VIEWS: 22 PAGES: 43 POSTED ON: 9/27/2011
Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam Newcomers’ Guide 1st Edition, 2010 AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 2 of 43 Contents Disclaimer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Note from the Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Introduction from the Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 1 Arriving in Germany 7 1.1 Registering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 1.2 Other mandatory administrative matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 u 1.2.1 Freiz¨gigkeitsbescheinigung (EU/EEA members) . . . . 9 1.2.2 Visa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 1.2.3 Residence permit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 1.3 Housing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 1.3.1 Housing Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 1.3.2 Berlin vs Potsdam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 1.3.3 SCHUFA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 1.3.4 Internet Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 1.4 Banking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 2 Living in Germany 17 2.1 Learning German . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 2.2 Shopping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 2.2.1 Buying food . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 2.3 Healthcare . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 2.4 Miscellaneous administrative matters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 2.4.1 Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 2.4.2 GEZ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 u 2.4.3 Begr¨ßungsgeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 2.4.4 Kindergeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 2.4.5 Work permits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 2.5 Public Transportation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 2.5.1 Transportation zones in Berlin and Potsdam . . . . . . 24 2.5.2 Buying tickets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 2.5.3 Validity of tickets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 2.5.4 Tax declarations and transportation costs . . . . . . . . 26 2.5.5 German Railways . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 2.5.6 A couple of tips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 2.6 Children’s education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 3 of 43 3 Working at the AIP 32 3.1 Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 3.1.1 Travelling to the AIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 3.1.2 Laufzettel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 3.2 Computing and email accounts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 3.3 Science at the AIP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 3.4 Institute Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 3.5 Betriebsrat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 3.6 Internal Science Committee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 3.7 Other people you need to know . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 3.8 PhD students . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 3.8.1 AIP Student Association . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 3.9 Administration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 3.9.1 Salary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 3.9.2 KLR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 3.9.3 Taxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 3.9.4 Forms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 3.10 Social Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 3.11 Internal Newcomers’ Guide Wiki . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 3.12 AIP oﬃcial Newcomers Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 4 of 43 Disclaimer This Guide was not written by AIP administration but by its scientists: post- docs, students and staﬀ. The primary purpose of the Guide is to provide information for people who are new to the AIP. The content is by no means exhaustive and it may contain some subjective statements. Although every eﬀort has been made to ensure accuracy of the information provided, the AIP assumes no liability for the contents. Note from the Authors Many people contributed to this ﬁrst edition of this AIP Newcomers’ Guide. Of course, every situation/problem/question/inquiry can’t be addressed in one document, and for sake of clarity it needs to be kept compact. For this reason, we tried to focus on the topics that aﬀect most people. However, there is certainly room for improvement, and this document is meant to be updated on a yearly basis. So, please take some notes and let us know what you think needs to be added/modiﬁed or shortened/suppressed. In addition to the basic information given in this guide, you will ﬁnd: • Some practical details, such as addresses, and German vocabulary lists annotated in framed boxes; • The most important remarks or tips highlighted in boxes with grey back- ground; • Side remarks or details are written in grey italics in the margins. In parallel to this Guide a Newcomers’ Guide Wiki exists on the internal AIP webpages and can be edited by all AIP members at any time. It contains more details on things like searching for an apartment, or other topics such as mobile telephone providers, etc . . . Have a look and don’t hesitate to add any information you ﬁnd useful: http://astar.aip.de/Newcomers/Newcomers AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 5 of 43 Your notes List of information which should be in this guide: – – – – – – – List of information which is too detailed here (and can be left on the Wiki): – – – The guide will be updated every year in July. Please send these notes or any other comments and suggestions to this year’s editing team: Claudia Conrad firstname.lastname@example.org AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 6 of 43 Introduction • Introduction paragraph from the director AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 7 of 43 Lexicon Chapter 1 Anmeldung Registration Arriving in Germany Abmeldung De-registration Anmeldeformular Registration form 1.1 Registering a Anmeldungbest¨ti- In Germany, you and your family need to register in the city where you live. gung You must register within two weeks of arriving in Germany. Once this is done Registration you receive a registration certiﬁcate, which you will need in much of your ad- certiﬁcate u ministrative paperwork. One can register at the B¨rgerservice in the Potsdam Rathaus or any B¨rgeramt in Berlin. There are some slight diﬀerences on how u Anschrift the Anmeldung is handled from state to state. Address In Brandenburg, basically all you need is your passport. You might be able u Begr¨ßungsgeld to ﬁll out the Anmeldeformular beforehand. Sign it, and take it to the Welcome allowance u B¨rgerservice. The “Welcome Center” is hosted at the same location, and u B¨rgeramt, is specially tailored for foreign scientists arriving in Potsdam. See additional u B¨rgerservice practical details below. citizen service oﬃce a In Berlin, you have to ﬁll out a form called “Erg¨nzende Angabe zur An- Lohnsteuerkarte o meldung bei der Meldebeh¨rde” and a second one called “Anmeldung bei der tax card o Meldebeh¨rde”. Bring your passport or EU ID card, your visa if you have one, your job contract, and an address at which you can be reached, even if it is o Meldebeh¨rde only temporary. Registry oﬃce In both states an apartment rental contract is no longer required. Rathaus City hall Tips! Ummeldung Registration transfer • If you do not speak German and you are intending to live in Berlin, it is probably a good idea to ﬁrst register Unterschrift yourself in Potsdam with a provisional address (e.g. hotel). Signature The “Welcome Center” is very helpful with completing your administrative work. • It is a good idea to combine this trip with collecting your Lohnsteuerkarte, since you can get it at the same counter. See Section 3.9.3 for more information. • If you are EU or EEA-member, you should also ask for a u Freiz¨gigkeitsbescheinigung (see Section 1.2.1). • If you are a student of the University of Potsdam, com- u bine this with your application for the Begr¨ßungsgeld (see Section 2.4.3) AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 8 of 43 u After you have found a ﬂat, you must go to the B¨rgeramt in Potsdam or the district of Berlin your new ﬂat is in and proceed to a simple registration trans- fer (Ummeldung). The Ummeldung is requested to be done within 2 weeks after you moved to your new ﬂat, but don’t worry if you can’t stick to this deadline, they will only charge you a fee if you re-register later than 3 months after you moved. Data privacy Finally, when you leave Germany for good, you have to un-register at the B¨rgeramt in your current living area, so they know you are leaving the coun- u If you don’t want to try. receive any advertise- ments from political ¨ Practical details for Potsdam ’s Burgerservice parties or letters from the GEZ (see below) Address: Friedrich-Ebert Straße 71 you can (according 14469 Potsdam to §14 MeldeG) re- Opening hours: Mo 10am-6pm quest that your ad- Tue-Thu 8am-6pm dress is not passed Fr 8am-2pm on. You have to tell this to the representa- Sa 8am-12am u tive of the B¨rgeramt and you will be given For help in English for most of your paperwork, arrange a meeting another form to ﬁll with the “Welcome Centre”: +49-331-289 1731. out and sign. How- ever, if you choose Online info: www.welcome-center-potsdam.de (with English) this option, your ad- www.potsdam.de (German only) dress will also not ap- • To check the up-to-date opening hours, follow the links: pear in registers. → Rathaus Online → B¨rgerservice → B¨rgerservice u u • To download administrative forms follow: → Rathaus Online → Stadtverwaltung Dienstleistungen → Antr¨ge/Formulare a AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 9 of 43 Lexicon 1.2 Other mandatory administrative matters Aufenthaltserlaubnis residence permit a o Ausl¨nderbeh¨rde foreigners’ Oﬃce 1.2.1 u Freiz¨ gigkeitsbescheinigung (EU/EEA members) u Freiz¨gigkeits- If you are a citizen1 of the European Union or the European Economic Area, bescheinigung certiﬁcate of freedom you are are entitled to reside in Germany. However, if you are planning to stay of movement more than 3 months, you (and your family) need to apply for a certiﬁcate of Mitarbeiter freedom of movement. This certiﬁcate takes the place of a residence permit. employee You can apply for this document when you ﬁrst register with your passport Wissenschaftler or ID. You should then receive this document by post within a few weeks. scientist 1.2.2 Visa If you are not a member of the countries listed in the box below, you are probably required to apply for a visa before entering Germany. This visa is attached to a page of your passport. When a visa is required, you must apply for it while still in your home country. Note that the correct purpose of stay must be listed on the visa. Doctoral students should apply for a visa as either a guest scholar (Gast- wissenschaftler) or an academic employee (wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter) when employed by the university or a research institution such as the AIP (item 20 u on the application). With a visa for study purposes (Visum f¨r Studien- zwecke), one is not allowed to pursue academic employment. Application for a visa to enter Germany is done from the German embassy or consular service in your home country. The processing time can be quite long, of the order of six to eight weeks. Entry without a Visa People from the following countries can enter in Germany without a visa: EU or EEA members, Switzerland, Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, and the United States. 