Accommodation in Berlin for International Students

Accommodation in Berlin for International Students
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Berlin, distinguished as one of the top 10 student cities according to the QS Best Student Cities 2024 ranking, attracts a diverse international student population each year [1]. The search for accommodation in Berlin for international students is a critical aspect of planning for life in the city, with living costs ranging between €950 and €1,700 per month, excluding tuition fees. These expenses, influenced by the student’s lifestyle, underscore the significance of understanding and budgeting for the cost of living in this vibrant capital [1].

Accommodation in Berlin for International Students

Student housing in Berlin offers a variety of options, catering to different preferences and financial capabilities. While most public universities in Berlin eliminate tuition fees for domestic and EU/EEA students, private universities present higher tuition costs, averaging between €10,500 and €49,000 annually for undergraduate and postgraduate studies, respectively [1]. Furthermore, the allowance for international students to work up to 20 hours per week provides a practical means to offset living expenses, positioning Berlin as an affordable option in Western Europe despite being slightly above the European average for living costs [2][3].

Accommodation Options and Costs

When seeking accommodation in Berlin for international students, the options are diverse, ranging from student housing and private apartments to university halls. Here’s a breakdown to guide students through their choices:

  • Student Housing Options:
    • Student Dorms: Ranging from €350 to €500 per month, these are ideal for first-year students looking for basic amenities and a chance to meet peers.
    • Private Rooms: Averaging at €749, offering a blend of privacy and community.
    • Studios: Priced around €1,154 for those preferring complete independence.
    • Student Apartments: Larger spaces costing about €1,680, suitable for sharing.
  • Private Apartments and University Halls:
    • Private Apartments: Offer more privacy and better facilities, with monthly costs between €900 and €1,300.
    • University Halls: Cost-effective, ranging from €350 to €500, providing basic services and a communal living experience.
  • Additional Considerations:
    • Utilities: Opting for warm rent (with utilities) can simplify budgeting, while cold rent (without utilities) may allow for cheaper utility providers.
    • Housing Benefit: In 2023, students might be eligible for a housing benefit of approximately €370 per month to assist with utility costs.

Choosing the right accommodation can significantly impact living costs and overall experience in Berlin. Students should consider their budget, desired privacy level, and proximity to their university when making their decision.

Monthly Grocery Expenses

Navigating grocery expenses is a significant aspect of managing accommodation in Berlin for international students. The city is known for its affordable shopping options, which can significantly lower monthly expenses if approached wisely. Here’s a breakdown to help students budget effectively:

  • Average Monthly Grocery Expenses:
    • For a frugal lifestyle: €150-€200
    • For a moderate lifestyle: €200-€250
    • For those preferring organic or specialty foods: Up to €300
  • Cost-Saving Tips:
    • Discount Supermarkets: Shopping at Lidl, Aldi, and Netto can drastically reduce expenses. These stores offer a wide range of products at lower prices compared to regular supermarkets.
    • Farmers’ Markets & Local Shops: Weekly visits to farmers’ markets or local bakeries and butchers can provide fresh produce and meat at competitive prices.
    • Bottle Returns: Utilize the bottle return system at grocery stores to receive discounts on purchases.
  • Average Prices for Common Items:
    • Milk (1l): €1.16
    • Eggs (Pack of 12): €2.85
    • Chicken fillets (1kg): €9.91
    • Apples (1kg): €2.58
    • Bread (from local bakery): €1.69

By planning meals, buying in bulk, and taking advantage of discounts and loyalty programs, students can manage their grocery expenses efficiently, ensuring a more affordable living experience in Berlin.

Transportation Costs

Navigating the transportation system in Berlin offers a seamless experience for international students, with a variety of options to suit different needs and preferences. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown:

  • Public Transport Options:
    • Monthly BVG Ticket: At €32 per month, or a discounted rate when paid annually, this ticket provides unlimited access to buses, trams, and metro services within the city.
    • Youth Travel Card: For €63, students can enjoy unlimited travel, making it an economical choice for frequent commuters.
    • Semester Ticket: Included in university fees, this ticket covers all public transport in the Berlin ABC zones, offering a hassle-free option for students.
  • Alternative Transportation:
    • Biking and Walking: Berlin’s bike-friendly streets and scenic routes encourage cycling and walking, offering a free and healthy alternative to public transport.
    • Carsharing and Scooters: For longer distances or special occasions, carsharing services and electric scooters provide flexible and cost-effective solutions.
  • Cost-Saving Tips:
    • Leverage Student Discounts: The School Student Ticket Berlin is free for students with a valid student ID, including additional benefits like free bike transportation.
    • Group and Advance Tickets: Opting for group day tickets or purchasing tickets in advance can offer significant savings for group travel or planned trips outside the city.

By understanding these options and utilizing available discounts, international students can efficiently manage their transportation costs while exploring Berlin’s rich cultural landscape and vibrant city life.

