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Berlin: The City Experience

Berlin is truly a city of contrast. One minute you’re profoundly moved by stories of its past, and the next you are swept up in the fun and frenzy of it’s exciting present. Berlin’s diverse and progressive nature demonstrates its commitment to honoring its history while moving full speed ahead into a bright, promising future. 





Let’s get the paperwork out of the way so we can focus on the fun stuff. Your passport must:

·       be valid for at least six months after your return.

·       match your name and birthday on file with EF.

·       have three blank pages available.

Non-US citizens may require a visa—visit to see if you need one.

Traveler tip: Make two photocopies of your passport - one to bring with you and one to leave at home.

Not to sound cliché, but we can’t say this enough: pack light! Check with your airline to see what size bags they allow to avoid paying any fees.

Most travelers find it easiest to go without checking bag. Here are some tips for getting as much as possible into that carry-on suitcase:

  • Wear your bulkiest shoes on the plane and pack the lighter ones. Same thing goes for jackets and heavier clothing.

  • Packing cubes or vacuum seal bags can save space and help you stay organized.

  • Make the most of your personal item by using a tote bag or backpack that you can reuse throughout the trip.

  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Pack the bigger items first and use smaller items like socks and underwear to fill in the gaps.

To see a full packing list, check out our Pocket Guide to Expert Travel. Just make sure you don’t forget these: 

  • Passport—bring a photo copy and leave one at home too

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • ATM card and credit card

  • Entertainment for the plane and travel days

  • Purse or small day bag with a zipper 

  • Converter/adapter for any electronics

  • Toiletries

  • Washcloth—optional, but they aren’t always available

  • Medications and a copy of any prescriptions*

  • Comfortable, casual clothingcheck the weather before you pack!

  • Dressier outfit

  • Raincoat and umbrella

  • Reusable water bottle

  • Comfortable walking shoes—for example, one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals

  • Warm layers

  • EF's emergency numbers

    • ​Calling from within the US: 1-800-873-2250

    • Calling from abroad: 001-617-619-2913

*All medications should be in their original containers. Put medications in your carry-on bag only, in case a checked bag gets lost or delayed.

The best things in the world are free (like snapping a photo in front of the Brandenburg Gate). Still, a little spending money can go a long way while you're abroad:

  • Mo' money, less problems: Budget $40 to $60 per day for pocket money. This will cover lunch each day, three dinners, souvenirs, and additional activities. If you’re an especially avid souvenir hunter, you’ll want to give yourself more wiggle room—financially and in your suitcase.

  • Currency: Euro. You can exchange money before you leave, but we recommend just withdrawing some cash from an ATM when you arrive.

  • Tips for tipping: We suggest $6-$8 per day for your Field Director. Your Group Leader will likely collect this money before you depart so that you can budget accordingly.

P.S. Be sure to let your bank know you’ll be traveling so they can put an alert on your account and inform you of any international fees.

Imagine it: you’ve finally arrived. It’s been a few hours since you left home, but your feet are firmly planted on the ground again. Today’s challenge? Fight off jetlag and make the most of the day.

Unless you arrive at night, be prepared to hit the ground running. Staying awake on arrival day is the best way to fight jet lag and adjust to any time difference. If there are other groups on your program, you may wait at the airport for them to arrive. To make things a bit easier:

  • Pack toiletries and a change of clothes in your carry-on for when you land.

  • Stay hydrated—it helps reduce jetlag.

  • Travel in comfort, not necessarily in style, and get as much sleep as you can on the flight before.

Your dedicated Field Director—a physical and cultural guide—will be with you throughout your program. Our Field Directors work tirelessly behind the scenes to coordinate logistics like managing reservations and making sure everything flows seamlessly, so that you can enjoy your time without sweating the details. They are there to acquaint you with each new city and make sure everyone is safe, confident, and making the most of every moment.

You’ll spend very little time at your hotel (mostly catching some sleep), but you should still be aware of where you’re staying and who you’re staying there with.

  • Hotel du jour: Your hotel in Berlin will be safe, clean, comfortable, and equipped with private bathrooms. Hotels are typically around 30 minutes from the city center via public transit, which comes in handy if you want to check out different areas and blend in with the locals.

  • What to expect: Hotels abroad may feature smaller rooms than you’re used to and may not have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, television, or elevators. All the more reason to get out and explore.

