Co-working in Studio 70 in Neukölln. Photo: Berlinow

How to: Find a Desk in Berlin

#live in berlin

Classroom (file). Photo: Tulane Public Relations/flickr[source]CC BY 2.0

You might think that English is the official language of Germany as long as you only hang out around Rosenthaler Platz in Mitte. But just go slightly north, to Pankow, or a few miles south, to Neukölln, and you’ll find yourself in acute need of some basic German vocabulary.

How should you go about this predicament then? Well, there are a couple of ways, and all of them aren’t that unpleasant.

The fun way

Like all of your expat peers in Berlin, you’ll need to know at least what Wurst and Bier means. And there are some German lads out there that are keen to get some English going for themselves. Why not join forces and head to a Language Exchange? There are several weekly meetups in Berlin where you can practice German in a very informal way. You can find them on Meetup.com, Facebook Groups and other community sites, such as Toytown Germany. Usually these meetups are completely free, but the organizer might appreciate a donation of one or two euros.

The free way

If your schedule doesn’t allow excursions to a language meetup, then apps are your friend. Duolingo offers courses in German for English, Turkish, Spanish, French, Arabic, Russian, and Portuguese speakers. Competitor Memrise also has several German language courses. Deutsche Welle holds an interactive German course for English and Russian natives.
These courses should at least give you a quick start and prepare you for some common situations, and it won’t cost you a dime.

The hard way

If you’re up for it, and don’t mind paying a few hundred euros, there are several language schools that are happy to teach you German. Some of the more popular schools are VHS Mitte, BSI Berlin, GLS Berlin, Goethe Institut, Hartnackschule, Die Neue Schule, Sprachenatelier, Die Deutschule, and Friedländer-Schule.

This post has also been published with permission on Deutsch.nu.


The original version of this article was first published on 2012-02-12.