Words from Wellness on Saying “Auf Wiedersehen” to Berlin!

Hello NYU Berliners,

Is it really already mid-May? Just a couple more days and most of you’ll be boarding a plane again and begin your journeys to various parts of the world. No matter whether this semester has been your first experience abroad, your second or third semester away from your home campus, or maybe even part of a routine of changing locations and transitioning cultures, having studied here in Berlin will have made an impact on you for sure.

Remember, your experience is unique. No matter what others might consider a “great time,” the only one who knows what your experience was like is you. Some of you may have fallen madly in love with Berlin, others may feel ready to leave. You may have realized how much you value your friends and family, set new priorities, and discovered that you have more than just one home. Some of you may wish they had done things differently while in Berlin. Hopefully, most of you will consider your experience of the past four months a valuable experience.

Now, take a moment to stand still. Just stop doing what you are doing, clear your mind, and travel back to the moment when you boarded the plane to Berlin. Do you remember what you were thinking and feeling? What did you expect or hope for? Remember how you met us for the first time, how you arrived at the Student Residence or the Academic Center, and how you began your first German class. Do you remember the first German word you tried to pronounce or how you made your first new friend here? Be mindful of where you are now, reflect upon the insights and important skills you have gained, and think about how you are feeling about leaving Berlin in a couple of days.

Before I let you all go, though, try this little exercise: write down five things you are taking with you from Berlin. These can be memories of something you experienced, the acknowledgement of a personal development, an actual item, etc. Really do write it down, as these precious memories might fade with time and now is the moment to preserve them.

Now it’s time for me to say “Auf Wiedersehen.” It has been wonderful getting to know you all. While we will miss you here, we hope that many of you will come back for a second semester, summer internship, personal vacation, or to get an M.A. from a local German university.

Dankeschön for your presence and for your contributions to our community.

Auf Wiedersehen!



Join the Transitions Workshop with Sara and Linn on Tuesday, May 10, 1:45pm-3:00pm, and explore how you feel about your very special journey of the last fourth months!

Join Linn and Sara for a lunchtime workshop on Transitions and a conversation about the best ways to say “Auf Wiedersehen” to Berlin! How are you feeling about your departure, reunion with your family and friends, your plans for the summer break, and about finding your place in a familiar, changed, or completely new place? What are you looking forward to? What do you imagine are your resources (academic and emotional) at your next destination?

Explore how you feel about your very special journey of the last fourth months and reflect upon what you have acquired and accomplished during your time in Berlin. We will also talk about assorted challenges you might experience as part of your cultural, academic, and emotional transitions and practice strategies for self-care, reflection, and mindfulness. We will meet in room “Prenzlauer Berg” on Tuesday, May 10, at 1:45pm. A light lunch will be served to all participants. Bis bald, wir freuen uns auf Sie! 

Important Security Advice for Your Upcoming Spring Break Travels

Hello Travelers,

As you know, there were several explosions on Tuesday morning in Brussels, which led to the closing of both the airport and the subway system. With many of you either traveling or planning to travel, we wanted to make sure you were aware of these incidents and share some important guidelines for you to follow.

  1. Be aware of your surroundings at all times, particularly when traveling to areas that tend to attract large numbers of tourists. If something feels unsafe, trust your instincts and move to a location that feels safer.
  2. Please make sure that you notify your local Student Life team of any planned travels, as well as register your trip in NYU Traveler. In an emergency, these steps enable us to connect with you more quickly.
  3. If your personal travel plans were taking you to Brussels over the next few days, please consult with us to discuss your trip and potentially identify alternatives.
  4. If you have an itinerary that has you connecting through Brussels, please contact your airline or railway as soon as possible to try to identify an alternate route. You should anticipate widespread flight delays and cancellations.
  5. Carry a charged mobile phone with you at all times and ensure that we have your local phone number.
  6. Check in often with your friends and family while traveling to let them know you are safe.
  7. Should you need assistance at any time, the NYU Public Safety Command Center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be reached by calling +1.212.998.2222.
  8. If your personal travel plans were taking you to Brussels over the next few days, please consult with us to discuss your trip and potentially identify alternatives.

This week’s attacks in both Istanbul and Brussels, and the US State Department’s update to its existing Worldwide Caution Message earlier this month unfortunately serve as strong reminders to all of us about the need to heighten our security awareness.

We know you join us in sending our thoughts and condolences to the people of Brussels and Istanbul, and please know that your health and safety is always at the forefront of our minds.


Be Your Own Best Friend – Words from Wellness on Self-Compassion!


Hello NYU Berlin students,

Tomorrow is the first day of your much deserved spring break – a beautiful occasion to pause for a moment, to appreciate the relationships and opportunities that make our lives special, to breathe, self-reflect and practice self-care.

Take a moment to reflect upon how you usually treat yourself – do you allow yourself to get enough sleep, eat properly, exercise and spend enough time outside? When was the last time you made yourself a sincere compliment? Try to remember a situation you experienced as being difficult because you had gotten into an argument, made a mistake, or had not achieved something that you had wanted to. How do you usually respond when feeling rejected, unimportant, jealous, sad or anxious? Do you comfort yourself, acknowledge your pain and give negative emotions the room that they need? Or do you tell yourself off, trying to suppress disappointment or concerns?

