Berlin

University

When does the program start?

The program generally starts in October, with a few days of orientation and then classes.
However the German language courses that you have to take as a Neurasmus student start in the beginning of September.

What do I need to study before the start of the program?

You don't need to study anything. However, most students of the MedNeuro program will have already taken an exam, for which they had to read the BrainFacts booklet.
Reading some chapters from the books listed below could also help you.

Which books do you recommend me and for which classes?

Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain
Neuroscience
Principles of Neural Science
Neuroanatomy through Clinical Cases

Are there any libraries? How can I get access?

Berlin is the city of libraries. The most relevant for you is the HU Universitätsbibliothek and in particular the one in Campus Nord which is next door from the Mensa (the university restaurant). In this library you can find most of the neuroscience (and not only) books you will ever want. You can always consult the online catalog and see where you can find each book.

Another library really worth it is the huge and impressive Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum next to the Friedrichsstrasse S-Bahn station and of course the even more architecturally impressive Philological Library of the Freie Universität Berlin.

What courses are available?

You will take a few core classes. First year students have basic neurobiology, working with data, advanced problems and topics in neuroscience, neuro-patho-physiology, and academic writing as their core classes. Second year students will have clinical neuroscience, working with data, advanced problems and topics in neuroscience, and academic writing. Those are spread out across the year and do not happen all at once. Other than those courses, there will be electives you will need to take for your individual focus. You have some choice in those. Examples of elective classes are neurotrophic factors, mechanisms ad management of pain, and neuroimaging.

How many courses can I choose (minimum/maximum)? Do I have a choice?

You don't have a choice with core classes but you will be able to choose which electives to take. You will need to get at least 10 credit points (ECTS) through electives. Electives can be online classes such as from [www.coursera.com], journal clubs, and other classes that are relevant to neuroscience in any university in Berlin. The head of the program will send you emails regarding some available classes though the Charité, but you may always look around the course catalogues of HU and FU.

What is the schedule of the classes?

  • please note that dates can vary from year to year and this is a basic outline

First year:
~October until mid December:
basic neurobiology, M-F 9am-4pm
~January until end of March:
working with data, M 9am-12pm;
advanced problems and topics in neuroscience, M 1pm-4pm;
lab rotation (you will figure out your hours with your supervisor);
electives (time depends on what you choose to take)
~April until mid June:
neuro-patho-physiology, M-F 9am-4pm
~July:
working with data, advanced problems and topics in neuroscience, and academic writing, M 9am-4pm;
lab rotation;
electives

Seconds year:
~October until mid December:
clinical neuroscience, M-F 9am-4pm
~January until end of March:
working with data, advanced problems and topics in neuroscience, and academic writing, M 9am-4pm
~April until July:
master thesis

Where is the university located?

The university has several campus in Berlin. Most of the lectures take place in the campus in the centre (Belin Mitte), in the building where the programme coordinator and secretariat is. However some of the lectures take place in campus Buch (north-east of the city and rather outside Berlin, but easilly reachable by train).

What about the exams?

For the main modules there is one exam per semester (December for S1 and June for S2). The exam consists on a multiple-choice test part and a second part of essay questions (you have to choose several of the proposed questions to answer).

Do we have language courses?

Yes, included in the Neurasmus. The language course takes place in September for four hours every day for four weeks. It's a course organized for Erasmus students by Humboldt Institute. At the start an exam is taken to assess your level.

Do I have to do lab rotations? How many?

One lab rotation per semester, that you can start at any time during the semester. After the module exam and before the end of the semester there are around 3 months without lectures of the main modules, so that is the ideal time to do them full time.
The duration should be 10 weeks if part-time or 8 weeks if whole-time. At the end you write a report about the rotation which is reviewed by 2 professors (the on-site and a proposed one) and account for 50% of the final grade of each module.
You have to look for the labs of your interest yourself, beforehand or approaching lecturers you liked during the semester.

Where can I find labs?

Neuroscience-Berlin
Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Berlin
Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine Berlin-Buch

Are there any scholarships available?

Life in Berlin

Is there university housing provided? How much does it cost? Details?

Students at the Charité and the associated Universities (Humboldt Uni & Freie Universität) have access to a very limited numbers of student houses managed by Studentenwerk. However, Charité could not offer any of these options to the Neurasmus students for the academic year 2013-2014, due to a shortage of rooms and the fact that you need to be matriculated at the Charité to apply (which will NOT happen until the 1st of October). You may still want to email Petra and ask her about if this year Studentenwerk can offer university housing for Neurasmus students.

What about the private market? Is it worth it?

The private market is fairly cheap, but it can be difficult to find a place in September and October! If you have not found a place by the time you arrive in Berlin, take every advantage during September to look for a place. Most University students do not arrive in Berlin until October, and by then it would be harder to find a fixed accommodation.

Where can I find an apartment/flatshare?

http://www.wg-gesucht.de/ to find a shared apartment.
http://house-of-nations.de/cms/home.html to find an cheap student-friendly apartment for yourself.

Hostels/Hotels?

Which neighborhood/areas are better for students?

The closer you are to the center, the easier your life will be. Nevertheless, the public transport system is fairly good in Berlin so just try to find an apartment near an S or U Bahn stop.

What about the transportation (public transport cards, tickets, bikes etc)?

Charité will give you a semester ticket which gives you unlimited access to all of Berlin public transport (train, tram, buses). This ticket is already included in the fees that Neurasmus will pay to Charité on your behalf. However, come prepared because you will NOT receive the semester ticket until first week of October, when you are matriculated in Charité. If you plan to move around a lot during September (which you probably be, coming to and from language course, going to the shops, looking for accommodation, etc), the best option for September is to buy a monthly pass which you can get at any of the machines located in every U or S bahn station. The cost of this monthly pass is 78 euros (as of May 2014), and covers most of the city of Berlin.

You can also choose to bike around.

Are there any useful websites (buy/sell, cultural events etc, cheap mobile phones)?

Where can I buy stuff for my new home?

Ikea Tempelhof (near the Tempelhof station on the ring) has pretty much anything you might need.

Are there any flea markets?

http://berlin.barwick.de/shopping/flea-markets/index.html

What about grocery stores?

The are Aldi, Kaiser's, and many others. Supermarkets like Kaiser's and Edeka have more convenient opening times and will accept VISA cards, however they are more expensive. Netto, Aldi, Lidl and Penny are cheep chains and have limited choices and wont accept VISA. Perhaps the best price/offer ratio can be found at Kaufland. The main disadvantage is the distance from the center. Tempelhof, Osloerstrasse, Buch are a few locations. The one in Priesterweg is the largest, but is considerably far from the train station.

Asian supermarkets:
Ven Lhoi can be found at Wittenbergplatz and Seestrasse. The biggest one is located in Charlottenburg.

Can I eat at the university? Are there other places you recommend?

There is the Mensa at each university campus. It is cheap and decent food.

Where can I get extra language courses?

You will have to pay for them yourself, but you can always sign up for more language courses through Humboldt University, Freie University, and Technischen University.

What about entertainment (theater/cinema/bars/clubs)?

What about sports (in the university and outside)?

Which banks do you recommend? Any traps I should be aware of?

Deutsche Bank is a good option. You can withdraw money from almost any ATM (except Sparkase) without getting charged. Accounts for students are always free, and it will let you open an account before having your Anmeldung (address registration), which is useful as you will likely need to open up a bank account before you even find an apartment. Make an appointment to open the account and ask which forms they would like you to bring.

Where can I go out of the city for an excursion?

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