Berlin FHTW Berlin by lifemate


									University of Idaho
  Study Abroad Program


 FHTW Berlin

                   Table of Contents

Important Contact Information……………………………………...…………………….4

Suggested Packing List……………………………………………………………………5

Welcome to Berlin………………………………………………………………………...7

FHTW Berlin……………………………………………………………………………...8

Important Visa Information…..………………………………………………………….11

German National Holidays……..………………………………………………………..12

Important Health Issues……….…………………………………………………………12


Travel and Transportation………………………………………………………………..13


Money and Banking……………………………………………………………………...18

Budget and Spending Money…………………………………………………………….19

Post Office and Telephones……………………………………………………………...20

Culture Shock…………………………………………………………………………….21

Cultural Tips……………………………………………………………………………..22

Illegal Drugs…………………………………………………………………………….. 23


Useful Information……………………………………………………………………….26



                       Important Contact Information

Heidelore Schröder
FHTW-Berlin Program Contact

International Office (Akademisches Auslandsamt)
Fachhochschule für technik und Wirtschaft Berlin
Treskowallee 8
D-10318 Berlin

Phone:        +49.30.5019.2591
Fax:          +49.30.5019.2210

UI Study Abroad Office              In the event of an emergency the numbers below may be called.
P.O. Box 441250                     Please call in the order they are listed.
                                    8:30am - 4:30pm PST:      After 4:30pm PST:
Moscow, Idaho 83844-1250            1.(208) 885-8475         1.(509)432-3497 Jill Kellogg-Serna
Phone: (208) 885-7870               2.(208)885-0105          2. (208) 819-4502 Holly Greenfield
Fax: (208) 885-2859                 3.(208)885-7870          3. (208)310-1238 Mary Ellen Brewick

                  Police                               110
                  Fire/Ambulance                       112
                  Medical Emergency                    115

Nearest American Embassy:
U.S. Embassy
Neustädtische Kirchstrasse 4-5
10117 Berlin
Phone: (030) 238.51.74
Fax: (030) 238.62.90

                     FHTW Suggested Packing List

It is recommended that you bring only the essentials with you to Germany. In other
words, you will want to take your clothing and personal items with you, but you will
probably buy some clothes and other items there. You will be able to find anything you
might need in Berlin.

Germany has a temperate climate. You can expect rain, especially during the summer
months when the weather can change from sunny to rainy in a matter of minutes.
Summer temperatures range from 55°F-80°F, so you will want a variety of clothing for
the summertime. You can expect a crisp fall with rain, of course, and a semi-cold winter
with temperatures staying right around 32°. Spring will bring rain again, but don’t worry.
The rain will give way to new flowers, greenery, and sunshine.

Above all else, layering is essential! You should pack basic clothing that can be mixed
and matched, a good pair of walking shoes and waterproof shoes, and warm socks and
pajamas. A good rule of thumb when you are packing is to spread out the essential
clothing that you will need, and then only take half. If you don’t have enough, you can
buy what you need in Berlin. Not enough is better than too much in this case.

If you are going on a semester program, you will also want to keep in mind the weather
during the time that you will be there. For example, if you are going during the fall
semester, you will want to pack warm clothes for the winter, instead of cooler summer

German and American Size Equivalents
Women’s Clothing
U.S.             6  8    10   12   14                       16
Germany          38 40   42   44   46                       48

Men’s Clothing
As in the U.S., men’s shirts will most likely be in S, M, L, and XL.

U.S. Women            6       7       8      9       10     11         12
U.S. Men              4       5       6      7       8      9          10   11    12
European              36      37      38     39      40     41         42   43    44

                             Suggested Packing List

4-5 Jeans/slacks                                   Vitamins
4-5 Shirts                                         Sunglasses
4-5 Long-sleeve shirts                             Camera/film
Winter jacket                                      Winter hat
Sweaters                                           Music/walkman
1 Nice outfit                                      Grammar books, guide books
Small gifts for hosts (items from                  Pictures of home/family/friends/UI
hometown or university)                            Warm pajamas
Warm socks and slippers                            Waterproof shoes
Underwear                                          Comfortable city walking shoes
Special toiletries/cosmetics (A lot can            Important contact information
be found there, but be sure to bring any special   Journal
toiletries. Ex. Contact solution)                  Medical/immunization records
Prescription medications with Dr.’s written        Allergy medication if applicable
prescription                                       Umbrella and raincoat
Cold/flu medication                                Ibuprofen/aspirin

Items for traveling:
Daypack and water bottle

Items that are hard to find abroad:
Microwave mac & cheese                             Favorite candy
Microwave popcorn                                  Peanut butter

Be sure to check that your prescription medications will not be a problem for you when
you go through customs. You can verify that you will not have any problems at the
German Embassy in San Francisco at (415) 775-1061, or look for more information at Be sure to have the doctor’s written
prescription with the medication.

                               Welcome to Berlin!

Cölln is the first recorded population in the area now called Berlin, and records date the
village all the way back to 1237. By 1709, Cölln had grown to five small towns. These
towns joined to formally create a bigger city called Berlin. In the 18th century, Friedrich
II, a military-obsessed leader, ruled Berlin. When Napoleon conquered Berlin, the city
experienced a severe economic and cultural decline, which led to a revolution in 1848.
After the Bismarck wars, Berlin became the official capital of Germany in 1871.
However, due to cultural and political progression in cities such as Munich and Frankfurt,
Berlin was unable to establish power and permanency as the German capital. Finally,
after World War I and the rise of the First Republic, Berlin claimed status as the real
capital of national life.

