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expats in Berlin

Guest Posts

6 Top Tips for First-Time Expats Living in Berlin

Disclaiminer: This is a Guest Post

Learn the German language
Sure, most Germans are probably much more adept at speaking English than you would be spluttering a few phrases of broken Deutsch. However, it is recommended that you at least learn some basic German before you move. Not only will knowing the language make your life easier (you’ll be able to discern the various meats and pastries in the delicatessen for instance), you’ll also find it much simpler initiating communication with the locals and you’ll earn their respect by trying your hand at the language (plus you’ll never know where you might need it).

Dress for the weather
Winters in Germany can be cold, and long and often snowy, so be sure to invest in a decent pair of boots and outerwear for these months.
In the summer, expats in Berlin enjoy warm, dry weather, with plenty of things to do. There are places to hike and lakes outside of the city where you can hike and swim to your heart’s content. Germans are very outdoorsy people, so don’t be surprised if when you make friends, you get invited out for camping excursions and barbeques – get those bratwursts on the barbie!

Find yourself some threads
Berliners are style conscious and generally employ a casual and functional dress code; (meaning boots and sneakers, leave the heels at home, ladies). The trend setters of Berlin are much more down to earth when it comes to footwear.
There is a strong hipster culture present in Berlin, both in the style of fashion and in the selection of artisanal bars and eateries popping up all over the city; such as the trendy bar Ä – a laid-back bar in Neukölln offering a basement dancefloor for the folks who like a good boogie.

Get out and sample the nightlife
Germans fully embrace the party culture and the diverse dance music scene that comes with it. Berlin has no fewer than 900 bars and nearly 200 clubs and discotheques, so you won’t have to search far for a great night out! All these top venues attract top DJs from all over the world – mainly in the techno and house scenes, meaning top music and a great chance to mingle with Berlin’s happening scene.
Top clubs include Berghain, Watergate, and White Trash – which, despite its ostentatious name is actually a restaurant popular with expats and also hosts live music and parties in the basement. In fact, basement dancefloors seem to be something of a theme in this city.

Things to see and do
Aside from the main eateries and watering holes, there’s plenty more to see and do in Berlin. If you’re the kind of expat that loves to treat your first few months in a new country like an extended holiday, you’ll want to see all the sights and sounds Berlin has to offer. History geeks can relish in the many museums and historic buildings in the city, such as the Fernsehturn (TV tower), standing at 368 metres (1,207 feet), it’s the tallest structure in Berlin, offering unrivalled views of the city. Nature lovers can enjoy Berlin’s central park and Garten der Welt; a collection of themed gardens and natural oases. Botanischer Garten is another amazing location to explore the flora on offer in the many gardens in Berlin.

Off the beaten track
For the more seasoned expat ready to uncover all the unusual things to do around the city, such as visiting the Liquidrom, a futuristic, new age spa, or the Bierpinsel, a strange, tree-like building built in 1976. Offering you a first-time glimpse into the first in a long line of odd architecture in the city.
Those in the mood for an unconventional breakfast should head to the Reichstag, where you can start your day with a meal on the roof of this historic building.
Or if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could take a day trip out to the Teufelsberg – a cold war, NSA spy station with huge radar domes towering overhead. The entire place lies abandoned, so if you do decide to venture there, take caution.

Alex works for Currency UK – a foreign exchange company who help expats move their money abroad, with a friendly service and bank beating exchange rates!

featured/ Food/ Guest Posts

5 Places Expats Must Eat in Berlin

1. BurgerMeister
Germans are among the world’s most voracious eaters, and when it comes to meat, they make no exception. BurgerMeister, one of Berlin’s most popular burger houses stays true to this philosophy by serving nothing but burgers, burgers, MORE BURGERS. Oh, and chilli cheese fries.

Their single vegetarian option is the tofu burger but let’s be honest, an establishment such as BurgerMeister was not designed for vegetarian options.

2. Lemon Leaf
If you’re looking for something a bit more delicate on the gut (and on the taste buds for that matter) then Lemon Leaf’s delectable array of Indochinese dishes is sure to get your saliva glands working overtime.

Inside, the bright walls and oriental décor lend itself to a calm yet lively atmosphere, serving up the smell of eastern spices and a mix of speciality dishes from Thailand, Vietnam Laos & Cambodia, including a range of traditional curries and noodle dishes, with a range of vegetarian options available.

Courtesy of Lemon Leaf

3. Crackers
Maybe you’re into a hipper and happening kind of eatery. Y’know, where there’s awesome food, but also a bar and a DJ performing whilst you eat your dinner; kind of like a club-cum-restaurant but without the ravers then Crackers is going to be right up your straße.

