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CanadianIR

Vienna, Berlin, Barcelona? SOS!

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Hey guys! I'm starting to compile a list of possible grad schools for poli sci (starting in Sep 2020). I think I have an idea of my top 3 schools- one in Berlin, one in Barcelona, and one in Vienna. Can anyone speak to the student/living experience in each of these cities? Are they easy to get around? What's the culture like? Thank you!!!

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Not my personal experience, but I've heard good things about Berlin and there are lots of young people living there, the air is very international. Barcelona is also a popular target of international students and people describe it as friendly. You have the Eastern Berlin and the Western Berlin, and the Eastern Berlin used to be the communist half, so it's less appealing, however, because of it, it's cheaper to rent a place to live there and lots of young people live there and it's more of a party district than Western Berlin. Spain is the south of Europe, so the atmosphere is more chill and people tend to socialise and have fun more. Vienna isn't a popular choice, so I haven't heard much of it.

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Haven't been to Berlin, but would 100% go back in time and spend my youth in either Vienna or Barcelona. Both are very cosmopolitan, fairly cheap, and there's a lot to do any day of the week, especially for young people. 

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I am currently finishing my master degree in Berlin and I am really enjoying the city. Living expenses are very cheap in comparison to other major cities in Europe. Maybe similar to Barcelona, but definitely cheaper than Vienna. Your rent will be the defining factor of living cost, and depending on how you want to live, the price range can vary widely. Food (groceries and eating out), however, is very cheap. Berlin is a really big city, but public transport is good and it is easy to get around the city. The monthly pass for everything (bus, tram, subway, trains) is normally around 80 euros, it is free for students as long as you pay your semester fee. The city is filled with young people from around the world so the atmosphere is very international. There are always things to do here, no matter your interest (history, arts, music, or if you just want to party). I am a bit sad that I have to leave Berlin in August to do my PhD elsewhere. Anyway, let me know if you have specific questions about studying or living in Berlin.

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I lived in Berlin for 2 years while completing my MA and frequently visited Vienna to meet friends and colleagues. Both cities are amazing and allow you to be whoever you want. I focused on the books and missed a lot both cities have to offer. There are a lot of impromptu performances by local bands, operas, and musicals that occur in both places. I "enjoyed" Berlin's public transport system more than Vienna's because Berlin's system allowed you to reach any corner of the city while Vienna's system has some gaps in it. Both are dated and need updating, but that is the case in every city I visited in Europe. Like most capitals in Europe, both cities are experiencing a rather quick increase in the cost of living. Rent in Berlin is by far the quickest expense that is increasing and you are receiving less and less for the rent. Meanwhile, Vienna is expensive in general, but I found going out to be the most expensive. A cup of coffee in the city would normally cost about 2-3 euros, but do not be shocked if you see 4 euro cups being sold. Despite these issues, both are great places to live once you get into the groove of a program and city. I suggest learning German if you want to really integrate (at least passable bar talk German until the drunk German or Austrian switches to English to practice) and make the most out of both places.

Best of luck with your studies and feel free to PM me if you have specific questions!

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