One of the Best Decisions I've Made During College May 20, 2019

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/25/2018 to 07/31/2019 with

Wayne State University: Junior Year in Munich

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Too much to write down now. I feel like I've changed so much for the better, and yes it was absolutely worthwhile.

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.

The rigor of the program courses was very mild, but I found the classes I took at the actual university quite difficult, because of the language barrier.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrators here were extremely helpful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living arrangements were dorm-style, which was nice, because we were surrounded by other students.

* Food:

I had to cook my own food or eat out for meals which was time-consuming and expensive.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I learned a lot about the local culture, but my closest friends were other Americans and international students. It was very difficult to make German friends without a fluent command of the language.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The program was very helpful and the insurance provided covered most of my expenses, but the health care culture here in Germany is very different. I was sick and out of school for a month with an illness that I would have gotten over in a week back home. It is very hard to get a prescription for drugs here that are over-the-counter back home. Most doctors speak English, but there were still miscommunication issues that arose. I even had a scare, because a doctor prescribed me medicine that negatively interacted with one that I was already taking, which she did not warn me about.

* Safety:

One must always be careful during festival season when there is a large influx of people into the city, but overall I felt very safe here in Munich.

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

I met some of the best people (administrators and professors included) I've ever known this year and I felt very supported by the program here.

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)

Munich is the most expensive city I have ever lived in. Our program told us in our pre-departure bulletins that in addition to the tuition and cost of attendance estimates that we should expect to spend about 600 EURO a month on travel and personal expenses. I did not receive nearly enough for that from financial aid, especially considering the conversion rate from USD to EUR.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I would say I spent about 150 EUR per week, which is about 170 USD.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If a future study abroad participant generally receives a large amount of financial aid from Wellesley, is not able to save beforehand and is not able to receive financial support from their family, in addition to making a strict budget, they will probably have to find a job or two in order to participate in the same amount of activities as other students in the program/travel outside of the country.

Language

* 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

Our program encouraged us to use the language, but it wasn't required or enforced, so most of the students spoke English with one another.

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? GER 201
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? Try to interact with native speakers more. Study vocabulary every day. Just try to get as much exposure to the language as possible, because you will be hearing English every day from both your fellow program participants and Germans wanting to practice with you.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
* 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?
  • People
  • Traveling
  • Language
* What could be improved?
  • Support from Wellesley, Financially and Otherwise
  • The Amount of Free Activities Offered by the Program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring over-the-counter medicine with. Say yes to more things. Establish a routine of practicing the language early on. Apply for a job with a contract.