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Ultimate Female Packing List for Study Abroad in Germany

study abroad in Germany

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Taking a year out from your studies is a fantastic way to break from your routine, bulk out your CV, and do something extraordinary that will change your outlook on everything.

Germany is a great place to study abroad, with it’s amazing winter markets, and fun filled Oktoberfest — there is no place like it. A good thing to remember is that you will have a fixed place to stay; you don’t need to cram it all into a 30L backpack. You have the freedom to have a 20kg suitcase and a carry on as well. You can also pick up things while you are there, but while most things are readily available, there are some things you will want to bring with you instead.


Weather in Germany can be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter (-20C in the south brrr!) so it is important to pack for both, if you are staying through all seasons. Also German girls don’t tend to go out there in terms of fashion. Jeans are an absolute staple of German girls wardrobe as they are good all through the year.

Finally, clubs are no exception to the usual dress code rules, there is no need to wear the hot mini dresses that you might back home.

8 x Assorted tops – both vest tops and long sleeved.
2 x Jeans
2 x Leggings
4 x Skirts and shorts
2 x Thick Jumpers or Hoodies
1 x Good warm winter scarf, hat and gloves
14 x Underwear – because you only want to do the washing once a fortnight.
4 x Bras
1 x Small bag with a zip – In Germany it is illegal to not have your passport on you at all times so it’s good to know that it is somewhere safe. Also it’s a cash economy so you’ll be carrying large sums of cash with you. Even German bank cards are not accepted everywhere.
1 x Super Warm Coat – Parkas are great.


In Germany, flats are the way, in particular Converse. You will see women all over Germany wearing Converse, at all times, as I previously mentioned even in clubs, so there is no need for heels.

1 x Winter boots – make sure they are waterproof so you can keep out the snow.
1 x Ballet pumps – for everyday wear.
1 x trainers – Converse if you want to blend in.


Toiletries in Germany are cheap and available almost anywhere, but what you should note is that medicines that are cheap and readily available in your home country may not be there. It is pretty standard all over continental Europe that all medicines, including Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, are only available in pharmacies which have limited opening times, and are expensive. Unless you are particular about a product you use you should be able to find alternatives in Germany except:

Tampons with applicators – for those not used to the DIY methods. {Editor’s note: Try the Diva Cup instead.}
Medicines – in particular pain killers and cold and flu medication, and anything else you are fond of.

Tech Gear

Just think of everything that you need and use back home, in particular.

Laptop netbook – would do just fine as long as it has Microsoft Office to write those essays on.
Kindle – to use the internet anywhere and download English language books in a breeze.
Camera – to make everyone back home jealous.
Adaptors – remember the European adapters are two round prongs.


If you are not from the EU then you have to make sure that you have all your visas and stuff in order before coming.

Passport and Visas
Sleeping bag – can be a good idea so that you have something to sleep in immediately before you get settled.
Food – bring a something from home that you know you can’t live without. It will help you get over homesickness. I brought Ribena back with me.

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Written by Georgina

George is a 20-something hitchhiker, solo female traveller and cunning linguist, currently teaching in Kyushu, Japan. She circumnavigates the globe and teaches languages to all those in her wake. She has travelled Europe and Oz extensively, and has taught languages in 6 different countries and counting. Her blog is a mix of language learning, TEFL tips and general travel tales. Follow her journey at George on the Go or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Alex @ ifs ands & Butts says

    Pretty great list!

    The only thing I’d say is I’d leave the sleeping bag at home bc you can get sheets/blankets in Germany so dang cheap. Oh, and a purse that you don’t worry about pick pockets with (goes for everywhere in Europe, obviously).

    Could not agree with the tampon thing more, everytime I go home or have a visitor I make sure to stock up.

    • George says

      ah yes, those applicators. Definitely for a purse especially when you have your passport on you. The sleeping bag is only for the first couple of day until you get settled, if you arrive late at night you won’t be able to go shopping so it’s nice to know you have something to sleep in straight away.

  2. Jessica says

    I actually studied in Germany for a year, and this is a pretty solid list but I wanted to add more tips. Heels definitely weren’t needed, and were dangerous with all the cobblestone, but there were nice dinner where I felt underdressed without them- you might want one pair, particularly if you have a host family who likes fine dining. But mostly, bring BOOTS! Once it starts raining, younger Germans wear boots everywhere. They told me they knew I was an American because I was always wearing vans in the cold so I bought boots there. Also there’s no sales tax and places like Zara that are more expensive here are pretty cheap out there so keep that in mind if you really feel like blending in. Warm clothing stores like jack wolfskin that are local to Germany are great at keeping the heat in and the cold out- better than a lot of American brands so maybe save space and just buy those there, and then you’ll really blend in!

    • Theresa says

      There is a sales tax in Germany, it’s 19% for most products. But it is already included in the price on the price tag, so especially people from the US don’t realize they pay a lot more taxes than they would at home.

  3. Barbara says

    Since I’m from germany (and lived in the USA as well), i have some tips too.
    First: not all girls wear converse. I find them inappropriate at all times and dont own any, neither do my friends! Converse wearing people are mostly anti-everything nice and pretty. If you want to be anti-capitalism and pro “dont wash your hair daily and shave”, go ahead and wear converse lol. (At least that’s how i see it.. Heehee)
    Flat heels are fine for everyday, and only few citys really have a lot of cobblestone streets.
    Second: My husband and me joke about how you can recognize an american in fall or winter by looking at their feet: american girls (at least when they’re tourists here in munich) seem to wear flipflops all the time. Unless it’s not really hot-it’s better to go with the ballet pumps over here, because flipflops seem a bit too casual.
    Third: The stores and places I shop at ALL accept all kinds of cards (the only one not common and accepted is american express) So dont worry about having to carry hundreds of euro in cash with you πŸ™‚ 40-50€ will do for small everyday purchases.
    Forth: bring your short dresses and heels if you plan to go out! Bars are casual but clubs def. need dress up (and as a girl you have to Dress up from time to time!:-))
    Anyway, great list, maybe i will think of some other things to complete this list.

