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In Germany, many stores and supermarkets are open Mondays to Fridays between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. On Saturday opening hours are often reduced. On Sunday, almost all stores and markets are closed. Only a few grocery stores, for example at the train station, and small markets at gas stations are open on Sundays. A few bakeries also open in the morning.
In Germany, the general rule for grocery shopping is BYOB: bring your own bag. Bags at the grocery store are not offered for free and no one will put your groceries in a bag for you. So you better bring along your backpack or a cloth bag for your purchases.
Most other stores - department, clothing, or electronic stores - will wrap up your purchases for free.
If you want to use a shopping cart in the supermarket, it is customary in Germany, that you need a one-euro coin for this. You get the coin back when you return the cart.


For many bottles, cans, or yogurt glasses you have to pay a so called deposit (Pfand). It is included in the price when you purchase them and refunded when you bring back the emptied bottle or can. You pay a deposit for most water, soda, juice and beer bottles. This also applies to yogurt jars and cans for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Many supermarkets have a special machine for returning emptied bottles. You will get a receipt. In other stores you return the emptied bottles to the staff, e.g. to the person at the register.


Waste Separation

In Germany waste is seperated and recycled. There isn’t just one garbage bin but three or more. Waste is seperated into four categories:

  • Plastic and metal packaging material
  • Paper
  • Glass
  • Residual waste

Plastic and metal are placed in the ‚ÄúGelber Sack‚ÄĚ (yellow bag). Glass is usually divided according to its color - one bin for brown glass, one for clear, and one for green and other colored glass. In each residential area there are also bins for old clothes and other textiles that are not worn anymore. Medications that are no longer needed or whose use-by date has been expired, should be returned to a pharmacy. There they will be disposed of properly. Hazardous waste like electronic waste can be delivered to the so-called Recyclingh√∂fen, recycling centers, of the city.


Making a Phone Call

Student hall apartments do not include a phone. If you live in a shared flat (Wohngemeinschaft) you might have a landline, or fixed phone, that everyone can use and pays for. Many residential communities have a contract that combines internet and telephone connection. If you need a telephone, then you should ask your potential flat mates in advance.

Most Germans have a mobile phones (Smartphone, or "Handy"). Many students also prefer to communicate with one another via mobile phone. There are huge differences in prices and services with regard to the mobile network. Therefore, before you make a decision, you better inform yourself.
If you are only studying in Kassel for one or two semesters, it might be a good idea to get a pre-paid phone since many contracts have a minimum term for two years. 


Emergency Phone Numbers & Safety

Although, we hope that you will not have to use either of these numbers during your stay in Kassel, it is important that you know them in case of an emergency. Should you have an accident, be in trouble, or witness the threat of another person, do not hesitate to call the following numbers:

To reach the police dial: 110

For fire department or ambulance dial: 112

Just like everywhere the world, there are also crimes in Kassel. When you are going out at night, always walk with at least one other person. If this isn’t possible, pay attention to what is happening around you.

Walking around on campus at night, use the illuminated main ways. You can also call the security guard at 7777 to escort you.
On campus are emergency phones (green poles with a light on top) that are directly connected to campus security staff. In case of an emergency, do not hesitate to push the button and thus, activate the emergency call.

More Information on Campus Security.


Additional Links

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) provides comprehensive information for international students studying in Germany. These are available in several languages.

Young Germany is an initiative of Germany's Federal Foreign Office and its partners. A guide to German etiquette, information on German culture and society, and a survival guide for the German bureaucracy are just a few of the things available on this site.