I learned how to live on my own Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/18/2017 to 07/21/2017 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Berlin

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that I do not need an Institution as a mediator for my to live Abroad.

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.

I did not find the Middlebury culture course during the Fall Semester to be particularly helpful. The research essay workshop that was offered in the spring would have been a much better option and use of time in the fall. The Middlebury program was also very restrictive on which classes we were able to take for credit, i.e. general classes for native speakers. We were not allowed to take a German language course in any of the levels of A1-C2, which prep German language learners in speaking, writing, reading and grammar, and subsequently prepares them for the standardized language test in their fluency level, which upon passing you receive an internationally recognized certificate that you have attained a certain level of fluency in the German language. By taking one of these language courses in place of one of our German seminars, students can gain practical knowledge of the language through a structured and targeted course, as well as have the opportunity to gain documentation proving their fluency level.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We were told that each of us were to receive a 'Babel guide' that is a German native speaker, with whom we were to meet with in person once a week, to go over our research papers with. During the Fall semester there was one Babel Guide, who also happened to be new to the program for 5 Students. By the end of the Semester she was so overworked that she did not continue for the next semester. Four out of five scheduled meetings with the program coordinator in Mainz were cancelled for various reasons, and the program coordinator in Berlin left the program end of May, two months before the end of our semester here.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Neither Middlebury nor Wellesley had any hand in arranging my room and board seeing as to how I found an apartment on my own and have been paying rent myself.

* Food:

handled myself

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any problems with visits to the doctor's or getting these visits covered by my insurance.

* Safety:

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

The program was not worth the tuition or the mental and emotional stress that it costed.


* 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)

Had it not been for the $8175 mistake on Wellesley Financial Aid Office's part, funding my time in Berlin would have been completely stress free on both me and my parents.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $70


* 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 of my courses and research papers are in German.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? C1
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? join activities in the city such as 'sprach cafes' which are geared towards syrian refugees and other new comers to practice German. Try to find an apartment living with Germans.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local 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?
  • Being in Berlin
  • living on my own
  • being independent
* What could be improved?
  • Organization of the program
  • Practical language and life-skills preparatory courses
  • Less rigidity in the types of courses that we are allowed to take for credit
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That there would be very little support from Wellesley or Middlebury and no communication between Wellesley and Middlebury faculty. Having no support on its own would've been fine if the Middlebury faculty had not limited me on what courses that I wanted to take, even though I later found out that there Wellesley would have been happy to approve them.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'