Berlin is a great study destination for international students, and if you're smart with your finances, you can make your stay there affordable and enjoyable. The capital of Germany is known as a relatively cheap city to live in, and you can easily manage all your needs if you’re wise with your spending.
The beauty of life in Berlin is that it has an interesting mix of everything - from higher-end apartments to cosy homes, fine dining establishments to small inexpensive eateries, and exclusive clubs to affordable entertainment, day and night. You don’t have to empty your bank account to truly enjoy an authentic experience in this cosmopolitan city, which is part of the reason why students from all over the world are proud to call this place home. Furthermore, the access to affordable and quality education makes this city a favourite among students.
If you are looking for some guidance that will help you with budget living in Berlin whilst studying with us here, then this blog will help prepare you for your adventure. Read on to discover some affordable city attractions, living tips, and smart financing suggestions for students.
Being such a multicultural city, Berlin offers a huge range of fine budget food choices for students. The total cost of living in Berlin for students can depend on your eating habits. If you have particular preferences, then you might be looking at around 300 euros a month. However, with slightly more frugal approach, you can easily manage on 200 euros a month.
Within the vast culinary menu of Berlin, perhaps the most well-known in the city are the amazing Turkish food outlets. Among the many great spots here is Mustafa’s Döner, which has great vegetarian options and is very popular among the student crowd. The burgers at Burgermeister are a must-try, and to gather some ingredients for your own cooking, check out the organically grown food from the community garden at Kreuzberg. Many students in Berlin has given rise to many eateries that offer great food at affordable rates.
When looking for accommodation in Berlin, you don’t only find great places in the hip parts of town such as Kreuzberg, Mitte, Neukölln, Tempelhof, or Friedrichshain. It can be best to explore the lesser-known areas, as there’s a chance you’ll find an even more affordable place to stay. Since popular places pull more of a crowd, the prices in those districts are starting to rise, so it could be best to look elsewhere if you’re trying to save some money.
Things to consider when choosing the district are the overall ambience, safety, price, and also public transport options to the Arden campus. There are many Facebook groups dedicated to expats and students in Berlin, so if you’re unsure, you can always reach out and ask a local!
If you’re close to a S-Bahn or U-Bahn station, you are always well-connected and can easily travel around. Housing in Berlin is cheaper compared to other European cities, and your overall rent can be anywhere from €500 to €2,000. Also, student hostels in Berlin, particularly international student hostels, are a great affordable option to look into in the short-term while you’re looking for somewhere more permanent.
Furniture and equipment
Furnishing is a personal choice for many, as some prefer a furnished room while others enjoy filling their rooms with their own style of interior. The latter does not come cheap, but you do have affordable alternatives to choose from when acquiring household stuff. In Berlin, there's a huge community of people who are willing to give away or sell unused stuff for a very cheap price, with garage sales happening very often.
Online portals such as eBay, Kleinanzeigen, or Craigslist also have a range of furniture and goods that can come in handy when setting up your apartment. There's also many Facebook groups that link you with people who are giving away items, which is great for acquiring free stuff!
There are many part-time jobs in Berlin for students, and according to national law you can work for 120 full days, or 240 half days per year. Learning the local language even to a beginner level will certainly help your employment prospects for part-time work. There’s also a vast range of international companies located in the city who operate in English, so finding part-time work or a paid internship with one of those might be a good way to work within your field interest, with something more closely related to your master’s degree.
Student loans for international students can also help you pay your academic fees. This is among the numerous benefits of studying in Germany, as there is no interest in public student loan schemes - whereas private ones usually have a low-interest rate. Depending on the country you’re from, there’s a chance you’ll have access to student loan schemes run in Germany, so it’s certainly worth exploring before you set off for the city.
Student life in Berlin is full of activities and adventures for everyone, regardless of your bank balance. The nightlife scene is world-famous in Berlin, but can get a little expensive if you’re making a weekly habit of exploring the city’s after hours hot spots! Beer in Berlin is known to be cheaper than it is in most other European capitals, and there’s a huge number of bars tailored towards the student budget. There’s also plenty of microbreweries so you can try some of the master beer-makers of Berlin’s very own brews!
Free tours of the city are a great way to help you explore and educate yourself on the history and culture of the place. The city has many famous monuments that represent not only important historical moments in Germany, but in Europe. The Reichstag Dome, Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, Berlin Wall Memorial are but a few of the sights that are definitely worth visiting. Music lovers can also enjoy the weekly free performance by the Berliner Philharmonie Orchestra.
Berlin has a robust transportation system that makes travelling around the city fairly easy. Public transport here consists of U-Bahn, S-Bahn, buses, and trams, and provides connectivity between all major German cities. This well-organised, safe and affordable system makes getting around great for students.
Understanding the transport routes may take a little while, so it’s worth getting a guide map for the purpose. Another affordable alternative is cycling, which is hugely popular in the city, especially with students. It’s a great way to discover new places and get to know the city’s landscape better. You can pick up cheap bicycles at the police auctions run every two months, or on one of the many second-hand items websites or groups previously mentioned.
For international students, studying in Berlin has always been an exciting and affordable prospect. The city is ranked among the most affordable to live in Europe, whilst still offering a great quality of life and education. As a student, you have access to excellent facilities here in terms of accommodation, food, loans, and more, that will make your stay all the more comfortable and enjoyable.
Here at Arden Berlin we offer a range of undergraduate degrees, MBAs, and Master’s programmes that can help you guide your career in the right direction. Explore our courses, start your application, and prepare for your exciting international student experience.