"Studentenwohnheim" is a German student dorm and a very popular place to live. Most of the Wohnheime are public dorms, which are managed by "Studentenwerk" of RWTH. However, there are also some which are financed by different churches or private dorms.
- Zimmer: a small room usually equipped with a sink; bathroom with showers and kitchen are usually shared
- Apartment: a small apartment with a shower, toilet, and small kitchen
- großes Apartment: a larger, more expensive apartment; sometimes exclusively for married students or families
- WG: shared apartment
Studentenwohnheime are made for students, which is why they are usually relatively cheap. Public dorms have very competitive prices in relation to regular housing on the market.
Additionally, most Studentenwohnheime are equipped with facilities such as fitness rooms, study rooms, social rooms, gardens or bars which are used by all residents.
Required. Unless you want to move into a private dorm, you have to apply for the Wohnheime. The application consists of an interview form which has to be filled out. Sometimes, especially for WGs or for the dorms of the churches, there can be face-to-face interviews, too. You should take time to write a nice application--after all, you want to present yourself as a nice future neighbor or room mate. For obvious reasons, foreign students might be preferred in some student dorm. Women may also be preferred, since the dorms try to balance out the gender distribution of the residents. For a list of all public Wohnheime in Aachen follow the link.
Since there are many applications, it can take up to 12 to 24 months until you actually can get a dorm. Especially for the fall semester, when all the large programs begin, the waiting lists are full. If you are planning on staying in a student dorm (which you really can't because you never know if you can get a room) you should apply way ahead of your arrival in Aachen.
The rents vary a lot and should be checked on the webpage of the individual student dorm (they all have websites). They range from 190€ to up to about 500€ per person. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that rooms are cheaper than WGs and apartments. Newer dorms are considerably more expensive than older dorms.
The rent includes water, heating, electricity and general services such as cleaning, maintenance and garbage. Internet access shouldn't cost more than a couple bucks extra.
Confirmation and Moving in
If your application was successful and you got a apartment in any student dorm of the "Studentenwerk", you will be notified via email. Please read the email carefully, because it contains a lot of important information. To sign the contract, you have to go to the office of the Studentenwerk Aachen (address: Pontwall 3, 52062 Aachen) . Please look up the office hours first, and plan your schedule accordingly if you want to move into your apartment on your first day of arrival. The contract is written in German. Before you move into your room, you should make an appointment with the caretaker (in german: "Hausmeister"), who will have the key for your dormitory. You can find his email address on the student dorm website. After you showed him your signed contract and your passport, he will show you your room and tell you about the important house rules: where you can find washing machines, how to get internet access, and a lot more helpful information. Be aware that many caretakers only speak German, so it may be helpful to ask your buddy or a German-speaking friend to translate for you.