Gaining first-hand experience in the German workplace through an internship. Past Review

By (German and Environmental Science, Illinois College) - abroad from 01/03/2013 to 02/28/2013 with

European Study Center: Heidelberg - Study Abroad in the EU

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much useful information that is applicable towards my field of study. I also learned a lot about the German workplace, which will make it easier for me if I decide to return to German to work. It was definitely worth my time because I not only improved my language and communication, but also learned so much about German protocols and politics.

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 program did a great job of placing me in an environment where I was forced to learn German and also was applicable to my studies back home. The experience and knowledge that I gained in my internship will help me throughout my career.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The European Study Center was very easy to contact and communicate with. Some of the information about the arrival was last minute, but in the end it was all very clear and informative.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The ESC found me a location near my internship that was centrally located in the town. I lived with other German students, so it gave me the opportunity to work on my German at home and to experience what German life is like.

* Food:

The food in Germany is amazing, especially the bread. It is also very cheap. However, the ESC did not provide food during my stay.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Mannheim and Heidelberg are city where you can easily get by with English. However, it was a bit of a shock at first when I had to communicate at my internship completely auf Deutsch. However, the culture is one that is easy to understand if you are willing to do something different every day.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any issues with the healthcare.

* Safety:

Heidelberg and Mannheim are very safe cities. I felt very comfortable being a young woman traveling around the city by myself at all times during the day. The public transportation makes it easy to get around the city and is also a very safe means of travel.

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)

Very easy! It was expensive the first week with all of the upfront charges, but daily living was very cheap. All you had to pay for was grocery's (about 20 euros/week), transportation, and extra activities.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 20-30 Euros


* 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

A majority of the students were from the United States, so it was difficult to communicate in German with them when hanging out. However, the language program and the internship forced me to use my German most 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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300 Level German College Course
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? You can work on knowing the grammer and everything, but most importantly know vocabulary. Also, when you get here, do not be afraid to talk. Talk to everyone and anyone. When you can, use German. That's the best way to learn.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • How applicable my internship was towards my studies
* What could be improved?
  • More guidance or help when figuring out things to do in free time
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known a little bit more of the details before getting to Germany, but I was willing to go with the flow, so it ended up working out well.

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!