Monthly Archives - June 2018

Best International Schools Berlin

child solving math problems

© detailblick-foto/Fotolia #163363789

International Schools Berlin

In this article, you will find everything you need to know about the different private and public international schools located in Berlin. The private schools have varying tuition prices, whereas public schools do not have fees.

Most of the schools run for full days. Many of the schools also offer a variety of different after school extra-curriculars including sports, languages, and music programmes.

Below you can find important information on what each school offers as well as how and when to apply to each one. 


International Public Schools


International Private Schools


Useful Tips During the Application Process


International Public Schools

John F. Kennedy School – Zehlendorf

Address: Teltower Damm 87-93, 14167 Berlin, Zehlendorf
Questions E-mail:
Admissions E-mail:
Fees: No
School Year Starts: Mid-August
School Year Ends: End of June/Early July


The John F Kennedy School located in Zehlendorf is an American school, and offers the opportunity for students to master both the English and German language. Over 2/3 of the students are of American or German background. This school has been educating students for over 50 years, and prides itself on preparing children for a multicultural and technology-focused world.


      • Elementary School (Grades 1 to 6)
      • Secondary School (Grades 7 -12)
      • Languages: English and German (French and Spanish also available)
      • Certificates: Abitur or High School Diploma
      • Advanced Placement Classes available (opportunity to receive university level credits)


How to Apply to John F. Kennedy School

You can only apply to JFK school if your child is registered in the city of Berlin. (If you are living in Brandenburg, you are not eligable.)

Send all applications and supporting documents via Mail to:

John F. Kennedy School
Teltower Damm 87-93
14167 Berlin, Germany


      1. Entrance Class Admissions

The Entrance Class is designed as a bilingual pre-school curriculum.


      1. Elementary School Admissions (for Grades 1 to 6)


      1. High School Admissions (for Grades 7 -12)
      • Complete the High School Application Form
      • American and International Students: Must provide report cards or transcripts from previous years
      • Note: Non US-applicants must take a US History course before applying to Grade 12
      • German Students: Must have suitable English proficiency and are required to take an English Test
      • Apply within these application deadlines


More information on Applying to John F. Kennedy School can be found here.



Nelson Mandela School

Primary Campus: Pfalzburger Str. 23, 10719 Berlin
Secondary Campus: Pfalzburger 30, 10717 Berlin
School Hours: 8:30 am – 3:50 pm (End times vary for higher grades)
Fees: No
School Year Starts: Mid-August
School Year Ends: Early July

The Nelson Mandela School is located in West Berlin, in Wilmersdorf. It is a member of UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project and the International Baccalaureate Organisation. As a government school, it does not have any tuition fees. Some of its notable extra-curricular programs are the orchestra, and Model United Nations club.


      • Flex to 6 (Elementary years, grades 1 and 2 learn together)
      • Secondary School (Middle: Grades 7 to 10)
      • Secondary School (Grades 11-13)
      • Middle School Certificates:
        BBR: Berufsbildungsreife (certificate of vocational education)
        eBBR: erweiterte Berufsbildungsreife (further certificate of vocational education)
        MSA: Mittlerer Schulabschluss (general certificate of education)
        MSA (GO): general certificate of education and qualification for Abitur / IB


How to Apply to the Nelson Mandela School

Things to note:
All of the following applications and documents must be sent by mail, not by fax or e-mail.
An Entrance Exam will be necessary for students applying for grades 7-10.
Registration for grades 2 to 10 for the 2018/2019 year is April 9, 2018.
Due to the high level of inquiries, questions about admissions sent by e-mail will not be answered.


        1. Grades 2 to 6
        • Read this checklist and provide all supporting documents
        • Fill out this application form online, print out and send all documents via mail.


        1. Grades 7 to 10
        • Read this checklist, and provide all supporting documents listed
        • Fill out this application form online, print out and send all documents via mail.


        1. Application for IB Candidates
        • Read this checklist, and provide all supporting documents listed
        • Fill out the application form online, print out and send all documents via mail.


      1. Application for Abitur Candidates
      • Read this checklist, and provide all supporting documents
      • Fill out this application form online, print out and send all documents via mail.