With a delicious, traditional menu and a snazzy website to boot, Crackers looks to be every Berlin hipster’s watering hole and restaurant combined. They also serve some interesting cocktails such as their signature highball – ‘It’s crackers’, featuring a mix of watermelon, beetroot and Finsbury platinum gin. Delectable! Although if you happen to be on your lunch break and have to return to work, they also feature a virgin version on their juice menu.

Courtesy of Crackers

4.Ssam Korean Barbecue
Enough to make anybody jump on the nearest metrotram and head on over; Ssam Korean Barbecue is located near the Görlitzer Park in the heart of Kreuzberg and offers one of the best and most traditional Korean BBQ experiences in Berlin.

The interior features traditional Korean aesthetic with a contemporary twist, offering a simple yet elegant dining experience. Grills are built right into the tables allowing the BBQ to come straight to you! Pile up the plate with gourmet Korean BBQ and a healthy dose of Kimchi and you’re flying to flavourland!

Courtesy of Ssam Koren

5. Restaurant Richard
Somewhere between the concept of an upscale French restaurant and art gallery lies Restaurant Richard. Located in the Kreuzberg district, this fancy establishment offers fine art and fine dining all under one roof; with specially curated interior design elements and a several course meal.
This restaurant is fairly pricey, weighing in at around €64 for 4 courses. However, for the quality of the artwork and the French Haute-inspired menu, it could be one expat’s guilty treat.

Courtesy of Restaurant Richard

About the author:

This post was written by Alex, who has spent much time exploring the many culinary delights Europe has to offer. Alex works for Currency UK, who offer foreign exchange services to businesses, individuals, and expats worldwide.
If you’re moving abroad soon, take a look at their expat resources section for lots of handy tips and information for moving and living abroad!

Tourist Trips/ Uncategorized

Back to Berlin


I hope everyone is enjoying the new year. I have been back in Berlin for a few weeks now adjusting to the change. Although I was only gone for almost three weeks, it still is a bit hard to adjust to the time and the weather. I had an overall good time on my travels back to the States. I spent time with friends, and family, and was able to recapture some of things I was missing, as well as realizing again the reason why I left.

I started in New York for a day with my friend. It really was just a pit stop because the way my flights were scheduled, niether of us had a lot of time. I did not get to do anything there as far as tourist trips, it was just nice to relax after the 8 hour flight from Amsterdam to New York.

The next morning I flew to LAX. I rented a car, and found my hotel. My phone does not work in the States. I should of brought an American SIM card. I am lost without my phone, but I was surprised how much I remembered. After about an hour, I found my hotel. I got a room right on the boardwalk in Venice. I have always wanted to do this, but this was not the best time. It was quite rainy, and I do not remember Venice having so many bums. I did not spend much time relaxing, and immediately had plans for my first night back in Los Angeles in a year. I called what I would consider to be my closest friend Sam, and we had some drinks and ceviche at a cute place on the boardwalk. I really should of been sleeping. Immediately following, I went out to this wonderful Italian spot with a long time friend of mine. It was nice to see him. I thought, so far so good. The next day I felt awful. I was so sick. For four days I could not do much but wait for the cold to end. I finally got better just in time to be able to drive down to San Diego to see my friend Mike. We have been friends for 8 years, and it is always a good time with him. I was so out of it, that I could barely talk most of the evening. I was running on empty. I did managed to meet some more of my friends throughout the trip. Here are some pictures from the trip.

After seeing my friends, I went back home to Riverside to see my parents. I stayed with my Father. It is just easier that way. He has more space, but he is really restrictive. Even at 27 years old, he treats me like I am not a day over 10. I think that is just how parents are I guess. It was nice to catch up with him, and see how big my younger sisters have gotten. I saw my Mother for only one day. We have always been really different people, and the less time seems to be the only way I can get her to treat me like a person. She at least knows this is temporary, so she needs to act like she has some sense. To my surprise, my Mother expressed interest in going natural, and visitng Italy. I guess I am rubbing off on her. I made it a point to mention, not all European men were created equal. As asshole comes in all colors.

Before I knew it, I was back to the airport for another round of New York. This time for 3 days. I was able to catch up with my travel writer friend, and see one my best boys in Harlem. We always have a great time together talking politics. We have similar views, although I find myself going further down the liberal path than anything. It is Berlin’s effect on me I think. I was happy to get out of California. Many of my friends are very shallow and selfish. I can only stand this for a few days before I need to make my exit. New York just seems to have a better vibe. I was sad to leave that place, but I did, and got back to Berlin just in time for the Weihnachten (Christmas in German). So after a few weeks of sitting on my behind or going to holiday parties, I decided to start writing again. Happy New Year folks.. and you will be hearing much more from this year.

Black Girl in Berlin