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Berlin & Families

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Germany is introducing the 9€ monthly ticket for June, July and August 2022. The government plans to boost public transport use and provide economic relief to citizens facing a cost of living crisis due to rising prices of food and fuel.

Starting from 1 June allowing travel on all modes of city and regional transport, including some long-distance trains. The ticket will apply throughout Germany and can be purchased by anyone, including tourists.

For more information: https://www.bvg.de/de/tickets-und-tarife/9-euro-ticket or https://www.bahn.com/en/offers/regional/9-euro-ticket-en

 

We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with Jenna Davis from Life in Germany. Meet Jenna! She is a Canadian national who moved to Germany in 2014 and is shaking up the relocation world with her fabulous content on ‚How to Germany‘ IRC wants to bring you the tips and tricks of the ex-pat life from the real ex-pats!

Jenna moved to Germany from a small town in Ontario, Canada. She put all her trust in the hands of her German partner to get her properly settled in. While he helped with a lot of things – registering, getting a phone plan, opening up a bank account – he struggled to understand exactly what she really needed because he hadn’t been in these “ex-pat” shoes before. So she decided to share her journey and her wisdom with others and founded LIFE IN GERMANY.

We saw what Jenna was doing and loved her content. It is important to our team to collaborate with those people who are living the ex-pat experience day by day – it isn’t just the first few months either, you will run into those ex-pat moments for years!

 

Berlin’s Teufelsberg – the dilapidated ex-US spy station on the summit of the second highest elevation in the city rises out of nowhere as if it were from another world. From the Teufelsberg, you will have a great view over the Grunewald and the adjacent urban areas and it’s an absolute MUST for street-art lovers!

Walk up to the Teufelsberg from Grunewald S-Bahn station, it takes around 30 mins on easy terrain through the beautiful Grunewald forest. The ex-spy station area which is built upon this hill, made of rubble from World War II is now home to one of the world’s largest street-art exhibitions. The art exhibition is well worth a visit because of the lovely walk to the top, the views, the unique location, and the exquisite art which awaits you.

According to the exhibition website

‚Artists from all over the world painted at Teufelsberg. We value free speech and do not restrict any artist in their creative direction. This tenet creates a multitude of moods and political views on-site.‘ (source: https://www.teufelsberg-berlin.de/).

Entry costs 8€ per adult and children under 14 years are free.

Photos by Julika Buchanan

IRC is proud to present our new partner Sprachweiser by Peggy Lindner for language training and translation. We want to be able to offer our clients the best possible support to hit the ground running in every area of their relocation, including the most important aspect of being able to communicate in the German language.

Although you can get by with English in Germany, language is the key to being able to unlock the door to real social and cultural interaction, forming friendships and better work relations. Translation service is also a key area, especially when you need to understand important documentation or present documentation of your own to the authorities. Sprachweiser can help in this department too with their professional translation service.

 

Peggy Lindner is the founder and managing director of SPRACHWEISER. Foreign languages and cultures have always been her passion. Getting people from different backgrounds talking, breaking down their language barriers, and connecting them through communication – she and her team will offer you top-notch service.

Whether you want to learn business English, German as a foreign language, French, Chinese or other foreign languages or even develop your intercultural or business skills – Sprachweiser has a course tailored just for you.

The SPRACHWEISER language school instructor team is made up of qualified native-speaking and bilingual trainers. They form a motivated international team that is more than happy to help you unlock your desired language. Since their trainers only teach in their mother tongue, the cultural characteristics are also incorporated into the lessons. They have experience in a business environment, which is key to incorporating industry-related or subject-specific vocabulary into foreign language training activities.

Sprachweisers project management team truly cares for you and your objectives, and they work especially hard to ensure flexibility in planning their courses. 

For more information see: https://sprachweiser.com/en/

 

 

 

Dental care in many countries can be extremely pricey and therefore prohibit people from seeking out regular treatments.  Not so in Germany! In Germany, statutory health insurance covers all the basics of dental care and then some great preventative extras.

