Opportunity of a lifetime! August 26, 2019

By (University of Michigan - Ann Arbor) - abroad from 07/08/2019 to 08/16/2019 with

iXperience Berlin – Summer Courses and Internships in Visual Design or Management Consulting

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned about Berlin's culture and history. I learned all about the fundamentals of design theory, how to design a logo and work through the process, create a brand for a company, use Adobe Creative Suite as well as Figma, and work in a team. There is so much more I learned on this trip but it would take too long to list, it was definitely a worthwhile experience.

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.

This program was like no other. I expected what was written in the description - a class & an internship, but I received so much more. Digital Design in Berlin pushed me farther than any other class I've ever taken. I didn't think it was possible to learn so much so fast, but thanks to the amazing professor and TAs, I was well versed in Adobe Creative Suites, logo design, branding, and the fundamentals of design theory within 2 weeks - well prepared for my internship. The internship I had allowed me to work at a startup, giving me a huge project and all the freedom in the world. I redesigned a company's entire website from scratch using my own designs, which was extremely rewarding to see at the end of only one month. But the best thing for me were the friends I made along the way. I never expected to become close with such a big group of people in such little time, but these people have become some of my best friends in the world. iXperience was everything I hoped for and more, not to mention the city of Berlin is incomparable to anywhere else in the world. 11/10!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Program advisors were great. Always there and very responsive no matter the hour, and were always open to talk about anything or just hang out. Extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the ins and outs of the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing could have been improved a little, it was unclear what we should bring and what would be provided. We thought there was complimentary breakfast and a gym which there wasn't, but it was a pretty small problem and easy work around. The apartments were very safe, we each got our own room, and the lobby and basement hang out areas were amazing.

* Food:

AMAZING FOOD. Especially if you love Asian fusion, Berlin is full of sushi, Vietnamese food, Thai, Indian, almost every block. And the Doner kebabs are everywhere and could not be better, especially for the price. All food is very inexpensive if you look correctly (I used Yelp). Very accomodating for dietary restrictions, Berlin is very into vegetarian and veganism and have a lot of restaurants that are all vegetarian or vegan.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Hard to completely fit in with the Berliners. They know exactly who they are and don't care what anyone else thinks. The city has been through a lot historically speaking and people aren't always nice to tourists and people who don't speak German, but by the end I felt like one of them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues, but those who did found a doctor easily, however the co-pay was fairly expensive. Could get reimbursed from US health insurance later though.

* Safety:

Accommodations were very safe, but you do need to be careful at night in Berlin, especially women. There are a lot of creepy men out there so just never walk around alone at night and always have a working phone or know the way home by U-bahn.

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

I would not trade this experience for the world. I would do everything again exactly the same. I definitely made mistakes on this trip of course, but everything worked out perfectly and it was an amazing experience. I would recommend this program to anyone in college looking for an amazing summer.

Finances

* 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 figured I would be spending a lot of money considering we were eating out for almost every meal. If you want to spend not a lot of money it's easy to do as the groceries are very inexpensive. If you're going out for every meal (lunch & dinner usually) it's still very cheap, <5 euros for lunch, ~10 euros for dinner depending where you go. I had budgeted myself for 30 euros a day and had plenty extra. Depends if you want to splurge sometimes, but overall very inexpensive city for food.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $200 or less
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Very easy to spend only $1200 on this 6 week trip, but if you're buying souvenirs, shopping, going out for meals often, and going out on the weekends, budget around $2000 for your time in Berlin.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* 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
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?
  • Skills learned
  • Internship final deliverables
  • People!!!
* What could be improved?
  • More information before arrival
  • Better communication with program advisors before arrival
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had a little more detail on how rigorous the first 2 weeks of class is. We didn't realize we would not only be having class for 4 hours a day, but also having mandatory office hours for 2 hours afterwards, and then a bunch of homework and projects. The first 2 weeks is not a great time for exploring the city, but after the internship starts there is plenty of time to discover Berlin.

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!