Some common customs are in Germany definitely unusual. To prevent unnecessary surprises and give practical advise, we list here a few things that might be different compared to your country.
- Language: No worries, you do not need to learn German. Munich is a very international city, hence most people you will interact with probably speak English. However, if you like, you can use “Servus” [ˈseɐ̯vus] to say ‘Hello’ and “Danke” [ˈdaŋkə] to say ‘Thank you’.
- Time zone: The time zone in Germany in May is the Central European Summer Time (CEST), which is equivalent to GMT+2.
- Currency: As member of the European Union, the German currency is the Euro (€), currently one Euro is between 1.15 and 1.20 US-Dollar. It is probably best to change some money before you travel to Munich to avoid higher exchange rates. Otherwise you can also check if your home bank has a German partner bank and withdraw some cash there.
- Paying: In Germany it is quite unusual to pay via credit card. Although some stores accept this form of payment, it is more common to pay in cash, especially in restaurants or bars.
- No Sunday Shopping: All stores, including grocery stores, are closed on Sundays. So if you want to buy something or need food and drinks, you should better take care of it already on Saturday. Also remember to check the opening hours before. Most shops close at 8 pm in the evening.
- “Pfand”: If you buy a bottle of water, soda, juice etc, you might end up paying more than the price tag said. The reason is that Germany has a deposit systems for certain plastic and glass bottles with the shown label. So don’t just throw an empty bottle away, but return it to any store to get your 0.25€ (or 0.08€ for beer) back.
- Power Supply: Germany uses 230V/50HZ power supply and all sockets are for standard EU plugs. You might need an adapter.
- Tap water: Water from the tap is for the most part drinkable, except explicitly stated otherwise.
Wi-Fi: There are plenty of options to connect to the internet, even if you don’t have mobile data on your phone. The easiest way is to connect to the eduroam Wi-Fi, if your home university also uses this. Eduroam is available in all educational and scientific buildings as well as some public places. Another option is to use the @BayernWLAN, which are open Wi-Fi hotspot that can be found in many places all over Bavaria. If you just want to check your emails in the morning or evening, you can also just use the Wi-Fi in the hostel.