Berlin: An Adventure Awaits! Past Review

By (Amherst College) - abroad from 06/07/2016 to 07/22/2016 with

IES Abroad: Berlin - Study Abroad With IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
In addition to learning a lot about Berlin, Germany, and their population, I learned a lot about myself and what kind of person I want to be in the world. Interacting with all of these new people, places, and things really made me realize how much of the world is still out there for me to explore and learn about! There's so much to look forward to.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I think the academics could have been a bit more rigorous or structured (hence the 4.5 stars and not 5), but I definitely learned a lot!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The orientation was really well-done, and the administration was really accessible if I ever had any questions or concerns.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I stayed with a host family in Kreuzberg. My host parents were really wonderful: they gave me a lot of advice about things to do in Berlin and did a lot to include me.

* Food:

Doner is a must when you're in Berlin! It was certainly an adjustment for me, though, to buy and cook my food consistently. I was not the best at it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It definitely falls on you to mix with the local culture, since this is not IES's focus. IES gave us a lot of information about places to go and things to do around Berlin, but I found it all too easy just go to those places and do those things with my American friends in the program, rather than trying to meet locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had a health problem while I was abroad, but they cover health care and the like pretty thoroughly in the orientation.

* Safety:

IES was really great about keeping us updated on any security and safety issues. There were a few protests that we warned about, and even a few terror attacks in Germany (but not in Berlin) that occurred while I was abroad. But I never felt unsafe.

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)

Groceries were fairly cheap. What gets you is eating out a lot, buying souvenirs, and traveling costs. Be sure to budget!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150


* 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

Our German instructor was lovely. She always began class by asking us for phrases or words that we wanted to know so we could use them in our daily interactions while abroad. They definitely encouraged us to speak as much German as possible while abroad!

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
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? I had taken ZERO German before my program!
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • 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?
  • orientation
  • location
  • public transportation
* What could be improved?
  • accessibility to/interaction with locals
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Try and spend as much time outside of your homestay/dorm/apartment so you can experience as much of the city as possible -- but don't forget to take a break every once and awhile, too.

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!