Nonetheless, Berlin was devastated with poverty after World War I. This poverty and
unrest among its citizens caused a workingman’s uprising that led to socialist power and
the worker’s revolution. However, radical right-wingers snuffed out the worker’s
revolution and murdered its leaders in an effort to suppress socialism. Berlin lived in
political and economical instability until 1923 when Chancellor Gustav Stresemann
improved the economic situation by employing new economic development programs
that were largely funded by the United States. These improvements were short-lived,
however, due to the economic collapse of 1929. Once again unrest and revolt became a
daily occurrence in Berlin. This unrest and economic starvation led, in part, to the
uprising of Nazi power.

Hitler took power in January 1933, but at the start of his terror Berlin was far too leftist to
be a stronghold for Nazi power, and the central government power was moved primarily
to Bonn. Hitler eventually found enough support in Berlin through his anti-Semitic
program to rise to extreme power, which ultimately let to the Holocaust and World War
II. Due to heavy bombing during the war, nearly 1/5 of the city was destroyed, and the
city’s population plummeted from 4.3 million to 2.8 million. Only 7,000 of the 160,000
Jews in Berlin remained after the war.

In 1945, with the fall of Nazi Germany, Berlin was divided between French, British,
Soviet, and American power under the Allied Command. When the Soviets decided to
take full power of Berlin in 1948, they employed a blockade of land and water routes to
cut off Allied power. The Allies distributed an airlift of food and supplies to Berlin, and
in May of 1949, the Soviets ceded West Berlin to the Allies. Later that same year, the
Soviets established control in East Germany, with East Berlin as its capital.

Poverty and economic depression shadowed East Berlin, and worker revolts and
uprisings were brutally suppressed when Soviet tanks violently crushed the
demonstrators. As a result of the 200,000 immigrants to West Germany in 1960, East
Germany lost many of its talented and hard working citizens. To avoid this mass
immigration, the Soviets constructed the Berlin Wall. East and West Germany were

completely separated, often dividing families and friends. East Germany was completely
isolated from West Germany.

The Allies in West Germany responded by letting capitalism flourish in the city, and in
November of 1989, after a decade of heartbreaking discontent, unrest, and isolation, the
Berlin Wall came down. West and East were reunited officially in 1990 when the Allies
ceded their control of Germany to the Germans.

This gateway to the East and the West is still changing, and sometimes residents in the
two extremities of the city do not feel as though they live in the same city. The
government relocated to Berlin in 1999, and today citizens in Berlin strive to create a new
city that remembers its past but develops with the future.
For an insider’s look into Berlin, check out the article titled “Ghosts of Berlin: Exploring the Historical Contradictions of
Germany's Capital” at, keyword Germany.

                                                 FHTW Berlin


   Wir behalten von unseren Studien am Ende doch nur das, was wir praktisch anwenden.
      In the end, we really only retain from our studies that which we apply in a practical way.
                                       J.W. Goethe (1749-1832)

The Fachhochschule für und Wirtchaft (FHTW) is located in Berlin, Germany, in the
district of Karlshorst. FHTW-Berlin has over 3,000 students who attend its 3 main
colleges. They offer degrees in business and economics, mathematics, computer science,
telecommunications, and mechanical and civil engineering. Many courses are held in
English, with optional courses in German language, history, culture, and politics.

For the academic year 2002-2003, the winter semester begins with the Induction Weeks
(September 11th-27th), and classes begin October 1st. The last day of classes is February
7th, 2003. The summer semester begins with the Induction Weeks as well, and will be
held from the middle to the end of March (2004). Classes begin April 1st, and end July


Feeling nervous about speaking German? FHTW offers a German Language Crash
Course for four weeks before the start date of your program. This intensive program is
designed to make you speak German with more ease, and offers courses from beginner to

For the regular classes offered in English, you will choose between two programs:
Business or Telecommunications. Some of the classes offered follow:

Business                                      Telecommunications
Int’l Economic Theory                         ISDN Broadband
Int’l Management                              Data Communication Networks
International Law                             Advanced Computer Arch
International Marketing                       Digital Audio Signal Processing
Intro. to German History & Culture            Fundamentals of Digital Image Processing
EU Integration & Foreign Economics            Application of Artificial Neural Networks

You will also have the choice of taking supplemental German courses. These are offered
at beginning, intermediate, and advanced-intermediate levels, and are held four hours per
week. In addition to German language courses, courses in German History and Culture
are offered. Introduction to German Language, History and Culture, Modern German
History, Berlin Between the Wars, and Post World War II German History are some of
the classes that are offered. All are taught in English.

                                   Class Schedule

All courses at FHTW are in 90-minute sessions, and one 90-minute session equals 1-unit
at FHTW. You will take an average of 10 units of classes per week. Your weekly class
schedule will depend on which classes you decide to take.

