PROGRAM TYPES

CONNECT WITH US

IES Abroad participants in Sydney Opera IES Abroad participants in Sydney Opera

IES Abroad European Union - Semester Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

An experience that makes a lifetime impact

Studying abroad in Freiburg im Breisgau, a small city in SüdDeutschland(South Germany) seems like an underrated opportunity so far. But comparing to other IES Programs in Europe it's absolutely unique. People gain both local experience in a typical German town and international experience by taking field trips to other countries in this program. For me, a student major in International Relations it's a mind-opening experience. The courses I took at the IES Center took an in-depth look into European Union, not only were we able to study the institutions, organization, development, policy-making and controversies of the EU, the course design also offered the micro aspect of it. I took a class called Regions in the EU, which focused on how countries adopted the EU legislation and how much legislative freedom they still have under the EU law supremacy. I also took a class about EU and Muslim, which discussed the development and current controversies surrounding the Muslim communities in some of the EU's member states. But what really helped me gain more passion about my studies were the field trips and the model EU. We were able to meet and talk to people who study and work on some of the most concerned current issues in Europe. For example, we met someone from the refugee committee in Athens who gave us the local perspective of the refugee crisis. Another precious part of the experience was being able to look at issues from countries that were often times neglected on mainstream US media. I took a field trip to three Central Eastern European countries: Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, learning about its communist history and the current perspective on issues like EU development and refugee crisis. Representing Finland in my council for model EU also helped me look more into policies of a small state like Finland. It also made me realize how difficult it is to reach agreement while having 28 different voices on the table.
An amazing thing about this program is that it offers opportunity for internship after the program. This program offers a few intern positions working for MEPS in the European Parliament, and it also allows you to apply for an internship in Freiburg, which is what I ended up doing. My German is far away from being proficient, but I was able to work at the Carl-Schurz-Haus, a German-American cultural institute that brings events focusing on both cultures. It's a rewarding experience that allowed me to understand the German organizational culture more and interact with people from the local community. People at my internship site were really nice and I had such a good time. It was also really nice to be able to stay in Freiburg during the summer.
Another reason I would recommend this program is the fact that it's cheaper to live in Freiburg comparing to other cities in Europe(especially like Paris and Copenhagen...Trust me you will miss Freiburg or any other city in Germany after you paid $15 for a Danish hot dog in Copenhagen and $9 for a glass of beer in Helsinki...). The food lacks variety in Germany, that I agree, but I definitely fall in love with German food during my time there. I remember buying currywurst for only 2-3 euros in Munster, grabbing pretzels from the local bakeries, getting gelato for 1 euro/scoop near the tram stop everyday before I headed home from the internship, and buying beer before sitting down in Mensa for the Euro 2016 games. In Freiburg IES students are able to live in student apartment with German student from Freiburg University. The accommodation is way better than my on-campus dorm, there's an actual kitchen where you can really be a chef and host friends. My room at Vauban, the student village was not spacious but still acceptable and big enough to be comfy. Vauban is also 10 minutes walk from the black forest where you can easily go for a weekend hike.
Being in Freiburg means geographically you are almost in the center of western Europe. Even though it's a small city, the fact that you are near the French-Swiss border makes travel quite convenient. It takes a bit more than an hour going to Alsace region in France(Colmar, Mullhouse,Strasbourg) and it's takes similar amount of time going to Basel in Switzerland, where you can take flight to other European destinations from the Euro Airport there. For other flights usually people go to airports in Frankfurt, which is around 1,5 hours by train from Freiburg. Flights in Europe are way cheaper comparing to the ones in US, as there are many cheap flight companies and it's incredibly cheap if you buy tickets in advance. I benefited from such convenience and traveled to 14 countries in total during my time abroad(8 on my own). My favorite trips include going to see Germany vs Slovakia as part of the Euro 2016 in Lille, France. Now I feel like I'm almost a pro traveler and this program really helped me discover my passion for travel!
As you can see, the IES EU program in Freiburg offers way more than what its name might appeal to you. It also offers extra opportunities if you are interested and determined. My time with this program really helped me to grow and become a new person. People should consider this program if they want to discover Europe, EU and themselves.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

