“Sometimes I wish I was born earlier”: How the energy crisis hit a student in Gera

A 25-year-old man is studying business informatics in the fifth semester. Because his degree is a so-called double degree, the practical part and the classical degree alternate every twelve weeks: Jan Koppe alternates between work and study. He finished his studies in Gera. He currently receives about 800 euros per month as an intern for his work at an energy supplier company in Mühlhausen, where he has already completed an IT specialist apprenticeship.

It’s not much, but a student enough so far. Mainly because he pays very little rent, he says: “A good advantage is that the rent prices are quite affordable. I pay 177 euros for a room in a shared apartment, including extra costs.” He lives on the outskirts of the city, in a five-story prefabricated house. Rent is a hit, especially these days, but for who knows how long. Jan Koppe: “I don’t know if the price will stay the same.”

800 euros should be enough for everything

If the rent is not increased, the student’s monthly expenses will look something like this: he pays a quarter of his salary for a shared room. The rest must be enough for everything else: food, drinks, clothes, hygiene items, fuel, leisure and everything he needs for studies and life in general. For example, there is a student ticket. “Every semester you have to pay 160 euros. However, since January this price should rise. After all, Jan Koppe can use it to travel on public transport throughout Thuringia.

Specialist books are expensive, around 40-50 euros.

Jan Koppe
A student

He also has to buy books for his studies. Since he needs them longer, he cannot borrow them from the library. “The stamps are expensive, about 40-50 euros. I try to buy used ones, if there are used ones.”

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The student on a monthly budget does not spend on his hobby: “I’m on the road as a mobile DJ. Technology costs a lot and people only buy something if I can pay for it with the money I make DJing.” He makes it clear: “This is a hobby and it will remain a hobby.”

Jan Koppe saves extra costs wherever possible. “I only turn on the heat when it’s really unbearable, I’m not that sensitive. During the day when I’m at university, the heating doesn’t work and at night it’s off too.” Also, the apartments above and below it are occupied, “cooling is limited there.” He doesn’t need a lot of electricity either, the refrigerator and the stove consume the most.

Koppe prefers to cook himself

He feels the rising prices due to the energy crisis and inflation, especially when shopping at the supermarket. “I do a lot of cooking myself,” says Jan Koppe, even if he sometimes dines in the canteen. Here he pays from two to 2.50 euros for a meal. However, it is cheaper to make it yourself. “If I cook, it’s for two days,” says the student.

I am lucky.

Jan Koppe
A student

With this, he buys what he needs: potatoes, onions and eggs, for example. For a week and a half’s purchase, he now pays around 70 euros, he says. “2020 I managed with 50 euros. Jan Koppe pauses for a moment, then adds, “But I think it’s the same for everyone.” The young man does not complain. He prefers to talk about other students who are really short of money because the rents are so high, for example in Jena, and they don’t get any education allowance. He says, “I’m lucky.”

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I notice that there is less left.

Jan Koppe
A student

But of course, if money is already scarce, this crisis will worsen: “I noticed that there is less left,” says Jan Koppe. The student saves the remaining money. For example, for a vacation or to repair his car, which he rarely uses. – However, it cannot be completely avoided. Especially at the beginning of the semester, when there is a lot to transport, people go to Gera by car.

Jan Koppe lives with his parents in Mühlhausen

During the practical part of his studies, he lives with his parents in his hometown of Mühlhausen. “It would be impossible to raise two flats.” Jan Koppe’s mother works in geriatric care and his father in the automotive industry. Since the price of gas was very high, the student paid part of the utility bills to his parents.

He is not really afraid of the future. But in Mühlhausen, Jan Koppe notices something that worries him: “I see that many craft businesses, bakeries and butchers are closing. Not only are energy prices rising, but also the lack of raw materials.” That the energy crisis will affect restaurants,…

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