1.2.3 Residence permit If you are not a citizen2 of the European Union or the European Economic Area you and are planning to stay for a period of time longer than 3 months, a o you must visit the Ausl¨nderbeh¨rde in your area of residency after entering Germany. This is true even if you were not requested to have visa for entering Germany. This oﬃce will issue you the appropriate residence permit, called an Aufenthaltserlaubnis. 1 or family member of 2 or family member of AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 10 of 43 All people entering into Germany with you must have their own individual visas. ¨ ¨ Auslanderbehorde in Potsdam Adress: Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 79-81 Haus 20 14469 Potsdam Opening hours: Tue 9am-6pm Thu 9-12am & 1-4pm Fr 9-12am Tel.: +49 331 289-1753 AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 11 of 43 Lexicon 1.3 Housing Haus 1.3.1 Housing Options house, home You primarily have three options regarding living arrangements for your time Hausmeister at the AIP: concierge Hausverwaltung Private apartment: Rent levels are low enough in Berlin such that a property student or postdoc can easily aﬀord to live on their own. Some popular management o areas of Berlin to live in are Charlottenburg, Sch¨neberg, and Prenzlauer Hausbesitzer Berg. The transit connection between Berlin and Babelsberg is excellent, landlord so it can be just as easy to live in Berlin as in Potsdam. Living alone of course gives you most freedom in choosing your place. However it is Miete also more expensive and less social, particularly when you ﬁrst arrive. rent Shared apartment: An alternative to living on your own is to look for Vermieter a Wohngemeinschaft (WG), where you share an apartment with other landlord people. This may be a good way to meet new people or to improve your German (if the people you live with are German). You also share costs Wohngemeinschaft and problems. or WG shared apartment Dormitory: If you are a student from abroad, you can apply for a place in one of the many dormitories in Potsdam. They are organized Wohnung accommodation through the “Studentenwerk”, which is aﬃliated with apartment the universities in the Potsdam area (but not Berlin). The dorms are ¨ Ubergabe cheap and social. You can choose between shared and private apart- ﬂat inspection and ments. Most of them have internet connections for a fee per semester handover and one of them is located only 100 meters away from the AIP in Park Babelsberg. Zimmer room Specifically for scientists For a detailed vocab- • AIP on-site accommodation: The AIP has on-site accommodation ulary list concerning for visitors or new arrivals. However, it is only available for short periods. housing, see page 13. To to check whether it is available at the time of your arrival, please contact the secretary of the AIP, Christiane Rein (email@example.com). • IBZ: The Internationales BegegnungsZentrum der Wissenschaften Pots- dam, or the International Meeting Center for the Sciences in Potsdam. Its goal “is to make possible a pleasant stay for the guests of the Potsdam Sci- entiﬁc Facility”. The IBZ provides private apartments to visiting or newly arrived scientists for a duration of three months to two years. Note that they oﬀer to accompany you to the Rathaus to help you register when you ﬁrst arrive. 1.3.2 Berlin vs Potsdam People working at the AIP generally choose to live either in Potsdam or in Berlin. In Potsdam people choose Babelsberg to live close to the Institute AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 12 of 43 Links Useful websites for ﬁnding an apartment are: • IBZ (see box on page 11) • Immobilien Scout24 • Berliner Morgenpost: Wohnungsmarkt • TagesSpiegel: Immobilien Berlin • M¨rkische Allgemeine: Immobilien (mainly for Potsdam and a surroundings) Furnished apartments might be useful for a short-term stay or while you are looking for a long-term apartment: • City Mitwohnzentrale GmbH • Coming Home • HomeCompany: Berlin • Crocodilian Rooms in Berlin Useful websites for ﬁnding a WG are: • www.wg-gesucht.de • www.studenten-wg.de To ﬁnd a Student room in Potsdam: • www.studentenwerk-potsdam.de (∼10 minutes by bike) but it is also rather expensive. There are cheaper but more remote options in the Schlaatz or Stern (>20 min by bike or bus). If you choose an apartment in Berlin expect prices between the above numbers, but be aware that if you are further east than Charlottenburg commuting to work will take you at least an hour from door to door (twice a day). More tips, links, and details concerning housing can be found on the AIP Wiki page: http://astar.aip.de/Newcomers/Newcomers 1.3.3 SCHUFA If you are looking for a ﬂat, one of the documents that you may be required to provide is a “SCHUFA”. This is a private organization which estimates the probability with which you will pay your rent. If you are just arriv- ing in Germany it is probable that you are not in the Schufa database. In this case you can register online and order something called a SCHUFA- Verbraucherauskunft (SCHUFA customer information) that you can then give to the rental agency. This will cost e7–10. You will ﬁnd more information here: www.meineschufa.de AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 13 of 43 German housing terms and abbreviations The advertised rent in most cases refers to the basic rent (Kalt- miete) which means that you will have to pay extra for electric- ity, water, heating and waste disposal (Nebenkosten). In contrast, these subsidiary charges are normally included in the rent for fur- nished ﬂats. When you are looking for a ﬂat, keep in mind that Warmmiete includes all costs, Kaltmiete does not. 3 Zi.-Whg 3 Zimmer Wohnung 3-room apartment 3 ZKDB 3 Zimmer, K¨che,u 3 rooms plus kitchen, Diele, Badezimmer hallway, bath Abstand Abstandszahlung you have to buy some of the ﬁxtures and fur- nishings DG Dachgeschoss loft apartment EBK u Einbauk¨che built-in kitchen EG Erdgeschoss ground ﬂoor HH Hinterhaus back of the house (might have little light) K Kaution deposit kalt cold rent (See above) NR Nichtraucher non-smokers KM Kaltmiete cold rent NMM Nettomonatsmiete net monthly rent MVZ Monatliche rent in advance ˜ Vorauszahlung Prov. Provision commission qm Quadratmeter square metre TG Tiefgarage underground garage VH Vorderhaus front of the house WG Wohngemeinschaft shared ﬂat WBS erford. Wohnberechtigungs- subsidised housing schein erforderlich only rented to holders of a special permit Wﬂ. a Wohnﬂ¨che living space WM Warmmiete warm rent (See above) Zi Zimmer room(s) ZH Zentralheizung central heating zzgl. NK u zuz¨glich Nebenkosten plus extra charges AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 14 of 43 1.3.4 Internet Connections There are numerous internet providers for you to choose from. Expect to pay around e25 /month. Alternative to DSL If you opt for standard internet connection at home your new provider will If there is no DSL set up an appointment with a (Deutsche Telekom) technician to enable your available in your city DSL/telephone connection. This should not cost you anything but it can take district (yes, that a few weeks in the worst case. In some cases the technician will need access to still happens!), don’t the “Hausverteiler”. This central distributor is typically located in the cellar despair - you can of your building and you might need to get in touch with the Hausmeister check out the cable- of your building to obtain the key. Any necessary hardware (e.g. modem) is internet providers. included in the contract with your internet provider. It may be possible to get a highspeed internet connection Important! via the cable which Keep in mind that most contracts with an internet provider is used for cable TV. will have a minimum duration of 24 months. If you move Often you can get a away from Germany to a country where your provider is combined package of TV, telephone con- not available, you can cancel your contract early (in the- nection and highspeed ory anyway) but otherwise you are going to pay for the internet. Prices and full 24 months. If you want to cancel your contract after contracts are similar 24 months, you should do so several months in advance, to those for DSL. otherwise the provider might renew the contract automat- ically. Alternatively you can consider prepaid mobile internet op- tions. These are typically renewable on a monthly basis. As they rely on the the mobile phone network the connec- tion speeds are slower but on the plus side you can use it anywhere in Germany not just in your own home. