I arrived to Saarbruecken in 2011 in order to study my master degree, and I write this entry as it might be helpful for anybody arriving here.
Accommodation:There are for me two options, either one studio or a room in a flatshare.
I've always lived in flatshares, I think it is nice to share with people and at same time the prices are lower than a studio.
If you plan to look for either of them from abroad it will be rather difficult.
People will requite to see you face to face, and doubt of those who do not want to.
The best option is to contact people who are studying the same degree as you will be studying and are seniors. Students here are really willing to help, they will help you by letting you stay somedays at their places while you find a good offer.
The other option is to pay a hostel, the drawback is: there are not that many hostels in SB.
When renting watch out the contract, most of the times is in German and some very few people will take advantage of this is you are not careful enough.
Some Contracts will require you to : paint your place before cancelling, some of them will have a notice period of at least 3 months(the usual) but it can be longer or none at all.
Usually the contract also establishes the concept of a deposit, this is usually given back to you within 6 months after you return the room to the landlord.
Locations to live?
In saarbruecken you can find all kind of prices everywhere. There are many areas with their own advantages and disadvantages.
I would divide them into:
Saarbruecken city, Dudweiler and Scheidt.
Saarbruecken city is the 'city', where all the pubs are, where the parties take place. If you plan on having an active life in the pubs ,parties and other social activities you should pick this area.
Why? The public transportation in Saarbruecken is good, I love it, but in the night many services to many areas are shut down, so if you live in another area, forget about staying in saarbruecken longer than 1am.
Scheidt and Dudweiler. This is where I live (Dudweiler), I love it. why? it is small, beautiful and I can take a bus which is 5mins away from university. there is nothing more to say, this used to be a small town that was absorved by Saarbruecken. There is no much activity here ,but many students live in this area.
Scheidt is a little bit further, but it is more or less the same as Dudweiler.
When comparing prices, you can find similar prices in all the areas.
websites for looking accommodation: http://www.wg-gesucht.de/
I arrived, what to do next?
Once you arrived focus on finding a place and once you have signed a contract with your landlord.
you have to register in the Burgeramt. The Burgeramt is an office which will register where you are living. You just have to take your passport and contract with you, they will give you a piece of paper called "Anmeldungbestaetigung", this is an important document for opening a bank account and doing other bureaucracy procedures.