Experience of a Lifetime in Munich Past Review

By (Truman State University) - abroad from 03/21/2016 to 07/16/2016 with

Wayne State University: Junior Year in Munich

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that even other Western cultures are very, very different than ours and I learned to adapt to new environments quickly. I learned to express myself in a foreign language and to navigate a large city effectively. I also learned to become completely independent and make completely new friends and social groups, as I did not know anyone going into the semester. The experience was amazing and I would not trade it for anything.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Wonderful staff, always made sure every student was aware of everything they needed to do regarding deadlines and transitions into life in Munich both legally and socially.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Not the nicest rooms, but cheap and easy to manage. Good enough for a semester. Bathrooms a bit scary but you do get your own bathroom.

* Food:

The student dining was great. Very cheap (about 3-4 dollars a meal) and very large portions. The program also provided opportunities to go as a group to different local restaurants and information on how to grocery shop in Germany.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program did an exceptional job of explaining everything we needed to know to navigate social settings. In Germany, it takes a little longer to get to know people, because the Germans are more reserved and private than Americans.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The explanation was in German and fast-paced, so most students did not understand a lot of it. However, the staff was very willing to help explain. Health insurance cards were issued very quickly and we were physically shown where to go to find the doctor. However, when I did get something resembling bronchitis, I went to the doctor but they couldn't get me in until more than a week later and I did not know how to get to something like an emergency center. Therefore I went to a pharmacy and got natural remedies which did not help. I recovered on my own without any doctor's help and am only glad it wasn't something more serious.

* Safety:

Munich is extremely safe compared to other cities of its size. I rarely felt cautious of my surroundings, even when traveling alone through the city. The program gives you a brief overview of general safety in the city, too.

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

This program really excelled above all others, from what I can gather. They never let us feel lost about anything and kept us on track. They were very gracious and willing to help with any need, academic or not.


* 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)

Munich is definitely more expensive than Missouri, but that applies to going out to eat and high-end groceries. You can shop very affordably, often even cheaper than Walmart, at places like Aldi and Edeka.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 60-75 dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy the packages from previous students that JYM offers. Also, bring as much of the essentials as you can. In hindsight, I would have packed an extra suitcase of silverware, plates, pots, and bedroom items because even though food and toiletries are pretty cheap, dishes and silverware and especially appliances are extremely pricey. BRING A SMALL FAN. There is no air conditioning, which is mostly okay if you have a fan. And fans in Munich are expensive. I spent about 400 euros on supplies when I should have only spent the extra 100 on baggage fees to bring the extra supplies.


* 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

you must use German to navigate this program. However, they accommodate your language level and you do not need to be extremely proficient to do well. You learn a lot of german in the grammar class they require you to take.

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? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? GERM 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? Listen to music or interviews, watch shows or movies, read books. Reading german novels really, really helped me.

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
  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Travel time
  • Language Proficiency
  • Germany!
* What could be improved?
  • Warnings on how expensive Munich is
  • Briefing on Healthcare in Germany
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Budget more money than they tell you to and more than you expect. Use freight/cargo shipping if you have lots of luggage, it is much cheaper than commercial airline prices. Sending letters to home are not expensive by any means. Small packages aren't, either.