If you travel abroad the international student identity card (ISIC) may be a good option.The card is valid for 15 months and can be purchased at the STA travel shop on Taku Street near the university campus. The card includes discounts in museums, theaters and some hotels as well as an international travel insurance for the duration of the trip.
If you travel abroad, make sure your health insurance covers the medical costs in case of illness in the respective country.
Depending on the country to be visited and the extent of protection provided by your regular health insurance, it might be advisable to take out an additional health insurance for travel abroad. An international health insurance is generally valid for all foreign countries except your home country. Most banks provide this type of insurance, and also e.g. the Automobile Club of Germany (ADAC):
The contract is normally concluded for one year, however, single trips abroad must not exceed 45 days respectively. Rates vary between € 12 and € 40 a year.
If you plan to stay abroad for more than 45 days, e.g. as part of your research project, you require a special type of health insurance for long term stays abroad. Most private insurance companies offer this type of health insurance, but also ADAC.
When traveling to countries that have joined the so called Schengen Agreement, you do not have to apply for a special visa – provided you have a valid residence permit for Germany.
For all other countries, you require a travel visa which you should apply for well in advance before your trip. Check the visa requirements at the respective consulate.
If you invite a family member or a friend to Germany, you should take out a health insurance for the guest. In some cases, this is even required by the Embassy or the foreigners’ registration office issuing a visa. Insurances are offered by private insurance companies or automobile clubs.
Tourists who live in a non-member state of the EU can be refunded the value added tax (currently 19%) when leaving Germany. The amount of VAT has to be specified on the receipt. The amount in question is paid back at the airport. A student has a residency status and will therefore not be considered a tourist, so do not waste time standing in line to get back the VAT.