paid, you will be able to update your Campus Card with a new semester ticket – please use the so-called “validation scanners” on campus for this by help of which you will get the new dates printed on your card. Please note that it may take a couple of days before your money transfer is credited – so you should wait some time before using the printer.
Revalidation printers: Locations
- A10 - ground floor, sitting area next to staircase
- C10 – ground floor main corridor, opposite the restrooms
- C19 – in the foyer of the lecture hall building, next to the restrooms
- C23 - ground floor, foyer, left to the staircase
- D10 - first floor, foyer of the learning center, left to the single cubicle
- E10 - third floor, in the bistro, room 304, next to the pin board
- E30 - ground floor, room 0.41
- F11 - foyer of the cafeteria, next to the downward staircase
- F15 - in the hallway
- F25 - in the copy area of the library
You'll find a map with the exact locations here.
11. Visa extension & residence permit
If your visa does not cover the entire period of your stay with us, you‘ll need to request a so-called residence permit (“Aufenthaltserlaubnis“).
The following documents are required to request a residence permit at the Foreigner‘s Office Darmstadt (“Ausländerbehörde“):
- Residence permit request form (see the request form under "Formulare" and use our explanation on how to fill it out)
- copy in color of your ID document (the parts that list your personal details and your visa/entry stamp)
- an h_da enrollment certificate (“Immatrikulationsbescheinigung“; can be downloaded from my.h-da.de) ("Student Services" > "Reports")
- proof of your health insurance coverage during your stay in Germany
- proof of a blocked bank account proving 934€ per month (for at least 6 months) OR a scholarship confirmation (listing the monthly amount of your scholarship) or both if the sum of your scholarship is less than 934€ per month.
- this form filled out by your landlord/-lady (it is not the "Wohnungsgeberbescheinigung")
- a biometric picture (see regulations)
- requesting a residence permit costs about 115 euros
Please download our checklist for more detailed information on the several documents.
Architecture • Business (partly) • Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology • Civil and Environmental Engineering • Computer Science • Electrical Engineering and Information Technology • Mathematics and Natural Sciences • Mechanical and Plastics Engineering • Social Sciences
Business (partly) • Media
h_da's central library is located on the main campus. For more information, see here.
Open study spaces
Open spaces where you can study individually or in groups are located on the 4th floor of the C23 building (“Studierendenenhaus“). Opening hours are Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. through 10:00 p.m. (as of September 2022; opening hours may have changed).
13. Student jobs
You can also work during your stay, but you have to consider the following:
- Exchange students from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can work for an unlimited period of time (the same rules apply as for German students).
- Exchange students from all other countries can work up to 120 full days /240 half days per calendar year; the combination is allowed (freelance work is prohibited).
- Voluntary internships also fall under this regulation (compulsory internships do not count); if your internship or employment lasts longer than 120 days, the approval of the Foreigners' Registration Office (and, if applicable, the German Employment Agency) must be obtained before employment begins. This can take several weeks and might be rejected.
- According to the Foreigners' Registration Office, part-time student employment is not subject to the 120-day rule, but does require their approval.
- Exchange students without a visa (with the 90-day rule) are not allowed to work without a residence permit.
Further information on the website of the Foreigners' Registration Office Darmstadt
14. Medical treatment & doctors
As a student enrolled at h_da, you have either taken out a German statutory health insurance plan (if you're from overseas) or you have a European Healh Insurance Card (EHIC). Both things entitle you to receive medical treatment and seeing a doctor in Germany. Here you'll find more details on how to find a doctor, how to deal with medical emergencies and other relevant aspects:
This is the number to call if you or someone around you need an ambulance.
Finding a doctor
Here you'll find a pdf file listing doctor who besides speaking German know how to speak an additional language such as English, Romanian, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainan, Urdu or others.
15. Extension of exchange period
If you'd like to study wth us for another semester, but have not been nominated for the next semester, both your home university as well as the International Office of h_da need to agree:
- Ask your home university whether it is OK for you to extend your exchange semester (if you receive a grant, for example an Erasmus grant, ask them whether the grant will be paid for the additional semester as well).
- Forward your home university's email to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and wait for our reply
Please be mindful about the fact that you're required to pay the semester contribution again for your additional semester. The deadlines are: end of August for winter semesters and end of February for spring semesters. Please make sure that we receive your extension request at the end of June (for winter semesters), or at the end of December (for spring semesters). Please don't forgt to update your student ID card and public transport travel pass!
Psychological and social counseling
Studierendenwerk Darmstadt offers psychological and social counseling.
At Telefonsorge you'll find a phone number to talk to someone or you may chat with someone online (anonymously if you like). the website is in German, but some of the counselors will probably know how to speak English as well. In our NextCloud folder you'll find a video tutorial on how to set up an account.
If you need help in a legal affair, you may turn to: