Payments and banking
In Germany, it is still common to pay cash for small sums of money in department stores, clothes shops and restaurants. Credit cards or Girocards are generally accepted. If you are planning to stay more than 2 months, you will probably want to open a bank account (“Girokonto”) as soon as possible. If you will receive regular payments from the institute (salary or grant), you will need a German bank account anyway. Your salary or grant will be transferred to it and it is easier to transfer regular payments such as rent and electricity.
With a current account (“Girokonto”) you can pay in and take out money at ATMs, arrange a standing order (“Dauerauftrag”) for regular payments of the same amount (e.g. rent), transfer money to another accounts (“Überweisung”) or authorize a direct debit (“Einzugsermächtigung”).
If you have frequent payments from or to your bank account in your home country, ask your home bank whether it works together with a bank in Germany. This could save both costs and time in transferring money to the bank abroad.
Please note: Some banks levy charges for holding an account.
To open an account, you need your passport or registration card. Once you have opened a current account, you can order a Girocard from your bank. The card works like a credit card with the same advantages and risks. If you lose your Girocard, contact your bank as soon as possible or disable the Girocard/credit card.
Please consult https://www.deutschepost.de/en/home.html for information about post offices, mailing, charges and German postal codes.
In Germany, every city or administrative district has its own regional transport system, with its own charges, tickets and services. The sale of tickets also differs from region to region. Generally, they can be bought at ticket machines, which are available at stations or in the buses or trams. Sometimes (also in Göttingen) you can also buy tickets directly from the bus driver.
However, it is often cheaper to buy multi-journey-tickets or even a weekly or a monthly ticket at one of the GoeVB (“Göttinger Verkehrsbetriebe”) service centres.
Common tickets terminology
“Einzelfahrt” = ticket valid for one trip
“Tageskarte” = ticket valid all day long
“Wochenkarte / 7-Tageskarte” = is valid for a whole week and costs about as much as 5 daily tickets would
“Monatskarte” = is valid for entire current calendar month or 30 days
“Jahreskarte” = is valid for one year and costs about as much as 10 monthly tickets
The Student Identity Card of the University of Göttingen functions as a “Semesterticket”. The “Semesterticket” includes a train ticket for short-distance trains in Lower Saxony, a bus ticket for busses of the GoeVB and a culture ticket. You can find further information on its validity and conditions on the University’s website.
German language courses
There are different offers for learning German in Göttingen.
On the Max Planck Campus at Faßberg, German courses (levels 1 to 3) and English courses (different levels) are offered free of charge for employees. For further information please contact your secretary's office.
Daycare and Kindergarten
The daycare facility on the Faßberg campus has places for up to 100 children. Children can be registered from their third month of life on up to starting school. The operator of the child care facility is Kinderhaus Göttingen e.V., who will be able to give you information about the availability of places and the current fees.
If you want your child to be taken care of in one of the sites of the Kinderhaus Göttingen, please pass the application form to HR. This will have the advantage that you will be treated as an intern applicant of the Max Planck Society, which might shorten the waiting time for a place.
There are also different kinds of childcare facilities all over Göttingen. The city council has a portal where you can seek for facilities and find information:
In Germany, homeschooling is not permitted. Generally, where you live determines to which school your children have to go. The school year begins after the summer holidays (usually in August; the exact date varies every year). Attendance at state-run schools in Germany is free of charge. There are only a very few private or international schools that charge tuition.
https://www.howtogermany.com/pages/germanschools.html provides a good overview of the German School System. In a German school, lessons are held in German.
Only a few schools offer bilingual English/German courses.