Do’s and Dont’s of Living in Berlin: A Brief Cultural Introduction

19. June 2024

Last week on blog EURASIA, we gave some tips designed to help you warm up to your new home here in the beautiful city of Berlin. Life in a new place, though, is much more than just memorizing the names of the bus stops and finding good places to shop. As you adjust to life in Germany, you will begin to notice new cultural niceties and other things in your everyday life that may take time to get accustomed to. Here at EURASIA, we have compiled a list of certain do’s and don’ts to make these new situations a little easier to handle.

  • DON’T make loud noises or throw big parties in your apartment after 10 PM (22:00)! Berlin is famous for its nightlife, but that belongs in bars, restaurants, and some select public spaces. Angry, sleepy Germans do not make good neighbors.

  • DON’T put your glass bottles or cans in the trash. Germans separate out their trash and recycling, and sometimes their food waste as well. Recycling is also often separated out into glass, plastics, cans and paper goods.

  • DON’T wait to do your grocery shopping until Sunday. Most stores are closed on Sundays, and do not open until 8 or 9 on Monday. If you forget this and find that you need something right away, the local späti or convenience store is open 24/7.

  • DON’T be too worried if the Germans you meet seem unwilling to make small talk or even smile at first. Locals tend to be private and straightforward. It is considered strange to ask a complete stranger, like the cashier at the supermarket, “How are you?” However most people will warm up to you as you get to know them better.

  • DO take advantage of the public transportation and biking scene in the city, as driving can be expensive and inconvenient, especially in the busier parts of town. You can purchase a 49 euro-a-month pass that gives you free access to public transportation and trains all around Germany.

  • DO see if your local supermarket has a place for turning in bottles, soda cans and plastic containers. Many locations will let you turn in your recycling for money.

  • DO spend some time studying or relaxing at one of the beautiful cafes around the city, which are generally open no matter what day of the week.

  • DO take as many opportunities to explore as possible. Museums and concerts have reduced rates for students, the beautiful park Tiergarten and Spree river trails are great places to go on walks and runs, and many famous historical sites are easily accessible and often free! Berlin is out there just waiting to be discovered.

If you are struggling to feel comfortable in this new environment, know that you are not alone. Living in a new place is challenging mentally, emotionally, and physically–no matter who you are. While guides like this can be helpful, they cannot replace help from those you love. Do not be afraid to reach out to those around you for comfort, guidance and support. Especially as you begin your German classes and are working to better understand the language and culture, EURASIA can become a network of support where you can meet with students who are meeting and overcoming the same culture shock, and teachers who understand what you are up against and how to overcome it. To travel is to change, and as long as you have a little cultural knowledge and a safe network of friends, your time in Berlin will change you for the better.

EURASIA: Your Trusted Academic Guide

While embarking on an academic journey in a foreign country may seem scary, EURASIA is here to support you from day one. We have the expertise and experience to guide you through the entire process, from initial applications to visa requirements. With EURASIA by your side, you can embrace this new adventure with confidence.