The health insurance companies have contracts with the dentists and pay the service directly. If you do need any extras, you may need to pay for the procedure yourself or there are options to apply for the insurance to pay part of the treatment – you should always discuss this with your dentist. An example of this is a ‚professional teeth clean‘ (prophylaxe) which you can have once a year, health insurance subsidizes this and you pay something between 50-100€ and it is a very effective measure for preventative dental care.

Statutory health insurances pay for a total of 2 dental check-ups per anum,  tartar removal, early diagnosis of periodontal disease. Children (6 – 18 years) 2 dental check-ups are paid for as well as a caries-prophylactic filling of tooth furrows (fissure sealing) of the two permanent molars in front of the wisdom teeth. Children (3 and 6 years) included are three dental early diagnosis examinations. The first exam takes place from the 34th month of life and the other two examinations until the end of the 6th year of life. There must be at least 1 year between examinations. Children who are at high risk of tooth decay are entitled to fluoridation.

Some dental treatments are not fully covered – for example root canal, implants, or ceramic bridges – by statutory health insurance, for this case you can acquire additional private insurance which will cover these extras.

Some helpful words for the visit to the dentist!

  • Dentist – der Zahnarzt
  • Teeth – die Zähne
  • Tooth – der Zahn
  • Gum – das Zahnfleisch
  • Root – die Wurzel
  • Plaque – der Zahnbelag
  • Filling – die Füllung 
  • Tooth extraction – die Zahnextraktion
  • Teeth cleaning/removal of tartar – Zahnsteinentfernung

Meet Ina!

Ina Bozhilova is the head of the Private Relocations Department and a Relocation Consultant. She is the newest member of the team, having joined mid-2021, and is always eager to support new Berliners on their journey.

Ina was born in Bulgaria and relocated to Berlin in 2007. Growing up between two very different cultures, she developed a unique ability to bridge intercultural gaps and understand her clients’ needs.

Ina studied sociology at the Potsdam University in Brandenburg. Her studies have proven helpful in understanding the principles that guide German bureaucracy. During her studies, she supported friends and acquaintances in their dealings with immigration and public administration, which enabled her to continue helping others with these issues.

Ina has an affinity for foreign languages – she speaks German, English, and Bulgarian fluently, and is conversational in Croatian and Korean. In her spare time, she enjoys bouldering, hiking, and sewing.

In her own words:

Favourite place in Berlin – Schillerkiez in Neukölln. The neighborhood has significantly changed over the past 10 years, thanks to the opening of the Tempelhofer Feld. Ever since, artists and creatives have flocked to the area, opening art galleries, quirky bars, and restaurants. The neighborhood offers a unique mix of old and new Berlin, where “Ur-Berliners” (old Berliners) and newcomers can meet and exchange ideas.

Every Saturday, a small market is set up around the church in Herrfurthplatz, where you can buy freshly baked bread and cakes, enjoy a snack, or browse artworks by local artists.

A hidden Gem in Berlin Le Brot in Neukölln. This tiny French bakery offers freshly made bread, quiches, cakes, and most important of all – the best croissants in Berlin! Psst: If you walk a few doors up, you will stumble across Fleischerei Kluge – this butcher’s shop opened in 1959, and is still going strong today. They offer local, ethically sourced meats, and a large variety of different cuts to satisfy even the most discerning of customers

Best day trip from BerlinBad Saarow is a fantastic little spot, approximately an hour east of Berlin. The town is famous for its thermal spa; a sprawling health complex with multiple indoor and outdoor heated pools and more than 10 different types of saunas. Bad Saarow is the perfect getaway spot in winter when you want to escape the chill.

Great place to eat – For Cantonese food: Aroma in Kantstrasse, for a really good steak: Schneiderei in Prenzlauer Berg, for authentic Japanese food: Zenkichi in Mitte, for a real, deep-dish American style pizza: Liberty Pizza in Zehlendorf.

Spouse Counselling, one of the most poignant but often neglected parts of an assignment or relocation to a partner’s new employer. Out of personal experience and after one year of a weekend marriage, a decision had to be made. Does the family leave our loved domicile and personal as well as professional networks in Munich to join the partner in Berlin? Never has a move challenged me more and I have lived on three continents. It was new to me, I was a spouse who had to give up her career, shuffle the cards again, and find the strength for a big change.