The discovery of fernweh

fernweh | (n.) when you feel like you have to leave your familiar surroundings to discover new places. it is the need for distance, the wish to experience something far away from home, the urge to escape from your everyday life by travelling

The IES EU Freiburg was the perfect catalyst for finding fernweh. During the program, I was able to visit countless countries and had even more developing experiences! I learned how to really survive on my own, not even counting the whole being-in-a-foreign-country part. I made friends that will last my entire lifetime because we did this amazing thing together!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Best decision of my college career!

My time with the IES EU Program was easily the best four months of my life. Through the program I got to travel to Berlin, Prague, Brussels, Luxembourg, Brussels, Paris, Strasbourg, Grindelwald, Riga, Stockholm and London. Not only were these trips extremely well-planned, but we had the opportunity to hear from local politicians, professors, etc. that we wouldn't have had the opportunity to hear from otherwise. With these trips I felt that we got to see the city through the eyes of a local, and really understand the political culture of that particular EU member state.
Aside from the travel, this IES program had so much to offer its students. The program was based out of Freiburg, which was the perfect place to call home. The location was ideal (right in the Black Forest, nestled between Switzerland and France) and had amazing food, hiking, and people.
While the group of students varies semester to semester, I would say the best part of my time abroad was the people I got to spend it with. This program attracts ambitious, interesting, and well-rounded people that I am so lucky I had the pleasure of getting to know. Doing this program was the best decision I could have possibly made in my college career and would recommend it to anyone who has a passion for travel.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An unforgettable semester

Before even going to college I knew that at some point, I was going to study abroad. I had always been fascinated with learning about the different places and cultures around the world. The summer before leaving for Carolina I had decided to learn German and began looking for study abroad programs in Germany; that was how I found out about IES:European Union. I was interested in majoring in history or international relations, so it was an added bonus that this program was not only based in Germany but also about an important organization.

IES:EU is located in the small German town of Freiburg, surrounded by the Black Forest. Being from the coastal plains of North Carolina, it was exciting to be living so close to mountains. I lived in Berliner Allee, a student apartment just a 15 minute tram ride away from the IES center. My flatmates were awesome, helping me learn how to cook and constantly correcting my German. Berliner Allee is a short walk away from Seepark, which is great for picnics and walks. It is also conveniently close to a Turkish döner shop and a bakery.

The program is taught in English but does require a German language class. The courses range from history of the EU, to EU policies, and even some business related classes. During one of the three field excursions, the professors arrange guest speakers whose work is related to what is discussed in the class. For my course on migration, I got to visit the European Network Against Racism office in Brussels and learn how the organization works at a multi-level to aid and protect minorities throughout all of the EU’s member states. The field excursions were an amazing opportunity to visit various other European countries. About three weeks was spent traveling with the IES program. While it was great to see famous landmarks and gorgeous castles, returning to Freiburg always put a smile on my face.

I had the time of my life studying abroad. I was able to learn and grow so much in the span of four months. From learning how to cook to speaking German to locals to trying to navigate metros in countries I had no clue how to speak the language. By the end of my stay, I could plan mostly successful trips and not completely panic when lost or almost missing the bus. I met so many amazing people and made great friends. I will miss the quick runs to my favorite bakery in between classes and walking back to Berliner Allee with a gelato in hand on a sunny day.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A perspective changing semester that was the time of my life

I have always known that I wanted to study abroad, but always imagined myself going to Ireland, never in a million years did I think I would end up in the Southwestern part of Germany. Last minute, I decided to apply to this program because I wanted a unique experience that would push me out of my comfort zone. I ended up getting this and more.

