The German Experience: Pleasant, Rewarding and Eye-Opening. Baden W├╝rttemberg Ex Past Review

By (Art History, Criticism and Conservation., Providence College) for

University of Stuttgart: Stuttgart - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
After completing my program I find myself eager to keep up with world news. The world has just become a lot smaller. This is true not only in my perspective, but in reality. With the internet and the growing popular social communities online,such as facebook, twitter, and skype, the world is actually becoming smaller in the sense of communication. With this in mind I feel I should know what is going on around the world because it probably affects me more than I orginally thought. I have a rich desire to expand my foreign language ablities, breaking the European stereotype that Americans only know English. My future prospects have changed too. Prior to my departure I didn't know what I wanted to do after my graduation and I still don't exactly know what I would like to do for a profession. However, this program has given me the strength and desire to travel more and learn more about foreign cultures. It is for this reason why I want to participate in Peace Corps.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The majority of my classes were geared toward exchange students. This alone factors a big difference between my abroad courses and the courses at PC. Homework was assigned everyday to a minimum. A normal day would start with reviewing homework , reading and discussing textbook exercises, and playing group grammer games. Professors would make the effort to explain cultural differences between Germany and the different international cultures of the students. Professors also provided German history when relevant. My biggest observation was there was no syllabus. The professors had to teach the information provided by the textbook, but class time seemed to be scheduled day by day. Grading consisted of only two tests. Each test had a grammar, writing, and listening section. This was a stressful difference knowing your grade is mostly based on only two examinations.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I would have giving more globe, but the advisor situation was complicated. We were given an advisor once we arrived in Germany for the first and second intensive language course. She proved to be always available and willing to help students regardless the problem. However, when the semester classes started Students studying through UCONN,PC sent students through UCONN, were suppose to be given a new advisor. We did not meet this advisor until the last month of our program. I did continue to use the advisor the university for provide, the organization of the second was not there.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

This first six weeks in Germany I lived with a host family. I had a host mom and sister and they we both welcoming and very nice. My host mom did not leave the house much, but she provide traditional german breakfasts everyday and would occasional invite us to other German meals. My host sister also provided invitations to go to clubs, movies, or mineral water pools. Overall the experience was a pleasant one.

* Food:

This rating is not applicable. I bought my own food from the supermarket, so quality and type of food depended on what i bought.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Dance clubs, film festivals, museums, a four day concert, Ultimate Frisbee tournaments, drinking at on campus pubs, trips outside of Germany, and much more. The experience was a memoriable one, but I will not discuss seven and an half months worth. I only wish I had scheduled myself to travel to more countries. This is main reason for giving only three globes.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Healthcare was more or less easy to obtain. Stuttgart University provides the opportunity to have a German student help you with all the necessary paperwork for healthcare. Without this student it would have been very difficult to do since it included getting registered at the city hall, openning a bank account, and then signing up with healthcare provider.

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

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You will have to buy everything. Dorm rooms provide a bed, shelf, and desk. So everything else you will need. This ranges from toilet paper to food.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I could practice German with my peers, dorm neighbors, teammates, or in everyday interation. Although students had the opportunity to speak German in the city, people towndown or students living at the university most likely knew English. If you want to improve langauge skills while abroad then insist on speaking the country's langauge with natives.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I would recommend this program to students with intermidiate or advanced language skills. English is regarded with very high standards in Gemarny, so there will be a good chance the people you come in contact with will know English. This means you must encourage them to speak German. This should not defer students with a lower language ability. Germans will recognize and appreciate the effort, but just don't be surprised if they respond in English. I would also recommend this program to students who are studying engineering. Everyone I came into contact with, native or foreign, were mostly studying engineering at Stuttgart University.