It was a challenge for us, our two boys adjusting to new schools, making new friends and I was left “hanging” in nowhere land. No networks!! As a psychologist integrated into a holistic health institute and with a private practice in Munich, moving to Berlin was testing. The famous “Berliner Schnauze”, the rough tone broke my resilience, and also made me aware of the years it took me in Munich, as an American “working” mother, to establish myself professionally, make a name for myself … I realized; I was unhappy.

I began to hear my inner voice, identified my strengths and resources, had the insight and skills for a change process, and moved on. I became an entrepreneur and a “Relocation” specialist.

In retrospect, many years later, still in Berlin and loving it, I realize my new professional career fulfilled all my needs and offered an anchor. I want to empower spouses, predominantly women, so they do not need to struggle on their own.  – By Ariane Almerood (Founder of IRC Relocation)

Francesco, Alice, and their two children moved to Berlin in early 2020.
They are originally from Italy but relocated from a small town in Tirol, Austria – a big change in lifestyle for the family. They were looked after by our IRC consultant Britta Trendelenburg. This was their experience!
What was your experience with IRC?
To have the support of Britta made our life easier. Before the move, we set up all the bases for a smooth „landing“ in the city. She was very well connected to find us an apartment fully furnished in an area nearby my office. A great job was done to manage all the bureaucracy with the Government office and with the school. We were extremely happy with Britta.
What was the biggest challenge for you moving to Berlin?
The city itself, moving from a 900 person town in the Tirolean mountains to a capital city was simply shocking. Different environment, different cultures, were our biggest challenges. Also, we found the slowness of the bureaucracy was quite frustrating.
What was the best surprise you have experienced in Berlin?
The public transportation… I didn’t need to use the car for almost 6 months!
What is your favorite Spot in Berlin?
Museumsinsel & Tiergarten.
Do you recommend a day trip from Berlin?
Potsdam  … such a beautiful place, with an amazing Sanssouci Park.
What is your favorite restaurant in Berlin?
Antica Trattoria Ferrari, reminds me home.
Is there anything you wish you would have known before moving to Berlin?
Challenges in the health care system, chaoticness of the city, the best place to find a home with some more details.

Spandau is separated from the rest of Berlin by the Havel river, resulting in a unique feeling: the Spandauers are local patriots.  This pride is well-founded as the center of the old town of Spandau (the Kolk) is more senior than Berlin.

The lively old town is characterized by small stores, department stores, and restaurants and has the largest pedestrian zone in Berlin.

Spandau offers swimmers, paddlers, and cyclists a world of water at their front door. The water quality is excellent. Sports enthusiasts and landscape lovers will find everything they need by walking and cycling along the Havel, dangling their legs in the water here and there, and exploring a piece of history on their tour northwards: an old GDR border watchtower. The district of Spandau is one of the most western in Berlin and has nine localities.

Localities of Spandau:  Falkenhagener Feld, Gatow, Hakenfelde, Haselhorst, Kladow, Siemensstadt, Staaken, Spandau, Wilhelmstadt

There is a lot of history to discover in one of the largest districts of Berlin. Founded as early as the 13th century as a medieval fortress town, Spandau has experienced many things through the ages – the traces are everywhere. The most imposing testimony is the early Renaissance Zitadelle Berlin (Citadel), which conceals exciting treasures behind its four-meter-thick walls and a destination for some 10,000 bats that hibernate here every winter.

Just a few steps further on, you are among the quaint cobbled streets and alleyways of the Kolk quarter, the oldest part of Spandau. The district also has a long tradition as a center of industrial production. On Eiswerder Island, the former production halls of the Royal Fireworks Laboratory are a reminder of its explosive past. The history of the world’s largest electrical company began in the Siemensstadt district.

