Student life in Germany
Hitting the books in a treehouse
Not much money, but ready to move out of their parents’ house: most German university students dream of a place of their own. Many have come up with imaginative solutions to work around the high rents in university towns.
By Claudia Isabel Rittel
Life in a dorm
Irene lives in a university dormitory in Mainz. Every prospective student was guaranteed a spot in a dorm as they started their programmes, though not everyone got the hall they requested. Medical student Irene now shares a flat with another student. “We have got everything we need here,” she says. The flats are furnished with a flat rate for utilities and other costs. “And there are fun activities every week, like the student bar, which is a great place to meet people.”
Among the leaves
For the summer of 2018, Lili built herself a treehouse four meters above the ground in Freiburg where she attends university. She furnished it with a large bed, a desk and a small cupboard with two hotplates. “It is a really great feeling and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything,” she says. The environmental studies student looks out into the green forest through six windowpanes. A small terrace holds a washbasin with a composting toilet beneath. For a hot shower she visits the public pool or her old flat share.
A home of their own
Philipp and girlfriend Ivonne bought his parents’ 159 -square -meter home in Cologne at the end of 2015. They let two of the four rooms to earn enough to cover the mortgage. It’s not always easy and some students would be put off by the some 15 kilometres to campus. Philipp und Ivonne don’t mind though. “We love having all this space and peace and quiet,” Philipp says, “and a comfy hammock in the garden in the evening.”
A mini-house of her own
Lisa Maria chose a trailer for her own four walls. In just 20 square metres, she has everything she needs: a bed, kitchen, bathroom, washing machine, oven and dishwasher. The spike in rental prices in recent years was the impulse for the tiny-house project she vlogs about. Now the philosophy student has her own little home near Karlsruhe for just 35,000 euros. As soon as she can purchase a plot of land, she plans to move the tiny house there and hook her home up to the water and electricity lines.
Sharing a nest
In Mainz’s new town, aspiring solicitor Tessa lives with her boyfriend Andrej. They struggled to find an affordable flat to share, so she moved in with him into a flat he had taken over from a friend – complete with an old, affordable rental contract. Now they share the 45-square-meter space and pay 500 euros without utilities. Tessa says her old 28-square-metre flat in a student dorm was comparatively quite expensive at 420 euros including utilities.
In a flat share
For six years now Niklas has lived in a flat share on the outskirts of Cologne. His parents offered to let him have the house provided he could cover all the costs. The five flatmates share around 200 square meters and a large garden. “Flat sharing in such a large space is really great. Everyone has enough space to do what they like without bothering the others,” Niklas says. “I cannot imagine living in a tiny flat.”