One of the most important words for students planning to study in Germany is Wohngemeinschaft (shared apartment or “WG” for short). These "living communities" are the most common form of accommodation for students, and they offer many benefits that rooming with a friend in the States doesn't.
If you're planning to Germany, here are five reasons why living in a WG might be the right choice for you.
- Living in a WG allows you to save money. Rent varies by location, size, and quality, but WG living is generally an incredibly affordable way to live. You can expect to pay between 300 and 400 euros per month in a large city, and significantly less in smaller cities.
- Living in a WG helps you to meet people. Although you can also choose a so called Zweck-WG, most WGs eat, socialize, and party together. Many even have themes based on the interests of the people living there. In general, living in a WG is one of the easiest ways to get to know people in your new city and grow your social network.
- Living in a WG helps you to improve your German. When you go out apartment-hunting, you'll generally find that German is a requirement as landlords are hesitant to rent to students who don't speak German. Fortunately, because you share the lease in a WG, landlords are generally more willing to rent to international students. WG life also is a great chance to really immerse yourself and learn everyday words that you're unlikely to in a classroom setting. If you insist from day one that everyone speak German to you (and remind your roommates when they slip up), you're almost certain to see quick improvement.
- Living in a WG means you don’t have to buy everything at once. Germany is a country where you can expect “four bare walls” when you move into a new flat. This means that the apartment will be unfurnished and your kitchen will likely be completely empty except for fixtures. Living in a WG allows you to avoid this; when you move it, the common areas of the house will be furnished. Many times, WGs are founded, and over the years people move in and out, leaving their things behind. Years later, none of the original residents are left, and a whole new group is eating off their plates.
- Living in a WG allows you to share responsibilities. This is especially important for recently-minted expats who might not be familiar with German customs. Living in a WG means that you have people more familiar with the system to help you along the way. You'll have common utility bills, and most WGs have an individual who is in charge of paying all the bills. This will help you to avoid many of the slip-ups that naturally come with living abroad.