Germany #

Study #

Application #

Studying in Germany is mainly divided into undergraduate and master’s programs, as the requirements, preparation materials, and environment for each differ significantly. However, many resources are shared between undergraduate and master’s programs, so it is advisable to read both sections thoroughly.

Due to frequent changes in educational policies, we recommend that you regularly check for updated policy information before and during your application. Additionally, standards and rules may vary significantly across different universities, so please develop a specific application plan and timeline based on the requirements of the university you are applying to.

In Germany, majors are generally divided into restricted (NC) and unrestricted (No NC) categories. Admission to restricted majors may be based on the applicant’s grades and waiting time. In contrast, unrestricted majors offer admission opportunities once basic entry requirements are met.

Undergraduate Programs #

Most undergraduate courses require a certain level of German proficiency, with language requirements varying from B2 to C2, depending on the major.

Applicants from different backgrounds need to prepare various documents, including but not limited to:

  • Higher education entry qualification from their home country
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Diploma from a German international school

You can view the specific application requirements for different backgrounds in the “Database on admission requirements” section of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). This database also provides information about applications for transfer students.

Applicants who meet the criteria for restricted admission should also check uni-assist to confirm the necessary documents and application process. After obtaining the required documents, you can register, submit your application, and upload related materials on the official website of your target university. It is important to note that different schools and programs may have varying requirements for undergraduate applications, such as some bachelor’s degree programs at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) requiring a C2 level in German.

Master’s Programs #

Most master’s programs in Germany do not require German language proficiency but typically require proof of English language ability, such as TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge English exams. Additionally, for bachelor’s degrees obtained outside the European Union/European Economic Area, additional academic certification through uni-assist is necessary.

Specifically, a certificate will be issued after documents processed by uni-assist are confirmed. You then need to upload this certificate to the application website of the target university. It is worth mentioning that German university applications generally do not have an application fee, meaning you can upload the uni-assist certification to multiple universities for simultaneous applications. Detailed application information can often be found on the webpage of the university you are applying to.

Gender Identification in Applications #

When applying for studies in Germany, you need to indicate your gender on the application form. This should be based to a certain extent on your identity documents, meaning you can only choose the gender that matches your documents. If you are a non-binary individual, there is the non-binary option, such as “Diversity”, as well.

Most states in Germany do not charge tuition fees, and students only need to pay a registration fee of about 100 euros per semester. However, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, two states in southern Germany, allow charging tuition fees to students from outside the European Union/European Economic Area. Tuition fees in these states typically range from 2000 to 5000 euros per semester, in addition to the aforementioned registration fee.

Accommodation #

Germany offers student dormitories, which can be found by searching for “city name + studentenwerk”. These dormitories are reasonably priced, but it’s important to pay attention to the length of the waiting period, such as in Munich, where the waiting time for student dormitories can exceed five semesters.

If you plan to rent private housing, we advise take care of making reservations from abroad. Renting in Germany usually involves a security deposit, and there is a risk of fraud. A recommended approach is to temporarily live in a local youth hostel or budget hotel for 2-4 weeks and confirm rental arrangements through offline contacts during this period.

Policies and Social Attitudes #

Social attitudes and policies in Germany vary depending on the region. In simple terms, East and South Germany are relatively more conservative, with Berlin being an exception. Although Berlin might be not very tidy, its lower cost of living and diverse cuisine make it a worthwhile option for studying and living. In contrast, West Germany is generally more welcoming. We will provide more detailed information about each region in the next section Major Industrial, Educational, and Residential Areas.

Procedure for Document Modification #

Currently, Germany’s self-ID bill is still in the legislative process and is far from being implemented. Under the existing procedures, only German citizens, individuals with permanent residency, and refugees can change the gender marker on their documents1. This means if you are only studying in Germany, you cannot modify the gender marker on your documents. It is important to note that the judicial application process is separate from medical procedures, and obtaining hormone therapy or undergoing surgery still requires following the relevant processes.

The specific judicial process usually takes 6-9 months and includes the following steps:

  1. Submit an application for a judicial assessment to the local district court. It should be noted that non-binary genders are not legally recognized in Germany, meaning the X marker is only available for intersex individuals.
  2. Two forensic experts will conduct the assessment, with a total cost of approximately 1200 euros.
  3. The forensic experts will submit their report directly to the court, which will then prepare for a hearing.
  4. After the hearing, the judge will either make a ruling on the spot or send the results to your home.

dgti Supplementary Identity Document #

The German Transgender and Bisexual Association (dgti) offers a supplementary identity document to compensate for shortcomings in the German documentation system. You can find more information at dgti. This supplementary ID allows you to use your preferred name, gender marker, and photo. In some official and non-official situations, this ID can be used as a valid document to prevent discrimination arising from official identity documents. For example, at German customs, you can use this ID to address issues with significant differences between your passport photo and appearance. In the western states and schools of Germany, this ID is generally recognized and can be used to change information on student records and even names on diplomas and degree certificates. However, most schools in East and South Germany do not recognize this document. Additionally, many medical insurance systems and banks may not accept it. Despite this, applying for this ID can greatly facilitate your life and help you change personal information.

