Study at Berlin's Goethe Institute Past Review

By (Economics., MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for

Goethe Institute: Berlin - German Courses

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I had an amazing time, made life-long friends, and significantly improved my German language ability. I love Berlin, and I will never forget my time there. I've been back once and look forward to returning, for a couple weeks or, maybe, longer.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Summer 2004

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned the most about German/Berlin culture on this program. The program made a lot of information available to us. I can't say that most of my friends and I took it extremely seriously. Probably the biggest negative was that, even though my classmates were from all over the world, we all mostly spoke English to one another for convenience. The older people, who appreciated the learning opportunity more, seemed to learn more.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The trip was incredibly organized. My home stay was great. Classes and cultural activities took up the entire working day. At night, it was more informal and I would mostly do homework and sleep but sometimes I'd visit with my classmates. They activities were great; Goethe personell were great, including the teachers. They were so knowledgeable about Germany and German history and culture, in addition to being great language teachers. I don't remember feeling any complaints regarding the organizers of my experience.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had a homestay in Kreuzberg, an area of Berlin. I had a great time, felt very safe, and really enjoyed the local cuisine (e.g. tons of Gyros). Not to mention there were ample, high-quality internet cafes. It was funny to me to hear older Germans or people who hadn't been back to Berlin for years talk about Kreuzberg. I guess it used to be a "bad" area of town, and it certainly isn't the most wealthy area. I think people's perspectives on things like that tend to change very slowly.

* Food:

I ate so many Gyros, especially in Kreuzberg, my area within Berlin.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I fell in love with two beautiful girls on my trup: an Italian girl and a Barcelona native. I've stayed in touch with them and, loosely through Facebook, a couple other people from my class of ~20.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I really had no concerns regarding Safety and Health. Germany is one of the more modern countries in the world (at least economically), so it's really a very safe place.

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)


Language acquisition improvement?

They certainly improved, but I was nowhere near fluent by the end. Five years later, I hardly speak the language, but I would still feel comfortable moving to Germany and just re-learning everything by interacting with people. I learned and have retained a pretty good accent for someone who doesn't really speak the language.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

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

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you love Berlin or want to give Berlin a chance, do this program, then stay for another week or so on your own. You will learn German and live with a German family. You will have a group of several other same-aged kids and then some older people. It's action-packed and very fun.