A 5 point guide for students and professionals moving to Berlin
capital is fast becoming the place to be for students and young professionals
due to its global outlook, growing economy, cultural diversity and its
relatively in-expensive standard of living (compared to other European capitals).
Another plus point for students - German universities don’t charge tuition fees
anymore, this holds good for overseas students as well. Berlin’s economy largely relies
on the IT, e-commerce, service sectors and research industries - in the process
becoming a melting pot for youth from around the world (it is estimated that
15% of the population have a foreign nationality).
dream of studying or building a career in Berlin, continue reading to know what
to prepare for to help you plan better.
Finding an apartment & registration
suitable apartment usually takes 2 to 3 months in Berlin. Our suggestion would
be to get a temporary accommodation while you find the best suited place for
your needs. A good place to start
looking for a temporary accommodation would either be airbnb or medici
living . Flat share, as a concept (known as WG), is widely accepted as the
norm in Berlin and works as a great platform to make friends and learn about
the city from your prospective flatmates. Some of the more popular sites to
find apartment are immobelien scout
24, city-wohnen and home for rent.
find your apartment, you will need to register your address in your area’s Bugeramt (citizens’ registration office). Make sure you
carry your passport (or EU ID card, if you are a citizen), credit report (if
you have one) & proof of income. Check out red tape translation for more information .
Once you have registered your address
with the Buergeramt , the tax
authorities will automatically send you your Steuer ID (tax ID) to the
registered address via post (this usually takes anywhere between 10 – 14 days).
Keep in mind to store the tax ID the entire time you’re going to be In Germany.
(if you are thinking of freelancing or starting your own business, you will need
to apply for a different Struernummer (tax
Getting the all-important Insurance
compulsory for every citizen in Germany to have health insurance, including
foreigners and EU citizens (this is also necessary for students.
There are rules at universities wherein you need to show that you have insurance
before getting enrolled in your study program). Some countries have social insurance
conventions between the home country and Germany – if this is the case, a new
insurance isn’t needed. The country’s insurance is further divided into Public
and Private insurance, with a majority opting for the public insurance as the
fees are more affordable and calculated on each person’s salary, whereas
private insurance takes a person’s age, health history and could fluctuate over
time, as compared to a more steady fee that public insurance charges.
Sorting out your transport in the city
public transport system is very effective and well planned. With the help of
the trams, S- Bahn (on ground railways), U- Bahn (underground railways) and Bus
systems, you can rest assured, be connected to the whole of Berlin without
having to walk a few 100 meters from each of the aforementioned stations. Getting
a monthly or a yearly pass works out to be much more efficient than paying
every time you need to travel. With the pass, you could travel on all public
transport, within the city (more details here ) .
also a cycle friendly city, with dedicated cycle ways around the city – you
will get used to the sight of people of all age groups cycling in summer around
the city. There is a huge second hand cycle market, where you could get a bike
in decent working condition starting at 100€. Make sure to check out the flea
market at Mauerpark for some really cheap deals (be warned, most of the bikes
sold at flea markets are stolen, but you could get one between 35 – 60 €). If
you’d prefer a more straight-forward deal, check out craigslist or any of the second
hand bike stores strewn around the city.
The Internet & entertainment
internet connection in Berlin is a long drawn process and could take anywhere
between 1-2 months from the time you place an order to actually get the
connection activated (unless you’re lucky enough to move into a place with a
pre-existing connection). While you wait for your connection, it is common in
the city to either share a Wifi connection with your neighbor (a polite note in
the apartment landing floor usually does the trick) or you could buy an
internet stick if you would prefer having your own, mobile internet connection.
is considerably cheap in Berlin, compared to the other capitals, with movie
tickets available from 8€ onwards. Berlin also features heavily on artists
calendars, regardless of genre (though the capital is better known for its
techno scene). Downloading torrents is illegal in Germany , which doesn’t mean
you miss out on your favorite shows – Netflix has only recently started serving
customers in Germany and have a decent collection of shows and movies to keep
you occupied on slow days.
help students with a few useful links– here are some of the best universities
in Berlin for international students: Free
University of Berlin , Humboldt University of Berlin, Technical University of Berlin.
professionals planning on a move to Berlin, it is generally advisable to learn
German, but there are a few companies that hire expats (with good English knowledge)
as well: Shopalike.in, e-darling.de,
Delivery Hero, Rocket internet