Berlin is unlike any other city in the world - having survived the tumultuous years of World War II and the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, its rich history has helped to transform it into the epicentre of business, culture, politics and tourism that it is today.
With one of the largest economies in the world, a hugely successful start-up community, excellent inter-city and international travel connections, and a reasonable cost of living, it has become a hot-spot for students, entrepreneurs and young professionals who come to Berlin to learn and do business.
In 2018 QS ranked Berlin 7th for best student cities in the world, and with a flourishing cultural scene comprised of more than 50 theatres, 3 opera houses, 2 symphony halls, 150 museums and countless cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, it’s the perfect place for students to make the most of their downtime between classes.
As well as being the European Union’s second largest city, Berlin hosts hundreds of dynamic small businesses, particularly tech companies such as Rocket Internet, SoundCloud and Splash, and is home to well-established international businesses such as Siemens, Deutsche Bahn and Sony.
This means there is a wide range of opportunities available for graduates and professionals, as well as support for new entrepreneurs.
Five reasons to live in Berlin
As the capital of Germany - the 4th largest economy in the world - Berlin is a major international center of business, research, tourism and creative industries.
Attracted by low rents and a high level of investment opportunities, Berlin’s is now host to one of the biggest start-up communities in the world - second only to Silicon Valley, U.S.A.
Excellent Transport Connections
Berlin is known to have one of the best connected and most efficient transport systems of any major city in the world, as well as being an international hub for flight and rail travel.
Berliners are known for their unique outlook on life – they care less about the small things, interfere less in other people’s business and focus on enjoying life more.
Living expenses in the city are far cheaper than many other popular student destinations such as London, Sydney and Toronto.
We have provided information regarding a student’s cost of living as a Berlin student. Living expenses in the capital tend to be lower than other parts of the country.
Please note, the table below is an average estimate only and your personal experience may differ from this.
|Expenses||Estimated amount per month|
|Food||€200 - €300|
|Books||€20 - €40|
|Transport||€45 - €75|
|Expenses||Estimated amount per month|
|Phone/Internet||€40 - €60|
|Health*||€45 - €80|
|Other||€80 - €120|
|Average Total||€830 - €1475|
*(health insurance, medication, consultations)
Contact the landlord and reserve the property. A multilingual customer service team are there to support you through every step of the process.
The agreement is signed during check in. All students have to register their residence in Berlin within 14 days after they have moved into their accommodation.
Ambitious professionals and graduates flock to Germany, as it is one of the best countries in which to learn and do business.
It currently has one of the lowest levels of unemployment in the EU (recorded at 3.8% in January 2017), and the economy is likely to remain strong because of the unique combination of innovation and competition within the German business environment.
Germany's reputation as a leading country for business is well-deserved; in addition to a flourishing start-up scene in Berlin, Germany is home to many famous multinational brands, such as Volkswagen, Adidas, Hugo Boss, and Nivea.
Things to see and do in Berlin
The Brandenburg Gate
This is one of German’s most recognised landmarks, and is believed to represent European peace and unity.
The Reichstag Building
The Reichstag was built in 1894 to host the German government. The building is still used today by German politicians.
The Berlin Wall
Parts of the Berlin wall still stand today, as a reminder of how the nation once stood divided, and is now united.
Berlin Cathedral Church
The magnificent dome of the Cathedral Church (Berliner Dom) is one of the main landmarks in Berlin’s cityscape and is steeped in history.
Berlin’s Museum Island (Museumsinsel) has an outstanding ensemble of five world-renowned museums and has been designated a UNESCO world heritage site.
Carnival of Cultures
Due to Berlin’s diversity, the city hosts an annual multicultural festival over the Whitesun weekend.
The marathon is 42km and takes place in September. 30,000 people, including professional athletes participate for charity.
Photo Credit: ©SCC EVENTS/camera4
Art Forum Berlin
Every autumn, artists and art dealers from around the world gather here to visit this international fair which displays the best of contemporary art.
Germany is well-known for its Christmas markets which are held across many cities. Berlin’s market is one of the most well-liked ones.
Berlin International Film Festival
This annual festival brings the best of the international film industry to Berlin, showing the latest and greatest of the world's movie talent.
This is one of Europe’s busiest traffic intersections and the business center of Berlin.
Tiergarten City Park
This is Berlin’s most popular park and includes a city garden and a zoo. It’s the ultimate place for relaxation after a day of studying!
Accessing Health Insurance in Germany
Germany requires its international students to get private health for the duration of their studies. Some of the companies you can sign up with for this are: AOK, BARMER, DAK, HEK, KKH, IKK. The process begins with signing up online.Once you’ve signed up, you will be sent your insurance certificate.
To join a plan, it is your responsibility to contribute a small amount each month which is typically between €70-80.
If you’re a student from the EU or EEA and already possess insurance in your own country, your existing plan may be accepted by German health companies.
Similarly, if you’re the owner of a European Health Insurance Card which is recognised in Germany, you don't need to register for insurance in Germany. If this is the case, you will receive a certificate stating you are exempt from German insurance.
Opening a German Bank Account
Germany has strong banking infrastructure and opening an account should be a swift process for you. It’s up to you whether you want to start this process at a bank branch or online. However, if your German speaking skills aren’t the best, it’s best to go to a branch.
Documents to take with you:
- Passport or national identity card (if you’re an EU citizen)
- Proof of registration
- Proof of address
- Student registration – if you wish to open a student account
The four largest banks in Germany are Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, Postbank and Hypovereinsbank.
If you bank with one of these, you can withdraw cash at the ATM’s of the other three for free. It’s likely you will opt for a current account. This will allow you to:
- Withdraw cash using an e-card
- Pay bills
- Set up regular payments
It should be noted that if you submit a visa application after 1 September 2019, the annual amount you will be required to pay into a blocked bank account will increase to €10,236. This will be enforced from 1 January 2020.