Erasmus Berlin: The best Guide for exchange students in Berlin
Erasmus Berlin is the guide that provides you with all the important information you need to know for your erasmus student experience in Berlin. Browse through all the sections and find out many useful tips regarding the different universities available in the city, all the documents you are required from the different institutions you will deal with, how to find a flat, getting to know the nightlife…how to enjoy Berlin and much more!
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Studying in Berlin
The duration of the Erasmus Programme can vary between 3 to 12 months, in which you will be attending a foreign University within the European Union. As far as Berlin is concerned and depending on your field of study, you will be hosted by one of the following universities:
Freie Universität Berlin (FU)
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin(HU)
Technische Universität (TU)
Charité Universitätsmedizin (common medical school of FU and HU)
Universität der Kunste Berlin
Considering the fact that you will collect A LOT OF DOCUMENTS during your stay, we strongly recommend you to take care of them from the very beginning and keep them organized in a folder where all your papers will be safe and properly stored. Trust us! If you will do that from the start, it will be much easier to conclude everything at your departure from Berlin, when your Erasmus period is over. It’s gonna save you time and energy that you can use for many other things (travelling, partying, sightseeing, etc,)!
Prior to your departure from home, you will have to fill in the following documents:
Student agreement: that is to say, the contract you will sign with your University attesting that you will take part in the Erasmus Programme. Read it carefully before you leave, as it will give you important information about your scholarship and the ECTS you have to collect;
Learning agreement: it lists the courses you will attend in the host university and which will replace the ones you should attend in your home university. Don’t freak out by filling it, because you will probably have to change it once arrived in Berlin. It is likely that you will have to fill this document before the beginning of the semester you will actually attend in Berlin. This means, that you’ll see yourself choosing courses of the previous year, which it is not sure the will be held during next semester as well. After your arrival in Berlin, you will realize which are the best and available courses to attend and after you picked your favorite ones you will amend your Learning Agreement with the document “Amendment to Learning Agreement”;
Certificate of attendance; it shows the dates of arrival and departure in/from Berlin. Most of the times it is requested together with a tangible proof of your stay (plane tickets, train tickets, rental agreement, etc.).
At the end of the period abroad following papers are required:
Transcript of Records: this is the document through which the host university declares that you passed the exams you did in Berlin specifying also your the mark you got and the amount of ECTS.
In case you will arrive during the winter semester and would like to extend your stay for the summer semester, you will have to request for permission to both Universities and then fill in the Amendment to Learning Agreement form, as well as the form for extending your Erasmus study period.
Fees and Benefits
Upon your arrival in Berlin you will go to the International Erasmus Office of your host University where you will pay a fee of approximately 280,- € in order to obtain the so called „Semester ticket“, that allows you to use all public transports throughout the city (U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trains, trams and buses in all 3 zones, A, B and C) for the whole semester. Furthermore, other services are included such as the use of the library, a computer account with free access at the Internet terminals of the University, as well as the MensaCard in order to eat in the canteen.
You will be happy to know that the city of Berlin welcomes you with a financial contribution called “Begrüßungsgeld” (translated Welcome Money). In order to get this money, you need to register at the city hall after your arrival (Anmeldung) and to open a free bank account in a German bank institute of your choice. These two simple steps will allow you to receive 50€ with very little effort!
Either if you’re joining the Erasmus Student Programme or the Erasmus Placement Programme you will have the possibility to attend a language course at the beginning of the semester. This is a German intensive course that can be converted in ECTS credits that can be recognised by your home university. Attending this kind of course in Berlin might not be the best choice for you, as the price for the course is not included in the social fees you have to pay as an International student. So, we recommend you to ask in advance to your host university how much the course will cost and then compare it with the other offers of different language schools in the city. However, attending a German course in a language course outside the University might not give you the guarantee that the ECTS will be recognized by your home University. So, inform yourself properly and avoid unpleasant surprises at the end of your experience abroad!
Erasmus placement in Berlin
If you’re coming to Berlin for the Erasmus Placement you can call yourself a “lucky duck”; Berlin is well-known as the European Silicon Valley, flourishing with start-ups and new businesses every other day. So, this can definetely be a great opportunity for your traineeship for multiple reasons:
lots of start-ups are emerging here, in particular in the field of e-commerce and on-line marketing;
many German Universities require students to a compulsory traineeship period. That´s also the reason why it is particularly easy to apply for these kind of internships or student jobs, as companies adapted pretty well to the academic demand.
Even though the salary will probably not be so high, you will still be able to enjoy the money you get, thanks to the relatively cheap cost of life in Berlin.
You can do your traineeship in a company, in a training centre, in a research centre or in another organization/institution recognised suitable by your home university.
The documents required concerning the Erasmus Placement Programme are:
Placement agreement: that is to say, the contract you will sign with your home University attesting that you will take part in the Erasmus Programme. Read it carefully before you leave, as it will give you important information about your scholarship and the ECTS you have to collect;
Training agreement; it is a form which will be filled in by your tutor in the company or institution you will work for. It includes information about your tasks and activities as well as the abilities you have to develop during your traineeship. In general, it has to be approved by your home university before the departure;
Quality commitment: it defines terms and conditions which have to be fulfilled by all the parties involved in the contract.
Even if it might not be required among all the documents you will have to prepare, we advise you to ask the company where you worked for a Reference Letter, summarizing your professional experience, as well as highlighting the aspects for which you have been particularly good and efficient. This document will increase the value of your CV in the future and will certainly help you when you will look for a job after your studies.