A Wonderful Adventure August 22, 2017

By (The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 04/01/2016 to 07/20/2016 with

European University Viadrina: Frankfurt - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became fluent in German and learned so much about German history by experiencing it. I was absolutely worthwhile.

Review Photos

European University Viadrina: Frankfurt - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I took two intensive courses at the same time as I was taking two regular semester long courses. One of the semester long courses was taught in German. This meant that the last couple weeks of my time there were intense academically but I enjoyed this even though there was a lot of work. The first half of my time was very relaxed so it also balanced out.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The office for international students was small so I got to know the administration well. They were kind and helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had my own room in walking distance from the university and right across from the grocery store. There was also a tram station down the street from my appartment.

* Food:

Food is inexpensive and there are a variety of options especially in the sister city in Poland called Subice. Slubice is only a 10 minute walk from the university and there is no border control so it is easy to get there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I got involved in a bible study through a local Catholic church and volunteered with refugees that were supported by a local Lutheran church. I also made a lot of German friends through my classes. Because of my weekly interactions with locals I felt very integrated.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

My university provided the needed health insurance that was accepted by the university. I had no health issues while I was there.

* Safety:

Germany is on the whole a very safe country. However Frankfurt (Oder) felt a little less safe than other German cities because of higher unemployment and homelessness in the local population.

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

I made life-long friendships with people from all over Europe.

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)

Rent and food were very affordable especially compared to other places in Germany. Transportation is paid for with part of the matriculation fee and allows travel throughout the state of Brandenburg and Berlin in addition to within Frankfurt (Oder).

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around 360 Euros including rent
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do all your shopping on the Polish side since the Euro is worth four times the Polish currency.

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

Exchange students get one free German language class. I especially challenged myself to practice my German while I was there.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? a C1 certification class
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? Try to meet German students in your classes and at the cultural events. Don't be afraid to practice German with the other exchange students even if it is easier to speak English.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • N/A
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Connecting with other exchange students from all over the world
  • The location near Berlin and Poland
  • The classes I took
* What could be improved?
  • The way that the semester class schedule is organized
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that the city would be very different from any other German city I had been to.

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.'