                                   Credit Transfer

All UI students are required to complete an Advising and Credit Evaluation Agreement
before participating in the FHTW program. The purpose of this form is to determine how
courses taken at FHTW will fit into your major or minor. When students submit the
completed form to the Study Abroad Office, they should attach copies of course
descriptions from the host university catalog, course syllabi, etc. The more specific the
course information, the easier it is to ensure that your credits will transfer. You can begin
your search for course information from three locations:

   •   The FHTW website (
   •   The Course Catalog in the University of Idaho Study Abroad Office Library
   •   The FHTW Coordinator (

You may also use the UI articulation/transfer guide found on the UI web site for some
classes-- (click
on Transfer Guides, then scroll to the bottom for Foreign Countries, then select the
appropriate university). If you can’t obtain specific course information prior to your
departure, then when you do have the information, fax the information to the Registrar’s
Office (208) 885-9061, email it to, or send it by express mail.

None-UI students are encouraged to seek out credit approval via their home university.

It is your responsibility to make sure that your class credits at FHTW will fulfill any
major or minor credit requirements at your home university!


After you have researched the classes that you will take at FHTW, and have turned in the
Advising and Credit Evaluation Agreement to the UI, you will realize that you cannot
actually register for your classes at FHTW while you are still in the States. You will
register at FHTW during the orientation that you will attend at the start of the program.
The orientation will take place in Berlin; therefore, you will register in Berlin. This
means that you must attend the two weeks prior to the beginning of classes (induction
weeks) where your coordinator at FHTW will help you register for classes.

You will not register at the UI, either, because the Study Abroad Office will do it for you.
FHTW students will be registered under SA 999 P/F. This means that your exchange
GPA will be separate from your UI GPA, and will fall under the “transfer GPA” column.
The transfer GPA and the UI GPA will, however, be factored together to form the
cumulative GPA. If your registration indicates a lesser # of credits than you are actually
taking, don’t worry—once the Study Abroad Office receives a transcript or grade sheet,
your UI registration will be changed to reflect the actual number of credits received. A
copy will be made for your file, and the original will be forwarded to the Registrar’s


After finishing your exchange, if you decide to transfer schools, or if you apply to law
school, medical school, or graduate school, you will need to obtain the FHTW foreign
transcript from abroad. Your University of Idaho transcript will show only that the UI
accepted transfer credits from abroad.

                                          Computers and Email

The FHTW offers nearly every Internet tool that you may need. You can access the
Internet at the Computer Centre (Hochschulrechenzentrum) on Campus. The Computer
Centre has numerous computers available for you to use, so emailing should not be a
problem. If you have a computer while you are in Germany, it is even possible for you to
hook up to the Internet at home.

                           Extra-Curricular Activities

The University Sports Center offers a wide-range of individual and team fitness
opportunities. You can join aerobics, dance, badminton, basketball, soccer, volleyball,
tennis, Karate, Taekwon-do, and Ti-chi-chuan. For more information, you will need to
pick up a brochure called Hochschulsport, which is available at the FHTW International
Office or at the FHTW Sports Office.

                       Important Visa Information

                      Do I Need a Passport and a Visa?

You will need a valid passport. Because this process can take several weeks to a few
months, you need to order your valid passport now if you don’t already have one!

If you are an American citizen, you do not need a visa to study in Germany, but you must
apply for a Residence Permit after you arrive. You will need to go to the Alien’s Office
(Ausländeramt) to submit the application, with all of the required documents, in person.
The application will take about 25 days to process, and after it is approved, the consulate
will issue you a residence permit in the form of a visa. To review the process and for a
list of the required documents, go to the German Consulate website at: www.germany-


It may be possible to participate in an internship through this program. While it is the
student’s responsibility to arrange for this internship, FHTW has close connections with
many local and national businesses and institutions, and can help students find an
appropriate employment site. Contact your coordinator at FHTW for more information,
and consult the German Consulate website for more information about a work visa.

                        German National Holidays

January 1st—New Year’s Day                   May 19th—Pentecost Sunday
March 29th—Good Friday                       May 20th—Pentecost Monday
March 31st—Easter Sunday                     October 3rd—Day of German Unity
April 1st—Easter Monday                      October 31st—Reformation Day
May 1st—May Day                              December 25th—Christmas Day
May 9th—Ascension Day                        December 26th—Day after

                          Important Health Issues


Depending on your itinerary, your personal risk factors, and the length of your stay, your
family doctor may offer you vaccinations against hepatitis B, tick-borne encephalitis,
influenza, and/or other immunizations. Routine immunizations should be updated and
reviewed as needed. Be sure to check with your doctor.


Sanitation is generally good, and health concerns relating to food are minimal. Take the
same precautions that you would in the States; you do not need to be concerned about
anything out of the ordinary.

There have been reported cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease)
in Germany, though the number of cases is uncertain. It affects humans via consumption
of meat from infected animals. If you are unwilling to take any risk, it is recommended
that you avoid beef on the bone, ground beef, and any beef product made from nervous

                              Sexual Health (AIDS)

As you know, the HIV-virus and all other sexually transmitted diseases are prevalent
everywhere in the world. If you are sexually active: beware, be smart, be safe, and
always use a latex condom.

Like all big cities, there are areas in Berlin that are more dangerous than others. Use
common sense and be street smart. Some people recommend staying away from the
Ku’damm District at night. Don’t take any unnecessary risks. This includes not leaving
money or other valuables in hotel/hostel rooms, not carrying large amounts of money
with you, and not causing trouble with other young adults in bars and nightclubs.


