BerLIT Past Review

By (American University) - abroad from 09/03/2018 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 learned a lot about myself, such as how I handle change and what I value. I also gained a deeper understanding for the German culture and its people.

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.

Due to all classes being in German, it was difficult to have in-depth discussions about class topics or work with complex readings and theories. However, the German language aspect definitely challenged me and I enjoyed learning the German vocabulary for academic topics that interest me. There were also native German student assistants to provide extra tutoring and look over essays.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were very accommodating and receptive to the needs of students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in a home stay with a 50 year old woman and her cat, which was great because the cat slept with me almost every night and my host was able to provide recommendations and advice about things to do in the city. It was also nice because we didn't do everything together but still had a good relationship.

* Food:

Food in Berlin is so inexpensive, it was wonderful! It was also a good change of pace to have doener or falafel as fast food instead of hamburgers all the time, even though McDonalds as an option did exist. There are also a ton of different types of restaurants for all cravings.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I joined a local rugby team, so that was a good way to meet Berliners and do something I'm interested in. I felt pretty integrated, especially after getting around the city on my own for four months.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had to visit the dentist while in Germany, so staff members helped me find an English-speaking office and place that took my insurance.

* Safety:

I never felt worried for my safety, but I also made sure to keep my phone, wallet, and keys in inside pockets and watch my backpack when in large crowds.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

The staff members on site were super supportive, I learned a lot in my classes, and my German skills definitely improved. IES created a good balance between helping students and letting us learn on our own.


* 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)

I did not directly pay for housing, so I'm not counting that. However, food was very affordable and I honestly spent most of my money on going out and doing homework at cafes everyday.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30-40 euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Record your expenses and make a budget to know where you're spending money and how to minimize extra costs.


* 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

All classes were in German, so we were expected to speak the language in the classroom as well as read and write in German. On program excursions and outside of the classroom, we were encouraged but not pushed to speak 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? German 300
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? Use it! Also watch TV in the 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?
  • German language
  • PeopleIts
* What could be improved?
  • Getting schedule ahead of time
  • More field trips
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's almost impossible to find Dayquil in Germany, and you will get sick, so bring your own!

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!