Know what you are getting yourself into January 03, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/04/2017 to 12/23/2017 with

Jacobs University: Bremen - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The most worthwhile experience was being able to work in the dialysis clinic.

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.

There are not sufficient on campus resources for students. Professors do not offer office hours, some TA's that are undergraduate students feel they are superior to students currently enrolled in the class, and often provide information to students that is incorrect. Additionally, the classes are memorization based rather than application based. For example, a 5-question quiz was given at the end of a 3 hour lecture (with over 200 powerpoint slides) based on information taken word-for-word from the lecture slides. What would have been an academically rigorous class was turned into a nightmare because there was no way to memorize so many details that often times were barely covered in class.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration at Jacobs is unreliable and ineffective. At every turn, there was a breakdown of communication between the international office and the international students, particularly with the students from Wellesley. The whole school was clique-y and that even extended to the administration. Personally, I did not feel comfortable approaching a certain administrator about problems I had with the way I was treated in one class because she is friends with the two professors who teach it. I also felt that whenever I had problems it wasn't worth it to approach anyone in the administration because they wouldn't fix it/would take too long to fix it. It was also extremely frustrating that we were approved to sign up for classes that conflicted with other classes.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

The food was fine, but there was no signage about allergens/gluten/vegetarian dishes. On multiple occasions, the dish labeled "vegetarian" actually ended up being meat. Additionally, there were foods located in the salad bar and the hot bar that had peanuts in them that had no sign saying it contained nuts or had a sign over the wrong dish. As someone with a severe nut allergy, this made me very uncomfortable eating in the dining halls. If I had known beforehand that I could have opted out of the dining plan, I would have because I spent a large proportion of my stipend on ordering food when I felt uncomfortable eating in the dining hall.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Professors left a student alone in Geneva, Switzerland to navigate the transportation system alone.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I would not go back to Jacobs because it was just like being back in high school. The students were irresponsible, disrespectful, immature, and clique-y. I did not enjoy being in Bremen. I think Wellesley could choose a different place to have the same type of program and it would be just as or more enjoyable than Jacobs.

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 spent a lot of money on food because of my food allergy.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you have a severe allergy, make sure that you communicate that immediately and get out of the meal plan.

Language

* 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

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? German 102
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? It is not necessary for every student to take German while at Jacobs, only the students that are participating in the clinical practicum. The german class I was in was over material that I had already learned at Wellesley, and since no one spoke German on campus or even in the city, I lost a lot of what I knew when I first arrived.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
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?
  • Traveling
  • Clinical Practicum
* What could be improved?
  • Administration
  • Communication
  • Classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that I would be miserable in the Jacobs courses I took.