Elementary classroom, back to school concept

© annanahabed/Fotolia #162294388

International Private Schools

Berlin International School

Lentzeallee 8/14
14195 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 82 00 77 90
Office hours: Mon to Fri: 08.00h – 16.00h
Fees: Yes, See Fees Table (2017-2018 fees, these are subject to change)
School Starts: Late August
School Ends: Early July


The Berlin International School is located near Friedenau, and offers students from age 6 to 18 a diverse and comprehensive education. This school offers the International Baccalaureate program for its students in grades 10 to 12. Over 90% of its students pursue higher learning in a university setting upon graduation. This international school embodies diversity, as its students come from over 60 countries all around the world. The teachers are also multi-cultural, coming from over 20 different countries.


      • Primary School (for grades 1-5)
      • Middle School (for grades 6 to 8)
      • Secondary School (for grades 9 to 12)
      • Certificates: MSA for middle grades
      • International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) for Grades 9 and 10
      • IB for Grade 11 and 12
      • Students interested in partaking in the German Abitur can do so at the International Schule Berlin (Steglitz)


How to Apply to Berlin International School

The admissions at B.I.S are based on 2 to 3 years of school records and the application form. Expat students are allowed to apply at any time of the year. German nationals who have spent time and have done some education abroad are also eligible to apply.

      1. All Grades
      • Fill out this Application Form
      • Students applying for grade 1, must be 6 years old by December 30th of the year of application.
      • Students in grades 9 to 12 should also provide their transcripts from previous years

Things to Note

      • There is a sibling reduction fee
      • Families in a lower income bracket can apply for school fee assistance. Application forms can be found at the admissions office.
      • Students in grades 1-10 whos families are unable to fully pay school fees can apply for scholarships


Berlin Cosmopolitan School

Rückerstraße 9, 10119 Berlin
Phone: +49 030 68833230
Fees: Yes, See Fees Table (2017-2018 fees, these are subject to change)


The Berlin Cosmopolitan School, located in Mitte close to Rosa-Luxemberg Platz offers education for Kindergarten aged-scholars all the way to Secondary school students. The school focuses on science, music and dance. This not-for-profit school promotes diversity, an International Baccalaureate program and over 50 different extra-curricular programs and courses including: Chinese, IT , Cooking, Orchestra, Rock Bands, Digital Music, Skateboarding, 3D-Print, Ballet, Judo, Basketball and Creative Movie Maker and more.


      • PYP Program -Primary School (Grades 1 to 5)
      • Secondary School (6-12)
      • Languages: English and German
      • Third Language: Spanish or French (offered starting in grade 5)
      • 1 to 2 week long internships for students in grades 6 to 10
      • Student Exchange program
      • Certificates: MSA for middle school students
      • IB and Abitur for Secondary students (Dual Diploma)


How to Apply to Berlin Cosmopolitan School

The application is available to complete online, and there are no deadlines for application. Entrance into the school can happen on a rolling basis, as spots become available.

All Grades

      • Fill out the application here
      • There is an application fee of 50 euros.
      • Upon successful application completion your child will be put on a waiting list
      • Priority is giving to students who already have a sibling enrolled in the school
      • When a space is open, you will be offered a meeting and trial day
      • Your application is valid for one year


Berlin Metropolitan School

Linienstr. 122, 10115 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 8872 739 0
Fees: Yes (parental contribution based on income) See Fees Table


The Berlin Metropolitan School is the oldest and largest International school in Berlin. It has 1000 students from kindergarten to grade 12, and 200 employees coming from 18 different countries. The school located in Mitte has small class sizes, (max 24 per class) and promotes team spirit, togetherness, respect and academic excellence. It offers a full day program, with after-school extra-curricular activities. Berlin Metropolitan School offers many certificates including the IB program and the Cambridge University IGCSE. This school can sometimes accommodates families who move back and forth to Berlin (keeping your spot by paying a retainer)

      • Early Learning Centre (Kita age group: 3-4 year olds, and preschool age group: 5 year olds)
      • Primary School (Grades 1 to 6)
      • Middle Secondary School (Grades 7-10)
      • Upper Secondary School (Grades 11-12)
      • Languages: English and German + French or Spanish (in Grades 7 & 8)
      • Other optional languages: Chinese, Italian, French, Spanish, German as a Foreign Language
      • Certificates: IB Diploma, IGCSE (Cambridge University), MSA, Berliner Bildungsreife
      • Full Day Program from 7:30AM to 6PM (including extra-curricular programs)


