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Berlin possesses an intellectual and recreational hedonism that makes it the perfect student town. Not only is it Europe’s latest start-up city, with a booming economy based on technology and research, Berlin is also home to world-renowned cultural institutions, entertainment venues and universities. The city has also notoriously become a laboratory of free-wheeling experimentation in music and nightlife. From 24/7 parties in industrial techno temples, to walking tours that chronicle an odyssey of 20th century politics, Berlin is the perfect study abroad destination for hipsters and history buffs alike. High-brow, low-brow and everything in between – Berlin is truly having its moment!

Things to do in Berlin

Historical sites – Berlin is peppered with sites that will thrill students of history, mainly from its tumultuous last century. As a border crossing between East and West Berlin that was closed in 1961, the elegant Brandenburg Gate represents both the division and unity of the city. The graffitied remains of the Berlin Wall are another must-see – the ruins represent the vestiges of a political moment that you really do have to see to believe. To provide some context, visit the outdoor memorial on Bernauer Strasse – tours are only €2.50 for students.

Iconic monuments – The Reichstag Building houses the modern Bundestag, however in its past it has hosted the parliament of the German Empire, been burned down and reconstructed. Relax in its expansive grounds as you admire this Baroque-style edifice of German history. Capturing another of the nation’s distinct chapters, the Fernsehturm (TV tower) is notable both for its height and curious sci-fi shape. It was built to be a symbol of Communist power and thus, like so many other landmarks in Berlin, is inflected with the wars of the 20th century.

Art and Culture – The indisputable center of culture in Berlin is Museumsinsel, or ‘Museum Island’. As the name suggests, this area is a treasure trove of artefacts, art and architecture, including the Altes (Old) Museum, Neues (New) Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie, which houses a veritable grand tour of Western art. Students can purchase a pass for the whole island for only €9. Another important exhibition to see in Berlin is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a visually striking display commemorating a dark moment in Germany’s history.

Entertainment – Since being laid to waste during World War II, Potsdamer Platz has been the site of massive urban renewal masterminded by top international architects. It is certainly worth going to see the impressive feat of this entirely new city quarter, which now buzzes with theatres, museums, hotels and restaurants. For nightlife, any pleasure-seeking student in Berlin should make it their business to go to Berghain – an industrial techno club in an ex-power plant that encompasses what 21st century Berlin is all about.


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