With its safe neighborhoods, family-friendly urban spaces, and reliable infrastructure, Bavaria is a wonderful place to raise a family. You will encounter friendly communities as well as excellent job opportunities, childcare services, and schools. Here are some of the support structures in place for international families when they arrive.
Partners Pursuing Dual Careers
You already have a great job lined up, but what about your partner? Bavarian universities offer help to couples who are both pursuing careers. Many universities have a "dual-career" office with resources available to support your partner during their job search in the area. The Welcome Center of your university can provide you with further information on this service.
For a good overview of the sectors and companies where you might find work, Bayern International's Company Database, the Cluster-Initiative Bavaria, and Invest in Bavaria could be also useful resources.
Feeling at Home in Bavaria
A prerequisite for feeling at home at a certain place is connecting to people. Workplaces are often a good way to get to know people. However, if you are just coming for a short research stay, it might not make sense for your partner to work in Bavaria. Other factors that might influence a partner’s decision to work or not include language requirements or childcare. Yet there are plenty of ways for you and your partner to meet new people.
Many universities’ International Offices organize events where you can meet fellow researchers and their families. There are also several places outside of the university where your partner can connect with others, such as international community meet-ups in the city and parent meet-ups.
Moving with Your Family
Visas for the Whole Family
If you are coming to Bavaria for a research position, your immediate family will be granted visas. PhD candidates are also welcome to bring their partners and children. Ask your Welcome Center for tips about the process.
Health Insurance for Families
Public health care covers your family in Bavaria when you become an employee. If your partner is also employed, their employer will cover their health insurance costs. Your children will be covered up to a certain age. If you take out student insurance or other insurance as a fellowship recipient, your family will also be covered.
Language Courses for your Partner
Some Bavarian universities offer German language courses specifically for partners of international researchers. Your Welcome Center will be able to tell you about language services at your university and those offered by other schools.
Balancing Research and Family
Childcare and Education
Bavaria is a wonderful place to raise a family while also pursuing professional goals. The Bavarian public-school system is well known for its high standards. Public schools are state funded and free of charge. Various childcare options, including publicly funded ones, are available early on. Many universities even have childcare facilities on campus.
Childcare options and Kindergarten
In Bavaria, you will find a variety of childcare options. Many are supported by public funds to keep costs down for families. You can also keep an eye out for multilingual childcare facilities.
For children under three years old, crèches (Krippen) are available and cater to small groups of children. The cost depends on where you live and on provisions of the organization running the crèche: a place in a state-run crèche may be free or available for a small contribution to the regular fee, while a private crèche can cost as much as €1000 per month. Another childcare option for children under three is a childminder (Tagesmutter). Childminders run their business from home and look after smaller groups than at the crèche. You can rest assured that regardless of the childcare option you choose, the standard of care is very high.
German Kindergarten starts as early as age three and every child is guaranteed a spot. The school day usually extends into the afternoon. If the Kindergarden is run by a public organization and depending on the place where you live, attendance is free or available for a small contribution to the regular fees. At private schools, it can cost up to €1000 per month.
Your future university might also provide daycare services that doctoral candidates, researchers, and other employees can take advantage of. Check with your Welcome Center.
Attending school in Bavaria
Education is a top priority in Bavaria and is provided as a free public service. Whether your children are headed for university, pursuing vocational training, or have other career paths in mind, the Bavarian school system will provide them with the educational setting they need to thrive.
The Bavarian School System
Children must start school by the age of six. From first to fourth grade, they attend a neighborhood Grundschule (primary school). After that, depending on their interests and aptitude, they will attend one of several different types of schools. For instance, if you think your children might like to attend university later, then they will likely go to Gymnasium, the name for German secondary schools that prepare students for university studies.
The Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Culture provides a helpful overview of the school system. Click on the school types to learn more about the different options.
It is always a good idea to arrange German lessons for your children before coming to Bavaria. If your children wish to go to a Gymnasium, but do not speak German, they might not be admitted straight away. In some cities, children will likely need to attend a middle school to improve their German, after which they can transfer to a Gymnasium relatively easily.
Your Welcome Center should be your first stop for advice on schooling options. The state school counseling board (Schulberatung) will be able to provide more detailed information about the school system and can offer professional advice. Consultations with the Schulberatung are a public service and provided free of charge.
- Bavaria’s public schools offer a very high standard of education and are completely free of charge.
- Most children attend public schools, but there are private schools in some cities that might be of interest to your family, for example international schools.
- The Bavarian school year runs from mid-September to July.
- Most schools run on a half-day system. After-school care is being continuously expanded.
- In primary schools, there are afterschool programs that you can sign up for, but do so early. They fill up fast!
- The half-day system allows older students to take up creative extracurricular activities, such as sports and music.
- Schools often offer “transition classes” or additional German language support for international students who are still learning German.
- In some cities, international weekend groups and meet-ups, often run by parents, have become popular. These groups allow children to connect with the language and practices of their home country.