Summer in Berlin was the best ever!! Past Review

By (TESOL, South Jefferson High School) for

Goethe Institute: Berlin - German Courses

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This was a great trip and a great experience. Although there wasn't a lot of school/book learning, I learned more German in this month than I had the past year in school. Not only that, but all the boring history that we don't care about when we're in class? Not only do I now care, but when I am learning about places like Berlin and Hamburg and Dusseldorf I can say I've been there - which makes it a lot easier to care about those endless lectures! I loved this program because it gave me the opportunity to grow and learn German, but it was a short enough time that I didn't miss my family and friends from home (too much).

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.

With GAPP students don't actually participate in courses, because it is usually just a 4 or 5 week stay.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Frau Juczak was the best! She spent countless hours helping us to plan this trip, and gave up her summer in order to go with us and spend every day traveling and advising us. She always managed to have everything organized and running smoothly; even though we saw that it was a lot of work. She not only was there for us as a friend and advisor, but her frequent travels to Germany made her a very helpful wealth of information as well!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a wonderful host family that was more than happy to have me there! It was very easy to become accustomed to life in Emden because they were eager to have me and show me around. All of my costs were entirely covered. We lived right outside the city, which was perfect. We were far enough away that it was quiet and peaceful, but with just a 10 minute bike ride we were right in the center of town with the cafes, shops, clubs, and everything else we could need or want.

* Food:

My host family was great about my being a vegetarian! I always had plenty to eat - frequently more than plenty - and I never had to feel shy about not liking something or not being able to eat it because of my allergies/being a vegetarian. Sam's Cafe and Grand Cafe are both great for food and drinks, but if you want ice cream the Rialto is the best you'll ever find!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Whether I was just hanging out with friends of my host sister, spending time with other Americans, touring around Emden with my bike, or going on GAPP arranged trips to Hamburg and Borkum, there was always something going on - and it was usually covered by GAPP!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

We actually had only one potential health problem the entire trip. The first few days one of my friends who was with me had problems with his eye. Our advisor quickly found a doctor for him to go to and set up an appointment - and our health insurance would have covered it all had he gone. Thankfully though he didn't end up needing the appointment.

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)


* 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 entire time I was in Emden, I was submerged in a culture which forced me to speak and practice my German. When I came home I was so used to speaking German that it made my classes here very easy! Of course, Europe is very international, so if you didn't want to speak German it was easy enough to find people who would speak English, and many young adults wanted to speak English to gain practice themselves.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

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  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't second guess it - this is a great program! It's wonderful because you can stay for just a short time, but because of how deeply submerged you are in the culture you learn so much! You'll meet lots of life long friends too. Be prepared to not want to leave at the end of the time there though. I even went back this year!