student life in Berlin
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Updated 3 months ago

Living in Berlin as a student is ideal, in many ways. Thousands of them flock to the city every year to study. So you won't be alone! The Berlin culture encourages extended studies, and you will find enthusiastic support. With a relaxed attitude toward life, Berlin pace means you can study, work, and play without burning the candle at both ends. And when you've accomplished your goal and obtained your degree, it will be acknowledged all of the world with the prestige the German university system carries.

Universities in Berlin

Top universities in Berlin include Humbolt University of Berlin, Technological University of Berlin, and the Berlin University of Arts. Luckily, getting a student visa is easy, at least compared to other visa processes. Your university should be able to guide you through the bureaucratic process.

You may have heard that the public universities in Germany are free of charge. That's true since 2014, but it would be wrong to assume that free means no cost at all. Although Berlin is a comparatively cheap city, abundant in arts, culture, and intellectuals, it is getting more expensive. Trends in cost-of-living for students has been rising for several years.

Student housing

Most students live in shared flats or university student housing, which you can find advertised online, on student notice boards or through the local Studentenwerk (National Association for Student Affairs) at your university. Student dormitories are much cheaper, from 250 EUR upwards, though chances are the official student housing units are neither the most attractive flats nor your best chance of building a great social life, and you're probably better off choosing your own flatshare known as a WG, or Wohngemeinschaft. Finding roommates will help you adjust and improve your German and make it so much easier to meet locals and make friends. Try these websites to get started: wg-gesucht.de, dreamflat.de, studenten-wg.de.

Apartments and shared flats in trendy areas such as Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, Mitte, Kreuzberg, and Neukölln are the most popular among students. However, if you are looking for more space per square metre, you should look around Charlottenburg, Wilmersdorf, Wedding, Moabit, and Tiergarten. Berlin City West is also up and coming and may be worth considering.

Regarding student residences, priority is often given to international students. Most of these, however, are small and unfurnished, and they include shared bathrooms and kitchen. You don't get to choose your flatmates.

The student cost of living in Berlin

Many students expect to live in part off scholarships, but don't assume that in Berlin. Scholarship rates and amounts have been falling, especially since universities are now free of charge. Students in Germany receive far less on average than students in the US or the UK, for example. If you do get financial aid, there is a law defining the maximum amount students can earn per month. This maximum aid is subject to change, so research the most up-to-date numbers. Also, keep grants in mind. Any specific project you work on may be eligible for external funding. Overall, expect to search for part-time jobs if you do live on a tight budget. The good news is that plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants love hiring students. Professional networking can help you find a job during your stay in Berlin.

That being said, keep a budget. As mentioned, rental costs are the biggest expense. Expect to pay between â¬400 and â¬800 for accommodation. When you rent a place, ask if the price is cold or warm. If it's not warm, ask how much utilities cost. The common range is â¬25-â¬75, depending on whether it includes the Internet and Netflix. Rent, food, transit, health insurance, phone, and fun are your chief budget categories. You might also need a budget for shopping. Around â¬800 per month is a good estimate of bare-minimum monthly expenses.

Student discounts

On the other hand, you will find student discounts everywhere. You just have to ask, otherwise, you don't get them. Sometimes discounted prices are displayed. From hostels to museums, to transit and beer, students get a reduced rate - sometimes as much as 50%. Many universities also offer a travel-ticket that allows you to move about the city and Germany using the train ticket. This is a great way to see the country on a budget during your holidays!

Berlin transit counts, but if your university doesn't offer you a free ticket, the transit agencies will offer you a discount. Consider the BVT App to buy your tickets. It's quick and easy, and you will never lose your ticket - even if you lose your phone. ISAC, or International Student Identity Card, is a good resource for discounts. You can use their ID card can use for discounts around Europe and the US. They also offer travel insurance. There is a catalog of discounts on their website. On Fourspace, you can get a list of Berlin discount spots.

Leisure in Berlin

Budgets aside, there are plenty of free things to do, including working out of beautiful public libraries. Grimm Library is a must! During spring and summer, Berliners spend less time inside. You should join the wave and head to a park or garden; especially if you don't mind getting some of your studies in while you're there! Tiergarten, Tempelhof, and Schlossgarten are all free. Consider bringing a blanket, some food and water, and a good book. If you need music, find a spot near a group with instruments. From classical clarinet to tribal drum circles, the parks in Berlin are filled with music. Many outdoor monuments and art can also be seen for free, like the Brandenburg Gate and Check-Point Charlie. You can literally walk around Berlin for days!

However, the best way to explore, and happen upon striking spots - like an impromptu art collective garden party - is to travel by bike. It's easy to ride in Berlin as there are bike lanes everywhere. Some are on the sidewalk and some in the street. Drivers, as a norm, coordinate with bicycles constantly. Both cars and bikes have equal access. If you don't have a bike, there is nothing to worry about. You can use a bike share service like Lime. There are several brands in the city allowing you to find a nearby bike on your phone and then unlock it by snapping a picture. Most companies charge by the time the bike is used. Some bikes are even electric, allowing you to peddle with ease. Of course, Berlin is a flat city, so you won't be climbing any hills.

Not into a bike share? Or plan on biking a lot? Then buy a used bike. Prices range from â¬100-â¬275. Besides bicycle stores, they are sold in parks. One often used location is Berlin bicycle market Kreuzberg at WaldemarstraÃe 57, 10997 Berlin.

Nightlife, lakes, parks and beer gardens

This is what makes Berlin worth moving to: Sternies beer and sunsets by the canal, sunbathing and swimming in the nearby lakes, late night bike rides to beer gardens, and open-air clubs that never close.

Berlin hosts a wide range of events attracting international attention and a very active cultural scene with plenty of concerts, theatres, and cinemas. Check out the weekly magazines or magazines in German if you're fluent. The most well known annual events are Berlin Fashion week and its film festivals, and international fairs like the International Green Week, etc.

Local meals every student should taste once in their life

The local cuisine may strike you as somewhat simple. Apart from the ingredients traditionally used in Brandenburg, it is characterized by the cooking traditions of the immigrants from Silesia, Bohemia, East Prussia, Pomerania, and Mecklenburg as well as the Huguenots from France. Berlin is known for its fast food Curry Wurst or Boulette and Kartoffelsalat and, of course, Spreewälder Gurken; but Turkish food such as Döner Kebab has long made its way into German cuisine.

Useful links:

ISIC
Handelsblatt
Studying in Germany
Study In
HTW Berlin

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