Family friendliness has many facets, which are supported by institutions at the universities in Berlin and Charité: the Family Support Center at Humboldt-Universität, the Dual Career & Family Service at Freie Universität, the Family Services Office at Technische Universität Berlin, and the Family Office of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. These bodies act as the central points of contact for all questions surrounding the subject of balancing studies, work, and family life. Students and employees who have children or family members who require care can obtain individual advice and special services.
One of the primary ways these institutions support parents is in finding childcare arrangements. The universities and Charité cooperate with childcare facilities to provide this service. The Studierendenwerk Berlin student union operates its own childcare centers right near the university campuses in Dahlem, Charlottenburg, and Mitte. In addition, the universities and Charité also offer other childcare services, such as care during vacation periods or conferences. Flexible solutions are also offered for situations when care arrangements are needed on short notice. Another plus is that children of students up to the age of six are eligible to eat lunch free of charge at the dining halls operated by the student union.
The universities and Charité maintain parent-child rooms in their buildings as places where young families can rest and take a break. Numerous nursing rooms and changing areas are available around all of the university grounds. Parents can also turn to the university sports centers for low-cost sports options for them and their children.
Freie Universität, Humboldt Universität, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité have all been certified repeatedly by audit familiengerechte hochschule (family-friendly higher education institution audit). The facilities and institutions providing services to families are connected with each other and throughout Berlin in various ways, such as through the Netzwerk Familie in Hochschule und Wissenschaft Berlin, a network for families in academia and the research center in Berlin.
In 2009, Charité established a point of contact for male employees who are considering taking parental leave to care for their children. The volunteer fatherhood outreach team provides information on overall legal and contractual conditions, offers moral support, and answers all kinds of questions about becoming and being a father.
Image Credit: Sandra Ludewig
A mentoring program at Technische Universität Berlin supports students who have family responsibilities. Student mentors from the same or related degree programs provide subject-specific and organizational support for two semesters. The “TU Tandem” program has been supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the Quality Pact for Teaching since 2012.
Image Credit: Stefan Erhard
In cooperation with the Pflegestützpunkt Steglitz-Zehlendorf care support center, the Dual Career & Family Service at Freie Universität offers a quarterly discussion hour for all topics related to caring for family members who need care. In cooperation with the Center for Continuing Education at Freie Universität, “Fokus Pflege” continuing education classes and workshops are also provided regularly throughout the year to cover subjects related to caring for others.
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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin offers regular vacation-time programs for children of students and employees. Options include programs at the water sports center in Schmöckwitz during the summer and exciting insights into nature and science for the whole family.
Image Credit: Hochschulsport HU Berlin