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Hostel dictionary

What do home address, cleaning plan, party room mean on Arabic or Russian? Illustrated home dictionary now in eight languages

Home address, cleaning plan, party room: Things that are every-day-vocabulary for German studying inhabitants of hostels in all their peculiarities and subtleties may well be quite inapprehensible for foreign students. Since 2011, the multilingual, illustrated hostel dictionary, published by the German Student Union (German abbr.: DSW) facilitates foreign students the entry into the world of students' hostels. Now, the DSW presents new editions in French, Spanish, Arabic, Polish and Russian, promoted by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (German abbr.: BMBF).

The first edition of the hostel dictionary arose in the year 2010 in the language combination German-Englisch-Chinese as a joint project of university and Student Union Bielefeld, promoted by the German Academic Exchange Service (German abbr.: DAAD) within the  scope of its „program for the promotion of integration of foreign students“ (German abbr.: PROFIN). The texts and translations have been done by foreign students themselves.


„The demand by students, colleges and the student unions themselves is enormous“, rejoices DSW-general secretary Achim Meyer auf der Heyde. „With the hostel dictionary, the student unions may wonderfully explain the microcosm hostel to foreign students.“

The 58 student unions offer more than 1,000 students' hostels at the German universities with about 183,000 domiciles. The hostel is the most popular way to live at foreign students; currently, about 65,000 of them live in hostels of student unions. Currently, about 250,000 foreign students study in Germany.


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The dictionary exists in the following languages as PDF-download:





In vision and word, in three languages each, the illustrated hostel dictionary explains the life in student-union hostels with a round tour through all rooms, from moving-in until moving-out. There are tips for communication with inhabitants as well as with employees of universities and student unions.