Health Insurance and Treatment #

Health Insurance #

Germany offers two types of health insurance: public and private. Public insurance can be applied for immediately upon arrival in Germany, and the insurance card will be mailed to you after you complete the necessary information.

Treatment Process #

Germany still uses the ICD-10 standard, which classifies gender incongruence under mental health disorders. Therefore, the primary treatment is typically initiated by a psychiatrist with an F64 diagnosis. However, waiting times for psychiatric appointments can be long, about 3-6 months, so it’s advisable to book an appointment as soon as you arrive in Germany (usually only possible by phone). During this period, you cannot legally obtain hormone therapy. An F64 diagnosis is essential for obtaining hormone therapy and scheduling surgeries.

The German transgender community has compiled a list of qualified and experienced medical professionals, which can be accessed at Trans’database - Due to the possibility of fully booked appointments, it’s recommended to try scheduling with multiple doctors.

If you have a history of hormone therapy, you are likely to get hormone treatment medication after the first or second visit. You can then obtain hormone medication by presenting the relevant proof at an endocrinology department. It’s important to note that injectable estrogen is not supported in Germany. Similarly, voice therapy referrals can be obtained through this process, with the cost covered by health insurance. Theoretically, hair removal treatments can also be applied for, but the reimbursement process may involve complications.

Gender Confirmation Surgery #

For gender confirmation surgery, you need an F64-0 diagnosis in Germany as per the ICD-10 standard. Non-binary genders are not legally recognized in Germany. Additionally, surgery requires at least 12 months of psychological therapy documentation. However, according to a court ruling in October 20232, gender confirmation surgery is not covered by health insurance for both binary and non-binary genders.

After obtaining 12 months of psychological therapy records and the aforementioned psychiatric diagnosis, you can schedule a pre-surgery consultation at a public hospital. During the pre-surgery consultation, you will need to provide relevant proof. If everything goes smoothly, you can undergo surgery within 6-9 months.

For more resources and information on transgender healthcare, partners in Munich can visit QZ TS MUC for more resources in Munich, while self-help groups TXKöln - Selbsthilfegruppe für transgeschlechtliche Menschen and r/germantrans on Reddit provide a wider range of multi-trans-related information.

Visiting a Psychiatrist #

In Germany, if you have an appointment with a psychiatrist, the typical visit frequency is once or twice a month. You have the freedom to choose a doctor within a convenient range. It is important to note that German medical diagnoses, including transgender-related diagnoses, do not rely on foreign medical records. However, providing transgender-related proof obtained in China can help doctors better understand your situation. It is recommended to translate your domestic prescriptions and attach them to the original documents as supplementary material for the doctor’s reference.

Especially if you have already started hormone therapy in China, German doctors are more likely to help you continue this treatment. Regarding medication, the main regimen for feminizing hormone therapy is CPA+Estradiol. However, masculinizing hormone therapy, primarily using testosterone, is subject to stricter management. In cases where substitute drugs are available, German health insurance prefers these over the original research drugs. Drug prices can be checked on websites like Shop-Apotheke.

In Germany, the management of psychiatric medications is stricter, and only psychiatrists can prescribe these drugs. For example, in TransDB, under the Therapeut*in/Psychiater*in category, the former (therapist) cannot prescribe psychiatric drugs, only the latter (psychiatrist) can. Even with a psychiatrist, it may take multiple visits to obtain a prescription, and the standards for diagnosis are usually high.

Work Environment and Regional Introduction in Germany #

Germany offers a variety of job opportunities, both in German and English. Even for those who speak only English, there are many foreign companies with branches in Germany. Similar to the distribution of transgender friendliness, there are relatively fewer job opportunities in East Germany.

Major Industrial, Educational, and Residential Areas #

  • Ruhr Area: Located in North Rhine-Westphalia, close to the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, this area is a well-known old industrial zone. Currently, it focuses on emerging industries, offering numerous job opportunities but with somewhat chaotic transportation. It has a large local Chinese community.
  • Hamburg: Known for its poor weather, with drizzle almost all year round. Life here is relatively comfortable, with business-oriented job opportunities, such as port-related and other commercial trades.
  • Frankfurt: Dominated by the banking sector.
  • Southern Germany: Mainly consists of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, focusing on high-tech and modern industries, offering better job positions. However, housing in Munich is expensive, and finding accommodation can be challenging. To save costs, consider the Ruhr area, Frankfurt, or northern regions.

After graduating in Germany, you can relatively freely search for jobs nationwide. It’s important to note that Southern Germany tends to be more conservative compared to the West and Northwest.

Other Considerations #

  • Transgender marriages in Germany are not recognized in China, which only acknowledges the married status.
  • German customs are very strict with incoming parcels, especially drugs. Therefore, importing non-Schengen area medicines through German customs is not recommended. In contrast, German customs are more lenient with departures.

Acknowledgments #

This article’s sections on study, transgender-related issues, work, and other topics were contributed by Arts Suraimu 史莱姆. Content compiled from 史莱姆’s live streams with permission. The recording can be viewed on: Youtube (in Chinese).

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