Welcome to our official FU-BEST blogroll! Here we share everything exciting in and around Berlin with our current FU-BESTers. Of course, everyone else, who is interested to get a glimpse into the perks of being a student in Berlin, is cordially invited along the ride. You’ll find tips for interesting lectures on and off campus, free time activities, event information, our favorite eating spots and many other things that make Berlin unique.
Additionally, there will be a monthly FU-BEST Newsletter, where we keep you up to date on what’s happening right now.
As Berlin trades the grey of winter for a mix of blue skies, fluffy clouds, and April showers, you’ll be seeing daffodils, narcissus and tulips sprouting up around the city. If you find yourself admiring these little bursts of color, you’ll be blown away by the TULIPAN at one of Berlin’s most beautiful gardens – Britzer Garten. Originally designed as a staging ground for Germany’s biennial national garden show in 1985, Britzer Garten is an oasis of lakes, fields, and forests located in the southern part of Berlin. While beautiful all year long, Britzer Garten really gets dressed up for spring!
Enjoy strolling along the winding paths and stopping for cake and coffee as you admire this magnificent show. With Easter right around the corner you can also count on a bit of extra decoration, and maybe even a bunny or two!
The park even has a small train to transport visitors around the garden. All aboard!
Where? Mohriner Allee 152, 12347 Berlin When? Tulips bloom April-May, Park open year-round Opening Hours: 9am-8pm daily Admission: 3,00€, Optional train ride: 5€ roundtrip (1€ per station) https://gruen-berlin.de/britzer-garten
District Feature: Neukölln
If you are in the mood to experience the breadth of Berlin’s cultural diversity, you need look no further than Neukölln. In addition to being the most populous district of Berlin, Neukölln is also home to a high percentage of immigrants. As expected, this means you can count on an exceptional variety of international restaurants. You’ll be sure to find something new to try as you wander the bustling streets flanked with Syrian sweet shops, specialty Turkish groceries, fresh produce market stalls, funky cafes, and trendy pop up restaurants. Delve into a shopping experience that activates all of your senses, such as this spice store on Sonnenallee.
Neukölln has more to offer than just food, though. A few side streets away the from energetic and noisy Sonnenallee and Karl-Marx-Straße, you just might get the feeling that you’ve stepped back in time as you explore the charming and well preserved Bohemian village known as Rixdorf.
Besides visiting the village’s museum, which chronicles the history and traditions of this small community founded by Bohemian refugees in 1737, you can wander the cobblestone streets and even explore some of the private courtyards during various community events throughout the year. Get in touch with your inner philosopher in the Comenius Garden, which is designed to reflect the philosophical teaching of the 17th century theologian and pedagogue Johann Amos Comenius.
If you are looking for something Bohemian in a different sense, you’ll find it just an U-Bahn station away, high above the rooftops at this free-spirited bar on top of the Neukölln Arkaden shopping mall. Klunkerkranich is a mix of rooftop beer garden, concert venue, and urban garden. It is exactly the place you want to be on a sunny late afternoon, enjoying the beautiful Berlin skyline.
If you’d rather spend your sunny afternoon sunbathing on grass with the locals, check out the lovely sunken gardens at Körner Park. Designed in the Neo-baroque style, the central lawn is flanked by an orangery with a café on one side and a cascading fountain on the other.
And if your plans for a beautiful sunny afternoon get rained on, take cover around the corner from Körner Park at Pee Pee’s Katzencafé, Berlin’s first cat café. This cosy little café is home to two adorable, cuddly kitties, Pelle and Caruso, and is a wonderful place to spend any afternoon, rain or shine. Especially if you are missing the comfort of animals back at home, Pelle will make sure you feel welcome and that you give him the attention he deserves.
Consider this a good opportunity to try one of German’s favorite summer drinks – coffee (or chocolate milk, if you prefer) with a scoop of ice cream. The “Eiskaffee” is an ingenious way to sneak ice cream into your afternoon coffee break, and is not to be confused with “Iced Coffee”, which is how German cafés refer to coffee with ice cubes, if that’s what you’re looking for.
Great for relaxing, studying, or meeting with friends, Pee Pee’s Katzencafé has a delicious selection of sweet and savory treats, including vegan options. Pelle and Caruso are very well behaved, and will wait until you are done before investigating the remains of your Eiskaffee, cake, or veggie quiche.
„Notes of Berlin” –Web Blog & Instagram Account (Sabrina)
“Notes of Berlin” is a tribute to all the funny, weird, random, cute or romantic notes that can be found all over Berlin every day. Some of those notes might warm your heart, others might cause you to shake your head with disbelief. This can be notes from angry neighbors, funny restaurant signs, weird requests, random tips or thoughts on life, … the list is endless.
Most of the notes are in German and are thus perfect to boost your range of vocabulary (“Notes of Berlin” is also on Instagram!)