Spandau borders the Berlin districts of Berlin/Reinickendorf, Berlin/Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin/Steglitz-Zehlendorf, and the Brandenburg districts of Oberhavel and Havelland as well as the independent state capital Potsdam.
Spandau is diverse. It ranges from the typical Berlin apartment buildings in Siemensstadt and the large housing estate Falkenhagener Feld to villas and single-family homes in an almost village-like atmosphere in Kladow and Gatow.

Thanks to the good transport connections, you can quickly reach the center of Berlin or the surrounding area. The U7 from Rudow runs via Siemensstadt and Haselhorst, as well as Altstadt Spandau to Rathaus Spandau. The S75 and S9 are extensions of the Stadtbahn and run to the Spandau long-distance train station.

Sights
  • Zitadelle Berlin (Citadel)
  • Kulturhaus Spandau
  • Gotisches Haus
  • Gartenstadt Staaken (one of the most critical urban architectural monuments of the 20th century)
  • Siemensstadt (UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008)
  • Little Venice (Klein-Venedig)
  • Fort Hahneberg (one of the last fortress buildings in the Prussian style in Germany)
  • Gutspark Neukladow (idyllic country park)
  • Garten Fraenkel (The listed country house garden is one of Spandau’s most beautiful public green spaces)
  • Atelier Burgwallschanze (small cultural center which is available to artists as a workshop and venue for events)
  • Kladower Hafen (Waterfront and ferry pier)
  • Gatower Windmühle (historic windmill hill from 1845, the trestle windmill is fully functional)
Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is the former center of West Berlin and is also known as City West.
It is considered a high-end district in terms of living, it offers a fabulous selection of restaurants and shopping and is host to the famous Kurfürstendamm,  the Charlottenburg Palace, and some lovely parks.
Living in this district is highly sought after and can be expensive. The most famous landmark is the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächnis Kirche, situated on the main avenue Kurfürstendamm (Breitscheidplatz), which was damaged in WWII and left as a symbol of remembrance.
Location

This area is what is now known as City-West, the heart of the former West Berlin. From here, it stretches out towards the West with West-end, where you can find the Olympic Stadium and down towards the South-West into Grunewald, which is one of the wealthiest parts of Berlin – home to large scale Villas and many foreign Embassies and Diplomats. Towards the east, it meets up with the lively and bustling Schöneberg.

Rental prices average around 16€ per sq m (2021 – source: https://guthmann.estate/en/market-report/berlin/charlottenburg/)

Housing

Very green (Lietzenpark), Apartment living in the inner city part (Wilmersdorf, Charlottenburg & Schmargendorf) and single-family homes and villas out towards West-end & Grunewald.

Landmarks & scenes

A visit to the Kurfürstendamm, or Ku’damm as Berliners call it, is one of Berlin visitors’ top priorities. The world-famous boulevard in the west of the city is not only a shopping mile – strolling down the Ku’damm is also worthwhile because of architectural and cultural highlights.

The Kurfürstendamm is the lifeline of City-West and is one of the most famous streets in the world, it is 3.5 kilometers long and is located between Breitscheidplatz and Halensee. Berliners and tourists stroll on the wide sidewalks past elegantly decorated shop windows or take a seat in one of the numerous cafés. At the corner of Joachimsthaler Strasse, Berlin shines as a world metropolis – all around the Gedächtniskirche, large department stores, and fashion stores, in the direction of Olivaer Platz, well-known luxury brands showcase have their flagship stores.

  • Charlottenburg Palace – built between 1695-1713 in the Baroque style. Surrounded by a beautifully landscaped park.
  • Olympic Stadion – situated in Berlin-Westend, built between 1934-1936 for the 1936 Olympics.
  • KaDeWe – Berlin’s most famous luxury department store, shopping to your heart’s desire. Situated at Wittenbergplatz.
  • Grunewald Forest – When the Berlin Wall still stood, the Grunewald was the largest forested area in the western part of the city, and often enough, overrun by strollers and bike riders. Today, it has become much quieter in the “Green Forrest”. But it is still beautiful. All through the year, the 3,000-hectare large forest is a relaxing place for walks. To the west, the forest is bounded by the Havel. (Source: https://www.visitberlin.de/en/grunewald)

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