Many of us fall into a routine of treating ourselves in a much stricter and harsher way than we treat others. However, this behavior is very harmful in the long run. It takes its toll on our sense of self-worth and inhibits growth and development. Of course it is important to practice self-criticism in life, to push ourselves, to set boundaries, and to acknowledge failure, but we should do so in an understanding, kind, and self-compassionate way.

When trying to be self-compassionate for the first time, we sometimes feel afraid to come across as being “full of ourselves” or egocentric. But don’t worry, these characteristics are worlds apart from inner kindness.

Dr. Kristin Neff, one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion, has designed the following exercise, which I find immensely powerful:

Please take out a sheet of paper and answer the following questions:

  1. First, think about times when a close friend feels really badly about him or herself or is really struggling in some way. How would you respond to your friend in this situation (especially when you’re at your best)? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you typically talk to your friends.
  2. Now think about times when you feel bad about yourself or are struggling. How do you typically respond to yourself in these situations? Please write down what you typically do, what you say, and note the tone in which you talk to yourself.
  3. Did you notice a difference? If so, ask yourself why. What factors or fears come into play that lead you to treat yourself and others so differently?
  4. Please write down how you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you typically respond to a close friend when you’re suffering.

Why not try treating yourself like a good friend and see what happens?

(source: www.self-compassion.org)

Maybe you want to try this exercise and experiment with this new behavior towards yourself for a week or two.

I wish you a wonderful break and sage bis bald,


Words from Wellness #3: Meet ze Berliners!

Hello NYU Berlin students,

I hope you have been enjoying your first six weeks in the city. Have you met some Berliners yet?

Being from Berlin myself, I know that Berliners can come across as somewhat gruff if you don’t know them well, but let me reassure you that, by and large, people have huge(!) hearts that just happen to come with a large “snout” at times. This is what we call the “Berliner Schnauze” (Berlin Snout). People here have a somewhat rugged sense of humor. Ur-Berliner (native Berliners) are also really gemütlich. They like to stay in their Kiez for their daily whatabouts and enjoy their routines. If they feel disturbed or irritated, they’ll let you know in their very special, radically honest way. They know no sugarcoating. The clue to survival is humor – many Berlinerisch expressions are actually very funny (I’m sure your German teachers will tell you more about that), and Berliners laugh a lot about each other and themselves. It’s this comradeship of entertaining each other just by being yourself that creates an invisible bond between Berliners –natives or newcomers.

Berliner und HundeAnother thing you have to know about Berliners is that they love their city. For them, there is no place that compares and many of them will feel exiled when they’re away. Accordingly, Berliners refer to themselves as Berliner Pflanzen (Berlin plants), which implies that repotting may be difficult. In that respect, try to make a local friend and let them “spread the love.” They will eagerly tell you about their hometown and why it is so dear to them.

Even though the above might not immediately feel “attractive” to you, try to see it as a chance to experience a different way of interacting with each other. Different is just different – nothing less (things really are different) and nothing more (different does not have to be bad).

I’ll see you around!

Bis bald,

Yoga Lovers – Tuesday Yoga Cancelled due to Low Attendance! Please Contact Sara for Alternative Group Sessions if You are Interested.

Liebe Yoga-Freunde,

Due to very low attendance these past weeks, Sara will unfortunately not be able to offer yoga sessions on Tuesday afternoons anymore.

If you would like to continue with these sessions and inquire about alternative meeting times, please contact Sara directly at sara.zeugmann@nyu.edu. She will try to accommodate alternative requests for groups of at least 3-4 students.
Thank you for your understanding and happy relaxing!

Shopping Bio in Berlin – Our Resource Sheet

Wondering where to get good quality Bio (German for “organic”) produce for your dinner? Like many other countries, Germany has a healthy population of foodies concerned about the source, seasonality, and quality of their ingredients. Here’s an overview of what’s available in Berlin.


The LPG BioMarkt, at Mehringdamm 20-30, is probably the closest to the Residence. It’s two stops on the U6, but it’s also an easily walkable distance. LPG is the oldest organic chain in the city and it is also one of the most reasonably priced. They run a membership program, but even without membership, their prices are on par with or even cheaper than the other markets. With another LPG location at Senefelder Platz, one stop from the AC, you could also pick up your groceries on the way home!

The TEMMA-BioMarkt, in the basement of the Q shopping mall at Gendarmenmarkt, also has a claim on proximity to the Residence, but as the “high-end” line from Rewe, it’s noticeably more expensive.

Bio Company is the biggest organic chain in the city. In the Residence, we’re about midway between two branches: one is in Bergmannkiez and the other is just north of the river on Friedrichstrasse.

These three markets scratch just the surface. Around the city you’ll find other chains like Denn’s Biomarkt, Vitalia, and Alnatura.



The Wochenmarkt (farmer’s market) nearest to the AC is at Kollwitzplatz on Thursdays and Saturdays.

Markthalle 9 in Kreuzberg, where you may have been for Street Food Thursdays, also hosts a Wochenmarkt during the day on Fridays and Saturdays.


