Life in Berlin
Most exchange students find accommodation through the internet. Another possibility is to look for offers pinned on the notice boards of the UdK Berlin and the nearby Technical University (TU Berlin).
Most buildings of the UdK Berlin are situated in the districts of Charlottenburg (besides the Medienhaus in Schöneberg and the HZT in Wedding). However, the hippest area now is „Kreuzkölln“ (the northern part of Neukölln bordering on Kreuzberg); many students also live in Treptow, Friedrichshain or Prenzlauer Berg where there are many cafés and clubs. But all of them are much farther away.
For a shared flat, you should expect to pay between 450€ and 550€ (including electricity, heating and wifi). Single flats are more expensive (from 450€ on).
In Berlin, it is quite common for students to live in a shared flat (called Wohngemeinschaft or WG) with students or other, mostly young people. There is a wide range of different types of living together, from “Zweck-WG” (sharing a flat for the sole purpose of reducing costs) to family-like constellations. Especially in the latter, your future flatmates will want to get to know you before accepting you.
Further information on flatshare portals, hostels and housing agencies: Link-Liste (ERG)
There are many Facebook-groups where you can find posts looking for flatmates as well.
When looking for accomodation always consider asking friends of friends. Another possibility is to connect with former exchange students of your own university or with students from Berlin currently on exchange at your home university.
If you don’t find a room before coming to Berlin, you may stay in one of the many hostels in Berlin. Prices are 30–40€ per night in a single room and from 15€ onwards in a dormitory room.
Security advice: Do not pay any rent / deposit via money agents (Western Union etc.). There have been false flat offers, so if you have to pay money in advance, only do so on bank accounts where you can get back the money if you detect a fraud. If possible, visit the flat / room and insist on a contract.
For exchange students only: If you wish to stay in the student residence Siegmundshof, please contact Mrs. Anna Fudala. There are single rooms with shared bathroom and kitchen available for approx. 400 EUR. You have to pay a deposit of 500€ before a room can be reserved for you. Rooms have to be booked for the period of 6 months (September – February or March – August). The places are limited.
After having found accommodation in Berlin you must register your local address officially within 14 days at one of the Bürgerämter (Citizens Administration Offices).
A list of Meldestellen and the possibility to Termin buchen (book an appointment) can be found here
It might take longer to get an appointment for the registration of your local address, but you can go to any bürgeramt in Berlin - not only in your district.
Bring the following papers:
- YOUR PASSPORT or ID-CARD
- ANMELDEFORMULAR - Form to register your local address
- EINZUGSBESTÄTIGUNG - Official form signed by flat-owner that you moved in and when (Einzugsbestätigung des Wohnungsgebers / Vermieters)
Please keep the Anmeldebestätigung (certificate of registration) in a safe place! Should you change your address then you must also re-register the new address.
Keep in mind that you also have to give notice of departure (can be done by mail) at the end of your stay in Berlin
Students from an EU-country, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Norway
You do not need a visa to enter Germany.
Students from Switzerland
You do not need a visa to enter Germany, however, you have to report within 3 months of entering the country to the Foreign Office.
Students from all other countries
Please contact the German Embassy in your home country in order to apply for a national visa (D-Visa). A D-Visa is valid for up to 12 months and exempts you from having to apply for a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis) in Berlin.
For more information, please refer to the Visa Navigator on the Federal Foreign Office website: https://visa.diplo.de/en/
Students from Andorra, Australia, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Monaco, San Marino, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom or the USA
If you are a citizen of one of these countries, you do not need a visa to enter Germany. You can stay in Germany for up to 90 days without a visa. However, since your exchange semester exceeds those three months, we highly recommended that you apply for a D-Visa in your home country. This avoids having to apply for a residence permit in Berlin, which involves more bureaucratic work.
If you do enter Germany without a visa, please contact our International Student Services (aaa) after your arrival in Berlin. We will inform you about the application procedure for a residence permit at the local Immigration Office. @udk-berlin.de
When searching for an apartment, please make sure that you receive a legal housing contract. Otherwise you will not be able register your local address is a requirement when applying for a residence permit.
For more information have a look at the Federal Foreign Office website.
You can decide between two options:
1. Signing a contract with a provider (more expensive and often the contract runs for a set time – like 12 or 24 months).
2. Buying prepaid SIM cards (can often be less expensive, but you have to make sure not to run out of prepaid credit).
It is possible to buy prepaid cards in supermarkets, drugstores, and electronic markets.
Most international students open a Girokonto (bank account) at a bank in Berlin. For some students, a German account is necessary in order to pay their rent and telephone bills, and to receive their scholarship funds or salaries via money transfer.
