I wish I could have stayed in Marburg longer! Past Review

By (Messiah College) - abroad from 02/17/2008 to 07/12/2009 with

Achievement Study Abroad: Semester or year in the Heart of Germany.

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained fluency in the German language, which I had been working toward for several years and couldn't wait to be immersed. I learned to really live on my own for the first time and that openness to new experiences can provide so many opportunities. I gained an appreciation for Mineralwasser (sparkling water), German beer (bitte ein Bit!), and pastries during Kaffeestunde. My first German friend was a girl I met through the tandem language program. We would meet for an hour at a time and spend half the time speaking English/half in German. We developed a great friendship through it and she even came with me to the airport on the day that I left to return home.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a shared home with 5 German students and 2 fellow international students (1 American from my program and 1 Japanese student.) I had my own room for privacy as needed but could easily socialize with my housemates in the common areas like the kitchen and yard outside.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I lived in the heart of the city where my host university was located in a Studentenwohnheim with fellow German & international students. It took a little while to find my place socially, but I discovered that the more I was willing to put into my peer relationships the more I would receive in return. I did my shopping, socializing, and attended classes in the same places as my German peers, so I was very integrated.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have an occasion to use these services, but my program director made it clear what was available and I knew I could ask for help if anything did arise.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Marburg. As in every situation, awareness of one's surroundings & common sense are key, but I did not feel threatened at any time.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I do not recall.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I do not recall.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you're buying groceries and cooking for yourself, I'd recommend shopping at budget-friendly stores like Aldi or Lidl instead of Tegut or Rewe. Look for sales when you can.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

At the beginning of the program, the director Herr Riggs challenged us all to commit to speak only in German as much as we could, even amongst ourselves as American students.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I tested out of all the language courses at the beginning of my degree program.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Don't let anxiety get the best of you. Start small with phrases you know and have probably practiced, like ordering food. Don't be afraid of looking stupid if you don't pronounce or remember things properly. Most Germans are very encouraging when you make an effort!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location
  • Curriculum
  • Flexibility to choose my own class schedule so I could travel
* What could be improved?
  • A basic budgeting guide for the city would have been helpful.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That my German peers would be warm, friendly, and non-judgmental if I took the first step to put myself out there. I think Americans expect to wait for an invitation to be included, but my social experience was that I'd have to take the first step.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'