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 15 of 43 Lexicon 1.4 Banking BLZ or Bankleitzahl When you go to a bank to open a bank account (“Girokonto”), you need to bank code bring the following items: Dauerauftrag regular bank transfer • passport or identity card • Visa (non-EU only) Kontonummer • Work contract account number • “Studienbescheinigung” (certiﬁcate of study) if you want to beneﬁt from ¨ Uberweisung reduced fees (PhD students only) bank transfer a Einzugserm¨chtigung Some German speciﬁcs direct debit authorization ¨ • Uberweisung: The use of bank transfers is very com- mon in Germany. This is not only true for regular payments such as your rent, but also for other payments. • EC-Karte: Many German stores (e.g. grocery stores) do not accept credit cards. The only alternative to cash payment is to use a debit card called an “EC-card”. These are usually provided with a standard bank account. • Geldkarte: This is an electronic cash card, in general implemented on your EC-card. From a cash dispenser you can load your Geld-karte to a certain amount of euros. This card is particularly useful to buy bus or train tickets from machines. • Einzugserm¨chtigung: An ”Einzugserm¨chtigung” a a (direct debit authorization) is a popular method to pay for services like ﬂat rental, phone bills etc. Giving an a Einzugserm¨chtigung allows the payee to directly take the required money from your bank account (make sure that it has enough balance). Within six weeks, you can instruct your bank to return a direct debit transfer if you notice that it was unauthorized or incorrect. You do not need to give a reason for the cancellation to the bank. However, if you cancelled a valid transfer, you may be asked to pay the additional costs of the cancellation. The service and fees for a Girokonto vary with each bank. The monthly basic fee is about e2–7, additional fees for each transaction can apply as well. In addition, a debit card may cost e10–20/year whereas a credit card usually also costs about e20/year. If you have a regular income of more than e1000–1250 or more (depending on the bank), your bank account may be free of charge. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 16 of 43 Online Bank Accounts As an alternative, you could consider opening an online bank account. These are most often free of charge and oﬀer free debit cards, sometimes even free credit cards, but this comes at the cost of less service. There’s no oﬃce you can go to in case of trouble, only a telephone hotline. For opening such an online bank account, you need to ﬁll out the application forms and usually prove your identity via the “PostIdent” method. This means that you get a PostIdent Coupon, take it to the nearest post oﬃce and show your passport/ID there. You can ﬁnd on the newcomer Wiki page more information concerning interest, taxes or free credit cards. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 17 of 43 Chapter 2 Living in Germany 2.1 Learning German Formally it is not required that students, postdocs or staﬀ speak any German in order to successfully work at the AIP. However, people generally ﬁnd that day-to-day activities (such as shopping, taking the train, etc.) are much more enjoyable if you speak and understand German to a basic level. The German people you interact with will also be appreciative of your eﬀorts. There are several options for learning German. A common, popular and cheap method is to attend German lessons at one of the many Volkshochschulen in Berlin or Potsdam. There are also many private German language teachers that can be found. These tend to be more expensive, but the class sizes are much smaller and the tuition is more personalised. Since 2009, such private classes have been organized at the AIP, on a weekly basis. Currently three levels are available and cost e10 per 90 minute class. You are welcome to join one of the existing classes or, if there is reasonable demand (4 people with the same language level) an additional class can be opened. Tips! • Funding: Depending of the type of funding your position is based on, German class fees might be paid for you. Ask the person who oﬀered you the position. • Tandem: An eﬀective way to practice German and get in touch with the culture is to ﬁnd a German tandem partner, with whom you will spend half the time speaking German, and the other half speaking your native language. This is complementary to a classical German class. Links – A list of the Volkshochschulen in Berlin can be found at: www.berlin.de/vhs – A list of the Volkshochschulen in Potsdam can be found at: www.potsdam-vhs.de and www.potsdam.de/cms/ziel/35356 (English as well) – Concerning the German class at the AIP contact: o Stefan Gottl¨ber, firstname.lastname@example.org AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 18 of 43 Lexicon 2.2 Shopping Laden The shopping landscape in Germany mostly dominated by medium sized shop, store supermarkets and international fashion labels. However, smaller and more a Gesch¨ft unique stores still exist, especially oﬀ the main shopping areas. In the city shop, store centers or district centers (for Berlin) you will also ﬁnd larger department stores like, e.g. Karstadt or Kaufhof, which basically oﬀer everything from Supermarkt clothing, furniture to electronics, sometimes also food (mostly delicatessen). supermarket, grocery Shops for clothes and electronics are also mainly situated in the city/district store centers or in large malls outside the city boundaries. Kaufhaus department store Opening times Opening times can vary from shop to shop in Germany. They can usually be Baumarkt found on the front door of the shop. Typical opening times are Do-it-yourself store, • Monday - Saturday 9:00 - 20:00 building supplies store • Sunday closed Bakeries often start working early in the morning (∼ 6:30) and mostly open A&V also on Sunday mornings to provide fresh buns for breakfast. Second hand shop, On Sundays almost all normal shops are closed except for some special places mostly furniture like some of the Berlin railway stations. Especially if you live in Potsdam you should keep that in mind when you plan your weekend meals. a Sp¨tkauf small grocery store 2.2.1 Buying food open until late There are basically three types of grocery stores which mainly diﬀer in assort- ment and price level: • A Supermarkt provides the widest range of products combined with medium prizes. They can be found all over the place and provide you with all the stuﬀ you need for (Wester-European) cooking. Examples (no recommendations!) for large chains are REWE, Kaiser’s or Edeka. • A Discounter is a store which has specialized on a limited range of food products which it oﬀers at quite low prices. Discounters often also have a temporary no-food assortment which changes on a weekly basis. Typical dis- count stores are Aldi, Lidl, Netto or Penny. • Finally there is a range of smaller shops which with a very limited range of goods. They are mostly specialized on e.g. organic food (Bioladen) or u vegetables in general with a small assortment of other things (Gem¨seladen). Others are open till late sell mainly beverages or they also work on Sundays a when you cannot go to other shops (Sp¨tkauf ). Generally, prices are at least as high as in supermarkets, sometimes much higher. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 19 of 43 Tips for saving some money • Food prices are not ﬁxed in Germany and can vary signiﬁcantly between shops. • Supermarket chains regularly distribute via mail adver- tisements with discounts on parts of their assortment. • Especially for larger purchases it is possible to bargain on the price or on additional equipment. Discounts larger than a few percent are rare, however. • Buying food generally larger packages are cheaper. How- ever, this is not always the case. The price labels always also show the price per kilo. Comparing is often worth the eﬀort! AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 20 of 43 Lexicon 2.3 Healthcare Arzt In Germany, you must possess health insurance. As a newcomer nobody Doctor expects you to dive into the jungle of the details of all health insurance, the Hausarzt home doctor AIP will recommend a health insurance provider for you. The health insur- Zahnarzt ance covers a broad range of injuries within Germany, the EU and several dentist other countries. However, it does not cover additional transportation costs Frauenarzt from foreign countries back to Germany. For this case, if you travel for plea- gynecologist sure or work outside Germany it is recommended that you sign up for an Kinderarzt “Auslandsreise-Krankenversicherung” which will cost you about e5–10/year pediatrician and usually includes additional costs at visits abroad up to 6 weeks per trip. Notdienst Emergency service Once you have signed up you will receive at home or at the AIP a card which Krankenversicherung will be your health insurance card. You will need this card every time you want health insurance to see a doctor, a dentist, or if something happens to you and you need to go to ¨ Uberweisung the hospital. At the reception they will ask you for a proof of health insurance. transfer If you feel sick and you are thinking about visiting a doctor, you have the freedom to go to the doctor of your choice. It is recommended to choose a basic doctor (Hausarzt which is something like a “Home Doctor”) near your place of residence. The Hausarzt is the starting point for almost any medical procedure. In case your Hausarzt cannot help you further (for example, you have a particular injury that requires a specialist) you will get from him/her an Uberweisung to a specialist. There is a fee of e10 to pay on the ﬁrst visit ¨ of your Hausarzt every quartile of a year (3 months) and includes all visits of other doctors as long as you are transferred to them by your Hausarzt with ¨ an Uberweisung 1 . These quarter divisions of the year are ﬁxed from January–March, April–June, ¨ July–September, and October–December. Independently of the Uberweisung you can always visit other doctors or specialists, but you have to pay e10 extra fee per quarter of the year for each doctor you visited on your own. The dentist will also charge you e10 per quarter, except for a regular 6- monthly screening. If you need to go to see both a medical doctor and the dentist in the same quarter you have to pay 2×10=e20. If you become sick and decide to stay at home you are obliged to inform your employer immediately. However, you are not required to go to the physician, unless you are sick for longer than three days. At the latest on the fourth day, you have to make sure that your employer receives the doctor’s Krankenschein (sickness certiﬁcate). Your employer is liable to continue payment for 6 weeks of sickness. Children: If one of your children is sick and needs to stay home with you, then you may have Kinderkrankheitstage (children sickness days). You need to hand in a copy of the doctor’s sick note to the AIP and send the original to 1 In theory, you can go directly to any specialist, pay your e10 and ask for an Uberweisung ¨ to the Hausarzt, just in case you will need to see a doctor a second time during the quartile. In practise not all specialist are willing to do so. