Personal growth in a beautiful city Past Review

By (Political Science (International Relations/Comparative Government), University of the Incarnate Word) - 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?
Strength and patience

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.

I have zero complaints except for one of my classes. We have gone over the actual textbooks maybe ten percent of the time. The instructor opts for sharing anecdotes and reading from books irrelevant to the material instead of going through the chapters. While it's an enjoyable class anyway, that makes it really difficult come test time. My other ESC classes are good.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All of the coordinators and the director are very helpful. They seem to genuinely care about us having the best experience possible and address our concerns promptly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The basement is pretty bleak. That area, especially the laundry room, seriously needs to be updated. Our rooms have good furniture and comfortable beds and bedding. It would be nice if the bathrooms and kitchen were also updated, but I don't find that as urgent as the basement. Our common areas are nice and have good couches. Overall, the villa is beautiful.

* Food:

Quite a few options available in the area for a quite bite, dining out, and buying groceries. There's no meal plan, so plan accordingly.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated. What little German I remember from high school helped a lot, as did joining a local gym and taking random trips around the city (sometimes just to check out different areas) on my own or with others.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

No vaccines necessary, and all of my health concerns were addressed

* Safety:

Heidelberg is extremely safe.

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)

Budgeting is key. Taking the time to cook would have saved me a lot of money, however having dinner and breakfast at home almost every day was helpful.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook at home


* 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

I'm somewhere in between the beginner/intermediate stages

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? AP German IV (received credit for Elementary German I, and Elemen
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Use it whenever you can. Don't be the annoying American who walks in and asks "Srechen Sie englisch?" right after walking into places. Try to speak what you're learning if you're taking a class. If you're not, going online to look up phrases is a good idea.

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

  • 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?
  • public transportation semester card
  • excursions
  • location
* What could be improved?
  • basement
  • bathrooms
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That it's a little bit more expensive to live here than I had anticipated