Having a German bank account also allows you to use the cash machines in Berlin without paying a service fee and to make purchases with an EC/Maestro-card.
Berlin is a safe city to live in but, like with any new place, it‘s worth taking the time to learn ways you can take your personal safety into account.
110 Polizei (Police)
112 Krankenwagen + Feuerwehr (Ambulance + Fire Department)
116 117 Ärztlicher Bereitschaftsdienst(Doctors’ Emergency Service) www.116117info.de
In case of medical emergency in the evening or the weekend you can go directly to the NOTAUFNAHME (emergency department, A&E) of a Krankenhaus (hospital).
Do not forget to bring your proof of health insurance.
Most medications are only available on prescription by a doctor and are prepared at an APOTHEKE (pharmacy). Drugstores (like dm or rossmann) sell common supplements but no medicine like aspirin.
Notdienst der Apotheke - Pharmacy emergency service (night /sundays): https://www.aponet.de/
Medical and Psychological Care
The UdK does not have its own doctors or psychologists. On the website of the KV Berlin students are able to contact a doctor or psychologist nearby.
Students can also use the services of the StudierendenWerk Berlin run by TU Berlin:
The Psychological-Psychotherapeutic Counselling Service offers support during examinations, short-term therapy and crisis intervention.
Another option is the Berliner Krisendienst. The Berlin Crisis Service provides fast and professional assistance for issues including psychological crises and acute mental and psychiatric emergencies. People in need of assistance can be helped by phone or on site without an appointment.
The HU Berlin offers a nightline. Nighlines are a confidential listening and information service run by and for students overnight. Student volunteers are trained to discuss anything including topics like academic stress, depression, loneliness, eating disorders, arguments with flatmates, etc.
Although Berlin is not the most expensive place in Germany, the cost of living can be relatively high. In addition to the costs already mentioned (semester contributions, insurance), you should plan at least 850€ for monthly costs like food, rent / apartment, study materials and other things.
Upon arrival, please ensure that you have a larger amount of money at your immediate disposal to cover such costs as: semester contributions, deposit for your apartment and the first rent, maybe some membership contributions (students gym, telephone/ internet, insurance, etc.) or a bike.
It is also required that foreign students have sufficient financial resources for their studies before going abroad. Otherwise visa or residence permits might be rejected.
Berlin is rather a spread-out city than there are hills. So trips can become extensive. Even though riding a bike is often the best and fastest solution to reach your destination. The extended network of bike lanes and the numerous bike repair shops offer a fantastic environment to cruise around exploring different neighbourhoods. There are shops that offer new and used bikes. Maybe ask your fellow students about good options. If you want to buy a cheap bike, there are plenty of options to find second-hand bikes for example on Ebay Kleinanzeigen, Craigslist or at flea markets. But be aware that buying a stolen bike is a criminal offence!
There are also a few options for bike sharing: http://nextbike.de/en#/nextbike or callabike.de offer bikes all over Berlin - to use them you just need to register and don’t have to buy your own bike (this way it also can’t be stolen). Or you can rent a bike for your entire stay with swapfiets.de.
It’s obligatory to use the marked bike lanes, bus lanes or the street and it’s important to use lights at night and to wear a helmet!
With your >> registration at UdK Berlin you receive your >> semester ticket for using public transport during your stay in Berlin.
It includes: S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses, trams, RE & RB (regional trains) and ferries (provided by the BVG) in zone ABC. You can even take your bike on the S-Bahn, U-Bahn and RE & RB – not on buses and trams. For more information about the timetable or disruptions, we recommend the App “FahrInfo” from the BVG.
Public transport runs almost all night long with some exceptions: S-Bahn + U-Bahn stop service during the week from 1 am – 4 am. In this time some lines are replaced by (night-)buses. On the weekends S-Bahn + U-Bahn run continuously like trams do the whole week.
Although the UdK Berlin does not offer its own university sports program, the students can participate in the sports program of the other universities in Berlin. Registration and payment of a fee are necessary.
The courses start at the beginning of October and April. You need to register beforehand. Please check the respective websites to find out the application period and when the courses are online.
Through a mandate of the German Federal State of Berlin, the studierendenWERK BERLIN provides social, economic and cultural support services to students. It can assist students with particular problems concerning accommodation, social and financial counselling as well as living in Berlin.
The Psychologisch-Psychotherapeuthische Beratung (Counselling Service) offers support during examinations, short-term thearapy, and crisis intervention.
And: they operate the MENSA (student canteens and cafeterias) in or close to some of the colleges of the UdK Berlin.