Give Germany a Look! Past Review

By (The College of New Jersey) - abroad from 08/31/2012 to 12/22/2012 with

European Study Center: Heidelberg - Study Abroad in the EU

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a perspective of the world, how different cultures life, behave, and respond to life's events. In a way, people of all cultures are the same, but in a way each culture is different. Was it worthwhile? YES! ABSOLUTELY!

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.

The professors leading the classes are extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the subjects they are teaching. They are also sensitive that this is a study abroad experience and will plan out courses so that you can have time to get out and explore.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff are wonderful and will go out of their way to research an excursion, help you plan an independent trip, and give tips about how to get around town. Your wish is truly their command!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The facility is aesthetically beautiful. From the wooden floors to the ceiling to the walls, the common areas are stunning. It almost feels like a museum. One minor drawback, a lot of unavoidable stairs! The European Study Center could not be better. It's right in the middle of a charming neighborhood, right next to hiking trails and a tram stop which allows easy access to the town and the main train station where you can literally take a train almost anywhere in Europe. The basement is unfinished and not the most desirable place to visit. There is a TV room and ping pong table down there, but the creepiness of basement keep most people away, especially at night. I only go down there to do laundry, and I never go down at night, period. In speaking of which, laundry is a 3 euro fee and requires tokens which are only available at the Reception Desk when it is staffed. The fee is annoying by itself, plus you have to make sure you have a token ahead of time if you want to do laundry after-hours or on a Sunday since tokens are not available during these times. The individual bedrooms are basic but come nicely furnished with a desk, wardrobe, and a bed with bedding; plus my room came with some bath towels. The shared bathrooms are fine, no complaints. At least during the early part of my study aboard, the wifi around the Study Center was moody, inconsistent most times and virtually unresponsive in other times, but signs point to the wifi connectivity being improved soon.

* Food:

Food in the area in and around Heidelberg is VERY tasty. But, if you go out to eat on a regular basis, have a budget prepared. It can get expensive quickly. Fortunately, the kitchen in the Study Center is fully functional and cooking meals in there can save you a bundle.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The locals tend to be very kind and welcoming. Most can speak and understand English, but knowing/using German will always be the better and easier option. The Study Center is located in the middle of a residential neighborhood so the culture is literally all around you!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There are hospitals and ERs in town. Other than that, I can't really comment much on this since I have (fortunately) stayed healthy and not needed the health care system in Germany. My 4 star rating is completely arbitrary and means nothing. This computer program is just forcing me to give a rating...

* Safety:

Heidelberg, and Germany in general, are very safe, much safer than most areas in the US in my opinion. That being said, use common sense, and be a little extra careful at night. Drinking too much, getting drunk, and causing a scene outside local bars is also not advised. Keep it in moderation, try to behave, and you should be fine.

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)

It can get expensive if you go out to drink, dine out, or travel far regularly. Preparing meals in the Study Center kitchen saves a lot on meal costs. Grocery prices are comparable to those in the US for most items. (No meal plan was included in my trip. )If you want to travel a lot, be prepared to spend. However, the program cost (including tuition, room, and the planned excursions) was really reasonable and was comparable to the cost a semester at my US school

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Take advantage of the kitchen. Window shop. Find local things to do, these tend to be cheaper than taking a train across the country. Moderate going out to eat and drinking


* 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

You are encouraged to try German, but you can get by with English 95% of the time

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? High School German 3
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Get out and talk to the locals, simple as that. For example, order your restaurant meal in German

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The Study Center building itself
  • The staff at the Study Center
  • The easy of being able to explore and do things
* What could be improved?
  • The basement of the Study Center could be more inviting
  • The reliability of the wifi (if not fixed already)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I studied more German and was fluent in the language. That would put the trip on a whole other level of enjoyment for me.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!