Edited by: Mariam Moheb
Hello again! It’s time for Berlin semester abroad tips part (II)!
After the pre-traveling tips in our last article, now we are going to give you the tips on how to have fun with all the temptations around you, and still, maintain your GPA!
Moreover, We brought you a list of activities that are worth trying and those who aren’t -with some secret tips- from former students, and finally, don’t forget to look for our general tips at the end!
First, that question that you might have been asking yourself a lot: How would I manage my time between all these to-do lists and studying?
Most people would probably think of these two options: either to keep studying most of the time to maintain good academic grades or to have fun all of the time and throw your GPA at risk! We are here to tell you that those two options are definitely not reasonable!
Based on experience from people who have traveled before, here are some tips on when and where to study:
- You can study in transportation like U-Bahn, S-Bahn, bus, etc.
- You can study in your gaps between slots during your day.
- You can study on free days before midterms and finals instead of traveling.
Second, for the fun part, here are some of the destinations you shouldn’t miss:
– Grunewald Forest
– East Side Gallery
– Mauer Park
– Tier Garten
– Schloss Charlottenburg
– Sowjetisches Ehrenmal in Treptower Park: This landmark is absolutely huge and dedicated to the fallen Sowjet soldiers of WWII.
– Tempelhofer Feld: This former airport was transformed into a vast park for the city. In winter, you should do the tour inside of the amazing neoclassical Nazi building, which is one of the largest in the world. The history of the Tempelhofer Feld alone will give you a great overview of Berlin.
– Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden: This is a memorial to the murdered Jews of the 3rd Reich is breathtaking and humbling. You should definitely pay your respects here. It’s also a very interesting spatial experience. It’s meant to be “played with” and immerse you in its architecture.
For more destinations, you can follow Berlinerpost on their Instagram account, people say it is really helpful!
There’s a very standard sightseeing route that you should consider doing to get the typical tourist stuff out of the way. Depending on how fast you are, you can do it in 1-3 hours, either on a bike or on the public 100 bus line. On an official day pass, you can just hop on and off at any of these sights:
-Berliner Dom / Lustgarten
-Tiergarten (especially great on the bike!)
-Haus der Kulturen der Welt
-Bahnhof Zoo / Kurfürstendamm
Spots that you can skip:
-Museumsinsel (unless you actually want to visit a museum.)
-Fernsehturm (meaning please don’t buy tickets, it’s not worth the money or the wait.)
-Eastside Gallery (the longest stretch of Berlin Wall left.)
Some general tips you need to know:
- Bikes: In summer, you should definitely rent a bike from your hotel or hostel, or from the closest hostel near you. It should cost around 8 Euros per day.
- Public transport: You can definitely rely on public transport all times. Buy yourself a ticket from the BVG machines at any train station. There are one-day passes or 72-hour passes that are highly recommended if you don’t want to buy a ticket every time you hop on the bus.
- Taxis: Taxis are a comfortable way to ride around, they are relatively cheap. Also, If you’re traveling only two or three kilometers ask for a “Kurzstrecke”: it’s a flat rate for 5 Euros. Make sure you get out once the meter beeps, though. Kurzstrecke only applies to cabs that are hailed, not called!
- Sundays: On Sundays, most stores and shops are closed – so don’t expect any shopping opportunities. There are Spätis – late night kiosks or 24/7 – across the whole city that will cater to most of your needs, though.
- Money: Always have cash on hand. It’s hard to believe, but most cafés, restaurants, taxis, and supermarkets will not take your credit or debit card, even though we’re getting better at it.
- Tipping: Tipping is considered nice in Berlin and most people do it by rounding up to the next number, but ultimately not necessary.
- Supermarkets: One of the most known supermarkets that you will find there are REWE and LIDL, although REWE has more variety LIDL is considered cheaper.
- Egyptian Food: In case you miss the Egyptian taste, there is an Egyptian restaurant in hermannplatz called AMIRA, yes you read that right! (There is also a list of Egyptian food that you can find hanged at the GUC berlin campus.)
- Bank accounts: You will find a lot of things to buy “online” there, and because national banks there could be tiring to get your papers done and open an account, Travel Banks are better! you just make your account using your passport. (you can make it at ReiseBank.)
Wishing all GUCians there an unforgettable couple of months ahead!