Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to move Berlin and it’s safe to say that you’re going to have the time of your life. Berlin is often described as the most vibrant and crazy city in Europe, if not in the world. Not only is it the home to one of the most exciting art and nightlife scenes but also one of the most affordable capital cities to live in!
Before you can fully enjoy all that Berlin has to offer, there are a few things to prepare yourself for. So carry on reading to find out how to feel settled in Berlin as easily and quickly as possible!
- Learn German
The very first thing to consider would be to learn a bit of German. Even if it’s just the basics. Despite what you may have been told about Berlin practically being more English speaking than German. This is often an exaggeration, and it may come as a bit of a shock when you first arrive. For that reason, it is really useful to get familiar with basic German language, to make your arrival as smooth and easy as possible. However do not freak out, if you have already arrived and still don’t know any German. There are various language schools offering a variety of courses for all levels. Check out this post for more info on the best value language schools in Berlin.
- Endless Bureaucracy
If you take anything away from this post, let it be this next point about bureaucracy, as you will not be able to avoid it in Berlin. It is highly recommended to be aware of the several documents and registrations you will have to complete when arriving in Germany, as this will make your life a lot easier. Once you’ve found somewhere to live in Berlin, it is mandatory that you register this new address with the local city hall, Bürgeramt in German. Read more here for all the information you will need to complete this registration. This is the most important registration to complete when you arrive, as you will need it for most of the administrative things such as opening a bank account, paying your taxes and so on.
Before you book an appointment with the Bürgeramt, you will have to fill out the ‘Anmeldung Formular’ (registration document), which can be a bit tricky to complete if you don’t understand German yet. Luckily, AiRelo is here to make this process ten times easier for you! Simply start chatting to AiRelo via FB Messenger in your selected language, and in less than 10 minutes, the form will be completed and sent directly to your mailbox. All you have to do now, is print it out and bring it to the Bürgeramt! It is really that simple!
Useful tip – Even though you are required to register your new address within 14 days of moving in, you might find that there are no available appointments for several weeks. However, there is no need to worry about this, as long as you can prove that you made the appointment within the first 14 days of moving into your new apartment. It’s also worth noting, that you can book an appointment at any Bürgeramt in Berlin. So don’t worry if your local Bürgeramt has no available appointments!
- Finding a place to live
As you may already have heard, finding long-term accommodation can sometimes be tricky due to the extremely high demand and limited rooms/flats available. In general, shared flats are very common in Germany and are a great way to meet people when you’re new in the city. Despite the limited amount of flats for rent, the rental prices are generally relatively low compared to other large cities. The best way to find a flat is via websites such as WG-gesucht and Immobilien Scout 24. There is also Studenten-WG which is only for students, as well as several Facebook groups.
Another great option is to check the service providers offered here. These companies are all trusted English-speaking service providers, specifically recommended by the Club GLOBALS community. For more info about finding affordable accommodation, read this helpful blog post.
- Berlin as a culturally diverse city
Berlin is known for being a diverse, multicultural city. In fact there are over 500,000 international expats living here, and this number is continuously increasing. In addition to this, the city is extremely liberal and attracts many migrants searching for the opportunity to express themselves without fear of judgment. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning the ever-growing expat community in Berlin, which means that there so many people in the same situation as you when you first arrive here.
Club GLOBALS is a great way to be part of a large expat community in the city when you arrive. Their goal is to make international life easier and to connect you with the relevant contacts/service providers that you need. You can become a member here for free!