It is always a good idea to avoid political demonstrations. Regardless of the cause and
how much you believe in it (or don’t!), you are a foreigner who could get hurt and/or
penalized. There is little that the UI Study Abroad Office or the American Embassy can
do to bail you out of a foreign jail.


Violent crime is rare in Germany, and is most common in larger cities and train stations.
Most of the crime in Germany is petty theft, though some have reported being assaulted
by skinheads for racial reasons or for reasons due to xenophobia.


Although the crime rate is low in Germany, female students should always exercise extra
caution when walking alone at night and in bars and nightclubs. You may be viewed as
exotic, and as an easy target. You should always order your drinks and watch them being
poured, and you should steer clear of dimly lit streets. Use common sense, and follow
your instincts when they tell you that a situation could be potentially dangerous or
uncomfortable. For a women-centered travel website, go to

                        Travel and Transportation

The BVG, Berliner Verkenhrsbetriebe, is the most efficient public transportation system
in the world. This system includes buses, subways, and surface rails. The BVG is almost
always on time; the latest the buses will be is 20 minutes. There are three transport

zones: Zone A, which covers downtown Berlin, Zone B, which covers nearly every other
part of Berlin, and Zone C, which covers the outlying areas of the city.


The buses in Germany are nearly always on time and are quite practical for transportation
on weekend nights because they run every 20-30 minutes all night. These night buses are
called Nachtliniennetz, and you can buy a map and a schedule at the BVG Pavilion,
which is located in the bus parking lot outside of the Bahnhof Zoo (daily 6:30 a.m. to
8:30 p.m.).

                            Subway and Surface Rail

The Subway in Berlin, the U-Bahn, is safe and quick, and can take you nearly anywhere
you want to go in the city. The U-Bahn runs two lines all night on Friday and Saturday
nights, excluding a break from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Surface Rail that operates in Berlin is called the S-Bahn. This runs all day and once
every hour on weekend nights.
                                    Transit Pass

Single tickets on the BVG are rather expensive, so it is worth your while to buy a transit
pass. There are six different kinds of passes to choose from:
    • Tageskarte—This pass is valid from the time you post it until 3 a.m. the next
         day, and costs about 6 €.
    • Gruppentageskarte—This is a group pass for up to five people who travel on
         the same ticket. It costs between 15-16 €, and is valid for one day.
    • WelcomeCard—This card is valid on all lines for 72 hours, and costs
         about 21-24 €.
    • 7-Tage-Karte—This pass is good for 7 days from the day posted, and costs
         between 26 € and 69 €.
    • Umweltkarte Standard—This card is valid for one month and costs between
         72-88 € a month.

You can buy your choice of pass at any Automaten (automated machine), from the bus
drivers, or in the U-Bahn and S-Bahn Stations. Be sure to check that the automated
machines will give you change, or have the correct amount of money with you. Don’t
forget that you must post any ticket you buy in the validation box marked Hier entwerten
before boarding the bus or subway line.

As a traveler I can achieve a kind of high, a somewhat altered state of consciousness. I
think it must be what athletes feel. I am transported out of myself, into another
dimension in time and space. While the journey is on the buses and across land, begin
another journey inside my head, a journey of memory and sensation, of past merging wit
present, of time growing insignificant. –Mary Morris, from “Nothing to Declare”

                           Day and Weekend Trips

                                     Train Passes

Information is available regarding several national tickets such as Schönes-Wochende-
Ticket (Happy-Weekend-Ticket), Guten-Abend-Ticket (Good-Evening-Ticket),
TwenTicket, SparPreis (SaverTicket), Super-Sparpreis (SuperSaver-Ticket), and the
BahnCard at Click under the tab marked Int. Guests.

                  Sassnitz and the Jasmund National Park

Sassnitz is a seaside villa located on the island Rügen in northern Germany. The Tourist
Office in Sassnitz is located in the large Rügen Hotel. The staff can book a room for you
for about 20-30 €. There is also a campground located nearby. Bus #408 will take you
there. For about 7 € a person, you can stay there and rent a tent. Berlin-Sassnitz by train:
4 ½ hours, 42,40 €.

From Sassnitz you can take a bus or hike to the Jasmund National Park, whose chalk
cliffs and chalk beaches stretch outward and upward to join the crowds. There are biking
or hiking trails that lead to the bases of the cliffs. For the best view, try the Hochuferweg
Trail, which will take you about three hours of hiking.


Nestled in a colorful river valley, the seemingly sleepy town of Heidelberg offers a wide
range of touristic fun. Probably the greatest tourist attraction, even more so than the
lively city and the oldest university in Germany, is the aging schloss, or castle. The
Heidelberg Castle’s construction began as early as the 14th century, and was destroyed
twice by war and once by lightening. Perhaps the most interesting and entertaining part

