Moving to Berlin
Berlin is the most exciting destination on the planet for producers, musicians, sound engineers, DJ’s, filmmakers and artists. It’s bold, it’s gritty, it’s cutting-edge and it pulsates with a creative youthful energy which never fails to put a smile on your face.
Once the working day is done that energy translates into Europe’s best and cheapest nightlife. Dance barefoot at a beach bar along the banks of the Spree, party in a 6-story squatters’ tenement/art gallery/movie theatre/bar, and finish the night at the infamous Berghain. If something looks like a regular wall in the daylight, come back at night and it’s probably an entrance to the greatest bar you’ve ever visited.
For culture vultures there are over 600 art galleries, 7000 resident artists, some of Europe’s finest museums and the Berlinale International Film Festival – largest public film festival in the world.
Or just take a seat at one of Berlin’s laid back cafes, order your artisan coffee with a tasty ‘kuchen’ and watch the world go by.
Low Budget Living in Berlin
You will have heard a lot about how cheap it is to live in Berlin. The bad news is that it’s not as cheap as it used to be. The good news is that it’s still much cheaper than comparable cities across Europe and beyond. As a good starting point please go to the following website for information on everything including cheap flats.
Just arrived in Berlin?
Neon wood offers students stylishly designed living spaces who love the buzz of big cities.
Living in their fully furnished apartments grants you access to high speed internet, a 24-hour laundry lounge and a very spacious community lobby. In the lobby, you will always find comfortable study corners, billiards, table tennis, air hockey and a private gaming room with couches and a big screen TV. They advocate creativity, community and openness, and will host talks, music nights and other events, both big and small.
Also see House of Nations. Sitting directly on the M21 Tram line, these brand new apartments provide a super convenient connection between our Funkhaus campus and the city. The fully furnished apartments are all inclusive and include kitchenette, bed linen, laundry facilities (coin operated), wifi, concierge and (for confirmed dBs Students) they even provide support obtaining your Anmeldung and household insurance.
Learning German: Speakeasy
While you’re in Berlin, you’ll want to learn some German! It definitely makes life easier and it’s also a fun language to learn when you’re in the right language school. That’s why we teamed up with Speakeasy to offer discount courses to dBs Students.
They offer both intensive and evening courses, and you can also book as one-to-one sessions with their tutors. Check out their course plan online and get your German skills up to speed.
For students applying for a German language visa, Speakeasy offer a low cost, highly supportive and very welcoming option. They offer ongoing support such as assistance & tips for completing your visa application, access to affordable health insurance and even options for accommodation.
Short Term Solutions
There are lots of good and cheap hostels in Berlin. They can be a great opportunity to meet new people in a new city and give you a base to explore Berlin before finding a more permanent accommodation solution, with a lot located in Friedrichshain around our school:
Short term apartments:
Looking for an Apartment
The most common practice for young people and students is to live in shared apartments (WG). The most popular source for finding a room is the website WG gesucht. Other options are easywg.de or the App Dreamflat, which claims it can help you find the perfect roommate.
You can also try and find a new WG with people you meet here or rent an apartment for yourself, which is a bit more complicated but not impossible to do. Good websites to look at are:
Have a Read
Be aware of scams!
There are a lot of people looking for flats in Berlin, and people will take advantage of this. If an apartment looks too good to be true, pay attention, it could be a scam! If you get an email with an elaborate story about how the owner is currently not in the country and needs you to transfer money to them in order to secure the apartment – it’s definitely a scam. Never send any money to someone before you’ve seen the apartment!
If you want to rent an apartment on your own or set up a new flatshare, be prepared to go to a lot of flat viewings. Often there are many people who all want to applying, so having your documents ready and leaving a good first impression with the estate agent will increase your chances! You’ll need your last three payslips (or bank statements showing that you have sufficient funds) and a copy of your passport. You usually need to fill out a questionnaire that’s given to you by the landlord or agent, so try to request this before the viewing so you’re properly prepared.
To apply for a room in an established flatshare (WG), respond to the ad telling the current flatmates about yourself and what you’re like as a flatmate, i.e. why you’ll be great to live with! It’s good to include your expectations about WG-life (cleanliness, noise etc), your hobbies and what you’re doing in Berlin. Please be aware that sometimes it’s completely normal to send a lot of messages before finding the right fit.
If the WG likes your description they will invite you to a “WG-Casting”, where you can meet and find out whether you get along. Sometimes there are several applicants there at the same time, sometimes they will have appointments one after the other. You’re much more likely to be successful if you’re in Berlin already, as most people prefer to choose someone they’ve met in person.
When moving into a sublet, please make sure you draw up a contract with the landlord (or main leaseholder) before moving in. This should cover you in case of any dispute over rent, length of tenancy and deposit.
Registering yourself in Berlin
This is the most important thing you can do when you settle in Berlin (usually within 14 days). Without this piece of paper, called your Anmeldung, you will not be able to open a bank account or receive a tax number (if you’re choosing to work whilst studying).
You can go to any Bürgeramt in Berlin to get your Anmeldung. However, there are lots of Bürgerämter that require you to book an appointment in advance (which can take up to 4-8 weeks). The following link will allow you to search for an appointment to register in any Bürgeramt across Berlin: https://goo.gl/Slpxrm. You can click on one of the dates that are marked blue to see which Bürgerämter still have vacant appointments.
Registering at the Bürgeramt is a relatively simple process which only takes a couple of minutes. You will need to bring your passport and a sheet of paper of your landlord confirming that you’ll move into the apartment.