C. Coming to Jena and getting started

show Content C 1. How and when do I apply for a dormitory?

Along with your admission letter, you will get an application form for housing in one of the dormitories run by the Studierendenwerk Thüringen. You can also download this application form from their website. Please keep in mind, that an application does not necessarily guarantee you a dormitory apartment or room. Furthermore, the Studierendenwerk Thüringen makes its decisions on the principle of first-come, first-served. Please be aware that applications for dormitories should be submitted as soon as possible after admission to the university. Applications later than July 31st will not be considered for placement. By the same token, do not apply earlier than April 1st.

Please note: The Studentenwerk will inform you themselves once a place has been found for you. In this case, please accept their offer immediately, even if the dormitory does not meet your expectations completely. You can move after your first semester, but due to a shortage of dormitory places, a rejection of, or no reaction to their offer will leave you without a home.

show Content C 2. What does the Abbe School of Photonics scholarship cover?

There is a limited number of Abbe School of Photonics scholarships for international students of the Master of Science in Photonics program. The Abbe School of Photonics full scholarship includes a stipend of up to 860 Euro per month. The scholarships are granted by the State of Thuringia. It covers (a part of) your living expenses in Germany.

Your scholarship will be transferred to your German bank account after your arrival. Unfortunately, it is not possible to receive any financial support before your arrival. You will receive your scholarship rate for the first 3 months a few days after the enrollment procedure.  

show Content C 3. What are my financial options as a self-funded student?

Generally, proof of sufficient financial resources must be given when international students apply for a visa at a German diplomatic representation abroad or for a residence permit at the Immigration Office (Ausländerbehörde), which will enable the applicant to pursue university studies without financial hardship. Sufficient financial resources must cover your study costs as well as your daily needs.

If you would like to find a student job, please also take into consideration that you will be limited in your opportunities to work. International students usually do not have a work permit and without this, international students are only allowed to work for a limited time with a student visa. If you are from a non-EU country, you will be allowed to work 120 full days per year or 240 half-days. In any case, if you are studying in a foreign country it is not a good idea to be dependent on a job from the very start of your studies just to cover your basic needs. Furthermore, knowledge of the German language is important for working in Germany. If your funds are limited, we suggest that you apply for another scholarship (e.g. DAAD, scholarships from your home country, etc.) or to find other sources of funding.

show Content C 4. Are there financial requirements for my Visa-application?

For your visa you need to prove that you have sufficient financial resources for your studies. You will receive specific instructions when you apply for your visa at the appropriate consulate or embassy. However, here are 4 ways to provide such proof:

  1. You receive a scholarship and provide proof of it.
  2. If you can cover your living expenses with your own funds (e.g., savings), you can provide proof of this with an account statement, for instance. Your bank or embassy should normally accept a bond.
  3. You may also submit a letter of financial support from a person you know, e.g., family member or friend, which declares that this person will financially support you.
  4. In some exceptional cases, the German embassy or consulate may require a specified amount to be paid into a blocked access bank account so as to ensure financial security for the initial period of the applicant's stay in Germany. You remit a default amount at a German bank. The bank will block this credit voucher for your stay abroad. During your stay you will have access to this money. Please note that the Abbe School of Photonics is not allowed to assist you with opening such an account.

You can find more information about the living expenses in Germany here.

show Content C 5. Is it necessary to have a German health insurance?

All students in Germany are unexceptionally required to have a health insurance that meets the requirements of German law. Students are required to be insured at a German statutory health insurance carrier from the first day of their first semester (i.e., beginning October 1st for winter term; regardless of date of arrival). The university will not accept any private travel or emergency insurances as proof of insurance. There is a reduced student fee, which generally applies to all students under 31 years of age. Different regulations apply for students over 31 or with children (contact your coordinator). Abbe School of Photonics will assist you to find a suitable health insurance upon your arrival.

If you are a citizen of the European Union and have a health insurance in your home country, you should ask your health insurance for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or the form E 111.
Please note: Your journey to Jena and the days before your enrollment will not be covered. We strongly advise you to take out a travel insurance policy.

show Content C 6. When should I arrive in Germany?

We offer a presessional intensive German language course starting at the beginning of September. Participation is highly recommended. This is the best preparation for studying here, since you have enough time to learn the basics of the language of your new home country, meet new friends, and get to know Jena and Germany. The personal enrollment for this course takes place in the last week of August. If, for some reason, you are not able to participate in the language precourse, you are expected to arrive by the end of September at the latest, since our program starts with two mandatory presessional courses in Mathematics and Physics during the first weeks of October.

However, enrollment at the university is not possible before the last days of September/ beginning of October.

show Content C 7. How can I travel to Jena?

There is no international airport in Jena. You will most probably arrive in Frankfurt, Leipzig, Munich, or Berlin.

  • From Frankfurt: There are high-speed trains (ICE) running hourly from Frankfurt-Airport or Frankfurt Central Station to Erfurt or Weimar, where you can change to a regional train to Jena (approx. travel time: 3.5 to 4 hours).
  • From Leipzig/Halle: There are two possible train connections from Leipzig/Halle Airport to Jena.
    • via Leipzig: Take a regional train to Leipzig and then change to a high-speed train (ICE) to Jena (approx. travel time 1:45 hours).
    • via Halle: This connection uses regional trains only and runs via Halle and Großheringen to Jena (approx. travel time 1:45 hours).
  • From Berlin: Take the shuttle bus or S-Bahn (tram) to Berlin Central Station. From here there are hourly high-speed connections to Jena (approx. travel time: 3 hours)
  • From Munich: Take a local train or shuttle to Munich Central Station. During the daytime, there are hourly high-speed connections from Munich to Jena (approx. travel time: 4-5 hours)

To find a suitable connection, please check the website of Deutsche Bahn. You can also ask travel agencies for support.

If you wish to be assisted by a student mentor, please register here. This way, you have the chance of arranging for your mentor to pick you up from the train station in Jena.

show Content C 8. Will I get any further help, once I am in Jena?

Of course, you will!

You will be provided with all kinds of helpful and important tips and information before you arrive in Jena. Furthermore, one of our mentors will get in touch with you to help you with your preparations. If you would like to be supported by a student mentor at the beginning of your stay in Jena, please register here. Your student mentor will assist you with all necessary steps in the first few weeks after your arrival, and your coordinator will organize orientation weeks for you to help you getting started, meeting your fellow students, and preparing yourself for your classes.

Last but not least, our professors, teachers, and students are also here to help you to cope with your prospective studies - a strong and supportive community is awaiting you in Jena!

We look forward to welcoming you!

show Content C 9. COVID-19 related information