of this castle is its wine cellar, where musty walkways greet tourists with hints of
mediaeval odor. The cellar holds the largest wine barrel in the world. This dangerously
enormous barrel can hold up to 220,000 liters of wine! Let your imagination run wild
while viewing the remains of pre-modern medicine in the castle’s apothecary. Since it
looms over the city, the castle on its steep hill is impossible to miss. The city also boasts
fantastic shopping, with an extremely long pedestrian district lined with shops. As stated
above, Heidelberg is also home to Germany’s oldest university, which was established in
1368. In the Marktplatz area of town you will find the highlights of nightlife, some
which include Zum Sepp’l, a bar that has opened its doors to the weary traveler since
1634—this bar offers “The Boot,” which will kick your gesäss for about 3 € with its 2
liters of beer! Try the restaurant Thanner as well, on Bergheimer Str. 71. With an
international menu, artwork on the walls, and a beer garden with live music, you can’t go
wrong! Menu prices range from 3-12 € approximately, so if you choose to, you can dine
there on a budget. Be sure to make a reservation at the hostels. Let’s Go Germany
suggests sleeping outside of Heidelberg in the small town Mannheim, at the
Jugendherberge, which is 15-20 minutes from Heidelberg. You need to make
reservations at the above hostel (members only). Fax them at 40.25.59 or call them at
31.20.66. For non-members, your best bet is to try to book a cheap hotel in Heidelberg,
way in advance of your trip there. Berlin—Heidelberg by train: 5 ½ hours, 100 € one-


Only five hours and about 70 € by train from Berlin, Prague offers a world of experience
for the traveler. Prague is the only city in Central Europe that remained untouched by
World War II, and has preserved much of its mediaeval atmosphere. All the sights are
within a decent walking zone, and if your feet get tired, Prague has an excellent metro
system in the city. The river Vltava runs through the city, and on its left bank you will
see the original mediaeval center. You can also experience what is left of Josefov, the
Jewish ghetto from long ago. There are six synagogues and one cemetery left. Be sure to
buy a map at any tabak (tobacco shop). Don’t be surprised when you get off of the train
if someone comes up to you to offer you a ride to one of the many hostels in the city
center. Most taxis are operated by “Traveler’s Hostels,” and provide rides into the city.
Before you accept a ride from a stranger though, be sure to email the hostel at
hostel@terminal.c2 so you can be sure that the ride offered is legit. English is spoken
everywhere in this city, including at the hostels, which usually offer Internet access and

In 2005, Poland will become an official member of the European Union, and many cities
like Krakow may possibly experience a flood of tourists. Before these tourists get to this
city of 745,000, discover it for yourself (8 hours by train from Berlin). All of its original
architecture is still intact, being one of the few major cities in Europe that was not
demolished by war. Its ancient palaces and the oldest university in Europe call Krakow
home, and the grim reminders of the Stalinist era and the Holocaust are nearby.
Auschwitz-Birkenau is only a day trip away from Krakow. Krakow’s hip urban scene

has an underground network of pubs, where you can live the high life with the locals.
One choice for overnight is the Strawberry Youth Hostel on ul. Ractawicka 9 (9.75 €),
and be sure to make a reservation before hand (tel. 635 15 00). One good restaurant is
Chimera, at ul. Św. Anny 3. It is the oldest and most famous salad restaurant around
Krakow, and plates start at a mere 1.50 €! You’ll get good food and even live music at
this entertaining restaurant.


Only seven hours from Berlin, Amsterdam lies in wait for the student traveler…. Need it
be said for what Amsterdam is famous? You can stay at the Flying Pig Palace, a youth
hostel that is found on Vossiusstr. 46-47, but call or email to make a reservation
(400.41.87 or For around 12 € you can get a bed and free Internet
in what has been called Europe’s best hostel. Among the other cultural pleasures of
Amsterdam, be sure to try the food, which can include Dutch pannenkoeken (pancakes),
frikandel (fried sausage), and French fries at a friture (Let’s Go Europe recommends the
Vlaamse Frites stalls). Try out the Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs, a pancake house, on
Grimburgwal 2, or La Place, a restaurant that specializes in fresh fruit and vegetables, on
Rokin and Vroom Dreesman, or on Kalverstr. 201. It would be a shame to leave
Amsterdam without visiting at least a couple of the following museums:

   •   Rijksmuseum—A collection of works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Frans Halls, and
       Jan Stech.

   •   Van Gogh and Stedelijk Museum--This museum has the world’s largest
       collection of Van Gogh works, mostly coming from the family’s private

   •   Heineken Brewery—Learn the history of the Heineken Brewery, and the process
       of beer production. Admission includes a tour and free beer, and the fee is
       donated to charity!

   •   The Anne Frank House—This museum is not only a museum about the life and
       challenges of Anne Frank and her family, but also relates the Jewish Holocaust to
       modern-day Human Rights abuses.

Thanks to the Let’s Go guidebooks for most of the above information. If you are looking for
more information on any of the destinations, check out the Study Abroad Office’s extensive
                collection of Let’s Go guide books from all over the world!

This was the moment I longed for every day. Settling at a heavy inn-table, thawing and
tingling, with wine, bread, and cheese handy and my papers, books and diary all laid out;
writing up the day’s doings, hunting for words in the dictionary, drawing, struggling with

verses, or merely subsiding in a vacuous and contented trance while the snow thawed off
my boots.
                                                                    Patrick Leigh Fermor

                             Money and Banking

                              The Euro, the monetary unit for the member states of the
                              European Union (including Germany), went into circulation
                              on January 1, 2002. It comes in coin denominations of 1, 2,
                              5, 10, 20, and 50 cents. The bill denominations are 5, 10, 20,
                              50, 100, 200, and 500.

             *For up to date currency conversions: *

                         What to Know Before You Go

To assure that you do not have any transportation or hunger problems as soon as you
arrive in Berlin, you need to obtain about $200 worth of Euros before departure. This
easy process takes up to about one week. Just go to your bank in the U.S. and ask to buy
the Euros. The teller will take your $200 and send it to the nearest major branch that
carries Euros. In about one week, your newly purchased Euros should arrive at your
bank for you to pick up.

