A Winter of Growth January 30, 2023

By (Economics, Middlebury College) - abroad from 10/04/2023 to 02/14/2023 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Berlin

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to make really good pasta, and yes, it worthwhile. I also learned about history and cultures of other European countries, since I have made a lot of international friends.

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 am only giving a 4 star because I hope the Capstone assignments can allow students to be more creative. When I was asked to write about "Deutschland und Ich", I wrote a poem-like piece to describe my experience with Berlin, that captured all my emotions and observations for the city during my time abroad. However, I was told that I am only allowed to write a 2 to 3 page essay with rigid guidelines (essay format, intro - main part - conclusion) or else I will not get a grade. I understand how such guideline is necessary for essays that requires academic writing, for example, the essay regarding German History rightfully requires skills of academic writing. However, for a topic that involves one's emotions and feelings, why must I be restrained to paragraphs instead of lines of expressions that resonated not only with my abroad program peers, but also students who grew up in the city I studied abroad in? I am overall very happy with the program, but only this really bothered me because I was told to change my way of telling my perception of the city I studied abroad in, not because I wrote it terribly, nor because I held extreme or hateful opinion of any kind, but simply because of the format. Perhaps, a bit of freedom in the way for students to express would be helpful to their learning experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Absolutely fantastic; my Babelguide Megan, program directors Heike and Julianne were extremely sweet and helpful. I felt very welcomed and cared for.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

It was good, although living on the ground floor next to the main door would cause a bit of privacy issue, but it is nothing major.

* Food:

I am a great cook.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I made friends and I tried new experiences, really great!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

My program helped me with finding mental health and physical health professional, and I am very thankful.

* Safety:

Berlin has a lot of drunk people, and they might harass you or your friends. Be aware.

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

I would come to Berlin during Spring or summer.


* 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)

Cooking is necessary, but cooking is also expensive this winter given the economy

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50 to 70 Euro
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't get sick so you won't have to order Uber Eats


* 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 took an oath.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? German 300
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? Do whatever you want, except staying in your room on weekends and not hanging out with people.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International 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?
  • Kulturgeld
  • Kaffeestundchen
  • Urlaub
* What could be improved?
  • Capstone
  • I hope less people would get sick
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Berlin goes dark real quick during the winter and sunshine is super rare. Seasonal depression is real.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

International Macroeconomics

Course Department: Economics
Instructor: Theocharis Grigoriadis
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was challenging because it was a master level class, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the class because the professor is great.
Credit Transfer Issues: I can only transfer credit after I do this review, so...
Course Name/Rating:

Buddhismus in China

Course Department: Religion und Kultur
Instructor: Fredericka Assandri
Instruction Language: Deutsch
Comments: It was a very interesting class and I would recommend anyone with interest in Buddhism to take this class, although you might need some foundation in Mandarin chinese.
Credit Transfer Issues: I need to do this review in order to request credit transfer
Course Name/Rating:

Foundamentals of Macroeconomics

Course Department: Economics
Instructor: Steffen Ahrens
Instruction Language: German
Comments: Great class; Took a different approach than the macroeconomics class I took in Middlebury College
Credit Transfer Issues: I need to do this review in order to be able to do that