Essentials for International Students

Once you’ve arrived in Berlin, there are a few practical things you’ll want to consider to ease your transition into a solidified Berlin resident. 

  • Jobs: International students in Berlin are allowed to work 120 full days or 240 half days per year, and must register with the Agentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency) and the Ausländerbehörde (foreigner’s office). Many students take up roles as academic or library assistant, in the hospitality or retail sectors, or work online. A paid internship in one of Berlin’s many international companies can also be a great opportunity to work in your field of interest while you study.
  • Banks: A German bank account is an absolute necessity when it comes to renting a flat, receiving a salary, or in some cases, making purchases. Popular banks amongst international students include DKB, Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, ING, and Sparkasse, all of which provide convenient services for students and dedicated English speaking customer service. If you need a blocked account (Sperrkonto) for your visa, Deutsche Bank, Fintiba, X-patrio and some Sparkasse branches can help provide one.
  • Mobile phone plans: Once you’ve registered your address and opened a bank account, you’ll be able to set up a 1-2 year contract with a local provider, such as T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2, or 1&1. If you’re looking for greater flexibility, you can also purchase a sim card and pay as you go.
  • German language exchange: Learning basic German can help you integrate and expand your job possibilities both during and after your studies. There are a number of language tandems across the city where you can meet fellow German students and improve your knowledge of the local language. You can also find free exchange groups on websites like Meetup where you can make friends and learn at the same time.
  • Legal advice/aid for foreigners: Germany is one of the first countries that introduced a free legal support system for those who need it. Legal aid consists of Beratungshilfe (legal advice) and/or Prozesskostenhilfe (legal representation), and is available to all residents, including foreigners. To make an appointment, Google “Amtsgericht + Berlin” to find a Rechtspfleger (paralegal) in your district.

These are just a few of the things that might help you along with your relocation. With that said, a little bit of German organisation and planning will go a long way in making your move as smooth and straightforward as possible.

If you would like to continue to explore our Berlin Student Guide, please click here.