How to Apply to Berlin Metropolitan School

      1. All Grades
        The Berlin Metropolitan School accepts applications throughout the year on a rolling basis. Spots become available as families move on.
      • All applicants should fill out the following Application Form (for all grades) and send it to
      • When applying for a child from grade 2 or above, include their last two report cards
      • Any report cards not written in German or English must include a translation
      • Grades should have a written explanation included
      • Once there is a vacancy and your child meets the criteria, you and your child will go to a tour and a meeting (around 1 hour long)
      • Once your child is offered a trial day and is accepted, you will receive a contract and a tax-declaration form to be signed and sent back
      • More details on applying to this international school can be found here
      • Additional forms for applying


Useful Tips During the Application Process

      • Many schools have open house days, where you can tour the school and meet staff etc
      • It’s best to apply to many schools as demand is high and to increase your chances


To Wrap Things up…

There are plenty of great education opportunities for expat children in Berlin. The International Schools in Berlin offer a great multicultural and highly regarded academic learning environment. The application process varies across schools, so it’s helpful to pay attention to the details, and to apply in advance. Let us know in the comments which International Schools in Berlin you find the best!



How to Open a German Bank Account

ATM machine on a city street

© Srdjan/Fotolia #193227719

Why Do I Need a German Bank Account?

Opening a bank account in Berlin is one of the first things everyone needs to do upon moving. Without a German bank account, you won’t be able to rent certain apartments, get a cell phone or Internet contract. In addition, your employer won’t be able to send you your salary. In other words opening a German bank account is very important! For people new to Berlin and Germany in general this may be a daunting task. However, don’t despair. We have provided a variety of options for you to look, in order to find out what the best option is for you.


How to Open a German Bank Account

The process for opening a bank account will vary bank to bank, but in general, you will need the following to open up a bank account in Germany:

  • Passport or ID Card
  • Registration Document (Meldebescheinigung)
  • Tax Id Number (Sometimes needed)
  • Monthly Income (Sometimes needed)


You will soon notice that many German Banks only operate in German, so the process of opening an account can be a little tricky if you have little German. Below, we will compare some brick and mortar and online banks so you can determine which bank are suitable for you.


Brick and Mortar Banks

The traditional route to opening a bank account is to actually go into the bank and open it in person. Like many countries worldwide, there are not many different banks operating in Germany. The following are the main ones:


The first three operate in a so-called ‘cash group’. This means you can use your card to withdraw money from any of the ATM’s without charge. If you use another bank you will be charged around 5€ (or more!). For the other banks you simply have to use their ATM’s or face a transaction charge.

If you prefer to go with the traditional route,  it is advisable to go with a bank that is close to where you live. It may also be worth noting that many employees don’t want/aren’t allowed to speak English. So you’ll have to either bring an interpretor or struggle you way through.

Note that due to brick and mortar banks having to pay for the storefront and their tellers, they often charge higher banking fees. Even so, they do provide a traditional sense of security and if/when issues arise you can always go an talk to your bank in person.

Below we will list a few of the brick and mortar banks that could be used:



How many branches in the central Berlin area: Around 22

Post Bank Giro Plus

  • Debit Card included
  • Can opt in for a free visa credit card (the first year is free of charge: this increases to 29€ or 59€ p/y after the 2nd year))
  • 3,90€ account fee per month
  • Free cash withdrawals at Deutsche post, Shell gas stations and at approximately 12,000 ATMS around Germany, so you have a lot of options instead of getting charged by using a non-Postbank affiliated ATM.
  • Online banking possible



How many Branches in the central Berlin area: Around 50


  • Around 25.000 ATM’s in Germany
  • 8,50€ account fee per month
  • Credit Card – 35€ per year
  • Debit Card included
  • Online banking possible


Note: Sparkasse has by far the most individual ATM’s in Germany. So no matter where you are you can usually find one..

