You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.
What’s the commitment? Your lab is either one- or two-year-long.
How much does it cost? The grand total depends on a lot of factors like how much rent costs, how much food you eat, what kind of wheels you’ll use to get around and how you get to Berlin (we usually recommend flying, but if you have time-travel mastered, let us know).
Once you’re accepted into the program, we’ll work with you to develop a reasonable budget and a plan for landing financial partners.
Do I get a free T-shirt? We haven’t done that yet—but it’s not a bad idea.
What if I’ve never spoken a word of German in my life? We won’t tell you, “Auf Wiedersehen!” if you can’t order a currywurst when you arrive.
Don’t know any German? You can start at A1 —the very first level in the European framework for languages. By the end of your first year, we hope your German will be sehr gut!
Umm…what’s a currywurst?It is an integral part of the Berlin diet and an essential element of cultural learning. Want to know more? There’s always Wikipedia.
Do I have to like currywurst? Well, you will be living in Berlin.
What if I already speak German? Fantastisch! You will take an entrance exam at the language school to determine your level and begin there. You’ll still have the opportunity to study German for your first year.
Will I eat, sleep and breathe German? Initially, much of your focus will be learning German. With three-four hours of class each day, homework and practicing around town, you’ll get a lot of German time in!
During your second year in Berlin, you won’t have class, but we hope that you will still be applying and improving your language skills.
Where will I live? We’ll do our best to help you find you an affordable apartment near where you’ll serve and go to school.
Who will I live with? Most participants live with roommates —sometimes those roommates are German, sometimes they are from other countries.
How big is the program? It depends. The program size has varied from four to seven, but we don’t have a minimum or maximum number.
What does a typical day look like? Normally, participants are in class until noon, four to five days a week. Your afternoon and evening schedule will depend upon where you live and where you serve. Typical afternoon activities include serving, studying and connecting with teammates. On your free evenings and weekends, we hope you’ll participate in community life, get to know the city, get involved in a local church and build relationships.
What is training like? Ideally, you will train with the rest of the cohort, both in the US and in Berlin. While you’re here, you’ll have track days and monthly coaching sessions. You will also have training geared specifically to your service opportunity. We see the entire experience as a time for both service and learning—so that you are ready for whatever leadership your future holds.
I’ve never lived in another country or a city as large as Berlin. Can I hack it? Life in Berlin will be different than life in the city or town you are from – that’s for sure. Even though living in a sprawling city in another country is challenging, most participants find they enjoy it (eventually).
We also do what we can to give you resources and skills while you’re here. Eventually, you may even become a resource to new Lab participants as they arrive.
Do I have to like beer? SEE: “Do I have to like currywurst?”
I haven’t finished college yet. Is that a problem? Nope. It’s an advantage to have a degree and area of training or expertise but not required. You do need to be at least 21 years of age.
What if my parents don’t approve? Deciding to move to another country for a year is a big decision – we recommend talking it over with your family. It is also wise to take time to meet with someone you trust in your church community.
Can I have visitors? Family and friends can come after you’ve had time to settle in (usually after five or six months).
Can I make any trips home? Generally, participants don’t make any trips home during their time here. Obviously, life happens, and if you need to get home for a family emergency or über important event, we’ll work with you to get you where you need to be.
Do I get anything for reading all these questions? We’ll treat you to a currywurst when you get here!
So when do I start? Participants land in Berlin every September, but we are always accepting applications! The application process needs to be completed about five to six months before arrival, to allow time for you to attain the necessary training and funds.
Take the next step. If you’re interested in joining us, tell us more about yourself. We’ll be in touch!