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Germany

Overview of Germany

■ Housing

Unfortunately, housing in Germany is one of the major challenges. Sometimes, it can be very annoying because Germany's universities do not automatically allocate a room when you register for your course.
One of the best accommodations you can find is provided by The Studentenwerke. This organization offers around 181,000 places for student accommodation all over Germany. There you can find cellars for bicycles, washing machines and most of the time a cheap internet access.
There are also other types of housing. You can have your own apartment, but it can be very expensive, and you might have to pay a big deposit. You can also find shared flats which should cost from 150 to 350 euros per month.
Finally, there is the option of staying at a guest houses or at student hotels.

■ Transportation system

Germany has a very developed and efficient railway system. High-speed trains called ICE connect cities for passenger travel with speeds up to 300 km/h. Also, many German cities have rapid transit systems and public transport is available in most areas.

■ Shopping

Shopping in Germany may be expensive but you can always find cheap stores or bargains around the corner. As for the payment, you should know that not every store or restaurant will accept credit cards. Don’t worry as you will always find an ATM (Geldautomat) in big stores and shopping centers but it’s wiser to carry cash with you.
Germany doesn't have malls as in the United States for instance, but it has "hyper-stores" such as Real, Kaufland and Globus Handelshof with wide range of products including groceries, household goods, beverages, pet supplies, clothing... Then there are "discounters" such as Aldi and Lidl.

■ Cuisine

Food has always been a major part of German culture. German food is rich, substantial and delicious, and each region has its traditional cuisine. Here are some classics of German cuisine: apfelstrudel (apple strudel), eintopf (traditional stew), kasespatzle (german noodles), kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes), rote grutze (red fruit pudding), brezels…

Where to find cheap food ?
Food in Germany is usually pretty cheap, so you can buy something from street vendors for around 3/4EUR, or sandwich and other fast-food from 5/6EUR.

■ Culture

Germany has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, religious and secular. Each region has its own traditions and dialects. Germany used to rule over a great part of Europe, thus its culture influenced the other neighbor countries. Major religious beliefs are Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%.
Germany is also known as being the home country of the some of the most famous classical composers such as Bach, Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Wagner...

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