YA SOS: Practicalities

The move itself
If you´re flying out, make sure to double-check the airline regulations. For example, Easyjet allow you to buy an extra bag, but it does not entitle you to an extra 20kg. If you are travelling with someone, you can spread the collective weight (so for 2 people 40kg) between the bags, but airport regulations state that the maximum weight baggage handlers are allowed to lift is around 30kg.

Seeing a doctor
Make sure you bring your EHIC card with you. You will generally have to pay a 10€ fee or Praxisgebühr each quarter. You should be able to claim this back off of the NHS. Any treatment received will also cost. Unlike the British system, there aren’t really GPs – there is something called a Hausartz, so if you’re suffering from the sniffles, then they’re the person to see. Otherwise, you will need to find the relevent specialist. As you’re pretty much left to your own devices when it comes to choosing a doctor, the best bet is to talk to colleagues to find out if there are any horror stories floating about for certain practices.

Another thing to bear in mind is that some doctors are more open-minded to alternative medicine, which whilst not always clinically proven to work, is often cheaper and may help alleviate symptoms. Another alternative is to locate a Heilpraktiker.

Sundays
This is the day where nothing is open. No doctors, no shops, no supermarkets, nothing. Which is quite a pain when your arm’s hanging off and you need to see a doctor. This is when you need to call the Notartz, or out of hours doctor. You will have to pay a 5€ call out fee and make sure to ask for directions to the nearest pharmacy with Notdienst, or you won’t be able to get your presciption until the next working day.

Bank accounts
Debit cards are called “EC-Karte” and you have to print off your statement each month yourself (either online or from a machine in the bank itself), otherwise you will be charged a small fee for the cost of sending it to you via post.

Buying a Handy
In order to buy a SIM card (SIM Karte) here you will need to show ID and give a German address. If you’re staying with a friend, you can give that address. After purchase, it will take a maximum of 48 hours to be “freigeschaltet” or activated. Tchibo offers cheap tarrifs and if you have a German bank account, you can register online (German bank account required) and topup via the interweb. Otherwise you simply go into the nearest Tchibo branch and tell them that you’d like to buy Guthaben (credit) for your Handy.

Monthly travel card
Travel in Munich (and possibly Bavaria in general) can be quite expensive. If you want to buy a student travel card, you need to take along you QMUL ID, your Anmeldebescheinigung, and the letter from your uni confirming you’re on your Year Abroad / compulsory work placement. These are only worth buying at the beginning of the month, because they are valid not from when you buy them, but on a monthly basis.

Bahncard
If you’re planning on travelling around a fair bit by train, it’s probably worth buying one of these. There’s the Bahncard25, which gives you a 25% discount, and provided you show them your QMUL ID, you pay the student rate and get about 10€ knocked off the price. There’s also a Bahncard50, which costs a fair bit more, but if you’re dead certain that you’ll be travelling around a hell of a lot, then go for it.

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