An Immersive Experience Past Review

By (The College of New Jersey) - abroad from 01/02/2020 to 05/01/2020 with

European Study Center: Heidelberg - Study Abroad in the EU

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to immerse myself in different cultures, especially German. The world is so much bigger than what you hear back home.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I've really enjoyed all my classes here. When I wanted to switch one of my classes, it was no problem.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The on-site administration is a bit disorganized. Important information isn't always communicated with us via e-mail and things travel word-of-mouth which can lead to misinformation. Otherwise, the staff is very nice and helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My room was very clean when I arrived, and it was nice that the ESC provided us with towels and bedding. The bathroom is kept very clean by the cleaning staff. My only issue is the shared kitchen -- it is very hard to keep it clean with so many people sharing it, and I wish our group was separated into two floors so that fewer people were using each kitchen.

* Food:

The ESC did not provide food and we had to cook on our own. We had very good access to all the nearby grocery stores!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated within the local culture. The ESC showed us how to get around town with public transportation and even gave us a list of the best cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, and things to do on the weekends. However, they didn't convey to us how we should be taking advantage of the Student Mensa in Heidelberg... we didn't find out until halfway through our experience that this place was not just a cafeteria like the ESC told us, but a fun hangout for students from the University. Wish we had known that!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I needed to go to the hospital early on in the program, and the ESC took care of everything for me from insurance to translation to getting me there and to the pharmacy afterwards. German health care is very different from US healthcare, as the doctors and services are not as comprehensive. This kind of made me feel like the doctors were missing something from my examination, but I had to trust the medicine they gave me and I was better soon enough.

* Safety:

I never felt like I was in danger in Heidelberg. Even late at night, you will always see people walking and riding bikes through town. Heidelberg is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Germany, and I always felt safe getting around, even if I was alone and going to the grocery store.

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

I couldn't imagine doing this without the help of the ESC. It was so convenient having class downstairs from where I lived. Also, it was awesome how the ESC took us on excursions all over Germany to explore different cities and companies.


* 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)

Groceries are very inexpensive here, and there are many sites to book cheap travel.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Shop at Lidl or Aldi first, and then go to Rewe for whatever you couldn't find at the first two


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • convenience
  • the interns!
  • fun activities and excursions
* What could be improved?
  • organization
  • communication
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew some of the things that we couldn't find in Germany that easily. (grape jam isn't a thing here, and some medicines cannot be purchased over the counter)

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.'