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 21 of 43 your health insurance. Your salary will be decreased by some amount, but your health insurance will transfer most of the diﬀerence. Kinderkrankheitstage are limited to 10 work days per parent per year. Useful links • For emergency service or ﬁre-brigade call 112 • For the various emergency health services (i.e. doctors, dentists, phar- macy) see these links: Potsdam: http://www.info-potsdam.de/notdienst.html Lexicon Berlin: www.berlin.de/polizei/notfall/notdienste.html Arbeitsamt or • TK: The Techniker krankenkasse is AIP default’s health provider. Bundesagentur u f¨r Adress: Großbeerenstr. 109 Arbeit 14482 Potsdam Federal employment Tel.: +49 331 748855 oﬃce Website: www.tk-online.de o BAF¨G • ENVIVAS: This company oﬀers world wide health insurance coverage federal state for your business and private short trips abroad which complement TK studentship insurance holders. See this link for details in english. u Begr¨ßungsgeld welcome allowance 2.4 Miscellaneous administrative matters Haftpﬂicht- versicherung liability insurance 2.4.1 Insurance Hausrat It is highly recommended to have Haftpﬂichtversicherung. It protects you household eﬀects against accidental damage to third party property. It costs only about e50/year and can save you from a diﬃcult situation, e.g. if your washing machine breaks Familienkasse and ruins the ﬂat below you or if you damage a car with your bike. You can Familly oﬃce also consider getting Rechtsschutzversicherung or a Hausratversicherung, al- though those are less critical and often considered as not worth the money. Kindergeld children allowance 2.4.2 GEZ Rechtsschutz- versicherung u The Geb¨hreneinzugszentrale (GEZ) is the German radio & TV licence fee legal protection collecting agency. Almost every inhabitant of Germany owning a TV, radio or comparable electronic equipment (like a PC) is obliged to pay GEZ fees to ﬁnance the German public service broadcasting system. Exceptions are, for o example, disabled people or students receiving BAF¨G with their own house- hold. As of March 2009, the monthly fee was e5.76 for a radio and/or a PC and e17.98 for a TV (and a radio/PC). Note that that every private household has to register only one TV and one ra- dio/PC. This means that a family (including married couples and school-aged children) has to register only once. However, other people within the house- hold whose income exceeds a certain limit (the einfacher Sozialhilferegelsatz which is around e300/month) must also register. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 22 of 43 Registration is possible via the internet (www.gez.de, in German only). If you move to or within Germany and are not registered you will usually receive a letter from the GEZ with the request to register within a few weeks of arriving. 2.4.3 u Begr¨ ßungsgeld If you are a student of the University of Potsdam and moved to Potsdam for your studies, you can also apply for Begr¨ßungsgeld. This is a e50 payment u from the city of Potsdam to you for each semester you are enrolled. There are some deadlines which you have to take into account. You will ﬁnd further details at the webpage of the Studentenwerk Potsdam: www.studentenwerk- potsdam.de/begruessungsgeld (website also available in English). 2.4.4 Kindergeld If you have children, you are entitled to apply for children allowance from the German social system. In 2010 this is e184/month, per child for the ﬁrst two children. The amount for the third, fourth, etc. child is even higher. The Familienkasse pays for all children under the age of 18 years and even beyond (up to 25 years) if a child is in education and gets only a small salary. To apply: u The responsible agency is the Familienkasse from the Bundesagentur f¨r Ar- beit 2 , usually from the city where you live and where you are registered. There exist special regulations for employees in public service, but this is not the case for people working at the AIP. Only one of the parents will get the Kindergeld: if you live apart, it is usually the one where the children are living; otherwise you can decide yourself. The other parent has to give his/her consent by signing the application form as well. The application form can be downloaded directly from the Arbeitsagen- tur. In most cases, form “KG1” will be the right one for you. You may also follow the online questionnaire, answer the questions step-by-step and thus ﬁll out the form interactively. Non-German and non-EU citizens will need to attach a copy of their passport. For each child, a birth certiﬁcate is required. You may ﬁrst send only a copy and the people from the Familienkasse will contact you if they need the origi- nal. You can either send the application via mail (along with the required certiﬁed copies) or visit the Familienkasse personally during its opening hours (no ap- pointment necessary). The latter option has the advantage that you can just show the birth certiﬁcates and they will make certiﬁed copies themselves. 2 The Arbeitsamt is also responsible for unemployment money. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 23 of 43 Familienkasse in Potsdam Address: Schlaatzweg 1 → just between Potsdam main 14473 Potsdam station and S-Bahn station Ba- Tel.: +49 1801 546337 belsberg 2.4.5 Work permits In general, foreigners to “old-EU” or EEA countries require a work permit when working in Germany. But there are some exceptions regarding the re- quirement of a work permit. In particular, scientiﬁc employees of research institutions which are ﬁnanced mostly or solely by public funds might not need a work permit. Because of this, AIP scientists might not require a work permit. Nevertheless, you have to submit a copy of your contract, job description, academic transcript and university degree to be exempt from applying for a work permit. Foreign fellowship holders do not require a work permit because they are not employees. The same applies for students not working more than 90 days or 3 months a year. However, if your partner wishes to work, he or she might require a work permit for Germany. It can be obtained at the employment oﬃce for foreigners u a (Arbeitsamt f¨r Ausl¨nder). There you receive a form that has to be ﬁlled in by yourself and also by your employer. According to German law, you have to wait 4 weeks before receiving a work permit and you are not allowed to work while your application is being processed. That is because the oﬃcials have to make sure that no other German or EU citizen ﬁts your position. This condition is in practise diﬃcult to fulﬁll. Work permits need to be renewed every year. Old- and New-EU members Old-EU members are countries that joined the EU before 2005. Citizen of these countries or from the EEA countries do not need a work permit, in contrast to the citizens of the “new-EU” countries. • Old-EU members: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Austria, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, UK. • Other countries with no need of work permit: Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Malta, Cyprus. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 24 of 43 Lexicon 2.5 Public Transportation Ankunft arrival Public transport in the Greater Berlin metropolitan region is provided by Abfahrt departure German Rail (Deutsche Bahn, DB), S-Bahn (which stands for Schnellbahn), (Haupt-)Bahnhof U-Bahn (underground metro train), Straßenbahn (tram), and Busses. (main) train station Einzelfahrt 2.5.1 Transportation zones in Berlin and Potsdam single trip a Erm¨ßigung Both Berlin and Potsdam are organized in roughly concentric transportation reduced fare zones A (inner) through C (outer city), respectively. Fares depend on between Gleis which zones you wish to travel, and tickets are named accordingly. Of course, platform tickets are only valid within these respective zone(s), but in some instances Kleingruppe can be upgraded. small group Kurzstrecke For Potsdam, these are “Potsdam AB” (for journeys within inner Potsdam in- short haul cluding Babelsberg - for all practical purposes, this will be you standard ticket Richtung for Potsdam), and “Potsdam ABC” (including some fairly outlying regions in direction a Versp¨tung the greater Potsdam area). For Berlin, these are “Berlin AB” (for journeys delay within the inner city), “Berlin BC” (for travel within the outer city). Verkehr traﬃc (other context: Since Berlin treats Potsdam like a suburb, Potsdam is geographically located intercourse) in Berlin’s C zone; hence the “Berlin ABC” ticket covers both all of Berlin as Zug well as “Potsdam AB” (but not Potsdam C, which extends to the other side of train Potsdam). Thus, if you live in Berlin and work in Babelsberg (AIP), “Berlin ABC” will be your standard ticket. o A special case is a journey to Berlin Sch¨nefeld International Airport (SXF). Since SXF is located in Berlin’s C region, a “Berlin ABC” or “Berlin BC” ticket is needed, depending from where in Berlin you start your journey. From Potsdam, however, there are two possibilities to get to SXF: either di- rectly with the RB22, which will require a “Berlin BC” ticket (since both starting point and destination are in Berlin’s C zone), or by going through Berlin e.g. Zoologischer Garten, Alexanderplatz, or Ostbahnhof, which will require a “Berlin ABC”. While this all might appear confusing at ﬁrst, it is not really complicated. In particular, transport-network plans show the three zones in diﬀerent colours for easier orientation, so you should understand fairly quickly. Online information Two very useful web-pages are the connection query pages of Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg, www.vbbonline.de, and of Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe, www.fahrinfo-berlin.de/Fahrinfo/bin. Both are oﬀered in English. It displays the fastest connections by pubic transport. In particular you can ask how to reach AIP, typing in “Sternwarte”. