15 Berlin Must Dos For German Language Students
Belin is the capital and the largest city in Germany, located in the northeastern part of Germany on the banks of river Spree and Havel. The city center has a steadily growing population of 3.7 million and it is the second most populous city proper in the European Union.
Berlin Must Do #1 - Reichstag
Reichstag (the seat of the German Parliament) is probably the one of the first things you’ll visit while you learn german in Berlin. This is one of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks with a rich and sometimes mysterious history throughout which it was burned, abandoned, wrapped in fireproof fabric by Christo and Jeanne-Claude and finally capped with a beautiful transparent dome.
Reichstag is good starting point to practice your German language skills as the facility offers several guided tours that last approximately 90 minutes. It’s most likely that the tours won’t be in German, however guides are often open for questions thus you can use this opportunity to learn more and further practice. In case you miss one tour, there will be another one and you can spend the spare time to have lunch at the rooftop restaurant which is also a suitable setting for a practical use of your German communication skills.
Berlin Must Do #2 - Museum Island
Berlin is abundant with museums and there are 200 of them throughout the city. You will most likely want to visit Museum Island, located on the Spree river that composes of several museums (Old Museum, New Museum. Old National Gallery etc.). Back in 1999 the museum complex was added to UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites that further proves its historical and cultural significance.
Berlin Must Do #3 - Mauerpark
During the weekend you will probably learn German in Berlin in a more practical way, maybe by meeting your classmates for a drink or going shopping. Mauerpark translates to ‘Wall Park’ and it refers to its status as a former part of the Berlin Wall and its Death Strip.
Mauerpark is particularly popular on Sundays. In the morning, you can be one in the crowd of Berliners and tourist exploring Berlin’s popular flea market looking for vintage clothing and jewellry. So speaking German will play a huge part here.
In the afternoon, starting at 3pm at the amphitheatre, karaoke events are organized every Sunday from spring until autumn. The park is crowded with curious people even before the karaoke start.
Berlin Must Do #4 - KaDeWe
The name KaDeWe is short for Kaufhaus des Westens and it’s one of the largest department stores in Europe. This department store in west Berlin with its 60 thousand square meters of selling space and 380 thousand available articles is the second largest department store in Europe (first on being Harrods in London) and it’s a ‘go to’ place where you can get anything.
Berlin Must Do #5 - Language school activities
If you’ve signed up for an intensive German course in Berlin, language schools often organize various daily activity programs that will complement and enhance language studies. Students can go on a boat trip around Museum Island or on a bike tour along the Berlin Wall. At night, language school guides can take students to Friedrichshain, which is a young and alternative district mostly popular for its nightlife.
Berlin Must Do #6 - Excursions
Being exposed to culture is quite important so the language school offers all day or half-day excursions as well. Students that are interested in art can visit Kunstwerke, a contemporary art institution located in the Mitte district of Berlin. Unlike other contemporary art institution KW doesn’t have a permanent collection. Instead it has a ‘place for production and presentation of contemporary art’ approach which means that it can often change its collections and there’s a chance that you will see new art every time you visit.
For students who are more interested in architecture or landmarks, they can vitis Potsdam, located on the river Havel and directly borders with Berlin. Potsdam was home to the Prussian kings and German Kaiser and embodies ideas from the Age of Enlightenment. Around the city, students can find series of interconnected lakes and landmarks such as Sanssouci and Orangery Palace, Roman Baths and Chinese Tea House.
Berlin Must Do #7 - Accomplices in Art
Accomplices in Art (or Kunst Komplizen in German) is a series of Art & German events organized by a group of Art Historians. These events are a great way to practice your communication in German beyond the everyday shopping at the local grocery store. The idea of this group is to motivate the participants to go to an art gallery, talk about the art, ask questions and discuss ideas and impressions. This is a very convenient way to learn German in Berlin, simply because there is no right answer. Art is very subjective and not everybody has to share the same opinion. So you don’t need to be an expert, either in art or German.
Berlin Must Do #8 - German For You
Another practical way to practice what you’ve learned in your German language courses in Beril is to participate in ‘German for You’ (Deutsch für Dich in German). These informal and open classes are held in a relaxing atmosphere of the Neukölln bar. This is a perfect opportunity for those student that are not very shy and like to socialize.
There is a different class every week so one week it could be a beginner level and the next intermediate and so on. Topics are also adjusted and picked for each class like ordering in a restaurant, discussing hobbies, music, free time etc. At the end of each lesson, you pay what you think the lesson was worth do you.
