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Hamburg Welcome Center is the first point of contact for new residents – whether they come here from other parts of Germany or other parts of the world. It provides free information about accommodation, studying in Hamburg, cultural experiences and much more.

Since Hamburg is a very popular city to live in, finding an (affordable) place to stay is not the easiest thing to do. You should therefore start looking for an accommodation as soon as possible.

Many students live in "Studentenwohnheime" (dorms), and most share a flat with one or more other students in "WGs" (shared apartments). You can of course try to find a place on your own, but this will much likely be more expensive, and only rarely are apartments offered fully furnished. Many people – especially students that also spend some time abroad – sublet their apartments for a short period (often a few months to a year, called "Zwischenmiete"). This might be a good option for an exchange student who is only looking for a place during the semester abroad.

If you want to live at a dorm, we recommend you apply online at least three to four months before the planned start of your stay.

For more tips on how to find a place in Hamburg, please check out our collection of helpful links.

Unfortunately, Hamburg is not the cheapest city, but in comparison with other metropolises such as London, Copenhagen or New York, it is relatively inexpensive to live here. When you want to spend your semester abroad in Hamburg, you have to consider many different costs that might come your way: accommodation, health insurance, living expenses, transportation, food and drink, or maybe a weekend trip to other European cities.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has composed a small abstract about the living costs per month that you can expect when living in Germany, and we have adjusted that to Hamburg. Of course the costs vary individually and might be a lot higher depending on your standard of living – but the chart may at least give you an overview and estimation of what to expect. 

Accommodation300–500 €
Food200 €
Clothes50 €
Other*110 €
Health Insurance65 €
Internet, Phone35 €
Free time, Culture, Sports70 €
Total Costs830–1.030 €

*e.g. working material, transportation

The best way to get around in Hamburg is to use the well-developed public transportation system called HVV ("Hamburger Verkehrsverbund"), which includes subway ("U-Bahn"), trains ("S-Bahn"), busses and even some ferries. Students from abroad that stay for a whole semester will receive a "HVV SemesterTicket", which will allow them to use all available transportation possibilities within the city.

Here are some tips for your stay in Hamburg:

  • Please always check the terminal of each train carefully. For example, the two stations "Ohlstedt" and "Ohlsdorf" are in opposite directions and are not to be mixed up.
  • All subways and trains leave almost every 5 to 10 minutes, so there is no need to rush.
  • During the week, the train service operates until midnight. Sometimes it is about 30 minutes longer (at the latest). There are some so-called "night buses", but the service is very limited, so it is best to use the last train to get back home. On the weekend the train service can be used all night.
  • On the website of the HVV you can find all necessary timetable information to discover how to get from A to B. You only need to know your location and the destination. The website is available in English. There is also a HVV app for iOS and Android that can be used to find the best connections.
  • Your SemesterTicket also allows you to use some of the ferries that operate at the harbor. For example, you can take the ferry to Finkenwerder (line 62) and back to "Landungsbrücken" – a nice and cheap alternative to a harbor boat tour.
  • On most of the busses you have to show your valid ticket before entering, therefore you can only get on the bus through the front door.

Germany has many other beautiful places to visit, so when you spend your semester abroad in Hamburg, you should use one of your free weekends to go and get to know the new country you live in. Berlin is only a 1 ½-hour train ride away, the North Sea and the Baltic Sea can be reached within a few hours, and Bremen, Lübeck and Lüneburg are also reachable within under 2 hours – to name only the nearest hot spots.

Depending on where you want to go, there are often many possibilities to get there. You can go by train, by bus, by plane or even get a lift from another person who wants to go where you want to go ("Mitfahrgelegenheit"). To travel as cheaply as possible, you should plan ahead. In our collection of helpful links you can find some tips for traveling within Germany.

If you are planning to study at NBS and are not sure whether you are prepared well enough for the Germans and the German learning culture, we recommend the "prepcourses" that aubiko e. V. offers. More information can be found in the attached document.