Deutschland: Laid back, enjoyable opportunity to galavant around Europe? Past Review

By (Maryland Institute College of Art) for

Fachhochschule Schwabisch Hall School of Art & Design: Schwaebisch Hall - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Definitely worthwhile. I learned a lot about how other countries view America, about the history of Europe, how to be independent and travel efficiently on my own without the benefit of a car, about Germany's culture and language and gained some new understanding about how I'd fancy living my life.

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.

Approach to classes was more laid back and independent, and while I did enjoy the expanse of free time I had to explore and learn on my own, I feel that perhaps it was too loose and that I tend to produce more work while at MICA. The other international students there (not MICA students - two from England and two from UMBC) felt similarly. Given the amount of time available I might have been able to self-motivate to accomplish more if I hadn't grabbed the opportunity to travel as much as I did instead. I learned a lot life-experience wise but perhaps not as much as I had hoped academically. (Other than German itself. My ability to speak the language improved immensely in my time there. By academically in this case I mean technically/artistically.)

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The school felt really disorganized and there was no sort of greeting or program specifically for the international students. We had to seek out and arrange most of what we wanted ourselves and with the help of Fried Dahn.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartment was large, comfortable and affordable. Schwaebisch Hall is the sort of small town where you can wander anywhere at any hour and feel perfectly safe.

* Food:

Despite being vegetarian, I adore German food. There was still plenty of eat! Lots of noodles, cheese and tasty breads. (German bakeries are excellent, as are the foods in Hofbrauhauses.) Very heavy, filling meals.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Not so much arranged by my program itself, but the other international students and I took it upon ourselves to travel frequently and had some excellent adventures. The only trip we went on with the school itself was a field trip to Frankfurt to see some museums, which was alright.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I guess I'll reiterate the statement that Schwaebisch Hall feels 100% safe in all respects.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

The Fachhochschule found an instructor specifically for the international students so that we could take a course to improve our German, but we had to prod them quite a bit to get it arranged in the first place. Most of my language skills were developed just by speaking German in shops and markets, insisting on speaking in German with the students from Schwaebisch Hall and traveling, befriending Germans and enlisting their aid in learning. I stayed with some Germans I met in Krefeld for a couple weekends and they wanted to practice their English while I wanted to practice my Deutsch, so we made an arrangement where they would speak in English to me and I would speak auf Deustch back at them, and we would correct each other whenever we made mistakes. Definitely an excellent experience.

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

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Given that the Fachhochschule Schwaebisch Hall is closing within the next few years, my advice would be not to go. Germany is an excellent country though, so perhaps try the exchange program to Hamburg instead.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instructor: Guido Kuehn
Instruction Language: German
Comments: One of my better courses there. Kind of an open studio in which we could produce any variety of video/animation/motion graphics project we desired. Guido gave very direct and helpful critiques.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Graphic Design

Course Department:
Instructor: Peter Grossman
Instruction Language: English
Comments: He gave us a lot of specific, exercise-assignments similar to how a MICA class might be executed but did not give us a lot of feedback. I wish we had received critiques on each assignment so that we would have known what to do to improve it, rather than submitting it all at the end. I had never taken a graphic design course before and was pretty lost as to the techniques involved.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instructor: Fried Dahn
Instruction Language: English and German
Comments: Learned to use Acid Pro which is a great audio editing program. Enjoyed Fried's approach to the course overall, though I wish he did less unrelated talking and that we had more specific projects (we only had two all semester long).
Credit Transfer Issues: