Berlin: What you need to know
Where is it?
Berlin is the capital city of Germany. With a population of 3.3 million people it is Germany’s largest city. The capital city ist located in the Northeast of Germany on the River Spree, approximately 60 km west of the Polish border. It is the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has about 4½ million residents from over 180 nations. Around one third of this area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.
How do I get there?
Long-distance rail lines connect Berlin with all of the major cities of Germany and with many cities in neighboring European countries. The Deutsche Bahn runs trains to domestic destinations like Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and others. It also runs an airport express rail service, as well as trains to several international destinations.
Berlin has two commercial airports. Berlin Tegel Airport, which lies within the city limits, and Schönefeld Airport, which is situated just outside Berlin’s south-eastern border in the state of Brandenburg. Tegel Airport is an important hub for Air Berlin as well as a focus city for Lufthansa, whereas Schönefeld services mainly low-cost and leisure airlines, most notably easyJet.
But the Berlin Brandenburg Airport will soon replace Tegel and Schönefeld as single commercial airport of Berlin.
Is it a good place to learn German?
Berlin is a good place to learn German. Although the citizens of Berlin have their own dialect nearly every native German speaker is able to unterstand it. There are only few words that are distuingished from the High German.
Moving to Berlin: 4 things you need to know
1.) Where to live
There are a lot of good places to stay and live in Berlin. Especially young people are attracted by the neighbourhoods Kreuzberg, Berlin-Mitte, Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg in the former east of Berlin. For more than 40 years this part of the city was completely walled. So it was seperated from the western part. After the reunification in 1989, most buildings have been renovated so that they have a comparatively very good standard of living still today.
2.) Where to work?
Berlin’s economy is dominated by the service sector, with around 80% of all companies doing business in services. Fast-growing economic sectors in Berlin include communications, life sciences, and transportation, particularly services that use information and communication technologies, as well as media and music, advertising and design, biotechnology, environmental services, and medical engineering.
Many German and international companies have business or service centers here.
For example: Deutsche Bahn, the hospital provider, Charité, the local public transport provider, BVG, and the service provider, Dussmann and the Piepenbrock Group. Daimler manufactures cars, and BMW builds motorcycles in Berlin. Bayer Health Care and Berlin Chemie are major pharmaceutical companies headquartered in the city. The second largest German airline Air Berlin is also headquartered in Berlin.
3.) How to get around?
Bus and train:
Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the largest grade-separated rail station in Europe.
Its transport infrastructure is highly complex, providing a diverse range of urban mobility. As a German state and as a major European city, Berlin has one of the lowest numbers of cars per capita. The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe and the Deutsche Bahn manage several dense urban public transport systems.
Berlin is well known for its highly developed bicycle lane system. It is estimated that Berlin has 710 bicycles per 1000 residents. Cyclists have access to 620 km of bicycle paths.
4.) Which university?
In Berlin there is a huge choice of public and private universtities with nearly every faculty. The universities work very international and have lots of partnerships to other universities all over the world. Even 15 percent of the students are from a foreign country. So, welcome aboard! It is important to know which faculty you want to study in. Afterwards please contact the chosen university directly. Have a look at the link below. They have a lot of experience with students from abroad and will help you to plan your study in Berlin (or other German cities). Always think of two facts when you want to start to study in Germany: First of all as a non-EU citizen you need a visa. Secondly you have to pass the DSH or Test-DaF examination to prove your german language abibility. http://www.hochschulkompass.de/en.html