First, Freiburg is quirky town that is the perfect combination of old and new. This is perfectly represented by the McDonald's sign on one of Freiburg landmarks. It also has so much to do from hiking outside of your dorm to shopping at the local mall. The town comes alive in the sunshine. This is when in between classes you can relax at a beer garden that overlooks the entire town or drink a latte (kaffee und kuchen) in the town square. Overall, Freiburg is a wonderful town to make you feel at home while abroad and is amazing to come back to after a long week of traveling.

This program is also the best because it includes 3 weeks of traveling across Europe. The hotel and travel is included in the tuition and then upon arrival in a city we take a walking tour of the city and then they give everyone a list of local landmarks in the city, places to eat, and where to go out at night. I loved this aspect because it took away a lot of the stress of traveling since the administration did all of the hard work and then I got to enjoy my time in each city. The EU program also allows you to see the town from a different perspective than your friends studying with other programs, since in each city you meet with politicians and experts in different fields. This is what sold me on the program. Europe is experiencing a dynamic time in politics and as a member of this program, I got me talk to people that helped write TTIP legislation or a person that is in charge of refugee camps in Athens. Therefore, if you want to travel to 11 countries in four months and be in the hub of political drama, this is the program for you.

Overall, the Freiburg, EU program was the trip of a lifetime. It might seem cliche, but it could not be more true.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The best four months of my life

As a second semester sophomore in college, I never expected to study abroad but I can gratefully say that I had the time of my life. I was facing some difficulties both internally and externally at school at the time and knew that I needed some drastic change and that I was the only one who could act upon that. So in October, one week before the deadline of the program, I blindly applied for the IES European Union Program in Freiburg, Germany.

I know that this program was perfect for me now because I was happy and felt grateful to be there every single day of my abroad experience. Throughout my travel to get to my study destination I never felt scared and immediately found a person in my program when I got to Freiburg. I now consider him one of my best friends.

The way that the program was set up is that we lived in student housing communities alongside German as well as international, students. However, we attended classes only with students that were in the same study abroad program as us. For me, this set up could not have been better. It allowed me to become integrated into German culture by learning from my roommates. It also allowed me to make lifelong friends from all across the United States. Friends that became so close that a mere three weeks after returning home, we had a reunion and many more have unfolded since.

But that’s not all. The program sponsored field trips across Europe to allow us to travel as well as learn from politicians, environmentalists, professors, activists, journalists and many other people about the “world” they live in. I am so grateful that I was not only able to visit ten countries in Europe during my abroad excursion, but that I was able to learn about the people and what lies beneath the tourist traps in a country.

Concerning academics, the classes were rigorous and attendance was mandatory, but remember that you’re there to study abroad, not just to travel. For me, the workload was more than manageable and most of my classmates enjoyed their learning experience.

Looking back on my study abroad experience now I honestly wouldn’t change a single thing, except for the fact that I had to return home.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An exercise in self-discovery

As a low-income student, the idea of studying abroad was kind of a pipe dream. In addition to my finances, I was going through a personal struggle at home that threatened any possibility of participating in study abroad. However, I had saved the amount of money required for the semester in Germany, and I had already missed registration for classes during the spring semester. I was afraid I would come to regret my experience and my choice to study abroad. I was afraid that I would be too distracted by everything going on at home to even enjoy exploring and learning from my host country. Most of all, I was afraid that I would have wasted time and money on this journey. I could not have been further from the truth.
I made two friends on my first night in Germany, and I met them at what would soon become one of my favorite restaurants in Freiburg. On the first program trip (Berlin and Prague) I found what would soon become my closest friends on the program. On my first day of instruction, I met some of my favorite professors. IES Abroad was able to give me an array of experiences that helped me discover many things about myself. One aspect about myself that I was shown was just how independent I am capable of being. I had always regarded myself as an independent person, but the independence and confidence that comes from studying and living abroad is one of a different nature. Whether it is through engaging in conversation with someone who does not share your language or traveling from Portugal to Germany using eight different modes of transportation, you will find a confidence and comfort in the uncomfortable and strange.
Even though it seemed like the absolute wrong time to go abroad and study, it turned out to be the perfect time for it. If I had to impart one impression or one piece of advice, it would be to simply do it. Take the risk and do it because you won't regret it. Rather, you will learn more about the world and yourself by participating in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Viel Glück!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    6

