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IES Abroad Berlin - Language & Area Studies Semester/Year Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Adventure of a Lifetime

Hey there! I’m assuming that since you’re reading this you are looking into going abroad. I have one simple piece of advice for you – do it. It will change your life. I know that sounds cliché but I promise it’s true. I went on the IES Berlin: Language and Area Studies program during the Fall 2015 semester. My program was a language intensive one since I wanted to perfect my German but if you don’t know German there is another IES Berlin program that is entirely in English and just as awesome. Berlin is the most incredible place I have ever been – and that is coming from someone who traveled to 13 countries during my semester abroad. It manages to flawlessly combine its rich history with its current modernism. It is a city where you are free to be unapologetically unique in any way you wish to be. The program itself was run by some of the kindest people I have ever met and the schedule is designed in a way that allows for exploration and adventure since it is really easy to pick classes that allow for a three day weekend. On top of that, all the teachers made sure to incorporate Berlin into the course – whether it was through field trips to museums or trips to sporting events or debates about controversial topics being discussed in Germany, there was a real effort to immerse us in Berlin as a whole. Overall, going abroad was the best choice I have ever made and I am confident that wherever you go, you’ll have a life changing experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

One of the best decisions of my life!

Going abroad was one of the best decisions of my life! I will say that it was tough in the beginning but after just 2 months of being home, I cannot wait to go back. The Language and Area Studies program was exceptional. We had a great facility located in Mitte (the central district in Berlin) and the staff and teachers were amazing! I made awesome friends (American and German) and learned so much about the city, the country, and myself. If you are on the fence about going, just do it. You wont regret it. Trust me!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    10

Everything and So Much More

I wasn't sure what to expect from my study abroad experience because I knew there was so much I was going to experience that I didnt even know what to assume. That being said, my time at IES was so wonderful and wayyyy more than I expected. I was able to improve my German because all our classes were in German, all the professors were awesome, very dedicated to students and super approachable, I made some lifelong friends (as cheesy as this sounds, its 100% true), and I felt like I knew almost all the staff at IES and could talk to them about any needs or concerns that I had. It was very much a family atmosphere which was so refreshing, considering I come from a large research university with 30,000 students. I really appreciated how many opportunities they provided us, from welcome and holiday dinners to extra curricular activities to German student tutors for any language issues we had to planned out trips that were still very flexible so we could choose what we wanted to do. Although IES can be on the pricier side of study abroad programs, if its financially feasible, I HIGHLY recommend studying abroad with IES. It was everything I expected and so much more.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Bearlin, ich liebe dich

IES Berlin was the best experience I could have asked for! I loved my host family and learned so much about the culture from them – whether it was learning to eat the “European” way, or hearing idioms and common phrases you can’t find in the classroom. My homestay was also where I improved my German the most, since we only spoke together auf Deutsch. Berlin is such a huge city with a million fun, cool things to do every week, so it was great that the IES Berlin staff always sent out emails about happenings, or posted flyers around the building about museums, outdoor markets, festivals, and other cultural events. It made everything a little less hectic. Plus being a student meant that transportation was free – U-bahn, S-bahn, trams, buses. You could get to anywhere so easily – it gave me a sense of confidence and freedom I’d never had before. I really enjoyed this program and would recommend it to anyone interested in going to Berlin!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

The Best Four Months

Studying abroad in Freiburg with IES was one of the best decisions I've ever made. While the language barrier could be a challenge, all of the staff were incredibly helpful, friendly, and always available when/if needed. I specifically chose this program because of its focus on language immersion and I got just that. All classes were taught in German and the professors presented material effectively and were willing to help if someone was confused.

I lived in a dorm about 10 minutes away from the city center by Straßebnahn or bike with other German students. This was great for cultural immersion and helped improve my German drastically. The city is beautiful and surrounded by hills and forests. While it is a smaller city, there is always something to do, from hiking in the Black Forest to exploring the side streets or neighborhoods of Freiburg. IES is great at encouraging German language and cultural immersion and plan a few excursions for students to partake in. These range from week-long trips to day trips and are all wonderful experiences that help students see different parts of the country and Europe. My semester in Freiburg with IES was one that I will never forget!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

Life Redefined

Snowshoeing in the Swiss Alps. I had never gone snow shoeing before and absolutely loved it! It was such a workout, but the view of the black forest from the top of the Alps was priceless!

I chose IES Abroad Freiburg because I wanted a full immersion program that would improve my German language skills. I got so much more than that!

I lived in a nice flat about a 15 min strassen bahn or bike ride from the IES center. I lived with 4 other roommates, both male and female, who all studied at the university and spoke German. My roomm was a nice size and came with a desk, desk chair, bed, linens, wardrobe, small safe, shelf, and mirrior. The flat had 2 large refigerators and 2 large bathrooms. Everyone in my flat was very nice and I made great friends with my roommates. The building was also very close to a large nice park where I spent a lot of time running or just hanging with friends. Grocery stores were also close by within a 5 minute walking distance.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

Life Redefined

IES Abroad Language and Area Studies in Freiburg, Germany is life changing. Being placed in a comfortable yet challenging environment, where I was forced to use and improve my language skills, was amazing. You get to live in nice housing with other international and German students who study at the university. This means that you are constantly interacting with the world around you through German. If you are trying to improve or master the language, IES Freiburg is the best place for you. Not only can you take classes directly through the University of Freiburg, but IES also teaches interestign and engaging classes completely in German. That may sounds scary (I was certainly worried to begin with!), but the IES staff make learning engaging and work with you on your language skills. The city has a friendly feel to it and is small but not tiny. This makes it easy to get around and get envolved! Not to mention Freiburg is located almost on the border of France and is super clsoe to Switzerland. This makes travling so easy and tons of fun! Living in Freiburg has been a life altering experience that I have been so blessed to be a part of!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

IES Berlin Metro Studies

Berlin is the best city in the world. There is anything you can ever want Berlin. From clubs to museums, political riots (they are safe), multiculturalism, Germans, Turkish, D

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

This program all depends on what you make...