To give you a little taste, here are four of my favorite ones:
If you – like me – happen to love Asian food (which is, I well realize, a sweeping generalization for a billion different cuisines) and also like Tapas (bite-size yummy tastes of Spanish specialties), I have JUST the place for you where this is brilliantly fused together: “Phojito” Vietnamese tapas in Schöneberg. A small yet very welcoming restaurant (reservations highly recommended!), Phojito offers high quality and simply irresistibly tasty samples of modern Vietnamese cooking. Try the colourful “Green Chicken” Dim Sum, the “BBQ Balinese Prawns” or the “Duck’s Roll” (grilled duck with sauce rolled in a pancake). Of course, they also have veggie tapas, large dishes, delicious soup bowls and an array of home-made lemonades. Definitely a place to return to again and again and again…
Phojito’s Where? Goltzstr. 34, 10781 Berlin, near U Nollendorfplatz
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 11.30am – 11.30pm, Sun & Holidays 12pm – 11.30pm www.phojito.de
Baked Goods Heaven at “Barcomi’s”
Every now and then, I have that craving for great cakes, muffins, or anything else that ovens were truly invented for. Combined with great coffee – I’m in heaven! One of my favourite places for this is “Barcomi’s” café on Bergmannstraße in Kreuzberg. Cynthia Barcomi, an expat from New York, has created every cake-lovers dream place here and sells her delightful baked sins together with coffee from all over the world, freshly roasted on-site. It’s a small place (not to be confused with the bigger but also somewhat less cozy “Deli” spin-off in the Sophie-Gips-Höfen in Mitte) so prepare to squeeze in or wait a little, but here’s a partial list of why it’s worth it: New York Cheesecake, Devil’s Food Cake, Lemon Meringue Tarte, Cherry Choc Muffin, Classic Cream Scone, Raspberry Streusel Muffins, Brownie Marble Cheesecake, and Bagels without end. The insider’s tip: Have the „Probierteller“ (4 halves of cake pieces of your choice) and munch your way through the whole assortment…
Of course, it is important to stay connected to your family and friends, because they are curious about your life abroad and also want to make sure that you are okay. The good thing about social media is that we are so connected, sometimes we don’t even notice that we are away from our loved ones. This being said, when it takes us away from our life abroad too much, it can also become a problem. So, instead of liking pictures of the family dog every 5 seconds or be on a constant chat with your best friend at home, try to live more in the moment of your abroad experience.
Join local sports classes
Sports is an excellent way to connect with all different sorts of people. The best way to get to know people fast are team sports, because you have to interact so much. The wide selection of sports classes that Freie Universität offers is a quick and comparatively cheap option to get active and meet fellow students from all different sorts of study fields. You do not have to rely on Freie Universität alone, but can also check out university sports classes at Humboldt Universität or Technische Universität Berlin. Another possibility is to take part in the numerous university sports events that are offered regularly by Freie Universität Berlin.
Go to a bar event
In a bar, it is obviously more likely to get to know people outside your „abroad cluster“, when you and your friends do not close yourselves off and reminisce about the great weekend you just had two weeks ago. To avoid the tendency of being exclusive, what about trying out a bar event, like a pub quiz or bingo night, which are generally more inclusive and you tend to get to know people more quickly. We recommend to check your favorite bar for events.
Or check out:
Bar Madame Claude (Kreuzberg), Lübbener Str. 19, 10997 Berlin – every Wednesday – no entry fee – Music Quiz “Guess the Song” (advantage: advanced German skills are not necessarily required). For updated program dates see their bar calendar.
Irish Pub Celtic Cottage (Steglitz), Markelstr. 13, 12163 Berlin – every Monday – 1€ entry fee – Irish Pub Quiz.
Bar Interface (Moabit), Perleberger Str. 17, 10559 Berlin – changing events.
Use meet up groups
Our modern world fortunately gives us the opportunity to connect with all different sorts of people with minimum effort and time constraints. In order to find likeminded people for all different sorts of activities and interests, you can take advantage of meet up groups that you can find online. What about joining a “Speak German while chilling in Berlin group” for instance?
Join a tandem
An easy way to improve your German and meet Germans at the same time is to join a tandem. The idea of a tandem is to meet with a German native speaker, preferably, at least once or twice a week. In casual conversations you both get the opportunity to practice the respective language. It is also a perfect way to leave the international bubble and maybe make a German lifelong friend.
Volunteering is a wonderful way to meet new people, practice your German, and provide help to those in need. Obviously it is also a commitment and people will be depending on you so you should make sure that you have at least two hours per week that you can dedicate to volunteer work.
Try couch surfing
Couch surfing has become way more than just a cheap way to travel. The couch surfing community understands itself as an open and vibrant travel community, where everyone is able to learn from each other and dive deep into the culture of their hosts. The idea of couch surfing is that instead of using hotels, hostels, etc. when travelling, coach surfers look for locals who offer their couch/spare bed room for one or two nights and at best, have time to spend some time with their guests to show them around the city or join them for dinner, etc.