Top notch experience

I studied abroad with IES Abroad in Freiburg, Germany during my sophomore year for one semester. Studying abroad in Germany was the best time in my life. Through my experiences abroad, I have developed to overcome challenges and gained new perspective to look at the world from various point of view. Student from diverse backgrounds, sitting together at the Augustinerplatz to enjoy the end of the day and picturesque landscape of the gateway to the Black Forest have indeed added charm to my experience in Freiburg. My memories from Germany are filled with limitless joy and happiness. I would highly recommend studying abroad with IES Abroad in Freiburg at the European Union program.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES EU: Semester of a Life Time

This program is everything I could have asked for in a study abroad program. To start, the academic offerings were interesting and pertinent to my major. I took Common Foreign Security Policy, EU and the Muslim World and Conflict in the Black Sea. These classes were very specific, which allowed for deep discussions. All classes were taught in English, except German. Secondly, this program has a large travel component. The program takes you through Europe and you get the chance to meet with professors, government officials, social activist, and student from that place. This is such a unique way to see Europe. Thirdly, this program is in the cutest city. Freiburg is an environmental-conscious student city. There are endless bike paths and hiking trails. Great markets too! The transportation is great and it is convenient to fly out of Basel.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Europe at your Fingertips

The struggle to pick a study abroad program was quite a difficult one, so many beautiful areas around the world and throughout Europe made the decisions pile up. My decision to choose Freiburg and the IES EU Program was definitely the right choice.
Not only was Freiburg itself a quaint city that will start to feel like home in no time, but it is in the prime location to see so much more too. Located in the Black Forest, this place is perfect in the mild weather to get out and go hiking or take a mountain coaster for a spin on a free day. With France a short 15 miles away taking a bike ride a picnic with friends is another fun weekend idea. Less than an hour from Basel, Switzerland the great food, amazing views, and refreshing culture of the Swiss Alps is an easy trip to make with friends and family. To be in Germany but experience this crossroads of so many different cultures in a city built around its young population make it the perfect home base in Europe, a place I am already homesick to get back to.
You will get to spend some great time with your new friends, both European and American, in Freiburg, but it will never grow dull. With over three weeks of travel around Europe built into the program you will be on the run across the continent. I was able to visit 15 countries and countless cities around Europe during my four months abroad and I would not want it any other way. From skiing in the Alps to swimming in the Aegean Sea, there was a world of possibilities from this program.
Don’t let the academic nature of these field trips scare you off either, they are plenty of fun. Not only are you meeting with some leaders in the political field while you travel the member states, but you and learning and involved in some of the most interesting and relevant issues of the times. Sitting at the same table as these policy makers for the whole of Europe and asking them your questions and voicing your concerns is an experience like no other. Some of my greatest memories from our trip were our tense meeting with the Russian Mission to the European Union and the European Commission’s enthusiastic and probing response to this news. Of course though, there is plenty of free time to be a tourist in all of these cities. Getting to eat the local foods and hit the local bars and clubs after days of sight-seeing should not be overlooked! There is plenty of fun and plenty of value in all of this!
I have never made a better decision in my life. Not only did I make some of the best friends of my life, learned a new culture, and saw Europe. I grew more than I could have even imagined in such a short time, personally and academically

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    10

109 Days of Big Times and Power Moves

Where to begin... The 109 or so days I spent on this program are without a doubt some of the best days of my life. From learning the German language and the politics of the European Union in the classroom to visiting the cities that house many influential institutions in the European Union, the IES EU program in Freiburg, Germany has it all. Whether you are interested in learning new perspectives from outside the United States or just need a change of pace (both of which were big motivations for me) you will not regret choosing this program to study abroad. To avoid this becoming a highly excited but hard to follow babble about my semester I will break down my experience into a few categories.