Berlin Must Do #9 - Theatre Games
Students that have enough self-confidence and don’t embarrass easily, might want to check out German with Theatre Games. The workshop is lead by Nina Selchow who is a trained actress and German language teacher.
Classes are once every week and take about one and half hour. The material is structured so that it fits students levels from elementary to upper intermediate. Each week there is a different topic and this approach should help students open new possibilities of learning a new language.
Berlin Must Do #10 - Language Tandems
Students who feel comfortable enough in their conversational skill should try out Language Tandems or First Tutoring. You can find one or several tandem partners on the Erste Nachhilfe site. Students simply need to register, fill in their native language and language that they want to practice and search for a partner.
The best use of this approach if there are several conversational partners involved. This way, students can continue on practicing if one tandem partner is sick or on a holiday. It is also recommended that half of the conversation should be in one language and the other half in the other language. This way both parties equally practice and there is no dominant language.
Berlin Must Do #11 - Graffiti Tour and Workshop
Alternative Berlin often organizes Graffiti Tours and Workshops for those who would like to better know this subculture. Groups usually take a walk around Kreuzberg, which is a neighbourhood in Berlin with most graffiti covered walls. During these walks, participants can discuss different work and artists with the tour guides who are also graffiti artists. And in case you would like to try out this form of art, there are also workshops that you can sign up for. A truly interesting way to both learn German in Berlin and to get to know the graffiti subculture.
Berlin Must Do #12 - Dinners With Locals
Germany isn’t just popular for its rich history and architecture. Cuisine is also something that attracts many visitors. During a German language courses in Berlin, student learn about different means you will most likely want to try a few.
Online, students can arrange a meet with local Berliners, who will spend an entire day with them. Together, to can go to markets for grocery shopping, out for drinks and the host will even prepare a traditional German meal for them. Through conversations over food and drinks, student can learn a lot about Berlin, events, best places for shopping and so on.
Berlin Must Do #13 - Alternative Walking Tours
Berlin is full with walking tours. But one that is truly unique is organized by the same group that organizes the Graffiti Tours. Unlike traditional walking tours, these Alternative Tours showcase the unusual subculture of Berlin and pay visit to highlights that more traditional tours miss. Students can visit artist’s squats, abandoned buildings and skateparks, street art and hear stories that bring all that together.
Berlin Must Do #14 - Classics at the Book Market
The Book Market next to the Bode Museum is not big. But if you’re a fan of classics, both German and international, you will probably be able to find them there. This book market is different from the one on Mauerpark especially since it’s located near Bebelplatz, the scene of the Nazi book burning in 1933.
Berlin Must Do #15 - Urban Spree
Almost every alternative guide for Berlin mentions Urban Spree. Thi is basically a subculture heave that combines art space, nightclubs, outdoor drinking areas and is always full of people and vibrant colors that decorate every area. The outside of the building changes every time the exhibition changes and it’s most likely to be designed by the artist or studie the show is about.
Who should take a German language course in Berlin?
Anyone who can speak German, will easily communicate with around 100 million people because German in not only present in Germany, but also in Austria (which is also a popular travel destination), Switzerland, Eastern Belgium and France and Northern Italy.
For those who are interested in literature, German could become an important language, since Germany counts as the third largest book publisher in the world since the publish around 60,000 new book every year. And even though many of those books are translated to other languages, translation can never fully represent the depth of German literature.
Also, a solid knowledge of German greatly increases your chances on the job market, since many companies in Germany and German companies abroad look for recruiting workers with with language qualifications.
Where can I take German language courses in Berlin?
No matter if you’re a beginner, or have some knowledge in German, you can find suitable German language courses in Berlin. If you’re just getting started, there are amazing GLS in Berlin where you can take intensive German classes. Aside from regular daily classes, the school also offers a variety of daily activities and weekly excursions that will help you utilize what you’ve learned in real-life situations.
In case you’re interested in combining German language courses with sports, there are excellent activity programs for teenagers and junior students. Activities are usually 3 times per day and can include tennis and sailing lessons, various games, theater, dance and music.
German is a widely spoken language across Central Europe and is the official language in numerous EU countries. It is also the second widely spoken Germanic language and one of the official languages of the EU Parliament.
Germany has a rich history and culture and German is considered as the ‘language of writers and thinkers’ since many famous writers like Goethe, Marx, Nietzsche and Kant were all Germans.
Berlin, with its intriguing architecture, heavy history, rich cultural content including 3 active opera houses, nine castles and the longest open art gallery will surely make anyone’s German language studies enjoyable.