A Word on Labels

There are a number of different organic certifications within the EU. The Bio-Siegel is by far the most common you’ll see in Germany, and you’ll find products meeting its standard in Kaiser’s and Edeka—which is to say, it’s not particularly selective and some have called its lax criteria into question. At the other end of the selectivity spectrum is Demeter, the oldest biodynamic certification in the world (started in 1928), whose farms and products need to renew their certification annually. For some of the tastiest milk you’ll ever drink, try the Demeter-certified milk from Brodowin, a dairy farm just outside of Berlin.

And, as always, members of Residential Life would be happy to try any of your baked confections!


Words from Wellness: Free Yoga Sessions, Guided Meditation, and other Relaxation Techniques with Sara EVERY Tuesday, 2:00-3:00PM!

MeditationDear NYU Berlin students,

As the semester is in full swing, I will be offering free Yoga sessions, guided meditation, and other relaxation techniques for you to establish a little island of inner peace throughout your busy days, check in with yourselves, and become more mindful.

We will start on February 23 with some gentle yoga stretches followed by a beautiful guided imagery exercise.

WHEN: beginning next Tuesday, February 23, 2016, 2:00PM

Tuesdays: 2:00 – 3:00PM

WHERE: Room “Tempelhof” at the Academic Center. Please be on time.

WHO: all levels are welcome

WHAT TO BRING: something comfortable to wear (no shoes), mats will be provide

I look forward to seeing you on the mat.


PS: If you have any questions regarding the classes, just e-mail me beforehand at sara.zeugmann@nyu.edu or come by my office.


Join Sara and Linn for a Workshop on “Survival Communication Skills for your Berlin WG” in Room “Tempelhof” on Tuesday, February 16, at 1:45PM

Have you ever felt the need to label your eggs or hide the olive oil?  Does the pile of dirty dishes in your shared kitchen resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Are you starting to have doubts that your roommate can actually speak? Are you worried about your friend or suite mate, but unsure how to address this with him/her? Do you feel isolated or misunderstood in your living community?

Maybe some of these scenarios sound familiar. Maybe you are curious to explore what you (and your roommates) need to feel comfortable in each other’s company. Maybe you are interested in improving your communication and conflict resolution skills.
Join Sara and Linn in room “Tempelhof” at the NYU Berlin Academic Center this coming Tuesday at 1:45PM and make your home “your castle” again.

Großstadtsport – Exercise and Relaxation in Berlin

If you feel that after indulging in Currywurst and other heavy German delicacies, it is now time for action, see below for our recommendations for gyms, fitness centers, and yoga studios.

While NYU Berlin doesn’t partner with any facility in particular, we can point you to a few options in the vicinity of the Academic Center and the Student Residence. In past semesters, students have used the following


Lady Company— located in the Kulturbrauerei

Women-only gym



Holmes Place Lifestyle Clubs — Friedrichstraße 68

Features a pool



Fitness & Friends — Behrenstraße 47, U-Bahnhof Französische Straße



Although McFit (https://www.mcfit.com/de/), a chain with a small membership fee, might seem like the cheapest option, we advise a lot of caution in that choice—you get what you pay for.


Yoga Studios: 

Jivamukti Yoga – Brunnenstrasse 29 (Mitte) and Oranienstrasse 25 (Kreuzberg)


Peace Yoga – Glogauer Straße 19 (Kreuzberg)


Yellow Yoga – Mariannenstrasse 48 (Kreuzberg)


Spirit Yoga – various studios, also in Mitte


Yoga for All Mankind – Greifswalder Strasse 9 (Prenzlauer Berg)


All yoga studios listed above offer courses taught in English.


You may consider walks in Tiergarten or Grunewald or swimming in one of the city’s many indoor and outdoor pools. It’s not uncommon for pools to have days or evenings only for women (“Frauenschwimmen”), for “naturists” (FKK), or for romantics (Romantikschwimmen). The pool nearest to the residence is Schwimmhalle Fischerinsel, but Googling “Stadtbad” will find you many more. Even closer to the residence there’s a nice, but more costly spa/pool called Liquidrom with music playing underwater.

Achtung! – A Note of Caution

No matter whether joining a gym, a yoga class, or a dance studio, please make sure to carefully read through all terms and conditions stated in your contract before signing it. Look out for:

  • your rights to cancel the agreement,
  • any hidden or extra charges,
  • what your contract entitles you to. For example, will you have access to all the facilities or are some excluded?

Many gyms will offer student discounts, but try to sell you a year-long contract. Point out that you will only be in Berlin for the duration of the semester and clarify the billing and cancellation procedure before committing to anything. For example, can you pay in cash at the beginning of each month when you have a better idea what your schedule will look like for the upcoming weeks?  Although you may feel keen on attending the gym regularly now, this may change depending on the projects you decide to take on or during final exam period. You might consider submitting your membership termination papers (effective May 20) as soon as you sign up, as some gyms may require a certain amount of notice.

Shop around for the offer that suits you best. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to check with the NYU Berlin Student Life and Residential Life Staff. We are always happy to help!