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Life in Berlin

Berlin is a very big, complex and culturally interesting city. It contains not only a great number of museums, theaters and opera houses, but also many interesting bars and cafés. You can find current information about Berlin on the city’s official website or on the tourist information website.

The cost of living is relatively cheap in Berlin compared to other German and European cities. However, how much money you need depends on your personal life style. According to a study of the German student unions, German students spend on average 220 euros per month on food (basic groceries, i.e. not including eating out). In addition to the 220 euros, it is advisable to include enough money for cultural events, transportation and going out in your budget (approximately 240 euros per month).

For more information on housing costs, please refer to the section on Accommodation.

You will find valuable tips about student life in Germany here.

Berlin is a safe city. Moreover, the FUBiS program is located in a very quiet residential area. Still, you should take certain general precautions, especially in new or unfamiliar places:

  • Avoid parks and woods as well as dark, desolate streets and places at night.
  • Do not get involved in arguments/disputes.
  • Do not take any drugs and do not drink more alcohol than you can tolerate.
  • Do not leave your drink unattended in clubs and bars.
  • Do not get into a car with strangers.

Berlin has a very well structured public transportation network, for which you will need a transportation pass. Depending on the term, we recommend a monthly pass (4-week term) or a monthly pass and two weekly passes (6-week term). For the 3-week term in January, a monthly pass is the best option (cheaper than 3 weekly passes). You will receive information about public transportation and current prices a few weeks before the beginning of the FUBiS program.

Please note that there are no discounts on Berlin public transportation tickets/passes for short-term students.

The public transportation system is run by the BVG and the S-Bahn Berlin. It is comprised of city trains (the S-Bahn), the metro (the U-Bahn), buses, and trams (Straßenbahn or Tram). You can also ride regional trains within Berlin with your public transportation pass. Make sure to have your pass on you in case a ticket inspector asks you to show it.

You can look up how to get from one place to another using the “Journey Planner” on the public transportation website www.bvg.de.

Berlin has a 24h public transport system. The main S-Bahn and U-Bahn lines run all night on weekends (i.e. including Friday and Saturday night; Sunday night adheres to the weeknight schedule). On weeknights a night bus system replaces many of the S- und U-Bahn lines. There is always a way to get home using public transportation, even late at night. It might take you an hour longer than usual, but you can save the cab fare. However, taking a cab in Berlin is safe, so don’t be afraid to do so.

In Berlin, as in any other city, there are pickpockets and trick swindlers near tourist attractions. To protect yourself, you should:

  • always have an eye on your personal belongings and always put your purse in a secure place.
  • never get involved in bets or games with strangers where you can supposedly win money.

In addition, FUBiS recommends the following precautions:

  • Always carry important telephone numbers with you.
  • Only take as much cash with you as you need.
  • If you lose your credit cards, have them blocked immediately.
  • Take your passport with you only when you really need it and keep copies of your passport and travel documents in a secure place.
  • Keep your valuable articles in separate places.

The emergency telephone number in Germany is:

  • 112 – Fire-fighters / Ambulance / Police

FUBiS has a 24/7 emergency phone that students can call at night and on the weekends. Students will receive the number of the FUBiS emergency phone as well as other important numbers to keep in mind in our pre-departure information package and again at the orientation meeting. During office hours, the FUBiS team will be available for students in the office (Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in House L, Malteserstr. 74-100, 12249 Berlin), via phone (+49 838 73472) and via email (fubis@fubis.org). During classes and field trips, students can always approach their instructors for quick help.

FUBiS is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and secure study abroad experience to all program participants. The well-being of all students is our highest priority. FUBiS believes that the support and the preparation of the staff and faculty on-site as well as the responsibility of all participants contribute to a successful and safe study abroad experience.

FUBiS program staff are regularly in contact with the university management, local and foreign authorities, partner institutions and study abroad associations about health and security standards. The FUBiS team is prepared to provide support to students with information about local health and safety services and to arrange for assistance in case of an emergency. Essential information will be shared in pre-departure information emails, during on-site orientation meetings and throughout the program.

If you have health problems during your stay in Berlin, you will quickly find a suitable doctor or specialist who can help you. It is very important that you have an international health insurance during your stay in Germany so that any doctor fees are covered. FUBiS offers an insurance package which includes an international health, accident and liability insurance. You will find further information here.

If you regularly take a specific medication, it is advisable to bring it in sufficient amount with you.

In the FUBiS student guide, which will be sent to you approximately four weeks before the program begins, you will find the contact information and office hours of different doctors near the university campus who speak English.

Please bring your insurance documents with you to every consultation!

If you have a disability, FUBiS recommends that you visit the website of Berlin’s tourism organization VisitBerlin. Here you can find tips and information about the public transportation network, places of interest, event locations etc. for wheel chair users, the visually impaired, and for people with other disabilities. Freie Universität Berlin buildings are also equipped to accommodate people with disabilities. Please note that the deadline for the wheelchair-accessible housing option is one month before our regular term registration deadline.

If you have a disability and would like to take part in FUBiS, please contact the FUBiS team. We will do our best to accommodate your needs.