This program all depends on what you make of it. In Berlin you basically have everything you could want as a student offered to you, all you have to do is give the extra effort to reach out and grab it. Berlin is a city that one needs to discover and explore. If you are a party animal and this city doesn't meet your party standards then you need to reevaluate your standards. There is basically every kinds of club you could imagine in Berlin. If you take your academics seriously and would like to fully develop your German skills, then take courses at the Humboldt and take them seriously. The only problem in Berlin is that there is just too much to do and not enough time. The staff are also very helpful and will be more than willing to assist you with whatever it is you may need.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Studying Abroad

Studying abroad in Germany was one of the best decisions I could of made for my Fall semester! Everyone was really friendly, from the staff, the professors, and all the students who were in Berlin. There was so much that I took out of this program, from improving my German to planning my trips outside of Germany. The host family made me feel like I was right at home and it made the transition to staying abroad much easier. Everything about the program was so amazing and I can't wait to head back to Germany!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

IES Berlin - Language and Area Studies

The Language and Area Studies Program in Berlin definitely met and exceeded my expectations! Within a few weeks of the semester I fell in love with the city, and by the end I didn’t want to leave. The IES staff in Berlin was really helpful/accommodating and made sure that we made the most of our abroad experience. While in Berlin, I stayed in a small apartment in the middle of the city with two German students, which was a great opportunity because I got to experience the city with Germans who had lived in the city for years. My day-to-day life was conducted almost entirely in German and so my German language ability improved tremendously throughout the semester. I also signed up through Humboldt University’s “Sprachzentrum” and found two language partners that I still keep in touch with them even though I am back in the US. There was so much to do in Berlin that not once did I ever feel like I was bored and looking for something to do. From the cultural aspect to learning German to the famous Berlin nightlife, there was definitely more to experience than was possible in just 4 short months. I would highly recommend this program to anyone that has a passion for German and wants to spend a semester/year in one of the coolest cities in the world!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

My Semester in Berlin

The IES program was well run and overall very organized. The staff was always helpful and informative about events going on in the city. I feel that my classes at IES definitely helped my language skills. My vocabulary grew immensely, as well as my confidence with my speaking abilities. The professors were all intelligent and understanding. My favorite class was my theater class. This class allowed me to see 8 plays at 3 different theaters. My housing situation was well selected. I enjoyed my location in Prenzlauer Berg because it was close to the tram, U-bahn and S-bahn. I loved Berlin and would highly recommend this program.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    2

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Take your experience into your own hands!

IES was an overall fantastic experience. It did require, however, working outside of the program to meet locals and immerse myself. There were several excursions that were part of course work, which was incredible to learn about a piece of German history and then go see it in context. Other than these excursions with my American classmates, experiencing German culture and meeting locals was mostly up to me to discover. It was quite difficult to find locals that were interested in befriending an American who would leave in four months. I was determined to not allow a little culture barrier prevent me from meeting locals, so I joined a rowing team in southern Berlin and it became the highlight of my experience! This program really does allow for you to live independently (aside from living with a host family), but you must be comfortable going out of your way to make your abroad experience worth while. Additionally my housing situation was not ideal for me. My host family was more interested in me as a renter than me as a guest. My suggestion would be to get an apartment with locals that are closer to your age and are living a typical student lifestyle. I often felt like I was intruding on the family, and it was strange having lived on my own during college and then being placed with a family with children that was not my own, I felt very out of place. I initially was really excited to have a host family, but in the end, I realized how much I would have preferred living with people my own age who would be studying and living a similar lifestyle to me.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES Berlin Fall 2015

Berlin was not as much a German city as it was a multi-cultural city. It is a place where all nations are represented, including people, food and architecture. There were so many people from all over the world and all walks of life. Every time I was on the U-Bahn (metro) or the S-Bahn (city-train) I would here languages ranging from English (Australian, British, American, Canadian) to Turkish to Japanese to Swedish to Spanish to Serbian. It was remarkable to think that we all ended up in this small space at this moment in time in this specific city.

I also learned a great deal from the relaxed academic environment at the IES Berlin center, which enabled me to fully understand and more importantly appreciate the uniqueness that is Berlin- there is not another city like it. This relaxed and not-demanding workload also allowed for frequent travel within Berlin and Germany, but also to neighboring nations for a great price. It was almost too easy to say "hey let's go to Barcelona for the weekend, it's only 42euros round-trip." This travel was also very important to IES: this independence was fully explained by the program staff. All program health and safety was fantastic in preparation and I always felt safe knowing that my program was very well prepared to handle anything that might happen. This was something that was very important to me.

I was only in Berlin from September 1st -December 19th, but I accomplished a great deal and saw so much of a part of the world I had never been to before. IES Berlin made my time abroad an absolutely remarkable experience that I would highly recommend to anyone! Take the time to see the world as a student. It is something unparalleled.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Falling in love with a city and a language

My 5 month experience with IES was incredible. I was able to improve my language abilities by taking all of my classes in German. Most of the students do home stays but you can tailor your experience with the family to be whatever you prefer. The program organizers do a great job of catering to your needs in all aspects. Furthermore the location couldn't be better. The office is right in the center of the city and Berlin itself is incredible at every corner. You can't go wrong with this program as it provides so many options for students to make the most of their experience.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

I found IES to be very open to the needs...

I found IES to be very open to the needs at students. We were given the freedom to pursue our own interests while still having a program to ask if we had questions. I felt there was a great amount of freedom and very much enjoyed my time.