  • Roomies: Unless you have opted to upgrade your room, standard accommodations mean you’ll be rooming with two or three other people of the same gender, each with your own bed.  You may even take part in an exchange program—that is, rooming with a traveler(s) from another school in your group.

Traveler tip: Electrical outlets in different countries may be different from the ones we're used to. Make sure you research what type of converter and/or adapter is needed for your travels! 

You should expect food and portion size to be different than what you're accustomed to at home. Kick off each day with an included continental breakfast. Two dinners will be included, too. We work with local restaurants to provide a pre-set menu that includes 2-3 course plated meals inspired by the region, giving you the opportunity to experience authentic dishes. Other dinners and lunches are your opportunity to explore the cuisine as you see fit.

Berlin is a melting pot of diverse cultures so in addition to traditional Bavarian dishes, you can also sample authentic international cuisines. German cuisine is characterized by rich, satisfying foods, sure to keep you full and energized throughout your adventures.

  • Pretzels and bratwurst with mustard or sauerkraut are popular throughout Germany

  • Döner Kebab, a delicious hybrid of Turkish and German plates, is a must-try

  • For a cheap lunch or late-night snack, try the currywurst!

Since teleportation hasn’t been invented yet, you’ll need these to get from point A to point B (and C and D and E).

  • Flights: Overnight to Berlin and home from Berlin

  • Public transportation: Public transportation passes are included and will be the main mode of transportation for included activities and exploration time.

  • Bus: For transfers and guided sightseeings.

  • Walking: Hands down the best way to explore a new city. Be ready to walk a ton (we're talking 5-7 miles per day) to see as much as possible.

Traveler tip: If you buy a transportation ticket in Berlin, you’re required to validate it by getting it stamped before starting your journey.  

You will explore the city of Berlin in seven days. In order to maximize your time each day, you will leave the hotel bright and early and return some time in the evening (or later if you’re feeling adventurous). Most days will be a combination of planned activities and exploration time with some days being busier than others. You'll have a mix of time on the bus, walking, and on public transportation to get around. Be prepared to walk between 5-7 miles per day.

You'll be spending 5 nights in Berlin. Take advantage of the time you have and familiarize yourself with the city, the neighborhoods and local spots.

Traveler tip: Arrival day will feel like the longest day on your program, we recommend sleeping on the plane as much as possible to be ready to hit the ground running.

Exploration time can vary depending on a few factors: the number of planned activities, whether or not your group has decided to add any optional excursions, and general travel variables like traffic. How you spend your exploration time is entirely up to you. You could sit in a café and people-watch, grab a few friends and discover a new part of the city, or do some souvenir shopping. On busier days, you might just have enough exploration time for a quick lunch.

You will have roughly one full day and two half days free. There is so much to see and do in Berlin, so do some research and plan ahead. If you need inspiration, here are some exploration time suggestions:

  • Check out the abandoned Tempelhof Airport park.

  • Explore the mural-covered remains of the Berlin Wall at the Eastside Gallery.

  • Search for unconventional souvenirs in the flea market at Mauerpark.

Traveler tip: Your included Berlin museum pass grants you access to 30+ museums spanning a broad array of topics. Check out the options and plan ahead here:

Do learn common words and phrases:

  • Guten Tag = Good morning

  • Hallo = Hello

  • Gute nacht = Goodnight

  • Danke = Thank you

Germans are known for being hardworking, punctual and direct. Be mindful of being on time for scheduled activities, meals and meet-up times communicated by your Field Director.

Don’t be surprised if a stranger asks to share tables with you in public. They may ask, “Ist dieser Platz noch frei?” (“Is this seat free?”)

Do not cross the road on foot while the lights are red. Jaywalking is frowned upon in Germany. It is also frowned upon to walk in the bike lanes. 

If you visit multiple cities in Germany, you may notice a stark difference between the East and the West. After World War II, the country was split into “East Germany” and “West Germany” until 1990, when the states were unified. It’s acknowledged throughout the country through statues, museums, plaques, and memorials. 

Please note that this guide is for the seven-day version of this program. Ask your Group Leader for details regarding the two-day extension to Hamburg.

We’re here to help

Our team has heard it all so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Call us at 877-485-4184 between Monday and Friday, 9:00am-5:30pm EST.