Why Berlin is a great place to study
In recent years Berlin has not only become a very popular tourist destination – longer term travellers are also opting to live and study here. Here are a few reasons why Berlin is regarded as a great place to go to as part of a career break, from its flourishing arts and music scene to its beautiful architecture and high standard of living.
Things to See
Berlin has a rich history – it was established in the 13th century and then served as the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia for four centuries. Today, the city is notable for mixing classical architecture with high modernism. Examples include the Reichstag and the Fernsehturm – the fourth tallest freestanding structure in Europe. Art is everywhere – from the liberal and inventive graffiti to the numerous sculptures that are found throughout the city.
When sightseeing takes its toll, there’s also plenty of opportunity to reconnect with nature. Approximately one third of Berlin is made up of parks, gardens, forests, lakes, and rivers. Grunewald is the city’s largest forested area and is easily accessible via S-bahn. Alternatively, try the Charlottenburg gardens – a kind of mini-Versailles.
Mixing with the Locals
Berliners are generally friendly and happy to express themselves. If in doubt, head to Mauer Park where residents shamelessly take the mike in front of large crowds for Bearpit Karaoke. Then there’s the seemingly endless stream of street parties and festivals. Some of the best include the colourful Karneval der Kulturen at the end of May, and the excitingly, flamboyant Christopher Street Day Parade in late June.
Learning the Language
As the cultural centre of Germany, Berlin is a wonderful place to learn and practise German. There are numerous organisations, such as ESL-Schools.org, that specialise in immersive language courses. More often than not, these courses use the city itself as a learning tool – for example, with visits to museums, galleries and films. Learning German in Berlin is a great way to get to know the country better and further your experience of travelling here.
Students will also be able to try Berlinerisch – the German dialect spoken by Berliners. There are numerous differences between Berlinerisch and ‘straight’ German. Examples include the tendency to replace the final ‘s’ in common words. ‘Das’ is pronounced ‘dit’, and ‘was’ like ‘wat’. Words ending with ‘er’ are replaced by an ‘a’ sound – so ‘Wasser’ becomes ‘Wass’.
Berliners love to party, and the city is famous for its eclectic music, novel venues and commitment to seeing in the dawn. There are literally hundreds of nightclubs – from the rooftop terrace at Weekend, to the roped-together pontoons that form Club Der Visionaere on the Landwehr canal. If dancing doesn’t appeal, the city is packed with atmospheric pubs in which to meet up and sample some of the country’s famous draught beers.