Studying and Living in Bielefeld and Germany

University A–Z

When you start studying in Germany, you will face many new terms and concepts: What does N.C. stand for and who is Audimax? You will find the answers to these and other questions in our University A–Z.

Living in Bielefeld

Bielefeld is a large city in North Rhine-Westphalia with approx. 340,000 inhabitants; approx. 35,000 of these are students. The city’s landmark is Sparrenburg, a fortress built around 1240. Situated on the edge of Teutoburg Forest, Bielefeld offers a wide array of sports and leisure activities.







Accommodation in Bielefeld

Students have different possibilities to find accommodation in Germany:

Student dormitories offer furnished rooms and flats, usually in close proximity to the universities. However, places in student residences are often very limited, so you should be quick to apply and might have to wait for a few semesters.

Current offers by Studierendenwerk Bielefeld can be found here

Students often live in a shared flat (German: “Wohngemeinschaft” or “WG” for short). As rent and utilities are shared, costs are lower than in a flat of your own. Shared flats are a great opportunity to get in touch with German students.

Of course, students can also look for a flat of their own. It is the option that is most quiet and private, but also most expensive.

Further information and a list of student residences, accommodation portals and other services can be found on the Studierendenwerk’s website.


The German health system in general is very good. If you should fall ill or have an accident during your studies, you will be in safe hands here.

If you go to a doctor's office please keep the following things in mind:

  • When you go to a doctor, arrange an appointment by telephone in advance and make sure to bring your health insurance card or proof of membership. In urgent cases, many doctors treat patients without an appointment; however, you should always call the practice in advance.
  • In the long run, you should choose a general practitioner that you can consult for smaller health-related problems (e.g. flu, cold) that the GP can treat right away. If you need to see a specialist, you will usually need a referral from your GP. Some specialists (e.g. dentists or gynaecologists) can be seen without referral.
  • Medication can only be obtained at the pharmacy. If a doctor has prescribed medication for you, you will only need to pay part of the cost; the rest will be paid by your health insurance.
  • In case of emergency, you can go right to a hospital’s accident and emergency department or, if necessary, call an ambulance by dialling 112.
  • If there is NO emergency, but medical practices are closed (e.g. during the night, on weekends or holidays), you can call the medical on-call services at 116117. You will also be able to look for available doctors in your vicinity.

 You will find further information and important terms in German and English in the health dictionary by the German National Association for Student Affairs.

Going to the doctor

Should you ever need medical help, you will find information on which doctors and clinics there are in Bielefeld, Minden and Gütersloh in the following handouts:

Bike rental “FlowBie Siggi”

Text taken from the website of HSBI’s AStA (

Together with the municipality, Bielefeld University and HSBI, moBiel has created a public bike rental system for Bielefeld in the context of the city’s mobility strategy. A total of 600 bicycles are available at permanent locations in the city centre, at the university and at selected tram or bus stops. Students and employees of HSBI with a job or company ticket can ride 60 minutes for free each time they rent a bike and receive a night discount on weekdays.
There are larger stations in areas that many people frequent.
These locations are always marked with the “FlowBie Siggi” logo and visible in the “Siggi Bike-Sharing” app. The bikes can be rented from and returned there. Locations may change during operation. The rental system is run by European market leader nextbike.


That’s how it works for students
Bikes can be rented and paid for via the “Siggi Bike-Sharing” app. Students and employees of HSBI with a job or company ticket can ride 60 minutes for free each time they rent a bike and pay an overnight rate of €3 from 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays.
In order to be able to benefit from these special conditions, students and employees with a job or company ticket will receive a discount code.
You can obtain your code through the university’s software portal, under the tab “Fahrradverleih FlowBie Siggi”

Please note the information stated there.


When registering for the app, the code has to be entered once at “Account-Einstellungen > Partner verknüpfen > Fachhochschule Bielefeld”. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.
Other users pay €1/30 min. or a maximum of €10/24 h.

“JobTeaser” job portal

JobTeaser is a platform for companies and professors to advertise internships or jobs. As HSBI does not have a centralised Career Centre, JobTeaser is a great opportunity to find part-time jobs or internships in and around Bielefeld.

You will find further information in the download box on the left-hand side. If you have any questions, please get in touch with your faculty’s contact person, which you will find on page 7 of the information document.