I already want to go back! Past Review

By (Bryant University) - abroad from 01/11/2012 to 05/11/2012 with

IES Abroad: Freiburg - European Union

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Many new friends; the German language, food and culture; cultural differences and structure of the EU; and more patience with myself. I am already hoping to return to Europe in order to explore more of the countries I was not able to see while abroad.

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 IES Center has limited hours and a small library for studying, therefore it was sometimes hard to study for a test or get homework done in a quiet place other than your dorm rooms. The professors would fair though and the workload was manageable.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff was helpful and knowledgeable about the city, courses, and resources.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with German students as well as others from the program really enhanced my international experience.

* Food:

Food at the Mensa Cafeteria was often good and at a reasonable price. There were many delicious places to go to around town and it is fairly easy to cook in the dorm kitchens as well.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We experienced Carnival down town and would wander through shops. Also talking to our German roommates and the staff at the center helped us to learn more about the culture as well, however our program was gone for three weeks which did not include personal trips so I was not around enough to feel completely integrated.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Before the program, we got a list of doctors and phone numbers to call for certain issues. Everyone who had health problems seemed to be treated fairly quickly.

* Safety:

Freiburg is a small, student city so we were fine walking around town without any problems and the Germans are kind to international students. It is always essential to not wander off on your own at night though since there could be drunks.

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)

Besides school supplies and shopping for small things you left behind and a few school expenses to get set up, the only expense I had weekly was groceries. I did not eat out as much as others, so it was very affordable.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50 Euro
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to cook in your dorm as much as possible if food is not included with your program. Also, try to pack toiletries and especially generic pain relievers and cold medicine since in other countries you need a prescription to get them. I also strongly encourage the purchase of a cheap bike if the city is biker-friendly since it cuts down the cost of public transportation.


* 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

We did not speak much German outside of German class. We tried around town and got by, but if we struggled, the Germans would switch over the English. The center tried to become more German-speaking towards the end of the semester though.

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? Spanish 3 in High School, No 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? Buy a language book before you depart and practice a few simple words and phrases so that you are somewhat prepared in the airport and getting to your school. This book is also helpful to look at once you get back home as well. Keep a few essential worksheets or notes from your language class abroad and bring them home to review and continue practicing as well. Getting family members excited to learn the language also helps encourage you to keep up your skills and continue using them around the house and with family/ friends.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Traveling for three weeks.
  • Frieburg is a fun, safe city.
  • Living with local students.
* What could be improved?
  • Have the IES Center open for a few more hours.
  • Have a schedule of days and times that classrooms are open to study in.
  • Some days we were at the center almost all day due to classes and meetings.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I grabbed a few recipes from home so that I would be able to cook a better variety of dishes.