I got an internship at Max Planck Institute - Berlin, Germany and I was given free accommodation and 500 EUR/per month during my stay (for 3 months).

I was wondering if anyone could tell me whether 1500 EUR (3 x 500 EUR) is sufficient enough for airfare, health insurance and living expenses (food + other things) for 3 months. (I live in India).

It would be great if you could go into as much detail as possible.

Also, if at all you know, please tell me if there are any schemes/ policies in Govt of India which gives students travel support.

  • Is that 1500 EUR on top of 3x500 EUR? – rlab Nov 3 '12 at 13:22
  • no.. i get 1500 EUR overall. that's it – rahul Nov 3 '12 at 16:00
  • It sounds like you received a grant from the MPI and you will need to supplement additional costs yourself. Frankly, even without airfare you basically get 16 Euro a day to live on which is at the very low end. If you pay 1,000 Euro for airfare then you are living on 5.5 euro per day, which isn't feasible. – user5043 Apr 5 '13 at 12:58

Well, of course it's possible, but it would be very far from desirable, if the 1500 euros has to cover airfare, health insurance and living expenses.

Depending on where you leave from and when you fly, your flight won't be much less than 800 USD, let's say 600 Euro. That leaves you 900 euros for three months.

The cost of health insurance varies, with 100 euros per month not being unreasonable, though let's say you can get it on the cheap and you can do it for 150 euros for three months. That leaves 750 euros for three months, or 250 euros per month, or under 10 euros per day.

If you only buy basic foodstuffs from supermarkets like Lidl or Aldi, 10 euros per day is enough, but it will leave pretty much nothing for anything else.

  • yeah! That's what I am thinking about. Actually, few guys from India suggested to carry "rice" and cook for myself.. which should save a lot. What do you say? – rahul Nov 3 '12 at 16:04
  • Hm. You could indeed stuff your luggage allowance with consumables. Won't likely make it much cheaper, though, as you will still have to buy these products. You just won't be buying them in Germany. – MastaBaba Nov 3 '12 at 16:31
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    @dbkk that seems a bit pessimistic to me - if you can cook you'll have perfectly OK meals. Of course there's the danger of unforeseen expenses, and if your definition of "livable" necessarily includes regular recreational activities more expensive than exploring the city on foot, that would be a problem... – Michael Borgwardt Nov 3 '12 at 20:34
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    I'm with @dbkk. As I point out, it's possible, but far from desirable. rahul is going to work at the Max Planck institute. Just grabbing a coffee next door will cost him a quarter of his daily available budget. Or more than half, if he gets a fancy one. But, anyway, 500 euros per month is a stipend. It is not supposed to be able to cover everything. It's supposed to help you in meeting your living expenses, not provide for them. – MastaBaba Nov 3 '12 at 22:22
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    @MastaBaba: It's more than the Hartz IV social security grant - enough to fully cover modest living expenses other than rent. The main problem here is the flight. – Michael Borgwardt Nov 4 '12 at 10:14

This depends on a lot of factors:

  • The price of the flight is a big one - are you sure MPI won't pay it for you, not even in part?
  • Health insurance seems to be available for as little as 30 EUR per month, see here, here or here. But note that if you get sick, you still have to pay 10 EUR to visit a doctor (but only once per quarter) and between 5 and 10 EUR co-payments for prescription medicine.
  • How free exactly is the accomodation? Is power, heating, telephone/internet, etc. free as well? Is it fully furnished, including cooking utensils and tableware?
  • Is the accomodation within walking distance to your workplace? If your budget is tight, a daily commute could break it.
  • You should definitely cook for yourself, eating out is not cheap in Germany.
  • However, German discount supermarkets are quite cheap - you can get 1kg of rice for less than 1 EUR, so bringing rice is not a good use of your luggage. You can definitely get decent meals for 8 EUR/day, even a little less. The only foodstuff you should bring along is spices as you probably won't find them in Germany.
  • Use your luggage to bring anything else you'll need for daily life: most importantly clothes, bedsheets, perhaps some technical appliances (rice cooker?), and any medicine you take regularly or occasionally (cold, pain, stomach, etc.) - all of these will be much more expensive in Germany

All in all, I think it should be possible if you make a budget, stick to it and leave some room for unforeseen expenses. Though it will be a bit of a shame to come all the way to Germany and then not be able to afford seeing much of it other than your workplace.

  • I agree, the bus/metro budget is more a problem than eating. If you cook (like everyone or so) you will NOT spend 8 euros per day on food, come on! That's the extra coffee, beer (even though they're not expensive), or snack that'll break your budget. If you are careful, the trip is possible. And +1, it sucks to not see anything else than your workplace for budget reasons. – Vince Nov 4 '12 at 0:28
  • I don't know. The above mentioned details were mentioned by Prof's Secy. I am afraid to ask them about "cooking utensils". Internet is what I can ask but not in a separate email! As far as I know, the apartment consists of living room with bed and kitchen – rahul Nov 5 '12 at 1:49
  • I also like to know any "funding organizations" that sponsor airfare!! – rahul Nov 5 '12 at 1:50

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