Traveler’s Checks
Traveler’s checks are a great way to safely transport money from the U.S. to Germany. If
they are lost or stolen, you can get your money back, provided you know the numbers of
the checks. You can also easily deposit these into your German bank account, and most
major stores in Berlin will use these as cash.

Although Traveler’s Checks are efficient and safe, a debit card is probably your cheapest,
most efficient, and most reliable source for obtaining money. Make sure that you have a
4-digit numerical pin before you go. You can withdraw money in Germany from your
American account with a minimal charge (check with your bank). MasterCard and Visa
are the most commonly accepted brands, and American Express is accepted in some
locations. Remember that sometimes you may be limited to the amount of Euros that you
can withdraw in one day, and be sure to check with your bank at home how much the
charges will be for you to use your debit card overseas.

                     ON YOUR CARDS BEFORE YOU LEAVE!

                        What to Know When You Arrive

You can easily open a German bank account, or girokonto at any bank in Berlin. Be sure
to check the charges at each bank, and ask whether the bank gives any special conditions
to students. You will need your passport, your Berlin Registration acknowledgement,
and your student ID. You can easily withdraw money from your U.S. account with your
American debit card and then deposit it into your German account.

Exchanging Money
Exchanging money is cheaper in Germany than at home (though you will want to travel
with some Euros). The most inexpensive places to exchange money are banks, and in
order to save money on charges you should probably try to exchange larger amounts of
money at one time rather than multiple small transactions (balance this with the fact that
you should not carry large amounts of money with you).

Tipping and Bargaining
Tipping is common in German restaurants, bars, taxis, and any other place where you
directly receive a service. Hand the money to the person you are tipping instead of
leaving it on the table. Bargaining is not a general practice in Germany except at flea

                      Budget and Spending Money


FHTW does not provide student housing for its students. There is an independent
housing complex where many FHTW students live. In order to get a room in one of these
residences, you must apply for accommodation through the International Office at FHTW
before May 15 for the winter semester, and before December 15 for the spring semester.
A room will cost between 150 €-280 €, and you will be required to give them a deposit.
Contact the FHTW International Programs Coordinator at


FHTW suggests budgeting about 200 €-300 € a month for food. The most inexpensive
supermarkets in Germany are Aldi, Plus, Edeka, and the Penny Markt. Grocery stores are
generally open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Open-air markets are also a good choice for inexpensive fresh fruits and vegetables. The
biggest one in Berlin is found on Winterfeldtplatz on Saturday mornings, and there is
usually one small market in nearly every neighborhood. You may want to try the Turkish
market in the Kreuzberg neighborhood every Friday.


You will need to budget around 112 € each semester for transportation around Berlin.
This will buy you the Semesterticket, which is valid for unlimited transportation to any
destination in Berlin.


You will also need to budget around 200 € for insurance. Most day-to-day spending will
depend on your personal habits. You will need to keep in mind any gifts, going out, or
travel expenses as well.

                      Post Offices and Telephones

                                     Post Offices

Post Offices in Germany offer nearly the same services as a post office in the U.S., with
the addition that they are also a great location where you can use a public phone. When
you send mail, be sure that you send it with Air Mail or Par Avion marked on the
envelope or package. Mail sent by air arrives more quickly to its destination. You can
expect a time delay between the U.S. and Germany of about 7-10 days for regular letters.
Sending a letter by Air Mail will cost about $1.00. The main post office in Berlin is
found on Budapester Str. 42, opposite the Europa Center, and near the Bahnkof Zoo. It is
open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to midnight, and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to

To call Germany from the States, you will need to dial the international code for the U.S.
(011), the German country code (49), and the number in Germany that you are calling,
excluding the first zero. For example, to reach the FHTW International Office, you will

To call the States from Germany, your best bet is to either use your own personal calling
card or to purchase a Telefonkarten in Germany. They are available at the Post Office,
newsstands (Kiosk), or the major train station counters (Deutsche Bahn). These phone
cards come in different money and minute denominations, and they can be inserted at
public phone booths. Public phones can be found readily at the post office, in many
transportation stations, and on many street corners. To call home from Germany, you
need to dial the U.S. international code (011), the area code, and the phone number. For
instance, if you need to call the UI Study Abroad Office, you would dial (001) (208) 885-
4075. Do not forget that Moscow, Idaho and Berlin are nine hours apart!

You can use your telephone card to call within Germany as well. Most public phones
accept only phone cards. Very few still accept coins.

                                Culture Shock

You can expect to experience some culture shock while studying in Germany. Do not let
this make you nervous though; culture shock is a normal part of any exchange
experience. You may be affected differently than someone else, but there is a general
outline that shows the stages that you may go through (quoted from The Experiment in
International Living Cross-Cultural Orientation Guide, 1984):

The Honeymoon: Everything is new and exciting.

Culture shock: The excitement is gone. Differences begin to emerge; questions arise
about how to relate to friends and to your host family.

Surface Adjustment: It is starting to make sense. You can communicate basic ideas.
You are making some friends and feeling more comfortable.

Unresolved Problems: Problems with friends or family may surface, or may wonder
why you ever came here and you might be extremely homesick.

I Feel at Home: You accept the new culture as just another way of living. You may not
approve of it always, but you accept and understand differences.