    • George says

      I wonder maybe where you are from, because I was staying in a small town and so NOONE wore a dress to a club (and yes everyone wore converse) I guess it depends where you are from.

      Also carrying around 40€ seems A LOT to a British girl like me. We carry approx 30p on us at all times, and pay for everything on our cards. I guess it is just perspective.

      A flat heel is also no what we call heels.

      Thanks for the help though. Good comments

  4. Heike says

    OMG, do we German Girls really look THAT underdressed?! πŸ™ I must agree with Barbara and stress, that if you plan to go out at some point during your stay in Germany you might want to bring that little black dress of yours. Even if you wouldn’t expect it: We hide some of those in the back of our closets, too. πŸ˜‰ Sure, as a student and on campus grounds no one expects you to look like you’re headed straight for the runway. But as Barbara mentioned, there are some occations that require a little bit of dressing up. Besides partying at the club and fine dining there are trips to the theatre (meaning drama or opera – Not the movies ;))and Family celebrations as well as holidays to think about. Of course shopping is always an option and if you stick to well-known, internatonal stores like Zara’s, paying with your credit card won’t be a problem. My advice woud be: when you arrive at your German destination take a walk through. the town and do some window-shopping: You will see signs in the windows, on the doors or close to the cashier’s desk telling you which cards are accepted. Usually paying with credit at the grocery store shouldn’t be an issue but small shops (e.g. the local bakery), cafes an bars might not offer the same service. By the way: You should definitely taste the German bread! Germany is said to have the widest variety of breads and buns in the whole World! πŸ™‚ (I might spill a national secret here, but actually our cuisine is not so much about sausage after all… ;))
    And one more thing: if you can’t get used to using tampons without an applicator, checl out the pharmacies! You might get these special toiletries there! πŸ™‚

    • George says

      Wow great advice. I didn’t go to the theatre or out fine dining which is why I guess I never wore a dress. I used to dress up to go clubbing but always got funny looks, and everyone else was wearing jeans, t-shirt and converse.

      I did find it hard to pay on card (not in big shops but local shops, my supermarket was not big) and that is why I recommend carrying around cash. Also because ATMs are not all that common, or charge you if you don’t use a specific one, something we are not used to in the UK.

  5. Alice says

    Heike,the same thought crossed my mind too-do we Germans really make that kind of impression?!:)
    I must admit I do own a pair of converses and (even two) I like the many possibilities have comparing them with different outfits and how they can make an formal outfit look more casual…overdressing is as bad as underdressing ladies;)

    • Alice says

      but I would never wear them to a club! I think it really depends where in Germany you’re staying…and even which subject you’re studying! Girls of the economics department look different than girls wanting to become a teacher. For me dressing up started when I was little and never truely ended;) so don’t forget your partydress and your heels when heding to Germany;)

  6. Lisa says

    it really does matter where in germany you are. Barbara pointed out some valuable info, but that only matters to you if u are staying in a bigger city (propably in the west of germany). In Munich I would also suggest u bring some heels..
    I lived in several smaller cities in eastern germany as well as in Berlin and let me tell u i almost never wore high heels when going out. sure I wouldn’t put on my converse (and yes I own quite a lot :P) but flats are totally fine.
    yes german girls love their jeans but most people also have their own individual style (especially in berlin if u ask me!), so if you are a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl than go for it, but don’t worry if you aren’t – you will still fit in πŸ™‚
    I totally agree with george about how layed back german girl dress. I studied in greece and the Uk and travelled a lot in europe and it seems like girls in any country other than germany dress up way more than we do πŸ™‚ I think in the UK, where i wore high heels quite often, for the first time I did not feel overdressed while doing so πŸ˜‰
    anyway, if you are reading this, you are propably planning on living/studying/working in Germany, so let me just tell you: welcome & willkommen! enjoy Germany, discover places, meet people, go out, have fun and don’t worry about what to wear πŸ˜‰
    xx Lisa

  7. Jenna says

    I wish I had found this when I went last summer for study abroad in Germany! I will DEFINITELY save it for when I go to do it again. Thank you!

  8. Frederike says

    you cannot colour everyone with the same brush.

    in small towns like Heidelberg, girls don’t wear high heels when going out.
    in big cities, for example Berlin, it depends on the club whether to wear heels or not….if you’re going to a hip understated insider club, just wear casual and fashionable outfits, you will soon discover the “trends” in the city. or come as you are, doesn’t matter.
    there are also a LOT of chic and posh clubs with a dresscode, so it explains itself.

    we germans are in general very open-minded so don’t be scared in terms of fashion or anything related…

  9. Julia says

    A little update in regards to the tampons: we do have tampons with applicators here (brand: O.B.) πŸ™‚

    • Maegs says

      good to know but just to be prepared im buying several boxes of my kotex brand to pack with me. haha. πŸ™‚ i plan on doing at the very least a year but im hoping ill fall inlove with Europe and make a permanent move so ill get use to the way things work!


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