Leisure and Entertainment Expenses

Exploring the vibrant city of Berlin doesn’t have to strain a student’s budget, especially when it comes to leisure and entertainment. Here’s a breakdown of what students can expect to spend on various activities, along with tips to enjoy the city’s cultural offerings without breaking the bank:

  • Cultural and Musical Events:
    • Museums and Exhibitions: €5 – €20, with many offering reduced prices for students or free entry on the first Sunday of each month.
    • Concerts and Gigs: Range from €10 – €50. Students should look out for free performances, such as those by the Berliner Philharmonie Orchestra.
    • Comedy Shows: Approximately €10, a great way to unwind and laugh with friends.
  • Cinematic and Social Outings:
    • Movie Tickets: Around €12 or less with student discounts, perfect for movie nights.
    • Bowling: Costs between €16-€30, offering a fun group activity.
    • Dining Out: Dinner ranges from €20-€30, while a beer or wine is about €3-€4, and cocktails are around €9.
  • Nightlife and Additional Savings:
    • Nightlife Entry Fees: Between €8-€15, with many places offering free entry or cheap drinks.
    • Student Discounts: Always carry a student ID or ISIC card for discounts at gyms, events, museums, and more. Online platforms like Amazon Prime and Spotify offer nearly 50% off for students.
    • Membership Cards/Discount Apps: Utilize apps like Groupon to get discounts on activities and shopping.

By leveraging student discounts and exploring free or low-cost entertainment options, international students can make the most of their Berlin experience without overspending.

Healthcare and Insurance

Navigating healthcare and insurance in Berlin is a pivotal step for international students in ensuring a stress-free study experience. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown:

  • Public vs. Private Health Insurance:
    • Public Health Insurance: Costs approximately €90-€120 per month. It’s mandatory for all residents, including students, and covers a wide range of medical services. Students under 30 enrolled in regular degree programs generally qualify.
    • Private Health Insurance: An option for students over 30, those in non-regular degree programs, or with specific needs not covered by public insurance. Costs vary, but the PROVISIT STUDENT plan is an affordable choice, with premiums between €120 and €200 per month.
  • Coverage and Services:
    • Both public and private health insurance typically cover medical treatment, prescription medications, preventive care, emergency services, and more. Public insurance includes coverage for pre-existing conditions, while private may not. Dental and vision care are partially covered.
  • Eligibility and Enrollment:
    • To enroll in public health insurance, students need to submit documents like their university acceptance letter and residence permit. International students from certain countries may use their home country’s health insurance if it meets German standards. Students must inquire with their insurance provider to confirm eligibility.

Budgeting Tips for Berlin Student Life

Navigating the financial landscape of student life in Berlin requires a strategic approach to ensure a comfortable yet affordable living experience. Here are some budgeting tips tailored for international students in Berlin:

  • Essential Monthly Expenses Breakdown:
    • Accommodation: On-Campus (€600) vs. Off-Campus (€670)
    • Transportation: Public Transport Pass (€85)
    • Food: Groceries (€24), Dining Out (€588)
    • Utilities: Electricity (€80), Internet (€10-€23)
    • Miscellaneous: Clothes (€42), Entertainment (€48), Study Materials (€20)
  • Smart Saving Strategies:
    1. Cook at Home: With dining out averaging at €588, cooking at home can significantly reduce monthly food expenses.
    2. Utilize Student Discounts: From cultural activities to transportation, always carry a student ID to avail discounts.
    3. Prepaid SIM Cards: Opt for a €7.99/month plan offering 3GB of data, sufficient for basic needs.
    4. Budgeting Apps: Monitor expenses and stay within budget using mobile apps designed for financial planning.
  • Income Opportunities:
    • Part-Time Work: International students can work 120 full days or 240 half days annually. Exploring jobs through university portals or local networks can supplement income.
    • Scholarships and Aid: Investigate DAAD scholarships, Erasmus+ programs, and university-specific financial aid to offset costs.

By adopting these budgeting practices, students can manage their finances effectively, ensuring a fulfilling study experience in Berlin without the burden of financial stress.


Navigating life as an international student in Berlin encompasses more than just academic pursuits; it involves a comprehensive understanding and strategic planning around living expenses, accommodation options, and lifestyle choices. Leveraging the tips and insights shared, from selecting the right accommodation to effectively managing grocery, transportation, and leisure expenses, students can achieve a balanced and financially sustainable life in one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. This article has provided a blueprint for making informed decisions that align with both educational goals and personal comfort, ensuring a rich and diverse study abroad experience.

Embracing the multifaceted experience of student life in Berlin also opens avenues for personal growth, cultural immersion, and professional development. By adopting smart saving strategies, exploring income opportunities, and taking advantage of student discounts and resources, international students can fully immerse themselves in the Berlin experience without compromising their financial well-being. The journey through Berlin’s academic and cultural landscape is not just about achieving academic excellence but also about building a life that is rich in experiences, friendships, and insights, laying a strong foundation for a bright global future.


What is the typical cost range for student housing in Berlin?

The average monthly cost for student accommodation in Berlin is between €500 and €1,300. Additionally, students should expect to spend about €150 per month on food and approximately €90 per month on transportation. Keep in mind that your overall living costs in Berlin will be influenced by your personal lifestyle.

How much does a typical accommodation cost in Berlin?

The cost of a typical accommodation in Berlin varies, but for students, it generally falls within the range of €500 to €1,300 per month, which includes the cost of rent and utilities.

What are the minimum living expenses for international students in Germany?

In Germany, the minimum living expenses for international students are estimated to be between 700 and 1,000 EUR per month. This includes the cost of accommodation as well as other expenses such as health insurance. Germany is known for its affordability and offers the opportunity to study for free, which can help to keep overall costs down for students.

Which area in Berlin offers the most affordable living options?

The Lichtenberg neighborhood is not only the safest but also the most affordable area in Berlin for living. The average rent in Lichtenberg is about €10 per square meter (unfinished, cold rent), making it an attractive option for those looking to save on housing costs.

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