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 25 of 43 2.5.2 Buying tickets If you get caught by the ticket control, not having a valid ticket will result in a e40 ﬁne which is practically uncontestable: being a foreigner, not knowing your way around, and not speaking German will not be accepted as an excuse. It is best to avoid any trouble and to make yourself familiar with the basics of ticketing as quickly as possible. Both in Berlin and Potsdam, the transportation companies maintain customer oﬃces where you can buy tickets, usually located close to major stations (e.g. Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, etc.). In the absence of an oﬃce, tickets can be bought from vending machines at the train, tram, S-Bahn and U-Bahn stations. Some vending machines have touch- screens with instructions in English (and other languages). Plan enough time for your ﬁrst attempt to use the vending machine because it can be a bit tricky. You can also buy a ticket on board trams (vending machines) or busses (ask the driver). In some busses, drivers might redirect you to an on-board vend- ing machine, located a couple of metres behind their seat. Step forward and buy your ticket there. If you already hold a ticket, just show it to the driver when getting on the bus. Make sure to validate the ticket properly (see below). Note that tickets cannot be bought on U-Bahns, S-Bahns and regular trains. Thus, before you board any of these trains, make sure that you have bought a ticket and validated it. 2.5.3 Validity of tickets Tickets come in a wide and confusing variety; it is thus worthwhile to take some time and check which ticket suits your needs best. A brief overview of some of the most important tickets: • Berlin ABC: for the entire Greater Berlin metropolitan area. If you live in Berlin and work at AIP, this is what you need. Single fare e2.80, monthly ticket e88.50, yearly ticket e830. • Potsdam AB: if you work and live in Potsdam. Single fare e1.70, monthly ticket e35, yearly ticket e340. • Monthly tickets come in two varieties: valid for either a calendar month (e.g., June 2010), or for 31 days. The former gives you one day of grace at the beginning and the end of each period (i.e., the June ticket is already valid on May 31 and still valid on July 1) while the latter allows you to cover any 31-day period you want. • Cheaper short-haul fares apply when you’re only travelling six stations or less by bus or tram in Potsdam, or three stations or less by S-Bahn or U-Bahn in Berlin; check network plans to count stations between you and your destination. However, changing public transport is not permitted. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 26 of 43 Normal, standard single-fare tickets are valid on all transportation, but only for a limited amount of time (120 min in Berlin, 60 min in Potsdam; see below). This means that the same ticket will allow you to use whatever transportation means you require to reach your destination. You may even interrupt your journey as long as you travel within the time your ticket is valid. What you must not do, however, is to return to (or travel in the direction of) your starting point. This will be considered a return trip, and if you do not hold a return ticket, you will be ﬁned if caught in a ticket control. A ticket that has not been validated, or that has expired, will be regarded as invalid, and you will be ﬁned if you get caught in a control. Thus, always remember to validate your ticket appropriately. 2.5.4 Tax declarations and transportation costs Under German tax law, you are entitled to deduce from your taxable income any cost that pays transport to and from your workplace, either by full-cost accounting, a per-kilometer rate (cf. “Pendlerpauschale”) or a ﬂat rate. Dis- tance limits between your home and workplace might apply, but it is always worth asking for details regarding this possibility. 2.5.5 German Railways German Rail (Deutsche Bahn, DB) operates train lines mainly, but not ex- clusively, within Germany. Comfortable, and fairly popular, high-speed DB Intercity Express (ICE) trains oﬀer an alternative to ﬂying when it comes to medium- and long-distance travelling within Germany and neighbouring coun- tries. For example, the ICE from Berlin Hauptbahnhof to Hamburg Haupt- bahnhof takes only 1h30, while Frankfurt am Main is reached in less than 4h15, especially if the “ICE Sprinter” is taken. ICE trains run hourly. However, ICE tickets can be expensive, and in some instances it might be worthwhile to check for slower, and hence cheaper, trains (i.e. with more stops). Moreover, there are price-reduction schemes such as e.g. Bahncard- 50, which, for the period of one year, reduces by 50% the price of any DB ticket. Since the Bahncard-50 itself will cost you e230 (2nd class), reaching the break-even point will depend on how much you will travel. Bahncard-25 and 100 are also available, as is the ﬁrst-class option. Buying train tickets Tickets can be bought at the train station either at a vending machine or at the DB Reisecenter (travelcenter), where a service charge (e2) will be applied, or online. In the latter case, you will be sent an electronic ticket in PDF format which you need to print out; note that it is valid only in conjunction with the credit card that was used to buy it. DB does not make any ex- ceptions to this rule, so make sure you have all you travel documents with you when you board a train. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 27 of 43 Normal tickets are valid for the travel route, and are not limited to particular trains. This means you can miss a train, take one earlier/later than booked, or even interrupt your journey for a stop-over, as long as you stay within the 30-day validity period. Any seat reservations you made will be forfeit if you’re not on the corresponding train, but can be changed for a e2 service fee at any DB Reisecenter, provided seats are available. Seat reservations on ICE trains cost e2.50 extra, but for long journeys it is better to book a seat or you might ﬁnd yourself standing most of the time. For travelling on days around a (long) weekend or any other holiday, you should deﬁnitely book a seat. To cope with the increasing competition from no-frills airlines, DB has recently introduced early-bird specials. There is now an option to book a ticket a long time in advance, at a very attractive price (e29 one-way). Of course, DB reserves only a small number of seats for these early-bird specials, so be quick. However, as with ﬂights, these tickets have a signiﬁcant downside: they’re only valid for the very train they were booked for. If you miss the train for any reason (other than a connecting train being late), you ticket is forfeit, and you have to buy a new one. Note that cross-country train tickets are not validated at the station, but by a conductor aboard the train. An exception to this rule are locally valid tickets o such as “Berlin ABC” from Potsdam to Berlin Sch¨nefeld Airport (see above). Online information – The Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg, www.vbbonline.de, website covers rail travel throughout Germany and some interna- tional destinations. It has an English option and is very good for ﬁnding timetables, route planning or appropriate tickets. – Visit www.bahn.de for more information on rail transportation. 2.5.6 A couple of tips Bahncards While Bahncards (i.e., price-reduction cards) are very attractive, they come with a couple of very important issues. The most important thing is that the Bahncard is valid for one year. However, unless you speciﬁcally end the contract with DB at least 6 weeks prior to the expiry date of the Bahncard, DB will automatically extend your contract for another year. Under German law, you are obliged to pay, and DB will send people after you to get their money. Currently, consumer advocates are trying to contest this practice in court, and although DB has lost pretty much every case brought against them, they keep on appealing, hence the courts’ rulings have not yet come into eﬀect. If you want to make sure that you do not auto- matically extend your Bahncard, do end you contract the moment you obtain your card. You can do so online, or at any DB travelcenter in the train stations. The next issue is that with only one exception, the Bahncard rebates are not AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 28 of 43 accumulative. That is, if you wish to purchase an early-bird special for e29, only the Bahncard-25 will be able to reduce the fare by 25% whereas all other Bahncards (50, 100) will not do so. In most cases, however, you will not get an early-bird ticket anyway, since numbers are very limited. Thus, take great care to choose the best Bahncard for you. There are online-tools available on DB’s website. Timetables Railway timetables come in two colours: white for arrivals (“Ankunft”), and yellow for departures (“Abfahrt”). It is important to note that some entries have footnotes; a legend thereof is provided at the bottom of the timetable. One symbol, for instance, means that the train in question only runs on work days (in Germany, this is Monday through Saturday), but not on Sundays and holidays. If you read such timetables, make sure that you fully understand the entries, or you might wait for a train that will never come. