Studying in Germany – The terms you need to know!

German universities have their own language. If you are interested in studying in Germany or already study here, you have probably come across some recurring terms. We selected five terms to prepare you for the upcoming semester! 🎓 

1. Das BAföG 💶

"BAföG" stands for "Bundesausbildungsrderungsgesetz". It can be translated as the Federal Law on Support in Education. The "BAföG" regulates the financial support for students. The intention of those student loans is that everybody can afford to study regardless of their financial status. However, half of the state subsidy must be repaid after graduation. 

Students from abroad can also receive "BAföG" if they have already been in Germany for awhile or plan to stay for a longer period of time. 

2. Die Matrikelnummer 📂

In Germany, every student is assigned to an individual number by his or her university - the "Matrikelnummer". "Matrikel" is derived from the Latin word "Matricula" and means list or register. This number is printed on the student ID card. It allows the university administration to identify each student. You usually need your student ID number when taking exams.

3. Der AStA 📢

"AStA" is the abbreviation for "Allgemeiner Studierendenausschuss". The "AStA" is the executive body of the student body and represents the interests of the students towards the university, the federal state and the public. The "AStA" is composed by the student parliament, which is usually elected once a year directly by the students, and forms the student government of the university.

4. Das Prüfungsamt 📝

The "Prüfungsamt" is responsible for all examinations of the students. For example, if you want to register or hand in your thesis, you usually do that at the examination office of your university. The examination office documents the results of every exam and issues the transcript of records after you finished your studies.

5. Die Mensa 🍽️

The term "Mensa" (from the Latin word for "table, board") referrs to the dinning hall for students and all university staff. In Germany, dining halls at universities are co-financed by student fees. Therefore, the meals are usually very affordable (about 4 euros per meal). Therefore, even students with little income can have lunch at their university. For most students, the "Mensa" is an integral part of their daily routine: 73 % of german students eat here regularly.

In Germany, the summer semester starts on the first of April, we wish all new and ongoing students a good start!

You want to improve your german skills? Learn german with Carl Duisberg and attend one of our German courses.