Schwaebisch Hall: Idyllic and Rewarding Past Review

By (HISTORY., Harvard University) for

Goethe Institute: Berlin - German Courses

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I could have pushed myself more academically, but especially through exploring the city by myself and interacting with locals and other students, I felt accepted in a subtly different way and learned how to really approach the mix of cultural differences and similarities - with honesty and friendliness. At first, I confess that I was learning German in college purely for the fun of it and the chance to study abroad, but after studying abroad, I definitely don't want to abandon the language, as it allows me to keep in contact with friends and communicate with the wonderful people whom I would not otherwise have met or meet in the future.

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.

The grading was very light because it was mostly at the discretion of the instructor, who assigned at least two grammar exercises and a one-page writing exercise every day; the final presentation was voluntary but I enjoyed doing it. The greatest difference in educational system was the result of so many students from disparate backgrounds (culture and age-wise, thus also profession-wise) - much more relaxed, less of the implicit stress on academic scores that is in my university and a focus on enjoyable learning. Given the wide variety of reasons for which we were all there, none of us slacked off despite this comfortable atmosphere.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration addressed all questions promptly and were staffed by interns who were always willing to help. I didn't have any special accessibility/support needs, and what minor issues came up were swiftly resolved.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The cleaning staff was not very good with leaving enough fresh towels for all six of us on that floor, but overall the housing was decent and located very conveniently.

* Food:

There were vegetarian options, but anyone could choose it - I didn't have particular eating preferences so I did not explore that. Portions were often very large, as is the case when one is expected to have a large lunch and small dinner. The meal plan is decent and provides another venue for interacting with fellow students, even if you don't love the food. Restaurants of varying price range are scattered throughout the city and offer a great selection of food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Open-air shows (theater), eating out, touring other cities nearby, museums (including a farm-museum that was a functioning farm), drawing/sketching, cake- and international-buffet- evenings with the institute...

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I didn't encounter any prevalent health issues. I don't remember much being made of safety though; Schwaebisch Hall is by and large quite safe.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I paid for a meal plan upfront, which covered breakfast and dinner on weekdays. 20 Euro a week allows for comfortable eating (you could spend a little less or much more, depending on how often you go to restaurants or prefer to buy from the supermarket and cook).
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? As long as you keep track of your expenses, you should be fine. Nothing is that expensive.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Completed intermediate German level (German C)
Language acquisition improvement?

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

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

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • location, administration, cultural immersion encouragement
* What could be improved?
  • facilitate more interactions between students and locals