Find Your Community in Berlin

Find Your Community in Berlin
First things First — Reach Out to the Local Expat Community Before Your Move

Online platforms make it easier than ever to make a friend in Berlin before you’ve even left home. Expats moving to Berlin from around the world will find plenty of kindred spirits on Facebook. Groups for specific nationalities, like Americans in Berlin, Australians in Berlin, Brits in Berlin, Canadians in Berlin, South Africans in Berlin, (the list goes on and on…) can help ease the transition as you move countries. 

And once you’re settled in Berlin, these groups can help you to not only feel connected to your kinfolk, but get your cultural questions answered. It can also be nice to just be around people with the same background, same way of communicating, and similar sense of humour while you’re working on integrating into German society.

If you’re moving to Berlin with kids, you’ll find tons of helpful information on Facebook. Check out groups like ExpatBabies Berlin and Expatkids Berlin. Whether you’re trying to decide between private bilingual schools or German state schools, have questions about certain neighborhoods, or looking for a piano teacher in Berlin, all you have to do is search the group and you’ll find your answers to what your looking for and so much more!

Once You’re Here — Join a Club

The Berlin International Women’s Club and American Women’s Club are both useful resources for helping expats get settled into a new community in Berlin. Both groups offer fee-based memberships and are open to women from all countries. With the goal of creating social opportunities for expats in Berlin, both groups organize a range of exciting activities. You could join a book club, go on a museum outing, or take a walking tour of Berlin with friendly mates from these clubs.

Another way to find your community in Berlin is through Meetup.com. Meetup is a popular platform in Berlin offering opportunities to have fun with like-minded people. Some of the most popular Meetup groups in Berlin include “Berlin Board Gamers,” “International Activities Berlin,” and “Berlin Comedy in English. But it’s easy to get lost in these giant groups. To make personal connections, look for something more specialized like “Berlin Cookbook Club” or “Berlin Wild Swimmers.” And don’t get discouraged if you don’t click with the group members right off the bat. Developing camaraderie takes time. After a few meetings, you may find yourself really enjoying it, but if not, that’s okay too. You can always try something else.

Start Learning German

Sure, learning German is great, and important! But the best thing about learning German in Berlin is meeting such a diverse group of people. Taking a German class in Berlin instantly connects you to people from around the world who have moved to Berlin for all sorts of different reasons. There are several private German language schools in Berlin, but the Volkshochschule (People’s high school) is one of the best. Work your way up through the levels and you’re sure to form some long-lasting connections with at least a couple of your classmates.

Form Connections Through Shared Spirituality

Many different nationalities have their own places of worship in Berlin. There’s the American Church in Kreuzberg, the Danish Church (Christianskirken) in Wilmersdorf, and St. George’s Anglican Church in Charlottenburg to name just a few. The city is also home to many mosques and synagogues, some of which offer classic in Arabic and Hebrew for children of Muslim and Jewish faiths. There are also Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, and countless meditation centers in Berlin.

Meet Your Neighbours

What better place to find a community in Berlin than your own back yard? Local playgrounds are great places for lonely parents to meet other lonely parents. Or head to the weekly market in your neighborhood, where locals often come together to enjoy a glass of wine.

German language skills can be helpful for expats hoping to get to know their neighbours, but since so many Berliners speak English, or are expats themselves, the language barrier doesn’t need to block your way to befriending the neighbours.

The best resource for finding out what’s happening in your neighbourhood is nebenan.de. The social media platform allows users to join a group based on where in Berlin they live. Since the site is mostly in German, it’s a great opportunity to push out of your comfortable Anglophone circle and delve into local German-speaking life. You can connect with people who live in your greater district (Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, etc.), who live in your neighbourhood, or who live directly on your street. 

The site features an online marketplace where neighbours buy and sell their stuff (or give it away for free); an events calendar that lists local activities like art openings, plant swaps, and classes like “Yoga in Spanish”; and a local listings for neighbourhood shops, cafes, accountants, and doctors and other medical professionals.

nebenan.com is also a great site for finding babysitters, forming groups, and organizing neighbourhood fleamarkets. 

Make Friends at Work or School

Expats may be surprised by how different the office or school culture is in Germany compared to their home country. But don’t be afraid to take matters into your own hands. Consider organizing your own office book club or take the chance to connect with other parents at your children’s school by organizing a parents’ night out, or a guided group tour at one of Berlin’s amazing museums.

Any expat knows that finding your tribe in a new country takes time. But with a little work and diligence you’ll surely find your community in Berlin.

Now, if you’re looking for tips on professional networking in Berlin, read our article “Find Your Network in Berlin.”

 

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Archer Relocation has been providing relocation services to families, individuals and companies in Berlin since early 2015.  Managing Director, Emily Archer, founded the company desiring to use her first-hand experience as an expat to make the relocation process as smooth as possible for others moving to Berlin.  Read other useful information about moving to and living in Berlin, such as ‘How to Find a Berlin Apartment’, on our Berlin Blog.  

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