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 29 of 43 2.6 Children’s education Lexicon The responsibility for the German education system lies primarily with the in- Abitur A-levels dividual states, which means signiﬁcant variations across Germany. We refer here to the rules applied in the states of Brandenburg and Berlin. Erste Klasse The system is quite complicated, and this review is not intended to be com- 1st grade prehensive. Grundschule School attendance is mandatory for 12 years. Children ﬁrst enter the Grund- Primary school schule, in the erste Klasse, around the age of six. Primary school is up to the 6th grade, i.e. when most of the children are around twelve years old. The Hort secondary school system becomes more complicated, because there are four after-school care club types of secondary institutions and children, supported by their parents, need to apply to the school of their choice. Jugendamt youth welfare oﬃce Useful links Kinderkrippe day nursery – To check the school holidays in Germany: www.schulferien.org Kindergarten – List of Kitas in Potsdam: www.potsdam.de/cms/ziel/30689/DE/ playschool Rechtsanspruch – List of primary schools in Potsdam: entitlement www.potsdam.de/cms/ziel/30269/DE/ Tagesmutter day nanny Tagesbetreuung Before entering school: children 0–6 years old day care Kitas There is no mandatory way to look after your children until they are of age to go to school. But if you need or would like to send your children to a day It is quite com- care service, here are the most common options: mon that the Kinderkrippe, • Tagesmutter : A single person who takes care of a small group of children Kindergaten and Hort (see next sec- aged between 0 and 6 (though it is more common for a Tagesmutter to tion) are located in have children under age 3); the same institu- tion, often called • Kinderkrippe: This is the name given to the day nursery places for a Kita, short for children aged between 0 and 3 years old; Kindertagesbetreu- ung, children’s day • Kindergarten: playschool for children aged from 3 to 6. The year be- care. fore entering school, when children are 5 to 6 years old, they usually follow special activities which are meant to prepare them for entering school. This group of oldest children in a Kindergarten is usually called Vorschulgruppe. Right to early education The option to attend a kindergarten is provided for all children between three and six years of age, even if one of the parents is at home. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 30 of 43 Primary School: children 6-12 years old For the majority of children, classes are taken in the morning and the atten- dance to school increase from 4-5 hour in the 1st grade, to 6-7 hours in the 6th grade. Consequently, many parents need to ﬁnd a place where their chil- dren will be staying after school. The Hort is the institution designed for this purpose. In addition to proposing recreation activities for your children, most Horts support children in doing their homework as well, which can be quite helpful for parents who don’t yet speak German. The Hort generally oﬀers day care during most of the school holidays. Secondary School: children 13-18 years old In both Berlin and Potsdam, secondary school starts with the 7th grade. There are four types of institutions in which children may pursue their education: • The Gymnasium is designed to prepare students for university edu- cation and ﬁnishes with the ﬁnal examination Abitur after grade 12 or 13; • The Realschule has a broader range of emphasis for intermediate stu- dents and ﬁnishes with the ﬁnal examination Mittlerer Schulabschluss (MSA) after grade 10. Depending on their marks, after this examina- tion the pupil might enter a Gymnasium to pass the Abitur ; • The Hauptschule prepares pupils for vocational education and ﬁnishes with the ﬁnal examination Hauptschulabschluss after grade 9 or 10 and the Realschulabschluss after grade 10. • The Gesamtschule combines in the same school the approaches of the three above institutions. The pupils are not divided in classes but follow courses which apply to their level, in each subject. Depending on each pupil’s performance it is possible to complete a Hauptschulabschluss, Realschulabschluss or Abitur. To obtain a place in a secondary school, pupils supported by their parents generally need to send applications to the individual schools. Although this procedure is at some point centralized, and should principally be based on the pupil’s school mark, it is in practice quite complicated, even for native Germans. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 31 of 43 Important It is highly recommended to look for a place in a Kita or with a Tagesmutter as early as possible. If you don’t apply for a place at your favorite Kita early enough, you will have to choose another Kita or wait several months until a place is free. A good date for starting a Kita is in September, when the oldest children are entering school. Note that Kitas and Tagesmutters are usually not free of charge. Depending on the parents’ total income and the hours of day care, you have to pay a certain amount (called Elternbeitrag) plus the costs for food. For a single PhD student this can quickly be about e100/month in Potsdam, for two married postdocs as much as e400/month. Regulations If both parents are (or the single parent is) working, the federal state is responsible for providing you with a day care solution for your children until the 5th school year. In order to secure the right to support from the municipality, the following must be satisﬁed: • The educational institutions must be located in your municipal- ity of residence (i.e. not where you work) • Your children must be listed on your Lohnsteuerkarte • The child must be between 0–6 years of age and not yet going to school Then, parents need to ﬁll out a form indicating their daily working hours and transportation time which then need to be stamped by their employers. This form is usually provided at the Kita where you want to register the children. Depending on the Kita, you might hand this document directly to the Kita, which will then take care of the rest of the procedure. Otherwise, this form needs to be sent to the Jugendamt in your city. The Jugendamt will return a document called Bescheid uber ¨ die Feststellung des Rechtsanspruchs Ihres Kindes aus Tagesbe- treuung which attests your right to day care. The Kita will re- quest this document when your child begins attending the Kita. Chapter 3 Working at the AIP 3.1 Getting Started 3.1.1 Travelling to the AIP The main AIP campus is located in Babelsberg, south-west of Berlin. The nearest main train station is Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, but the smaller Babels- berg S-Bahnhof is even closer. The S7 S-Bahn runs between Berlin–Potsdam every 10 minutes during the times that you would be coming and going from the AIP. You can catch bus 694 in the direction Stern Center from either sta- tion, and alight at the station called “Sternwarte”. Alternatively, you can eas- ily walk to the AIP from the Babelsberg S-Bahn station along Karl-Liebknecht Straße. More detailed directions on how to get to the AIP can be found on the AIP website, and a map of the Babelsberg area can be found on the back page of this Guide. Upon arrival, you should introduce yourself at the reception desk in the Schwarzschildhaus, which is usually occupied by Christina Walther during oﬃce hours. Frau Walther speaks some English, so if you need help ﬁnding your host, you can ask her. 3.1.2 Laufzettel During your ﬁrst few days at the AIP your supervisor/host will give you a Laufzettel (running paper), and will help you complete it. On the Laufzettel you will ﬁnd a list of people within the AIP administration and IT. Some people you will only have to visit and ask them for a signature, so you know them and they get to know you. Others will provide you with equipment, such as your key and your computer account. If nobody is present at one of the stations, you can re-visit it later. When your Laufzettel is complete, leave it with the last person on the list. 3.2 Computing and email accounts Upon arrival you will be assigned a desk with a computer, and a computer e account. Andr´ Saar is the head of the IT department, and is supported by o Karl-Heinz B¨ning, Mario Dionies and Michael Fiebiger. They are useful peo- ple to know. If you have any computing problems, the best thing to do is to send an email to email@example.com. The IT people will read the email and they can decide amongst themselves who is best suited to deal with the problem. For information about the IT infrastructure at the AIP check the internal webpage edv-doc.aip.de. This page has useful instructions for getting various accounts and many solutions for practical computer questions. Use the search AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 33 of 43 function at the bottom of the page to ﬁnd speciﬁc topics. However, some of the pages are only in German, so, for example, to learn how to print from your laptop to a printer, search for Drucker. Extensive computing facilities, such as computer clusters, and extended data storage facilities are also available. Manfred Schultz is in charge of these. One can also ask the e-Science team (www.aip.de/groups/escience/) for other op- tions, e.g. to join AstroGrid-D and German D-Grid. It is also possible to have o a webpage hosted at the AIP, but one must ask Karl-Heinz B¨ning to assign you an account and some disk space. There are three mailing lists which are of interest to AIP employees: info- firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. The ﬁrst is intended for all AIP employees, and wiss-aip relates to scientiﬁc information for researchers. The third should reach everyone currently with an aip email address, including diploma students and long-term guests. If you have a contract with the AIP, you will subscribe to info-aip via the Laufzettel. To subscribe to email@example.com, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and to subscribe to wiss-aip, send an email to email@example.com. Everyone at the AIP should be subscribed to at least one of these lists. From outside, the Institute’s network can be accessed through the login.aip.de server. If you want to set up a tunnel or use VNC, check the edv-doc.aip.de webpage or read about how to conﬁgure your .ssh/conﬁg ﬁle. Writing e-mail from outside is possible through the web interface https://mail.aip.de/, the VNC or the mail server londo, for which you need to request a special account. Note! The home directory of your computer account is automatically backed up daily, but your work disks are not. It is your responsibility to ensure they are backed up in case of disk failures, etc. A good idea is to ask o Karl-Heinz B¨ning for disk space on e.g. atlas so you can back up your work directories. 