Documentation:Science Co-op/Germany - Berlin

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Helpful Tips For Co-op Students Going to Berlin

Return to: UBC Science Co-op Purpose: This document was created to help you prepare the necessary documents and funds
BEFORE/AFTER your departure to Berlin. This information may help to prevent some difficulties with
paperwork and make it an easier transition for you.


The following websites provide brief introductions to Berlin:
Official tourism website:
Wiki travel guide:


Some popular banks in Berlin are Berliner Sparkasse, Commerzbank, and Deutsche Bank. Sparkasse's ATMs are the easiest to find within Germany, where as Deutsche Bank's branches can be more easily located in other countries. For more information, please check
To open up a bank account:

  • bring your passport
  • employment contract and contact information

Germany DOES NOT use cheques and/or traveller’s cheques, credit card is less commonly used here than North America. CASH is most common; debit card is also acceptable in many places.


A map of the transit system could be obtained from the ticket offices in several main subway stations.


The rent in Berlin is affordable, ranging from 200 to 600 euros depending on the location and the type.

  • Shared apartments are usually cheaper.

For long-term apartment rental:
For shared apartments:


    Check with UBC Science co-op office for the required documents for Visa application and work permits.
    a) Registration
    Within the first week of arrival, you are expected to register yourself in a local city hall (Rathaus) in Berlin.
    Bring your passport and the address for the registration, as well as a German speaking friend.
    You will obtain a piece of paper called “Anmeldebestatigung” (registration).
    After this registration, you your tax and social security numbers will be in their system. The rathaus addresses and hours are here:
    b) Tax number & certificate
    Tax certificate can be obtained in a local tax office (Finanzamt).
    Here you will obtain a tax certificate (bescheinigung für den Lohnsteuerabzug) with your tax class on it.
    Addresses and hours of tax offices are:
    This can only be done after you have registered for more than a week. The Rathaus need time to file your information in the system.
    c) Social security number
    If you are asked to provide social security number (Versicherungsnummer), you can do so at Deutsche Rentenversicherung (German pension).

Shopping and Entertainment

An English bookstoreDussmann” is conveniently located on Friedrichstraße in central Berlin:

  • It closes on Sundays.

One of the English theatres is "Cinestar" at Potsdamer Platz.

Some popular shopping streets are Ku'Damm or Kurfürstendamm and Friedrichstraße. Also, the major department stores are Kadewe (Wittenbergplatz station), Galeries Lafayett (Französische Straße station), and Galeria Kaufhof (Alexanderplatz station).


  • On Sundays, many stores, banks and agencies are closed.

  • Museums and restaurants remain open. Some small convenience stores are open in major subway stations on Sundays.

  • Although many people here can speak English, knowing some basic German would be helpful in some places, especially in government agencies.