Berlin: Arm aber Sexy Past Review

By (Political Science and Government., Austin College) - abroad from 08/27/2013 to 12/13/2013 with

IES Abroad: Berlin - Study Abroad With IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was certainly worthwhile. My German improved, I met some great people, and I learned a good deal about the German culture

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Most of the courses were well taught and I enjoyed the discussion based format. The work load tended to be heavy, but I would say that the grading was not usually particularly hard.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had the fortune of living with a wonderful host family, an experience I highly recommend for those wanting to immerse themselves in the culture.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Because the IES Abroad students are all Americans, the program at times felt insular and somewhat isolated from the local Berlin culture. There were however plenty of opportunities to branch out by doing things like volunteer work, taking courses at Humboldt, or joining a sports team.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I generally felt perfectly safe in Berlin, but like in most big cities, it is important to be aware of your surroundings.

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)

Though it depends on your lifestyle, I found it easy to live fairly cheaply in Berlin.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $45-55


* 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

Living with a German host family and having courses and course work all in German meant we had frequent exposure to the language.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate German university courses
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? Get as much exposure as possible. Movies, TV, music, news articles, and books are all great ways to practice a language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • The city of Berlin
  • Living with a host family
  • Exposure to the German language
* What could be improved?
  • The repetitive paperwork, reviews, and forms could be consolidated
  • Better preperation for re-entry tasks
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known that it was going to be difficult to really get involved at Berlin's Humboldt University as a semester student. I wish I had gone either for a full year or in the Spring, so that I could have taken some courses at HU and gotten involved in some of their clubs.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!