As exciting as it was to finally get the university admit from Germany, leaving behind your friends and family is never going to be easy. Of course, you must be eager to meet new people, explore the new land, and soak up the new culture. But at the same time, the reality is that you are going to be alienated from the people you love and the hometown you grew up in. Moreover, you may need to make a whole lifestyle shift when you move to Germany.
There are a few things you can do to make this transition as smooth as possible. Let’s have a look at few of the practical things that you should take care before you leave your home country.
1. Bank accounts
Make sure all your bank accounts hold the ‘minimum balance’. If you forget this, it is most likely that you will lose a chunk of your money on ‘fall below’ fees.
If you have a salary account (zero-balance), it will be converted into savings account(with minimum balance X) after some time since no salary is being deposited. Again, you will lose money in this case if you do not maintain the required minimum balance.
If you can’t keep a bank account active, it is a good idea to withdraw all of your money and close that bank account.
If you are planning to use a bank account from Germany, make sure that internet banking service is active on that bank account.
2. SIM card
By default, International roaming will not be active on your SIM card. If you are planning to take the SIM card with you, call the customer service and activate the International roaming. If you have a postpaid plan, probably you will be able to do this on the online customer portal.
However, you are going to switch to a German SIM card once you arrive in Germany. So it is likely that you dump your old SIM card once you are in Germany. If you have a postpaid plan, it is a good idea to terminate it before you leave.
3. Other records
At this point, I would still like to remind you of these: make sure your income tax records are clean before you leave. You must also ensure that the things like your Health Insurances, Life Insurances, Provident Fund, Credit cards, Mutual Funds and other investments, Ownership of certain assets, Business Partnerships etc. are taken care. By doing this, you must ensure either (i) you can still manage these from abroad or (ii) delegate your authority to someone else in your home country or (iii) end/close it.
4. Education loan
Meet the bank manager and set up a plan to pay the monthly interest on your education loan.
Make a note of the procedure to get the next installments of your loan. Also, list of the documents to be produced to the bank (e.g. Semester Enrollment letter)
If you’ve not done already, you might want to take a Life Insurance on the education loan (to ensure the burden does not fall on your parents in case something happens to you). Again, you can discuss this with the bank manager.
5. Currency exchange
You need to have at least a dispensable amount of 1,000 euros with you when you land in Germany. Splitting this amount between cash and a prepaid card is a good idea.
Most of the credit/debit cards will charge you additional service fee or the higher conversion charges when you use them in Germany. So it is good to have money in a prepaid card instead.
Next, you need to find a good deal for currency exchange. For this, you can do the following (i) use this website-GetMeForex to get best available deals near your city. (ii) Contact dedicated Forex companies (e.g. FRRForex). (iii) Visit few banks, Western Union, Thomas cook etc. to find out the best exchange rate. Buy Euros.
Purchase a prepaid card and load it with at least half the amount of money you are planning to carry. Click here for the detailed procedure.
Apart from these ‘practical’ matters, you would surely want to ensure that few basic needs are also taken care.
6. Learn to cook
Cooking is going to be the single most important skill when you’re studying abroad.
In general, you will cook at least one meal of the day on your own. So start taking cooking lessons from your mom.
Learn a few variety of dishes which are quick and easy to prepare. For the rest, VahChef youtube videos will be your friend.
7. Do your shopping the right way
You will have approx. 70 kgs. allowance to wrap up all the stuff that you want to take. You need to be smart in deciding what’s necessary and more importantly, what’s unnecessary to carry.
Lastly, we all have our emotional sides. Leaving our homeland is going to create a void which is hard to fill. In this regard, the below points are important.
9. Eat whatever you want and if anyone tries to lecture you about your weight, eat them too!
Okay, this is a serious topic, especially if you are a foodie. You are going to miss everything from your favorite breakfast to your mom’s delicious dinner. Once you are in Germany, your food habits are going to change a lot. Eating with fork and knife becomes a common practice and you won’t reach out for water after your meal anymore. In the end, unless you are a good cook, you will have to settle for a bland food.
So take it easy on your diet for now. If you’re so serious about your fitness, you could start working out as soon as you land in Germany. But don’t miss out feasting on your favorite food when it is still possible.
10. Spend time with your family and get your personal things 'in order'
This is a no brainer. The major portion of your life till now was spent with your family. You are going to miss your parents and siblings badly. So spend as much time as you can with them. Most importantly, talk to them openly about your future plans. Address their concerns and get all your personal matters ‘in order’ before you leave. You will not get the opportunity to sit and talk with them for a long while. This is to ensure that no major personal/family concerns are going to bother you when you are 5,000 miles away from home.
11. Spend time with your best friend
If you are lucky enough to arrive in Germany with a friend alongside, that’s great. But otherwise, you will easily find yourself longing for a good friend. So you will surely miss the days spent with your best friend(s) when you are all by yourself. Take a few days off now and have some great time with your best buds. Do all the crazy shit that you wanted to do. Because your paths are going to diverge and this moment in time may never come again.
12. Hold your heart and say the final goodbye!
Goodbyes aren’t easy. Not only does your farewell go to the people closest to you but to all the thousand other things that were an integral part of your life till now. This farewell goes to your home country! You are never going to see your motherland the same again when you come back next time.
For now, sincerely thank everyone who is a part of your success on this journey and bid your final adieu.