Where I was:
Freiburg, Germany. Many of those reading this might not know where this is so in case you look it up but still aren’t sure Freiburg is the city in the South West corner of Germany very close to both the French and Swiss borders. This means you are in one of the most central locations in Europe. Travel to other places is pretty much as good as it gets in Europe. Flights from Basel (the closest airport, 45-55 minutes by bus or train) go pretty much everywhere in Europe and aren’t too long. Less than 3 hours by plane to Athens or London which are two of the farthest big cities in Europe.

More specifically Freiburg itself is a very charming middling city. Coming from Claremont, CA it is definitely larger but it always felt very welcoming and approachable. I felt like I had a pretty good sense of where things were and how to get places within a week or two of being there. Some think studying abroad in a city like Paris or Rome seems amazing and I won’t say it isn’t. However, I would say that considering most of your travel will probably be to bigger capitals and cultural centers it can actually be kind of nice and refreshing to have a home base in a more manageable sized city. Not to mention that being outside a huge metropolitan area promises a very unique and authentic experience that can be very hard to find at another time in your life. Finally, Freiburg is a college town with all the associated night life and young vibes.

The Social Scene:
Being a college town Freiburg has a good number of pubs and clubs to explore. Whether you are looking for a lower key place to meet and hang with friends in the evening to a place where you can let loose and dance there are a good number of choices.

Many people (myself included) come in with the stereotype that Germans are a bit cold and unhelpful. This was not my experience. Many of the people I met who actually live year round in Freiburg or are at the university were incredibly friendly. My flat mate dropped what she had been doing right when I showed up and helped me settle in and explained a bunch of the basics of our apartment and where we live (Vauban and Freiburg in general). Then throughout the semester there were many occasions where either in mine or the other flats I would end up hanging out or eating dinner with them and hearing about where they were from, about German/European politics or something funny that had happened that day.

IES Setting you up:
Right when you arrive for check in you are already in good hands with the incredibly helpful and friendly office administrators. After sorting out your check in papers you begin a 5-day orientation with the other students on the program. By the end of this short period I had already felt like I had made a ton of great friends through dinners, orientation sessions about living in Germany and a hike in the Black Forest. All of these are organized by the staff who make sure everyone is having too much fun to even think about how far we were from the comforts of the United States we had known our entire lives.

After this the staff at IES doesn’t just stand by for the rest of the semester. Everyone in the office is constantly engaging with the students whether it was leading and hanging out with us on our field trips to other cities or just starting conversations in the center. The whole IES staff genuinely make it their mission to create a unique and positive experience for every student in any way they can.

Learning that goes beyond the classroom:
The first cool thing that stuck out to me in my classes abroad was that 4 of my 5 teachers came from practical backgrounds. My favorite class was taught by a leadership and change management consultant who not only taught us about “leading across cultures” (the title of the class) but also invested in personally getting to know every student in the class and challenging all of us to test our personal comfort zones to grow as individuals and team members.

All of my other classes taught me tons of stuff I never knew about how government and business operates differently in Europe. I learned about how the European financial system is similar and different from that of the US from a man who spent over 20 years in the European banking industry. I learned about how the European Union developed and operates today from a woman who has worked for European governing structures and interest groups that influence policy. Basically what I’m trying to say is that you are not only learning from a perspective outside the US but IES brings in experts to teach these classes who have either done extensive research or worked first hand with what they are teaching about.

Finally, the Field Trips integrated into the program. Near the very beginning of the program you visit Berlin to get a sense for some of the history of Germany and its seat of government. Later after learning a lot about the institutions of the EU you visit Brussels which is where the seat of much of the supranational governance in Europe is. There we had meetings at the European Council and heard from fellows at think tanks or people in the various interest groups trying to influence the future of the EU. Towards the end of the program you get to choose between different trips to other member states in the EU, each trip featured a theme of a contemporary issue facing the EU. All of this provides in my opinion one of the most unique values of the program, everything you are learning in classes is made tangible and you hear from those actually working within the structures we are learning about.

