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The basics
Germany: Destination Guides

Berlin City Guide for International Students

Why choose Berlin for your studies? Let this city guide give you a taste of what you can expect to get up to in this vibrant European city.

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A European city once divided and oppressed but now celebrated for its freedom of self-expression, creativity, diversity and an abundance of culture. Berlin is a vibrant and unique city offering a wide variety of sites and activities for locals, visitors and students. From world-renowned museums and galleries to record stores and food markets, Berlin is the ultimate study destination for international students.

 

Best places to study in Berlin

Voted the 5th best student city in the world (QS World University Ranking 2019) Berlin is a popular destination for students all around the world. This could be for a number of factors such as the culture, art, nightlife, welcoming attitude and comparatively lower tuition fees.

 

To help you find out more about studying in Berlin, we’ll start this city guide with some of the top universities:

 

 

 

Of course, it depends on which course you’re looking to study, as some universities will be better for certain programmes. Need help choosing a course? Discover which three fields are best to study in Berlin and get help on applying.

 

What are the best places to visit in Berlin?

You really won’t be stuck for things to do in Berlin outside of your studies. Due to the city’s extensive history dating back to World War 2, there are many historical sites and thought-provoking memorials acknowledging the Holocaust. By walking through the city you’ll come across many historical buildings and statues which are usually free to visit and will teach you about the city’s rich history.

 

Checkpoint Charlie

The well-known crossing point between and East and West Berlin when the Berlin wall divided the two sides of the city during the Cold War. This popular tourist attraction is in the city centre between the neighbourhoods of Mitte and Kreuzberg. When visiting the checkpoint, you can even take a photo with one of the actors dressed as American soldiers.

 

 

Museum Island

With so much history, Berlin even has an island dedicated to its museums. Located in the district of Mitte, Spree island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to five museums; Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode museum and Pergamon Museum. So, you definitely won’t be deprived of culture while living in Berlin.

 

Holocaust Memorial

Another important historical site designed to remember Jewish people who lost their lives during the Holocaust. This memorial is definitely worth a visit if you are interested in the history of Berlin and the war. This structure designed by architect Peter Eisenman is comprised of different sized concrete blocks and invokes feelings of disorientation when walking around the memorial.

 

Street art

As with the city’s numerous historical sites, Berlin is also known for its artistic talents. In fact, you don’t even have to visit a gallery to see the impressive art as the city’s walls have become a canvas for many graffiti artists. Tourists enjoy taking photos besides these bright, colourful and often political murals which decorate the city.

 

 

Thought-leading lifestyle

Berlin is known for its culture of acceptance and open-mindedness, demonstrated in the city’s nightlife, freedom of thought and artistic and musical expression. This makes Berlin the perfect study destination for international students who are looking to immerse themselves in a new country and meet lots of different people. This type of attitude and sense of community should also help with any feelings of homesickness.

 

Parks

One major appeal to living in Berlin is that it is home to more parks than any other city in Europe. In fact, there are more than 2,500 parks and gardens to choose from. The great thing is that no matter where your accommodation is based, you’re sure to be within close distance to one of these green spaces dotted around the city. Parks such as Tiergarten and Temperholder Feld are among the most renowned and beautiful. These spaces allow for an escape from the bustling city streets, giving you a chance to surround yourself in nature.

 

Food

When moving to a new place, trying the food is a major part of embracing the culture. So, in Berlin, some of the well-loved dishes include:

  • Currywurst - fried pork sausage with curry ketchup, usually served with fries
  • Schnitzel – thinly breaded meat in a crispy coating
  • Bratwurst – a spiced and seasoned sausage
  • Pretzels (Breze or Brezel in German) – pastry made from dough in the shape of a knot
  • Apple strudel (Apfelstrudel) – pastry filled with cooked apple and cinnamon flavouring
  • Berliner Pfannkuche – traditional pastry, similar to a donut as it is typically filled with jam

 

 

You can also try lots of Turkish food in Berlin, found at many restaurants and markets. In particular you will come across a variety of delicious Turkish cuisines in the district of Kreuzberg, also known as little Istanbul. Common dishes include:

  • Doner and shish kebabs – thinly sliced meat contained in some form of pitta or flat bread
  • Borek pastries – thin flakey pastry filled with meat or cheese

 

Public transport

Berlin has an efficient public transport system, allowing you to get around the city easily, comfortably and safely. The system comprises of the U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (national rail), buses and trams. Typically, the U-Bahn runs from 4.30am-12.30am on weekdays and runs 24 hours on weekends. During peak times, you’ll be able to board a train every 3-5 minutes at major stations.

 

Travel is affordable in Berlin with regular tickets costing EUR 2.90 across all forms of transport for up to two hours. Make sure you check the zones that you wish to travel to and from as this will affect the cost of your ticket. If you are worried about the costs of studying abroad, check out our other guide student budgeting.

 

However, another popular way to get around the city is by bike. Cycle through the parks and stop off at the attractions listed above for a healthy alternative to getting around the city. Of course, this might be less appealing in the winter months!

 

Weather

Speaking of which, it’s a good idea to prepare for the different seasons in Berlin and plan your packing accordingly. The summers are warm with an average temperature of 24 degrees, while the winters are cold, with temperatures getting below zero. You might even be lucky enough to see some snow if you study over the winter.

 

 

So, now you know more about Berlin. Your next step from here is to use our course matcher tool to find a university and course suited to you. Make sure you also keep an eye on our news bulletin for international student updates.