The Best Decision of My Life Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 09/27/2018 to 07/18/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Berlin

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became fluent in German and made life-long friends who I have been keeping in touch with back in the US.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Writing everything in German was definitely very challenging but I am thankful for it because it drastically increased my German skills.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were amazing!! Always there to support me when I had problems and made sure to check in on us often but gave us enough room to explore on our own.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

German food is great.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

extremely integrated, I lived with locals and they helped me make Berlin home.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I needed a doctor twice and the program directors were super helpful and getting antibiotics was much easier and cheaper than I expected.

* Safety:

Always felt ways after in Germany than in the US

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

I would choose to just go to Berlin for the whole year because I loved it so much, but Mainz was very good for my German skills.


* 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)

Berlin is very cheap for European standards but I spent a good amount on traveling. Probably each week in Berlin I spent 100 Euros.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Food/groceries were super cheap in Berlin, so maybe 25 euros a week on that. Travel I probably spent $200 when I would fly and rent hostel/airbnb
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to avoid going out to eat, which is easy to do when you don't have a dining hall right next to you.


* 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 were only allowed to speak 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? 3 300 level courses at Middlebury Language Schools
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? Start speaking and don't be afraid when they speak back in English. By the third month they will respond in German because your accent will be good enough.

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?
  • Freedom
  • something new and different than Middlebury
  • felt extremely integrated
* What could be improved?
  • a little more structure to get students to meet up with each other because in Mainz we didn't meet up much and often times I felt a little lonely because it is hard to meet locals.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That taking all courses in German and writing these long-ended papers is really not scary and by the end you will feel totally comfortable.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Mobility, Space and Violence

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Dr. Lucia Fuchs
Instruction Language: German
Comments: It really taught me to view migration and the way we are either privileged in our mobility or not. I participated quite a bit in this class, but not more than at Middlebury because speaking in German with a class full of locals was always intimidating. We had a massive paper (hausarbeit) at the end of the course as well as three smaller papers summarizing our readings.
Credit Transfer Issues: no
Course Name/Rating:

Asylum and Refugee Law in the EU and ASEAN

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Dr. Korinna Krone
Instruction Language: German
Comments: This course was my favorite course abroad because we talked about refugee law and how it applies to the EU as well as other parts of the world. The class involved lots of discussion. We had to each give a presentation on a particular refugee community and I had to write a weekly summarized paragraph of the readings. We also had a final Hausarbeit (long paper).
Credit Transfer Issues: no
Course Name/Rating:

The Poltical Economy of Euoprean Integration

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Marcus Wolf
Instruction Language: German
Comments: This course taught me a lot about how the European Economy works and I learned so much about how integrated each country is into the system. I liked the readings but they were extremely challenging to read in German. We had to give a presentation each and had a final Hausarbeit.
Credit Transfer Issues: no