Moving to Berlin? Red Tape Translation has resources at hand to help you with the culture shock. All the companies and service providers listed on this website are ones that I work with, communicate with, or have met personally. Please feel free to e-mail for more information.
expath.de has German courses twice a week in Kreuzberg, and their prices are unbeatable. This is a good option if you can’t commit to an intensive lesson timetable, or you don’t have a lot of money to play with. They have small class sizes, great teachers and are very conversation-focussed, so you’ll come out speaking German like a pro. And then you won’t need an interpreter at your next Ausländerbehörde appointment!
Die Neue Schule in Wilmersdorf is a great option if you want an intensive language course in a reasonable price range. The teachers are exceptional, the school is friendly, and the focus is heavily on conversation.
Goethe Institut is where you go if your company is sponsoring your German classes, if you get a scholarship, or if you need some hardcore tailored German instruction. The standard is superb, and they have all sorts of internationally recognized qualifications. It does however come with a hefty price tag.
expath.de, as well as being a language school, has a bunch of different services to help you settle in Berlin. For a small price, you can take a 3 hour course in English on a Saturday, and learn everything you need to know about registering, finding a job, and setting yourself up in Berlin. They are also particularly good at helping you organize paperwork for visits to the Ausländerbehörde, for example. I love it when expath.de customers come to me for interpreting help at their appointments, because they are, more often than not, incredibly organized and prepared with all the right forms and accompanying documents. If you’re stressed about your appointment and want to make sure you’ve got everything in line, book a consult with expath.de.
Berlin Arrivals offer remote relocation services, as well as active support for new Berliners. Their services can be customized, and if your request can’t be fulfilled in-house, they recommend service providers in Berlin with whom they have already worked and can personally recommend.
Toytown Berlin has an events calendar with something on just about every day. You can find kindred English-speaking spirits on Toytown through the myriad of special events they have. There are language exchanges, trivia nights, Scrabble nights, 20-something singles meetups, boat parties, mothers’ groups, couples nights, over-40’s groups, curry nights, groups for creatives, freelancers, entrepreneurs, one-legged folk-dancing pygmies, you name it.
For language enthusiasts, highly recommended is the Tuesday Night Stammtisch at Travolta on Wienerstr. Rain, hail or shine, they are always there, and just celebrated their 4 year anniversary.
If you are a 20- or 30-something Berlin expat looking to meet like-minded internationals somewhere that’s off the beaten tourist track, you might like the crowd at berlin EXPATS, coordinated by Steve Crouch of Startup Berlin fame. Many of Berlin’s most dynamic English-speaking groups advertise their events through Meetup.com
Journey To Germany is a great resource for preparation before your move. This Canadian family has documented their experiences living in Germany in a series of very helpful pages. Preparations for moving, workplace issues, culture and events, travel tips, places to visit, festivals and holidays, services … just about everything is covered. Please note that some of the information about getting a work permit and a residency visa is geared at Heidelberg, where the procedures are a bit different to those in Berlin.
Of course, the Red Tape Translation blog is also full of interesting articles, based on what I learn every day from working with expats in Berlin.