Living in Berlin

Berlin Silhouette |
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Below you can find some information about living in Berlin. Of course it is always best to ask the locals about their city! Some basic facts about Berlin can be found at www.berlin.de.

Finding a Place

If you are looking for a place to live, it is always a good idea to contact any Berliners you know and ask them for hints and advice!

Some websites that may also help:

Learning German

All LIFE courses and academies are held in English, and the dissertation should be written in English. Knowledge of German is not mandatory for completing the program, but it is helpful for everyday life. The Goethe-Institut is a good place to learn German, in Berlin or abroad.

Public Transport

See also www.bvg.de for further information, including an overview of fares, maps, and a journey planner to find good connections.

Berlin is divided into three fare zones: A, B and C.

• Zone A: The Berlin city center, up to and including the urban rail (S-Bahn) Ring Line
• Zone B: From the urban rail (S-Bahn) Ring Line to the city limits
• Zone C: A belt surrounding Berlin that includes Schönefeld Airport and the city of Potsdam.

You can use buses, subways (U-Bahn), tram (Straßenbahn), and the S-Bahn with the same ticket. It is also valid in regional trains, which is of interest if you want to travel to Airport Schönefeld or to Potsdam. Within the Berlin city limits you only need an AB ticket. For a trip to Potsdam or to Schönefeld Airport use an ABC ticket (single or day-ticket).

Sightseeing Tours

If you would like to see some of Berlin's tourist highlights without necessarily doing much walking, we recommend taking the doubledecker bus 100. It leaves every few minutes from Bahnhof Zoo and passes the new diplomatic quarter, Bellevue Palace, the Reichstag, onwards to Unter den Linden, Friedrichstraße and Alexanderplatz and back, offering various options to leave the bus at sights and then catch the next bus to continue the journey (day- or week-ticket needed if you want to jump on and off).

Alternatively, there are many guided tours on foot or by bike, for instance:


Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

For example:

  • Hamburger Bahnhof (Contemporary art)
  • Neue Nationalgalerie/Kulturforum (20th century modern art from Cubism to art of the 1970s)
  • Gemäldegalerie/Kulturforum (European paintings from the 14th to 19th century)
  • Neues Museum/Museumsinsel (Egyptian collection)
  • Alte Nationalgalerie/Museumsinsel (19th century German art)
  • Pergamon Museum/Museumsinsel (with the Pergamon Altar)
  • Bode-Museum/Museumsinsel (Sculptures and Byzantine art)

Jewish Museum Berlin

Berlinische Galerie (modern art, photography, and architecture)

Bauhaus-Archiv (design)


Berlin has a long history of good theater, of course mainly in German. Two biweekly city magazines in Berlin, TIP and Zitty, list cultural events, including theater performances, and provide reviews. The ExBerliner (monthly magazine in English) is also useful. See also www.berlin-buehnen.de

For instance:

  • Berliner Ensemble
  • Deutsches Theater und Kammerspiele
  • Hebbel am Ufer (HAU)
  • Maxim Gorki Theater
  • Renaissance Theater
  • Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz
  • Volksbühne
  • Sophiensäle
  • Grips-Theater (youth)
  • Bar jeder Vernunft
  • Chamäleon Varieté

In English:

Other Useful Links

Brandenburg Gate

Berlin-Mitte | Am Brandenburger Tor

Unter den Linden

Berlin-Mitte | Unter den Linden

Berlin Coat of Arms