Planning on learning German? Choosing Berlin is a great choice. Berlin is a world city of culture, science, politics, urbanization, and history. Not to mention, as the capital and most populated city in Germany, Berlin has a solid variety of language courses, study abroad programs, and language exchanges to help you learn German abroad.
Most people in Berlin speak German, although hearing English and French is common. The version of German they speak is “Berlinerisch”, and generally regarded as an urban variety of Low German. During the Thirty Years’ War, German received a mix of French and Yiddish influence which remains to this day. Because of this mix of languages, it is linguistically not a dialect, but a “metrolect”.
All in all though, there are only a few words Berliners use not spoken in other parts of Germany. For options, culture, and a truly urban experience while learning German in Germany, choose Berlin.
Private tutoring / group courses
Both of these are great options for those who aren't able to attend universities. These can also take advantage of the small amount of people and encourage communication between students, which tends to be the best environment for language learning. Beware however; private tutoring tends to be double the price of group courses.
If you want private tutoring just for the extra one-on-one practice, a language exchange is a good budget alternative to consider. Tandem Berlin will help you arrange a language exchange (or, as the call it, a "tandem partnership").
Berlin has the largest concentration of universities in Germany, creating a fair amount of options for German language learners who are still enrolled in college and want credit for their time abroad.
Universities to learn German at include Free University of Berlin and Humboldt University of Berlin. While you're at it, why not take another course or two and get the German perspective?
Language study & internship combination programs
In addition to language learning, many programs also offer internship opportunities for participants. First, you'll learn German within a short but intensive time period, and afterwards partake in an internship.
Although you'll need to have a good grasp of German before undergoing an internship in Berlin, if you're up to the challenge, you'll learn so much more, not only through practicing your German, but applying it to everyday life and immersing yourself in German work culture.
Planning Your Trip
What's there to do in Berlin in my free time?
Berlin always has a lot going on, from the Berlin Film Festival every February, the largest publicly film festival in the world, to its famous nightlife and the Berliner Festspiele music festival, if there's one thing we can promise it's that you won't be bored while in Berlin.
How easy is it to speak only German while in Berlin?
In terms of language, one thing to note is that Berliners will tend to switch to English once they hear an accent when speaking German. You must be wary of this! When practicing your German, you must be stubborn in your endeavor for improvement. If you lose the battle, your German will falter and not be able to improve!
How affordable is Berlin?
As far as European cities go, Berlin is one of the most affordable. A bed in a dorm room can run you 10 - 30 Euros, while a cheap kebab is an affordable 2 - 3 Euros. A basic meal out could cost between 9 - 15 Euros (not too shabby!).
If you're staying long term, look into student housing or apartment rentals. Although average rent in the city center hovers a little over 1,000 Euros / month, sharing with a flatmate or friend can help you cut these costs.