Friday, April 13, 2012

Fulbright FAQ Friday, week 1

It's that time of year again when Fulbright grants are being handed out for the coming year. Because of this, I've been getting a lot of emails and comments asking questions about what to expect. I try to be as quick as possible with answering emails, but I thought a more effective approach might be a weekly series on das Blog (plus, I really wanted to start a series with an awesome alliterated title!)

In the coming Fridays, I'll be answering questions that I've received in emails and in comments about impending ETA years in Germany and the soon-to-be-opened application season. If you have any specific questions you'd like answered, feel free to leave a comment or email me here

For my first edition, I want to address a theme that always comes up: Money.

"It doesn't look like we get paid very much, is it enough to survive?"
No, you don't get paid very much, but yes, it is doable. In most cities, you can usually find an apartment with rent between 200€ - 300€. The overall cost of living is pretty affordable here, I'd say. Of course, this also depends on what city you live in (For example, Berlin is super cheap, whereas Munich and Frankfurt can get quite pricey). You probably won't be saving much in the long run, but, you should be able to make it by month to month. I'm not going to lie, if you're not careful, money can get very tight. But in the past two years I've been able to survive just fine on the little bit of money you make as an ETA. 

"Can we get another job to make some extra money, then?"
Yes and no. Legally your visa stipulates that you are only allowed to hold the position at your school. So getting a public job is out of the question. However, you are free to work as many private jobs as you like. This includes things like tutoring English, proof-reading for university students, and various other ways to solicit your powers of native English speaking. I did not tutor my first year, but have been tutoring this year and can tell you every little bit makes a big difference. 

And finally, some unsolicited advice: bring plenty of money with you to get started in the fall. If I remember correctly Fulbright recommends bringing between 1000-1500€ to last until your first pay check arrives. I would suggest to lean more towards the 1500€. The start up costs can add up quickly, and it can sometimes take quite a while to receive your first pay check. My first year I didn't receive my first payment till mid-November, whereas my second year I got my paycheck punctually in early October. What will really help is setting up your bank account right away when you get to your city. No seriously, that should be done on your first day if possible, and on your first day at school, you should fill out the forms with your bank information for your payment. The sooner you get all that done, the sooner you're likely to get paid!

other Fulbright FAQ posts can be found here
other questions can be emailed to me here or left as a comment on this post

1 comment:

Alex Butts said...

I can't believe I didn't know about Fulbright until I got over here - definitely something I'm going to check out in the future

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