Berlin is home to some of the greatest universities in Europe, and students who study abroad in Berlin can take advantage of an astounding variety of courses. Whether you want to focus on comparative women’s studies or business and culture, a Berlin university has a program perfect for you.
Besides that, Berlin is a continental hub for rail and air transport, making it easy for students to explore the rest of Europe. Berlin has a lot to offer any student interested in learning more about its captivating culture. Check out our great programs bellow to start your journey!
Planning Your Trip
Looking to experience multinational food, people and street art? Pack your bags for Berlin! Even if you don’t think of Berlin when it comes to having a thrilling time, take a look closer at this amazing vibrant city (in the very center of Europe!).
A lot of program providers will include housing in their package, but some students will need to find housing on their own -- especially if they've chosen to directly enroll in a program. To find student housing in Berlin UniPlaces is one good website to look at, as is getting in touch with your advisor in Berlin.
If you're looking to really improve your German, you might also consider living with a homestay family.
For in-depth tips and overviews of the best cell phone plans in Germany for study abroad students, I'd suggest reading our article on cell phone plans for study abroad in Europe.
Don’t be scared if you are not mastering German perfectly yet. Try to master some everyday phrases in German to strike up conversations with your peers or take a German course in Berlin. Most Germans will probably congratulate you enthusiastically but then happily switch to English should you struggle to find your words. In fact, you will find more locals capable of speaking English well than you think.
Though German may sound harsh to you in the beginning, this is only a habit of old Bavarian men (you will see!). In everyday life, and especially at a university, you will find Berlin natives who can carry on a conversation in English. Don't let this hold you back from practicing your Deutsch though!
Academic Life in Berlin
The vast majority of foreign students coming to Berlin receive an Erasmus scholarship. As there are numerous international cooperations between German and foreign universities, there is a large population of foreign students there. Berlin’s higher education system is diverse. There are four major universities: the Free University, the Humboldt University, the Technical University and the University of Arts.
In addition, Berlin offers a huge number of technical colleges (German ‘Hochschule’). Consider this type of Humboldt University, as it is rather central and maintains a rather grand prestige. The Free University, also having a high reputation, was recently awarded for scientific excellence, and attracts prestigious students of varying academic interests. The Technical University offers numerous amounts of natural sciences studies. The Berlin universities' infrastructures lend themselves to a unique studying environment. Be sure to check out the numerous tutoring programs and non-university activities to make the most of your German experience.
The Spirit of Berlin
What is most valued in Berlin is a certain kind of understatement and tolerance. It is a magnet for all kinds of people varying in nationality, style and way of life; everyone is welcomed to express themselves the way they like. This certain kind of relaxed attitude is visible in everything: clothing, nightlife, arts -- everything. Nobody will look at you strangely, even if you were walking down the street in a pink bunny costume!
Berliners will think ‘What a nice bunny costume, I like to get one myself.’ On the other hand, there is a huge tradition of fashionable street wear in Berlin. Hip Hop and athletic-inspired styles are highly regarded in the German capital. Night clubs are numerous and diverse as well, and there surely is a location suiting every taste. If you're an art lover, you're in luck - galleries, Museums and street art shape the hearty cultural and artistic environment in Berlin.
Costs & Funding
Since financing all of those weekend jaunts to nearby places or second servings of sausage may cost a pretty penny, these scholarship may be worth applying to help offset your costs.
- German Academic Exchange Service: Offers nearly 10 different types of scholarships, grants, and fellowships for study and research in Germany; the support ranges from 3-week courses to enough to support an academic year abroad.
- Congress - Bundestag Youth Exchange Program: This all-inclusive scholarship program facilitates cultural exchange for American and German young adults in a variety of fields, and is a year long program that includes support for intensive language instruction, university classes, and a related internship.
- Are you a part of the national German honor society, Delta Phi Alpha? If so, hightail it over to their website and apply for one of their scholarships!
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships »
Living: Berlin is rather cheap compared to most European major cities. Beginning with living expenses, try to rent a room in a shared flat (German ‘WG’) and you won’t spend more than 300 Euros a month, including utilities. Depending on the area you choose for living, you cab even spend much less than this. East Berlin is a good spot for stylish living and stylish roommates.
Compared to Munich (where you get a room less than half the size for the same price), in Berlin you'll find yourself renting a rather big room in a beautiful old fashioned building surrounded by cafés, funky little shops and nice roommates. Be sure to skim through vacant-room-offers works best on this super frequented website by the locals.
Food: In addition to general living costs, eating out is also rather cheap. Like every major city, there are a lot of possibilities, both cheap and expensive. Based on the large Turkish community in Berlin, you can easily find various Turkish dishes on every street corner. The infamous Turkish Kebab is one of them - there’s nothing better than eating a Kebab and cooling down after an exciting night out. You’ll always find nice company in these little Turkish food stalls.
Public transport: Expenses for public transport are not a huge financial deterrent if you are a student. The major universities, such as Free University and Humboldt University, offer a semester-long public transit ticket as a perk for attending. This ticket gets you everywhere in Berlin and some peripheral areas (even during semester breaks!). The public transport system is well developed; you can get to every corner of the city between the subway, bus or S-Bahn within a reasonable time. If you prefer, purchase a bike while you are in Germany (a great idea for staying in shape!). Cycling in the city is very safe as German driving is rather regulated within city limits.
Shopping & Nightlife: Shopping is as diverse as living in Berlin; you will find high fashion and second hand, as well as individual not yet known designer pieces. Prices reflect just that. A highly recommended spot for a fashion shopping spree is the ‘Torstraße’ in central Berlin. Along this rather stylish road, you’ll find small but innovative shops with fashion from Scandinavia, England or the US and most of all off the beaten track. Looking for popular clothing brands like ZARA, H&M or Bershka, be sure to check out the ‘Kurfürstendamm,' where numerous brands and shopaholics tend to gravitate. Nightlife is at its best around ‘Warschauerstraße’: East Berlin, in general, is a safe guess for some action whatever day of the week or daytime!