City Discovery: Brandenburg to Bundesliga, Berlin’s Many Facets

Discover Berlin

Located in the northeastern part of Germany sits Berlin, the nation’s capital and largest city. In the 1920’s, Berlin was the third largest metropolitan area in the world. Currently, the city is the second largest city in Europe only behind London. Because of it’s size and importance, Berlin has become a major transportation hub for people traveling to and through western and central Europe.

Don’t miss these Discovery Compass activities in Berlin!

Intercultural experiences highlight exposure with the local culture, promoting a multilateral exchange of ideas, language and opinions.

Experience sports within the city. Sports in Germany, and Berlin, are a very important part of the culture. Germany has hosted the Olympics three times, once in 1972 and twice in 1936. The national sport of Germany is soccer. Germany just recently won the World Cup, making them the best national team in the world. Germany’s professional soccer league, the Bundesliga, has one of the highest average attendances of any professional sports league in the world.

Take time to enjoy the city’s music! Berlin is home to over 40 theaters and stages and have orchestra and opera performances taking place throughout the year. The city is home to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, which is one of the preeminent symphony orchestras in the world.

ISA excursions and cultural activities highlight historical parts of the local culture to help students better understand their new environment.

Spend a day visiting Museum Island. Berlin is the cultural capital of Germany. ISA Berlin students have access to over 130 museums and 400 art galleries throughout the city, many of which are free. Many of Berlin’s most popular museums are located in the middle of Berlin on what is called Museum Island. Berlin’s Museum Island has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Explore the city to find historic locations from World War II. With much of World War II and the Cold War being located in Berlin, this city is definitely not short of history. ISA Berlin students will have all of Berlin’s fascinating history at their fingertips, whether it’s walking by Bebelplatz where the Nazi book burnings took place or strolling next to the remnants of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery.

Sociopolitical discovery highlights social and political activities or experiences.

Berlin has been a political capital since the 13th century, when it was the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Since then it has been the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the German Democratic Republic, and now the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin is now the home of the German Parliament, the German Chancellor, and the German President.

Since Berlin has such a diverse political history, many of Berlin’s museums are related to the city’s past and present role in politics. Some of the museums include the Topography of Terror, a museum that features Berlin’s Nazi past. the DDR Museum, a museum that focuses on Berlin’s Soviet past, and even the Reichstag, where the German Parliament is housed.

Professional experiences provide exposure to professional development opportunities during an ISA program.

Take a German language course. ISA Berlin students are required to take a German language course on semester and academic-year programs. German is the most widely spoken native language in the European Union and one of the three working languages of the European Commission.

Freie Universität Berlin is ranked nationally and internationally among the top universities in the world. The QS World University Rankings ranked the university’s arts and humanities studies 1st in Germany, 6th in Europe, and 27th in the world.

Environmental experiences expose students to different environmental aspects of the host country.

Take the bus! Berlin has some of the best public transportation systems in the world. With such great public transportation options, Berlin has one of the lowest numbers of cars per capita for major cities in the Western world. As an ISA semester or academic-year student in Berlin, students will receive a free public transportation pass, as part of their overall ISA program price.

Wander through Berlin’s outdoor public parks and gardens. Berlin is home to many beautiful outdoor parks, including the Tiergarten, the Viktoriapark, and the Treptower Park, and is home to just as many outstanding gardens, including the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden, the Britser Garten, and the Erholungspark Marzahn.


Berlin is the starting point for many incredible experiences, find out more about how you could study abroad in Berlin.

The 2015 City Discovery Series aims to showcase one of ISA’s program locations each week. Facts about each location and Discovery Compass activity examples are given, highlighting the areas of Intercultural, Historical, Sociopolitical, Professional and Environmental discovery. The Discovery Compass aims to help students have the best possible study abroad experience by helping them to gain a better understanding of the local environment, customs and people through a variety of experiences.


Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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