Departure Concern: You begin to sense personal changes. You have mixed feelings
about returning home.

                        In the words of one exchange student:
    “Loosen up and try something different. Don’t try to Americanize Germany;
   instead, try to become more German. Your stay will be much better the more
                               open-minded you are.”

Some skills you will need in order to adjust to a new culture:
Listening             Humor
Openness              Curiosity
Tolerance             Empathy
Acceptance            Realistic Expectations
Observation           Ability to try new things

And above all, Patience, Patience, and PATIENCE!

Just when you thought it was all over…. When you return to the U.S., you may
experience Reverse Culture Shock. You may hate American ways, food, and the
language. Be patient with yourself, and remember that others are being patient with you,
too. Reverse Culture Shock can be nearly as difficult as the culture shock you
experienced shortly after moving to Germany. Remember that not one culture is better
than another; all cultures are different and each has its own idiosyncrasies.

                                 Cultural Tips

♦ When dining with others, be sure to make eye-contact and say Guten Appetit before
    eating or Proust before drinking.
♦    Eat with both hands on the table; Germans never put their left hand in their laps.
♦   If you eat fries, use the little fork to eat them. Do not use your fingers.
♦   You probably will not drink anything with ice cubes in it, and you will have to pay
    for refills.
♦   Water is neither mandatory nor complimentary. You will have to order and pay for it.
♦   If you ever dine alone and there are a few extra chairs at your table, do not be
    surprised if a stranger sits down to share your table with you. This is a normal
    custom in Germany.

♦ There are regulations in apartment complexes that range from when you can play the
  piano at night to when you can have a party. These rules are sometimes broken, but
  are enforced, and you could get in trouble.
♦ Some people claim that Germans are so obsessed with cleanliness that they will clean
  their own toilets after the housekeeper has cleaned them, just to insure that the toilets
  are clean enough. Stereotype? Apparently, Germany is the leading nation in the
  amount of cleaning products, powders, and soaps purchased annually in the E.U.
  They are also strict recyclers.
♦ Paradoxically, Germans do not shower or wear newly laundered clothes every day.

Personal Space
♦ While standing in line, you may experience someone pushing or leaning into you.
  This may be uncomfortable for you, but it is normal in Germany. Without being
  rude, let your American niceties go, and lean back into the person. If you give even a
  little, they may cut in front of you. Most likely, there will not be a line.
♦ When you are attending the theater or a concert, and your seat is in the middle, pass
  in front of people facing them. It is considered rude to pass with your backside in
  their faces.
♦ You can blow your nose loudly anywhere. It is liberating.

Etiquette with Others
♦ When you give flowers, always give an odd number. Because 12 is an even number,
    a dozen roses (or any other flower) is considered bad luck.

♦ When you greet or meet someone, always shake hands, no matter who it is. You will
   shake hands again as you leave.
♦ Germans abide by the laws. They do not jaywalk, and you should avoid it as well.
   Jaywalking and littering will get you a hefty fee.

                      Illegal Drugs and Alcohol

Existing legislation in most foreign countries regarding the use or possession of
marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs imposes very severe penalties. Neither the
U.S. Embassy nor the UI Study Abroad Office is able to exercise effective pressure to
moderate these penalties. In short, no one is going to be able to bail you out of a German
jail. Associating with suspected drug users or sellers, even if you are not actually taking
drugs, could result in you being arrested or detained. Please stay clear of anyone engaged
in the use of drugs and away from parties where drugs might be available. Don’t do it!
Use or possession of illegal drugs (including marijuana) while on the program will result
in the student being sent home without a refund.

 The legal drinking age in Germany is 16 for beer, and 18 for hard liquor. Driving under
the influence is regarded as a very serious offence under penalty of law.

     I have not sufficiently mastered German to allow my using it with impunity. My
collection of fourteen-syllable German words is still incomplete. But I have just added to
   that collection a jewel -- a veritable jewel. I found it in a telegram from Linz, and it
                                 contains ninety-five letters:

     If I could get a similar word engraved upon my tombstone I should sleep beneath it
                                        in peace.
                                         -Mark Twain

                          Entertainment Guide


♦ Bebelplatz
  On this site in May 1933, Nazi students burned books written by Jews.
♦ Bahnhof Zoo
  This train station inspired a rock album tour; there is even a tunnel named after U2.
♦ Berlin is full of historical sights where history meets modern life. German women
  stacked the hills of stones and other debris after World War II in an effort to clean up
  their city. You will find plenty of sights like this in Berlin.


♦ The main shopping plaza in Berlin is called the Kurfurstendamm, a long stretch of
   ritzy shops.

                     Zoos, Aquariums, and Gardens

♦ Zoologischer Garten
  This zoo strives to recreate the animal’s natural habitat by allowing the animals to
  reside in open-air, although the animals are still enclosed.
♦ Berlin Aquarium
  The aquarium not only houses aquatic animals but also insects, reptiles, and its most
  famous, a Komodo dragon, the largest reptile in the world.
♦ Botanischer Garten
  The Botanischer Garten is one of the best know botanical gardens in the world, with
  hot houses and fields of wild flowers.

♦ Tiergarten
   This nicely landscaped garden stretches from Bahnhof Zoo to Brandenburg gate, and
   is the home of the Love Parade, Germany’s techno Woodstock.


