So, for all those out there wondering, should I go to berlin, Yes! However there are some catches to prepare for:
Nummer 1: Learn german before you get here!
At least up to the end of A2 but B1/2 is ideal, take the intensive course before semester starts as well, it helped me a lot! Though most shops and students will speak english well the people that will give you the most difficulty will speak only german on top of it. This will help you in every situation, getting into clubs, making friends, and not killing those in the bürgeramt from frustration.
Nummer 2: Those difficult people.
Note, this is only a minor point on the experience, just be aware it exists! German efficiency has become a tossed around joke among us students, mainly due to it being very slow to have anything done and that is for foreigners and locals alike. Make sure you find someone who as done it before as you’d be surprised what workarounds exists for every problem.
Prepare for difficulties especially for students studing in Architecture! The enrollment is different to most other universities so try and find a current student to ask before the enrollment period. Ask about the ‘Aufgaben null’.
The Neukölln Bürgeramt, still better than going to centrelink.
Nummer 3: Get a buddy!
TU berlin offers a very helpful buddy program for students that will help you enroll, get around the city centre and also be a good friend. Note, if you want someone to learn german with however usually their english is very good so ask about a tandem student to learn german from and teach them english in return.
Nummer 4: Live with students, many of them!
For the first month I was staying in an Airbnb as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in student housing, because of this I was bored as hell for the first month whenever at home.
Shot from the Siegmunds hof balcony
I soon switched to student housing at the first available offering and found there is nothing more fun for me than hanging out with a bunch of exchange students every day for about 300 Aus a month. Come to Siegmunds Hof if you want comradery und viele Techno Partys.
Nummer 5: Go nuts!
From a club I can’t remember the name, or much else from that night.
There are clubs, bars, and concerts galore, enough to keep you busy for the whole trip if it weren’t for the study. Another advantage of student housing is there will always be a group going out and it’s good to have people you know are going home to the same place. For trips outside of berlin this is also useful as often you can find a willing group amongst your neighbors.
Who needs a holiday when you have miniatur wunderland? (Hamburg)
Jokes aside Berlin is a great city and one that all students, Architects especially should enjoy. Though there may be more beauty in the other european cities I believe the lifestyle and convenience here is far more evident making it the ideal home base for a european trip.
Extra: Stay longer and travel often with friends!
If you can stay for a full year, I would if I could but my schedule doesn’t allow it. There are so many things both in the bureaucracy that makes it more worth it to stay a year but the main joy is both learning the ins and outs of the city as well as staying with the many friends you will meet there. Again travel often, there is a lot to see in berlin but for those unfamiliar with european cities you get a lot more out of it after seeing berlin in the context of europe and even other parts of germany.
Seriously, go everywhere, you can get a bus to hamburg or prague for 10 euros if you are clever about it.
Adrian Taylor – 11390729, DAB