Kerry, speaking before the meeting, reminisced about his days in a divided Berlin as the son of a U.S. diplomat.
"As you mentioned a moment ago, I did have the privilege of spending a few youthful years here a long time ago," he said. "I can remember bicycling right out here and going past the Reichstag, which was then in a state of destruction. And what you have done for this city and for the country is nothing short of remarkable."
At a town hall-style meeting with students, Kerry also talked about making an unauthorized bicycle trip to East Berlin, the Boston Globe reported. He said when his father, Richard Kerry, learned about it he took away his passport and grounded him.
"I saw the difference between the east and the west. I saw people wearing darker clothing," Kerry said about the trip. "There were fewer people in the street, there were fewer cars. I didn't feel the movement or the energy that existed elsewhere."
Kerry's first stop after he left Washington on Sunday was Britain. He arrived in Berlin on Monday night.
The trip, which ends March 6, takes in nine countries in Europe and the Middle East.