An important aspect of studying away is the opportunity for you to learn more about your chosen host country and how identities may be understood and perceived within this new context. We encouraged you to begin researching some of the challenges and opportunities you may encounter, and plan ahead by identifying people and resources that can help you make the most of your experience away. The information below offers brief descriptions of identity-based topics in Berlin, and Germany more broadly, as well as access to people, resources, and programs you can connect with before and after you get there.
Berlin can be an inexpensive city with the right planning, so it’s a great place to be if you’re trying to stick to a budget. Around the city, you can find world-class museums and historical sites that almost always offer student discounts. Reasonably priced food options can be found anywhere from 6€ currywurst, 4€ pasta dishes, and 3€ dönners. The largest cost will most likely be public transit but you can get reduced ticket prices using your university ID. Most grocery stores are incredibly affordable, with Lidl being one the best options for shopping on a budget. Flight and immigration costs will come out to be around $1,700. These numbers will vary depending on your spending patterns.
15 of the Best Cheap Restaurants in Berlin
Certain areas of German cities boast highly modern infrastructure with buildings and transportation systems accessible to people with physical limitations. Students can feel confident in their ability to access most areas of major cities. Older city sections and more rural towns are less accessible due to centuries-old architecture, which promises cobblestone streets, narrow staircase entry-ways, and small indoor spaces.
Germany is thought to be a very safe country, however, women traveling alone should follow ‘common sense’ safety precautions as they would in the United States. Generally, female students who travel to Germany can expect a level of protection and respect equivalent to the U.S. According to UN Women, about 7 percent of women experience sexual violence from a non-partner during their lifetimes. Overall, Germany is ranked as 5th in the Gender Inequality Index. The country still has strives to make in terms of income inequality with a wage gap of 21 percent.
Germany is a popular destination for LGBTQ+ students because of its tolerant environment. It has long been one of the most progressive countries in the world with respect to gay rights. You can generally expect to find a campus environment that is at least as tolerant of and accommodating to the LGBTQ+ community as NYC. There are community organizations, restaurants, and clubs that cater to LGBTQ+ folks throughout Berlin.
LGBTI Guide for Berlin
Race & Ethnicity
Although the vast majority (91.5 percent) of Germans are of Germanic descent, the country has large Turkish, Middle Eastern, and North African communities, particularly in its urban areas like Berlin and Frankfurt. German policy supports multiculturalism and so do many Germans. However, in recent years nationalist sentiments have grown, with resentment towards immigrant communities stirring a resurgence of extremist groups and political parties. Given historical and socio-political divides, Eastern Germany has had higher rates of discrimination and hate crimes compared to the west.
Religion & Spirituality
The German government legally respects and protects religious freedom through the establishment and enforcement of nondiscriminatory laws and policies. Germany is actively making efforts to better integrate minority groups into society through tolerance education and public outreach. You should feel well supported and protected regardless of religious affiliation. Unfortunately, not all German residents share tolerant and liberal perspectives. Hate and politically motivated crimes by such groups as right-wing extremists and Muslim immigrant youth do occur, if infrequently.