A part of Indiaonline network empowering local businesses

A 5 point guide for students and professionals moving to Berlin

Posted by : on | Feb 11,2015

A 5 point guide for students and professionals moving to Berlin

A 5 point guide for students and professionals moving to Berlin

The German 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).

If you 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

Finding a 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.

Once you 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 .

Identification Number/Tax ID

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 number).

Getting the all-important Insurance

It is 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

Berlin’s 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 ) .

Berlin is 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

Getting an 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.

Entertainment 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.

Finally, to 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.

For 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.ine-darling.de, Delivery Hero, Rocket internet