♦ Checkpoint Charlie
  This display on Communism in Eastern Germany also has a display on how to escape
  over the Berlin Wall. It is located at the sight of the Berlin wall, though only a red
  line exists where the Wall once stood.
♦ Schloss Charlottenburg
  The famous castle and surrounding area now houses numerous museums.

♦ Agyptisches
  Located in the Schloss, this collection of ancient Egyptian art is famous for the 3300
  year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti (1350 BC).
♦ Sammlung Berggruen
  Also located in the Schloss, you will find the largest collection of Picasso’s work,
  most of which were private family pieces.
♦ Zitadelle
  In the oldest part of Berlin is the Zitadelle, a castle completely surrounded by water.
  During WWII, the Nazis used it for a chemical weapons lab, and after the Allies took
  over Berlin, it was used as a prison to house war criminals before the Nuremburg
  trials. Now a present-day ghost town, the Zitadelle has a collection of ancient
  weaponry, statues, and the Medieval History Museum.

                                Theater and Film

♦ Theater listings are available monthly in the Kultur’news, Zitty, Tip, and Berlin
♦ Berlin is home to the widely acclaimed Berlin Film Festival. If the movie you wish
  to see is listed as OF, it is in the original version, and you may get a discount with
  your student ID.

                                    Cooling Off

♦ Wannsee Lake
  Let’s go to the lake! Wannsee Lake is located in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. Its
  long, sandy beaches and vacation villas provide a relaxing trip close to home.
♦ Sommerbad AM Insulaner
  A huge hill of stones built by women after World War II gives some shade over this
  outdoor pool.

                            Nightlife and Dancing

♦ The best dancing in the western part of the city is found in the Savignyplatz,
  Nollendorfplatz, and Kreuzberg quarters. Try to avoid the Ku’damm quarter at night.
  The best dancing on the east side is found on Potsdamer Platz, at the intersection of
  Orianenburger Str. and Friedrichstr.
♦ SO36
  A hip and wild three-story dance house on Orianienstr. 190.
♦ Insel der Jugend
  The “Island of Youth” in Treptow has dance floors that play hopping reggae, hip-hop,
  ska, and techno.
♦ Café Amsterdam

   Don’t want to dance tonight? The chill Café Amsterdam provides pool,
   backgammon, monopoly, and inexpensive drink specials for a relaxing evening.

                           Useful Information

                            Electrical Appliances

Voltage in Germany runs from 220-240 volts, and outlets accept only round prongs, as
opposed to North America, where voltage is 110 volts and appliances use flat prongs.
Needless to say, your American appliances will cause smoke and sparks if you try to plug
them in. You will need to buy a voltage converter and outlet converter if you must take
any appliances to Germany with you. These are available at your local Wal-Mart for
about $20, but you should ask an expert to make sure you are buying the right converter,
especially if your item is an expensive item, like a computer or a minidisk player. Most
of the appliances that you will need are readily available in Berlin and you might
consider simply purchasing a new hair dryer or electric shaver there.

              Political and Constitutional Knowledge

Because you are American, you will most likely be asked about controversial topics such
as gun control and environmentalism. Be prepared, no matter what your stance is on
these subjects. Understand American laws, the Second Amendment, and the American
mentality that causes us to cherish our freedom. Try to research some environmental
issues, such as the Kyoto Protocol and why American Presidents refuse to sign it, and try
to read up on the German Green Party, which has held office for several years. Even if
you agree with your German friends, be prepared to argue why many Americans react as
they do. If someone asks you, “Did you bring your gun?”, try not to be too offended, and
be ready to argue.


Just in case you did not know, here is some restaurant vocabulary that you may want to
be familiar with:

      Aal = Eel              Blutworst = Blood sausage            Gehirn = Brains

                                    Pure Beer

      “Where does the German begin? Where does it end? May a German smoke?
       The majority says no…. But a German may drink beer, indeed as a true son
                  of Germania he should drink beer.” Heinrich Heine

When one thinks of Germany, visions and fantasies of the best beer in the world come to
mind. Since 1516, Germany has had the Das Reinheitsgebot, or Beer Purity Law. As a
result, German beer is world-famous (although it spoils very quickly), and American beer
cannot be imported to Germany. Recently in the European Union, member states
opposed this law, saying that it broke the free trade law between the E.U. States. Because
of this, Germany has to import beer from other member states, but it still upholds its
Purity Law when making genuine German beer.

                            Fahrenheit to Celsius

Nearly every country in the world uses the Metric System! These tables will make
conversions to metric and Celsius easy for you:

0º F = -18ºC, or 32º F = 0º C

59º F = 15º C                    86º F = 30º C
68º F = 20º C                    95º F = 35º C
77º F = 25º C                   100º F = 38º C

100 m = 328 ft.                  500 m = 1640 ft. = .31 miles

1 km = .625 miles                50 km = 31.25 miles

1 hectare = 2.47 acres

We hope this manual helps you prepare for an excellent experience abroad!

 Your travel life has the essence of a dream. It is something outside the normal, yet you
 are in it. It is peopled with characters you have never seen before and in all probability
  will never see again. It brings occasional homesickness, and loneliness, and pangs of
longing . . . . But you are like the Vikings or the master mariners of the Elizabethan age,
    who have gone into a world of adventure, and home is not home until you return.
                                      –Agatha Christie

                         Have a Great Adventure!


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