Exceeded expectations! Past Review

By (Bowdoin College) - abroad from 09/04/2018 to 12/22/2018 with

IES Abroad: Berlin - Study Abroad With IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I definitely improved my German skills, in reading, writing, and speaking! I met new friends who shared my passion for German, which was actually super cool for me, coming from a super small school where all of my German classes had fewer than 7 students. I got to know the beautiful city of Berlin and made connections with Berliners that I will keep for a long time!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Workload was considerable but likely only because it was all in German.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

In the case of any concerns or problems, the staff at IES was always available and willing to help, super approachable and friendly. My only complaints would be an occasional lack of organization and communication, especially at the beginning of and prior to the program about scheduling.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was in a homestay, and my hosts were super friendly, generous, and excited to chat and help me improve my German.

* Food:

The food options in Berlin were great! As a major metropolitan center, there were all sorts of cuisines and options for vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, kosher...

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt integrated through my homestay, but there were also opportunities through the international club at Humboldt to interact with local students, though I felt sometimes intimidated to go on my own.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

As a young woman, I sometimes felt on edge walking home late at night alone. But in general I felt safe and comfortable walking around the city and using public transport at any time of day.

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? $40


* 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

At the beginning and during orientation they were pretty lenient about us speaking only in German, especially because they wanted us to understand everything related to health and safety. But once our intensive German lessons began they encouraged us more to talk to use as much German as possible, by speaking to us primarily in German and encouraging us to speak to one another in German outside of class. In all of my classes the professors encouraged, if not required, that we conduct all conversations and discussions in German and do all assignments in German.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Fourth semester college German
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? If you are living in a homestay, speak with your host(s)! Really. If you don't know a word, ask!

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Classes and professors
  • Students
  • Staff (including student assistants)
* What could be improved?
  • Communication prior to program, especially about scheduling
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Berlin is a really awesome city! People may tell you that Berliners will only speak English with you once you hear their accent, but that is definitely not always true. It's on you to be assertive with your German--that's why you're here! Plus, it's more fun that way!

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!