Great City, Mixed Bag November 13, 2023

By (Geography, Middlebury College) - abroad from 03/27/2023 to 07/31/2023 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Berlin

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Learned a lot about myself being in Berlin on my own, which was worthwhile, but the lack of value I felt like I was getting from my courses made it hard.

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.

Rigor was lacking, classes weren't very interesting, and the program largely left us to fend for ourselves.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It was fine, staff was very nice but still largely fended for myself.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing provided was sub-par and poorly located, I had to move out and find my own housing, but many students did not have that opportunity and had to stay in the accommodation.

* Food:

Mostly cooked for myself. Cafeteria was very affordable when I did eat there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I met a lot of people through playing music (opportunities I found independently), otherwise it was very difficult to make local friends. It was also hard to meet other study abroad students, as Midd didn't have us participate in the on-site orientation where they all met each other.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Health care was great, staff was helpful in connecting me with a mental health professional.

* Safety:

I found my own housing in a riskier area but overall I felt very safe anywhere in Berlin at any time. Where the university and provided housing were were very safe.

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

Overall frustrating experience


* 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)

Didn't travel, so found it quite affordable

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook


* 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? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 400
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? Just push yourself– everyone speaks English, so it takes effort.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • N/A
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Exploring the city
  • Meeting people through music
  • Being abroad
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
  • Integration with other study abroad programs
  • Make the middlebury course an actual course with accredited teachers
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How hard it would be

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.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

German Culture & Composition

Course Department: German
Instructor: Heike Fahrenberg, Christina Kelley
Instruction Language: German
Comments: Good support for writing essays, however frustrating that tutors were not actual language teachers, so I found myself unable to get many questions answered Also edits provided on our essays were often extremely frustrating (didn’t make sense or assumed we didn’t know how to write)
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Religion and Ritual

Course Department: Anthropology
Instructor: Claudia Liebelt
Instruction Language: German
Comments: My most interesting class, liked the professor and content
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Geography
Instructor: Tilman Rost
Instruction Language: German
Comments: Interesting, but dull; good intro to new information for me
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

Silk Roads Past & Present

Course Department: Geography
Instructor: Andrei Dörre
Instruction Language: German
Comments: Interesting, but lack of critical approach/deep dive was disappointing Liked writing the paper
Credit Transfer Issues: No