3.3 Science at the AIP The AIP is one of the major astrophysical institutions in Germany, with work dedicated to various astrophysics research and instrumentation projects. Ac- cording to the AIP’s oﬃcial structure, each research group is located within one of the main branches. Branch I concerns Cosmic Magnetic Fields, Branch II is for Extragalactic Astrophysics. The Research Technology group is sepa- rate but administered within Branches I and II. There are currently six research and ﬁve research technology programme ar- eas. The six research groups are Magnetohydrodynamics and Turbulence, Physics of the Sun, Stellar Physics and Activity, Star Formation and the In- terstellar Medium, Galaxies and Quasars, and Cosmology and Large-Scale Structure. The ﬁve technology areas are Telescope Control and Robotics, High-resolution Spectroscopy and Polarimetry, 3D Spectroscopy and Super- AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 34 of 43 computing, E-Science, and innoFSPEC Potsdam. Some of these groups have sub-groups, such as the Galactic Archeology group within the “Galaxies and Quasars” group. For a more detailed description of each programme area, you can look in the latest version of the biennial report. Other AIP Sites The main AIP campus is located in Babelsberg, but there are other satellite campuses in the surrounding area. Tele- grafenberg, where the AIP still maintains an historical site, is 10 minutes away from the research campus located on the site of the former Babelsberg Observatory. During your stay at the AIP, you should take the opportunity to visit the Great Refractor (the fourth largest lens telescope in the world), and the Einstein Tower solar observatory at the Al- bert Einstein Science Park, which is where the former As- trophysical Observatory Potsdam was located. There are public tours twice per month. AIP solar physicists use the Einstein Tower Observatory to test instruments destined for solar telescopes on Tenerife. The AIP collaborates with the IAC on Tenerife in running several telescopes at the Observatorio del Teide, in partic- ular the robotic STELLA telescopes and the Gregor Solar Telescope. The solar team has been operating a radio an- tenna station in Potsdam-Tremsdorf since 1954, and has recently started concentrating its eﬀorts on a new antenna station in Potsdam-Bornim which is part of the LOFAR interferometry project. 3.4 Institute Events There are several events at the AIP. Most are work related, but some are public outreach, and some are purely social. In addition to the institute- wide meetings, your science group will also probably have informal meetings that you will attend. For a list of AIP events in the coming weeks, go to: www.aip.de/news/week/index.php Daily • Science Coﬀee: 10:30, 1st ﬂoor, Leibnizhaus An informal discussion of recent science news over coﬀee, which is provided for a small fee, or whatever beverage you wish to bring. Weekly • Extragalactic Science Club: Tuesday 16:00, Seminar room, Schwarzschildhaus This is the AIP’s Branch II journal club, AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 35 of 43 where one person informally presents a paper and the audience participates in a discussion. • Kaﬀeerunde: Thursday 13:30, Seminar room, Schwarzschild- haus The Kaﬀeerunde is a voluntary informal meeting open to all AIP employees to share news regarding recent scientiﬁc events and results. It is also the place that newly arrived students and em- ployees can introduce themselves to the rest of the Institute. • Department Colloquia: Friday 11:00, Lecture hall, Schwarz- schildhaus The one hour colloquium is presented either by an AIP researcher or a visiting scientist. Coﬀee is served beforehand, start- ing at 10:30 in the Schwarzshildhaus foyer. Monthly • Sternennacht: Every third Thursday of each month, 20:00 Lecture hall, Schwarzschildhaus A public lecture, given in Ger- man, by an AIP scientist. • Institute Conference: Lecture hall, Schwarzschildhaus This meeting is to be held approximately every 3–6 months, instead of the Department Colloquium. Yearly • Beirat The Beirat is a yearly review of the AIP, lasting two days each Autumn. Everyone formally employed as a scientist at the AIP must make a poster describing some aspect of their work. Diploma students and guests are very much invited to make a poster as well, but it isn’t required. A small subset of people will be asked to give a short talk about their work in addition to creating a poster. • Public Outreach Events The AIP hosts several outreach events throughout the year, sometimes in coordination with other insti- tutes. The AIP, as well as several other institutes throughout Berlin and Potsdam, take part in the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften as well as the Lange Nacht der Sterne. • Betriebsausﬂug The Betriebsausﬂug is the all-Institute day out, and occurs in early summer. These events are common at businesses and institutes in Germany. 3.5 Betriebsrat We hope that as a member of the AIP you will have an enjoyable and produc- tive time, but if you have suggestions to improve something or if you encounter problems, there are several ways to get advice and support. The Betriebsrat is the AIP’s work council, a body of seven colleagues elected from all departments of the AIP. Elections occur once every four years. The Betriebsrat would be your ﬁrst stop for work related problems that you can- not clarify with your supervisor, e.g. contract details, or disagreement with AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 36 of 43 u your superiors. The current chair is Jan Peter M¨cket (firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. 518). Since the existence of a Betriebsrat is required by German law, the Betriebsrat has some power in matters of personnel and must be heard. All details you discuss are kept strictly conﬁdential. The up-to-date list of members can be found at: www.aip.de/People/jpmuecket/betriebsrat/BR1.html 3.6 Internal Science Committee The Internal Science Committee’s purpose is to strengthen the scientiﬁc out- come of the Institute. It plays the role of a two-way communicator and advisor from the AIP scientists to the heads of the Institute and vice versa. The ISC organizes the Institute conferences as well as regular workshops. The current Internal Scientiﬁc Committee was elected in February 2009 for two years. Your input to the ISC is welcome. You can send an email to the ISC group at email@example.com, or contact its members directly. The member list and more details can be found at the following adress: www.aip.de/aip/internal/AIP-ISC 3.7 Other people you need to know There are several important people at the AIP who perform speciﬁc functions. A few of them are outlined here. • Foreign Liaison oﬃcers There are two foreign liaison oﬃcers in the Institute, Carsten Denker (firstname.lastname@example.org, ext. 297) in Branch I and o Stefan Gottl¨ber (email@example.com, ext. 516) in Branch II. You may contact them in case you have problems which you cannot solve together with your supervisor or the colleagues of your working group. The for- eign liaison oﬃcers will help you either directly or by pointing you to somebody who can help to solve your problems. They also try to identify problems of general interest and will ﬁnd together with the administra- tion of the Institute a solution to such problems. For this they will need your input. Once or twice a year there will be a meeting with the oﬃcers, where people who recently joined the AIP can share their experiences and discuss some of the problems that they might have encountered upon arrival at the AIP. Please feel free to contact Carsten Denker and Stefan o Gottl¨ber by e-mail or phone or just see them in their oﬃces, if you have any problems or ideas on how to help foreigners joining the AIP. • PhD Student Liaisons Lutz Wisotzki and Carsten Denker are in charge of coordinating the AIP’s PhD programme. See Section 3.8 for further information. • Public Outreach The AIP does a lot of public outreach work and all members are encouraged to participate. The public outreach team o o consists primarily of Madleen K¨ppen and Gabriele Sch¨nherr, who are always happy for AIP members to help with planning and carrying out AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 37 of 43 public events. If you have an interesting scientiﬁc result and would like to construct a press release, Madleen and Gabi are the people to contact. Additionally, they can help you if you need AIP brochures for visitors or other fun things for kids. 3.8 PhD students If you are starting your PhD thesis at the AIP, there are several special points that you should know about: Register as a PhD student within the AIP: The AIP has two scien- tists charged with coordinating the Institute’s PhD programme. Please contact either Carsten Denker (cdenker) or Lutz Wisotzki (lwisotzki) as soon as possible after your arrival. They will ensure that you are are internally registered as a PhD student, and they will also provide you with essential information for the further procedure. It is planned to associate each new PhD student with a mentor (typically a postdoc) to help you discover the scientiﬁc life at the AIP. Enrolling at University: As a PhD student you should also, as a rule, enroll at the University of Potsdam (UP). This is needed since the AIP is not part of the university. The formal procedure is described in the following English webpages of UP: www.uni-potsdam.de/aaa/incoming/en/promovenden Note that it is not required that you enroll immediately after your arrival, you could also do this at a later stage. However, as a student you get a lot of beneﬁts for a very modest annual fee - among others, free public transportation in all of Berlin and Brandenburg. Duties for PhD students During your time as PhD student at Pots- dam you will be mostly working on your thesis project. There are cur- rently no mandatory courses that you have to take. You are of course free to join all astrophysics courses oﬀered at UP; note however that many of them - especially the more basic ones - will be in German. While there is no obligation to take courses, UP has two mandatory requirements for all PhD students. When handing in your PhD thesis you need to certify that you have fulﬁlled these two requirements. • You have to participate in the Astrophysics Seminar at UP in Golm for at least 1 semester. That includes the obligation to give a talk on a topic of your own choice (which should not be identical to your PhD thesis work), but also to attend the other talks of the same semester. • You must aquire some teaching experience at UP, either by partic- ipating in the tutorials of astrophysics courses, or in some of the main physics courses. Please ask your supervisor or one of the PhD coordinators (see above) for details and help to ﬁnd a slot. