A lovely experience in Bonn and Europe Past Review

By (ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE/LETTERS., Drexel University) - abroad from 09/03/2012 to 12/01/2012 with

EPA Internships in Europe: Bonn/Cologne - University study and Internships

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I thought this was a fantastic experience. Not only did I improve my German dramatically, but I also had a lot of independence to travel and spend my time as I wanted.

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.

Classes were very good and extremely small, so we were always able to slow down whenever the class outpaced our understanding. Professors were very knowledgeable and always happy to help us with any issues we may have had, and because classes were so small they could easily adjust the pace and still stay on track.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program director is an incredibly nice and accommodating man, he was always available to help us when necessary. For the first week he conducted an intensive orientation in which he showed us around Bonn and Cologne, then afterwards he would meet with us periodically to ensure that our time in Germany was going well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a host family, and my host parents were two of the nicest people I ever met. They were incredibly kind and generous, and

* Food:

I was initially worried about going to Germany as a vegetarian, but between my host mother's cooking, the bakeries, and restaurants, I was never in need of options.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our program director did everything he could have for us and the classes would often deal with local history, but as we were on our own most of the time and not affiliated with the university, we didn't have too many opportunities to meet German students.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues, but our program director explained how to make emergency calls and said he would always be on hand in the event of an emergency.

* Safety:

Bonn is probably the safest city I have ever been to.

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

Finances

* 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 spent carefully and didn't eat out every day, I also looked for less expensive places to eat in the city that were still good. The dollar to euro exchange rate isn't great, but I never ran out of money.

Language

* 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

Classes were taught completely in German, our professors both spoke English, but that was only used when we they couldn't clarify themselves in German. Our first week was a combination orientation and language bootcamp.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? GER 311: Intro to German Stylistics
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? Take as many courses as possible before going abroad. Focus on conversational classes, and if possible also learn about the culture and how to navigate everyday things like table manners and ordering food.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Flexibility
  • Opportunity to speak German
  • Ability to travel almost every weekend
* What could be improved?
  • Perhaps more opportunities to meet German students
  • Slightly clearer course requirements
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you want to go to Oktoberfest, you need to start planning months in advance.

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.'