Experience life in the safe, popular neighborhoods of Schoneberg and Kreuzberg. Study at the CityLAB:Berlin microcampus. Stay with a German host family or in nearby shared student apartments.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent relocation of unified Germany’s national government from Bonn to Berlin opened a new chapter in the city’s history. But Berlin has always served as a particularly dramatic stage for European politics and culture. The city was the capital when Germany asserted itself as a European power in the 19th century and became the hub of innovative culture in the 1920s. Berlin was the center of Nazi planning during the Third Reich, and it was subsequently divided by the tensions of the Cold War. Today few physical traces remain of the Wall.
Modern Berlin is a progressive city, and its cultural scene dynamically melds its unique history and colorful present. From painters to performance artists, Berlin is home to some of the most creative figures on the international stage. Numerous artists from across the globe have taken full advantage of Berlin's transition period throughout the 1990s and 2000s to found gallery and performance spaces in the most unexpected places.
Programs begin with a one-week orientation by CityLAB: Berlin Program Director Christian Dengler and CityLAB Program Coordinator Holger Schwarz. Christian and Holger meet students as they arrive in Berlin to orient them to the city and the CityLAB: Berlin program. Its philosophy and organization, health and safety issues, academic and personal expectations, academic evaluation, public transportation, facilities, and housing are reviewed. (For more on our pre-trip orientation for Norwich students, click here. [jump link to pre-orientation])
CityLAB: Berlin student apartments are located in the heart of Kreuzberg. The address is: Adalbertstrasse/Melchiorstrasse, D-10179 Berlin, Germany.
One of the cultural hubs of Berlin, Kreuzberg is located in former West Berlin near the River Spree Oberbaumbrücke Bridge. The neighborhood is one of Berlin’s most popular today. For decades, the area has been a major hub for squatters, punks, hipsters, creative types, and liberal-minded thinkers. It is a diverse neighborhood rich in culture. Many Turkish immigrants call Kreuzberg home. Street-art fans will appreciate Kreuzberg’s countless graffiti works and wall-paintings that line its streets. Just a short walk from Kreuzberg’s center is the East Side Gallery.
The neighborhood brings together some of the cities best food, nightlife, and entertainment. The district leads somewhat of a double life, with years of gentrification having now seemingly split it in two: a shabby-chic, hipster’s paradise in one half and a stylish and expensive upper-class living on the other. The Turkish community is significant and quite diverse, while the Jewish community is again making its imprint, especially with new arrivals from the former Soviet Union.
In the shared apartments, one set of bedding linens is provided for each student. Please bring your own towels. Students may also wish to bring a second set of linens. Each apartment has its own bathroom, kitchen, living room, and balcony. Each unit has one single and one double bedroom. Students will share the apartment with one or two CityLAB: Berlin students, up to three students total per apartment.
Furniture and basic kitchen equipment for cooking, including pots, pans, plates, and cutlery, is provided. A laundry room is available within the building. Laundry coins have to be purchased from the janitor. Alternately, you can find self-service laundries in the area.
CityLAB: Berlin has long-running relationships with a number of homestay families. Their age and composition vary. Some are single parents with grown children who no longer live at home. Others are two-parent households with children living at home. Some have pets, some don’t. Some speak limited English, while some are bilingual, and so on. CityLAB: Berlin staff will contact those of you who wish to reside in a homestay separately to find the best match and to let you know the types of residences currently available.
Today's Berlin is a multicultural city with vibrant immigrant populations. Thanks to still rather low rents compared to other capitals across Europes and it attracts a great influx from young creatives around Europe to live and work in Berlin, creating an even wider diversity of various ethneties and a broader dynamic in Berlin’s cultural output and day-to-day life.
Located just 10 minutes from Potsdamer Platz, the center of reunified Berlin, the CityLAB: Berlin microcampus is located in the heart of Schöneberg. A startup-style loft, it occupies one large floor of a typical Berlin warehouse from the late 19th century.
The heart of the CityLAB facility is a large, versatile studio space that encourages experimentation and active learning. Each student is provided with a dedicated large desk. Additionally, the CityLAB loft has lecture, seminar, and conference rooms, a library, bathrooms designed by former students, a kitchenette, storage, and faculty and student offices.
Technical infrastructure includes projectors, computers, maylines, laser printers, ink-jets, foam cutter for model-making, etc.
Schöneberg itself is a leafy, very pleasant neighborhood with every kind of person—petit bourgeois, immigrant, young professionals, artists, and senior citizens. The studio is located in the southern part near Akazienstraße. There are plenty of nice cafes, restaurants, and bars, as well as convenience stores for day-to-day use.
The subway and bus system in Berlin is quite good and convenient. Trains and regular buses run from early morning till around 1 a.m., while 24-hour service is provided on weekends. Alternatively, the night-bus schedule covers most of the routes, if trains service not running after midnight.
Public transportation company BVG offers an online journey planner in English: http://fahrinfo.bvg.de/Fahrinfo/bin/query.bin/en. This is particularly helpful for students planning to arrive in Berlin prior to the program start date.
We recommend budgeting 60 Euros per month for local transportation costs in Berlin (the price if purchased with a valid ISIC card). A BVG pass gives you unlimited travel on any public transportation in Berlin through Zones A and B, which more or less covers the entire city.
Another convenient way to travel across town is by bicycle. These can be rented in various locations across Berlin for short periods. Alternatively, students can purchase used bikes at low cost at one of the numerous flea markets or bike shops in the city. CityLAB: Berlin staff are working on a scheme to supply stylish tokyobikes to students in the future.
All Norwich students who study abroad must attend a pre-departure orientation prior to leaving for their program. The orientation will be scheduled before the start of finals during the term before the students planned semester or summer abroad. Dates and times for pre-departure orientations can be found on the International Center’s Calendar listed on the International Events Page. Attendance is mandatory and students can be denied permission to travel if they fail to attend. It is a great opportunity to meet the other Norwich students preparing to be out in the world at the same time!
Some of the topics that will be covered included:
The Norwich University International Center requires that all students traveling to CityLAB: Berlin obtain an International Student Identification Card (ISIC.) An ISIC card is the only internationally accepted, UNESCO-endorsed proof of bona fide student status. It can get you student discounts both domestically and abroad. An ISIC card also comes with basic international health insurance that meets Norwich’s required insurance criteria. This student identification card also serves as a secondary form of ID that is easy to carry and less valuable than a passport or Norwich ID if it gets lost. You can find out more about the card on the ISIC website, and you can apply for a card by filling out the application located in Forms. Bring your application and other required materials to the NU International Center, and we can produce a card for you within a week.
Classes are held at the CityLAB: Berlin microcampus located in Schöneberg, a friendly neighborhood filled with galleries, cafes, specialty shops, and music stores. An updated loft in a fin-de-siècle building, the CityLAB microcampus offers classroom and studio space, a reading area, projection equipment, and wireless network. The building houses architecture and design offices, dance and gymnastics studios, artists and galleries, flower shops, and a bakery. Potsdamer Platz is ten minutes away.
At the start of the program, students are enrolled in intensive German classes, at Die Neu Schule, a progressive international language school in Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Situated in the center of Berlin, the school is located in a quiet residential area near two underground stations and can also be easily reached by several bus routes. Thirty-one comfortable and bright classrooms, a media room, and a large adjacent library help create a productive learning atmosphere.