However, Sparkasse banks operate regionally. This means if you open an account in Berlin, but then move to Munich, you will not be able to go into the bank there and use their services (you can still use the ATM’s for free). You would have to open an account with the Munich branch, then transfer your money from your Berlin account. This is really annoying if you are not sure how long you will stay in one city, or plan on moving in the future.


Deutsche Bank

How many Branches in the central Berlin area: Around 25


  • 5,90€ account fee per month
  • Credit Card – 39€ per year
  • Debit Card included
  • Online banking possible
  • Around 9,000 ATM’s available to use and also the possibility to use Shell Gas stations to withdraw money


These options are a brief overview of what the ‘traditional’ banks in Germany offer. There are many varieties and depending on your circumstances, some are more suitable than others. Before opening a bank account in Berlin with one of these, it is perhaps also wise to check out the alternatives.


Online Banks – The Alternative

Online banks are becoming increasingly popular. They allow you to access your account, make transactions and simply bank ‘on the go’. They are convenient, offer better rates than traditional banks, and are generally easy to use for transferring money.

What must be noted is they have no physical counter to visit and no face-to-face customer service. For some people is this ok, however others do value having a relationship with the person looking after their money.

Below we will show you a few of the most popular online banks:



Standard Free Card

  • Completely Online and English sign up process (as well as other languages)
  • You can sign up from abroad
  • 5 Free cash withdrawals within Germany at any ATM
  • MasterCard Credit card included, 0€ per month
  • Withdraw cash for free at 7000 retail stores
  • No exchange rate mark up with TransferWise

Things to Note

  • 3% charge to deposit cash into your account
  • Foreign currency ATM withdrawals charge 1.7%


N26 also offers two other cards, N26 Black and N26 Metal, which have monthly fees of €5.90 and €14.90 respectively but offer more services like free foreign currency withdrawals, insurance and more.

N26 is a convenient option for expats. Firstly, the whole process can be done in English, and secondly there are no upfront fees.  Transferring money to and from abroad is also relatively easy and doesn’t cost as much as traditional banks.


DKB- Deutsche Kreditbank AG

Cash Card

  • No Annual fees
  • Free Debit Card and Visa Card
  • Free International Cash Withdrawals
  • Free ATM Withdrawals
  • Emergency package when traveling

Things to Note

  • You can sign up online, however, everything is in German
  • 24 hour emergency number that provides you with customer support should you lose your card, or if you have any other issues
  • You may have to prove your income and have at least €1000 euros coming in monthly, or at least that you have a stable salary coming in



Debit Card

  • No Annual Fees
  • Free cash withdrawal from Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, HypoVereinsbank, Postbank, and their subsidiaries
  • 24 Hour Customer Service
  • Open your account online, however it is in German

Things to Note

  • Comdirect also offers a Visa card that allows you to take out money in countries with different currencies for €9.90.
  • Purchases made outside of Europe are subject to a 1.75% conversion fee


As you can see, there are very similar offers across the market. However, N26 is the only bank with English in the sign-up. This could then be very helpful if it’s the only language you speak. Overall we recommend looking and comparing a few accounts to see what suits you best. Every situation is different and something that is suitable for one person may not be for another.


What About Transferring Money?

How do you transfer money to your new account? The best and most affordable way is with Transferwise. If you go with N26, they are partnered with Transferwise so you can make transfers for free or for less than you would using an international money transfer company.

Sometimes it can be more affordable to take out money from an ATM using your home country card (depending on your bank) and then depositing it into your new German bank account.

Traditional German banks can charge up to 5% for such a service, so if you are transferring a large amount, this can add up to a lot.


Banking Words You Should Know

Here are some German words that we have translated to English in order to help you on your way when dealing with the tricky steps of opening and using your bank.
Abhebung – Withdrawal

Bargeld – Cash

Einzahlung – Deposit

Geldautomat  – ATM

Girokonto – Chequing Account

Kontostand – Bank Balance

Münzen – Coins

Sparkonto – Savings Account

Überweisung – Money transfer

Unterschrift – Signature (Important for singing the contract!)

Zinsen – Interest rates


Are there any more words you have found out about? Let us know during your journey of opening a bank account here in Berlin (or Germany)!!!