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 38 of 43 3.8.1 AIP Student Association There is a meeting group at the AIP exclusively for students, called “Just Another Science club with a K (JUST ASK)”. The group was founded in 2010 to: • be a platform for students to get to know each other (ALL students at the AIP, i.e. PhD, diploma, master and bachelor students) • create an encouraging, friendly atmosphere, where stupid questions don’t seem so stupid • organise talks (see below) • organise workshops and jamboree sessions • invite AIP guests and colloquium speakers to give introductory lectures on their ﬁeld, or participate in a JUST ASK coﬀee session to answer questions from students • have an informal monthly round table get-together to discuss current problems or ongoing requirements There will be monthly talks by current students, discussing their work. The audience is exclusively composed of students, so it is a non-intimidating en- vironment in which to practice giving talks and asking questions. Additional talks can be requested, for example if you would like to practice a talk to be given at a conference. JUST ASK activities are announced via the wiss-aip mailing list and are tagged with the label [students@aip]. The current student representative is Tilmann Piﬄ (firstname.lastname@example.org, Leibnizhaus room 1-13) and the deputy is Claudia Conrad (email@example.com, SSH 203). The representatives have several duties, includ- ing: • keeping track of the student population at the AIP • receiving any suggestions, ideas, comments or complaints regarding JUST ASK activities • trying to help with non-science problems New students should drop by one of the representatives soon after they arrive so they can be informed of JUST ASK events. 3.9 Administration 3.9.1 Salary Most students and postdocs at the AIP (and in Germany in general) are paid at the “TV-L” salary scale, but the exact amount you will earn depends on a couple of things, e.g. prior work experience. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 39 of 43 TV-L Pay Scale There is a useful website that will give you a good (but not exact!) idea of how much money you will be making on the TV-L salary scale at: • http://oeﬀentlicher-dienst.info/tv-l/ost/ Fill in the following: • Entgeltgruppe E 13 • Stufe 2 im Bereich L¨nder a • Lohnsteuerklasse 1 if you are single and have no children, or whichever Lohnsteuerklasse applies to you • click Berechnen It will give you an itemised list including your gross (Brutto) pay, various deductions, and your net (Netto) pay. PhD students will make approximately half this to- tal amount. Remember, this is only an estimate. You will have to wait until you receive your ﬁrst pay slip to see exactly how much you earn each month. 3.9.2 KLR The Kosten-Leistungs-Rechnung (KLR, costs and performance accounting) is the AIP’s time and activity recording database, located at http://klr.aip.de. You will be assigned a personal account for it, and you must access it at the end of each month in order to be paid. You must record all of the following activities that are applicable to you: • the time spent on your main project • time spent on vacation or sick leave • time spent on other projects or public outreach • publications, talks and other accomplishments of your work The KLR interface is not very intuitive, but there is an introduction to explain the basics, “The ABC of KLR”, which can be found in the KLR main section. The time recording must be done at the end of each month. If you forget to ﬁll it in, someone from the administration will send you a reminder e-mail. If you are away from the Institute over the end of the month, you can send an email to Markus Randig with your time details and it will be ﬁlled in for you. The editing of the Leistungserfassung (your accomplishments, such as published papers and talks), is more relaxed, and does not need to be completed every month, but does need to be ﬁlled in at the end of the year. An email is sent out to remind you. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 40 of 43 Lexicon 3.9.3 Taxes Lohnsteuerkarte Income tax form The Lohnsteuerkarte is coloured piece of paper that states your tax class (which depends on your personal status: single, married, married with chil- a Steuererkl¨rung dren, etc.) Your employer needs it in order to pay you. You have to give Tax return your Lohnsteuerkarte to the AIP administration (Herr Ingo Schiller). How- Lohnsteuerhilfeverein ever, you might not need it if you are paid through a scholarship. You can get Tax assistance group u your Lohnsteuerkarte at the B¨rgeramt, so it is a good idea to get it at the same time as your Anmeldung. In the proceeding years, your Lohnsteuerkarte will be posted to you automatically. It might be worthwhile doing a tax declaration every year, because it is likely that you will get some taxes back. Tax programs which guide you through all the important forms are helpful. They also send your declaration electronically to the tax oﬃce and you can even import your declaration from the previous years which will simplify the process signiﬁcantly after you have done it once. The programs cost about e20 but between December and March you can ﬁnd reduced special editions in supermarkets or in magazines such as Computer- bild for e5 or less. If you don’t feel like wading into German tax procedures, you can go to a Lohnsteuerhilfverein, or tax assistance group. You pay a fee of about e100, you meet with a person, show them your payslips and other bits of information, and they do your taxes for you. The people at the Lohnsteuerhilfverein generally only speak German, so you might need to bring a German-speaking friend with you. 3.9.4 Forms If you travel anywhere, for work or personal reasons, there are some forms that you must ﬁll out. • Holiday: Antrag auf Urlaub bzw. sonstige Arbeitsbefreiung You have to ask permission if you wish to go on holiday. Permission will (almost) always be given. Technically, you need to ﬁll in the request form and have it approved before you book any tickets or ﬂights. The form is in English and German and can be found in various locations (printer rooms, or post rooms, for example) around the Institute. After you have ﬁlled in your name, the dates you’ll be away and the address of where you will be going, you need to get your group head to sign the form. The blank asking for how many days you’ll be away is how many working days, not how many days in total, so exclude weekends and o holidays. This form then needs to go to either Katrin G¨tz (Research Branch I), or Christiane Rein (Research Branch II). • Business Trips: Antrag auf Genehmigung einer Dienstreise For business trips, you need to ﬁll in a form and have it approved be- fore you book any tickets, outlining your trip plan and an estimate of the anticipated costs. The form is in German only and can be found AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 41 of 43 on the AIP intranet at http://intra.aip.de/verwaltung/forms.html. You will need to know your Kostenstelle, which you can ﬁnd out from your supervisor/boss. This is so the administration knows which group within the AIP to bill for your expenses. The form needs to be put into the Personal und Recht/Personalabrechnung postbox next to the reception desk in the Schwarzschildhaus. • Business Travel Reimbursement: Reisekostenrechnung : f¨r Inlands- u und Auslandsdienstreisen The form to get reimbursed for business travel is very complicated, and you will probably get something wrong. It is in German only and is usually found in the same location as the Holiday form. You can ask a German speaking co-worker to help you ﬁgure it out, but if you still have trouble, someone in the administration department will help you correct it. It needs to be sent to Frau Knoblauch. 3.10 Social Activities There are several social events that occur irregularly, and can be organised by anyone. If you would like to be informed of the social events, it would be a good idea to subscribe to the aip-friends e-mail list. To subscribe, you need to follow the instructions given here: http://astar.aip.de/Tips/AIP-friends. For a list of events going on at the AIP, including social activities and holidays, go to: astar.aip.de/Calendar/Calendar. 3.11 Internal Newcomers’ Guide Wiki Due to legal reasons, there is some information that we are not allowed to include in the printed version of the Guide. However, there is an internally- accessible Newcomers’ Guide Wiki maintained on the AIP Intranet. The Wiki can be edited by anyone with an AIP computing account. If you want to know more speciﬁc information about one of the topics mentioned within this Guide, you can check the Wiki. Alternatively, if you have an experience that you think would be useful for others to know, you can add it to the Wiki. The Wiki is located at http://astar.aip.de/Newcomers/Newcomers. 3.12 AIP oﬃcial Newcomers Guide There is an AIP “oﬃcial” Guide for new employees, provided by AIP’s ad- ministration. This guide is accessible via internal link at intra.aip.de/guide. Amongst other information, you can ﬁnd an English translation of your em- ployment contract. AIP Newcomers’ Guide Page 42 of 43 Acknowledgements We would like to thank all the people who took part in this project, and there were a lot of people . . . It took our small team almost a year to realize that we would never manage to compile a self-consistent guide without substantial help. Iliya Nickelt had the initial idea to publish the Newcomers’ Guide on the Institute’s Kaﬀeerunde Wikipage, for which we take the opportunity to acknowledge here. We would also like to thank Frank Breitling, who is eﬃciently maintaining this page: http://astar.aip.de/Newcomers/Newcomers. When we called for the entire Institute to contribute to the Wiki, and then asked for individual contributions to check the information gathered, we did not expect that so many people would engage themselves with such enthu- siasm. Clearly, many people are willing to welcome and help new collegues arriving at the AIP. Thank you to the people who authorised us to use sections of existing guides they had written and published on their personal webpages. In particular, we borrowed a lot of information from Christer Sandin. So, in alphabetic order, many thanks to: Claudia Conrad, Aldo Dall’Aglio, Harry Enke, Jaime Forero, Joris Gerssen, Arjen de Hoon, Sebastian Ka- e mann, Tilmann Piﬄ, Kristin Riebe, Andr´ Saar, Olivier Schnurr, Gabriele o Sch¨nherr, Ole Streicher, Peter Weilbacher, Steve White, Lutz Wisotzki, and everyone else who contributed. The ﬁrst edition of this Guide was compiled and edited primarily by Isabelle Gavignaud and Natasha Maddox in 2010.
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