Of course, leaving your bubble requires an active part on your side. For sure, this is not always easy or convinient, but certainly pays off at the end.
Emily Apter, Professor of French and Comparative Literature at New York University, conducts research in the field of translation with a focus on the untranslatable. This lecture is in regard to her research topic and will be about sex injustice and the fact that concepts like gender pronouns, gender safety and notions of triggering do or do not translate across languages. Apter will start with the widely known 2015-16 case of New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany, involving attacks on women by groups of men stigmatized as migrants.
Here, untranslatability applies not only to cultural difference, gender violence, harm, and insecurity, but to the deeper problem of trying to conjugate “sex” and “safety” in the first place.
Where? American Academy in Berlin, Am Sandwerder 17-19, 14109 Berlin-Wannsee
Talk by historian Linda Gordon about the „second Ku Klux Klan“ that formed in the 1920s in the northern states and that expanded its enemies list to include Catholics and Jews. During her talk Gordon will also draw a line to current US politics.
Where? American Academy in Berlin, Am Sandwerder 17-19, 14109 Berlin-Wannsee
In this talk Catherine E. De Vries, Professor of Political Behaviour in Europe at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, asks how the European union could end up at one of the rockiest periods in its existence and adresses the question <how we move on from here?>.
Where? Hertie School of Governance, Quartier 110, Friedrichstraße 180, 10117 Berlin, Forum, 1st floor
This art event turns the ‚Oberbaumbrücke‘ between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain into an outdoor art mile. Numerous artists will display their work on Berlin’s distinctive bridge, open for the public to engage with.
The aim of the Open Air Gallery is to encourage a dialogue between the artists and their audience. Visitors of the event also have the opportunity to get involved themselves and are invited to draw and paint on the long canvas that is layed out for everyone who is ready to showcase their talent (or lack thereof).
Where? Oberbaumbrücke (closed for traffic during the event), Warschauer Straße 43, 10243Berlin
On May 1 we celebrate Labour Day or International Worker’s Day in Germany. Each year on this day, Berlin-Kreuzberg celebrates its very own Myfest, a local street festival. Many people take May 1 as a day to protest, everything from worker’s rights to oppressive policies to immigration reform and, unfortunately, not seldom these protests end in violent riots. Thus, Myfest is a peaceful stand against these riots, against racism, homophobia, fundamentalism and any form of social injsutice. It stands for freedom, tolerance and a peaceful community. The street festival offers lots of food, lots of drinks, lots of music and many cultural offerings, from performance art to comedy, dance or other forms of entertainment.
When? Wednesday, May 1, 2019. From Noon-10pm.
Entrances: Oranienstraße/Oranienplatz, Wassertorplatz, Kottbusser Tor/Adalbertstraße, Skalitzer Straße/on the corner of Mariannenstraße and Naunynsstraße/on the corner of Manteuffelstraße.
The Gardens of the World (Gärten der Welt) are an outdoor area in Berlin-Marzahn that present a range of garden styles from different parts of the world. Every year, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the Gardens invite visitors to the Cherry Blossom Festival, where everything stands under the sign of China, Korea and Japan. What awaits you is Asian dance, music, Japanese drums, traditional craftsmanship and culinary delicacies. Obvisouly, the garden area alone is worth a visit.
When? Sunday, April 15, 2019. Noon-5pm
Where? Main entrance Blumberger Damm 44, 12685 Berlin, Entrance Eisenacher Straße 99, 12685 Berlin, Entrance Tälchenbrücke
(SG) Let me start by saying that is is probably a good idea to reserve a table at La Lucha, as it seems to get extremely busy. The high demand is justified though, as La Lucha adds a very interesting and, more importantly, very delicious twist to Mexican staples.
What seems to become a trend right now – La Lucha orientates itself toward authentic flavors, but takes them up a notch. For example, what would you say about ‚blue corn tortilla with smoked ricotta, melted gouda, crispy parmesan and figs‘? I’d say „yes, please!!“ I feel modern cuisine often has the problem that it wants to be too modern, too pretty and too visual and then forgets all about the flavour. As far as I am concerned, this certainly is not the problem here. The food tastes as good as it looks, if not better.
I also especially like the restaurant’s belief in sharing food. To encourage this, every order is served as soon as it is ready, without a schedule in mind. I thus recommend to order a bunch of smaller meals and then share everything once it is on the table (have I mentioned the blue tortillas!? Because they are amazing).
In Spanish, La Lucha means “the struggle.” Mexicans are passionate and hard working people, and they use the term La Lucha in a positive way, to refer to their drive to achieve what they believe in. We share the drive and passion of the Mexican people, and strive everyday to bring you an honest, delicious and authentic Mexican experience. La Lucha is our struggle to bring Berlin a taste of the real Mexico.