Our Students Share Their Tips on How to Settle Into Berlin

Posted by Dee Cunning on 8/20/2019 in Catalyst

Are you new to the city? Our students share their top tips on how to settle into Berlin - from finding a place to live to making connections.

Culture, creativity, opportunity, hanging out at the späti. There are literally a million reasons to move to Berlin – and we’re guessing, since you’re reading this, that studying at Catalyst is at the top of your list. After all, in one of the most exciting destinations on the planet for producers, musicians, sound engineers, DJs, filmmakers, actors and artists, our thriving school is perfectly placed to grow your greatness.

Still, moving to Berlin is not without its challenges – from finding a home, to negotiating the infamous German bureaucracy, to, well, just keeping the city’s distractions at bay. Thankfully, our seasoned students have come through to tell you all the things they wish they knew when they were in your shoes. Willkommen in Berlin!

Jade Morash

Film Production student

Catalyst Berlin Film Production student Jade Morash at Brandenburg Gate

“As we all know, the housing market in Berlin is a nightmare and finding a place to live can sometimes take forever. Knowing that, I made sure that before I moved to Berlin, I had secured a flat to call home. I think having my own place that I could go to directly from the airport, that I could decorate how I wanted to make it feel homey and comfortable, is a big reason why I was able to feel settled in Berlin so quickly.”

Benjamin Bishop

Screen Acting student

Catalyst Berlin Screen Acting alumnus Benjamin Bishop

“The biggest challenge is staying focused! There is always so much going on! But here are the quickest ways to get settled and wrap your head around the incredible things that this city has to offer.

1) Get close to the people who know the city; those that live here, and, if possible, those that grew up here.

2) Spend some time getting to know your area. Walk or ride around as much as you can during your first few weeks. The more familiar you are with where you’re living, the quicker you’ll feel at home.

3) I’m terrible at it, but make an effort to learn German. Just an attempt to speak it will get you off to a great start with any new people you meet.

Once you’re settled in, you can start to really explore what’s going on here. There is honestly something for everyone. Enjoy! Also, top tip: go to Markthalle Neun on Thursdays; it’s super-cheap and full of locals.”

Learn more about the creative journey that led Benjamin to Berlin in this video.

Maya de Mello

Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering student

Catalyst Berlin Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering student Maya de Mello

“When you first move here, find open mic nights or anywhere playing music that you love, and don’t be afraid to go alone. It’s a great way to meet new people and get involved in a scene.”

Watch our video interview with Maya, behind the scenes of her Studio Sessions recording here.

Jeroen Rodriguez

Electronic Music Production & Performance student

Catalyst Berlin Electronic Music Production & Performance student Jeroen Rodriguez

“Try to approach the whole experience with an open mindset. Berlin is a unique city and provides endless opportunities for learning and experiencing interesting things. Deliberately put yourself out of your comfort zone, attend events you wouldn’t usually attend, hang out with people you wouldn’t usually hang out with, say yes to opportunities you wouldn’t usually say yes to. Meet as many people as you can. The city is full of artists and musicians; you will find that interesting opportunities can arise from simply having a conversation with the person next to you on the tram.”

Frank Peroni

Screen Acting student

Catalyst Berlin Screen Acting student Frank Peroni

“You arrive in Berlin and the city is so multicultural; full of different people with different passions and lifestyles. It takes a while to find your people – those who fit your style, life and hobbies – and also to understand your place in the city. But you also immediately understand that connections are essential in the capital. Everyone has their own way to start the life they want to live, to find a nice place and a good job, but my suggestion is to be open. Experiment and try out everything, without judgment and with an open mind and heart. I spent one year saying yes to everything and as a result I got to know the amazing people who are now my Berlin family. Remember that Germany has strict rules and bureaucracy; don’t be lazy and do everything in the proper way! But the most important rule is enjoying!”

Learn more about the creative journey that led Frank to Berlin in this video.

And Hannah Deans, our events and student experience lead, had something crucial to add too…

Hannah Deans, Catalyst Berlin events and student experience lead

IKEA doesn’t take credit card. Handy knowledge when you don’t have a German bank account yet!”

For more Berlinspiration, read our ultimate guide to our students' favourite places to live in the city.