Travel:
As I alluded to earlier traveling from Freiburg to other places is easy and included in the program. We went to a solid number of really great places with the program where they had academic meetings set up for us as well as city tours. But beyond this amazing aspect of the program other travel is actually quite inexpensive by comparison to the United States if you are diligent. I checked Kayak and other budget travel websites pretty much religiously and was able to very cost effectively travel to many other places as well. In total I went to 14 countries during the course of my program. 9 of which were with the program, so if you are looking for a program where you can see a lot of Europe this is a great choice!

Wrapping it all up:
As has probably been clear from this review my experience with the IES EU program in Freiburg was extremely positive. The last big thing I want to mention is the environment with the students in the program. Pretty much all of our program was really close by the end (tears were being shed on the final night). There will be some people you are more similar too or get along especially well with but the way IES creates this community that everyone is friendly and open is possibly the most remarkable aspect of this program. The teachers are very approachable and happy to help, the office staff care very deeply about making an amazing experience for every student and because of this welcoming and positive attitude all of us for the most part end up having positive attitudes and lots of fun together.

Studying abroad definitely has challenges and times where you feel lonely or uncomfortable. This program and the staff at IES do an amazing job of supporting and enabling you though so that no matter what obstacles you encounter you can overcome them. I have so many amazing friends and memories to last a lifetime and this is all thanks to the amazing work that goes into making this program special. It is no small feat to take 69 college students from all over the country with different backgrounds and generate an inclusive and positive environment for all, but that is exactly what IES does on this program. My only complaint really is that it had to come to an end. I grew so much as a person and a student on this program while having an amazing time doing it, so I wholeheartedly recommend and encourage anyone considering studying abroad to do this program. It might just change your life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

EU for You!

The IES EU program is a great way to apply past classes and experience to real life situations involving the European Union. The EU is a super-national system that is testing the waters of conventional statehood, it constantly needs to be monitored and checked to ensure the perfect balance of overall interest, a global player, and that of the individual member states. The classes provide intensive political studies for government or poli-sci majors and/or basic understanding of a very complex system for those of whom that are studying different but related fields such as business. The field study trips allow students to see first hand the processes of the EU legislation, but also apply what they know for a better understanding. The IES staff at the Eu center are beyond amazing. They care for each of the students' needs and will bend over backwards to find the best solution. Frieburg is a quant city that is international enough to offer various religious/cultures while also representing Germany. The location is perfect as it is in the center of Europe, allowing for easy travel and exploration.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Best Decision I've Made So Far

Choosing to study abroad on the European Union program with IES Abroad was the best study abroad program I could've picked. I have few complaints about the program, and the experience far exceeded every expectation I had- and I don't seem to be alone in this regard. Almost every student on my program shared such a positive experience, and we all long to go back and do it all over again.

Situated in Freiburg, Germany, the European Union semester program takes advantage of everything this quaint little German town has to offer. Students are housed in dormitories or apartments with other University of Freiburg students (mostly German, but some international and some Americans on other study abroad programs) so that you see the typical student life in Freiburg. It also provides the opportunity to practice your German language skills with your flatmates, as German is a required course with the program. Depending on where you live, the dorms are a short walk or tram ride to the city center, and each dorm has a student bar.

The city of Freiburg itself is very young and student friendly, with cheap prices, great restaurants, and a bustling nightlife. Typical student activities included going to the Münster markets for lunch for a bratwurst, going on runs in many of Freiburg's parks and lakes, talking for hours at beer gardens, hiking up the Schlossburg with a gorgeous view of the city, and frequenting regular cafes, bars, and clubs. It lives up to its name as the "greenest city in Germany"; the city is very eco-friendly, most food is organic, and clean. It also lives up to its other title as the sunniest city in Germany; the cold and snow at the beginning of the spring semester only lasted around March and the city came alive with outdoor cafes, beergardens, and trips to the park. To top if off, I always felt safe in the city, even in the middle of the night. It is easy to travel from Freiburg, too- the Kaiserstuhl neighboring area offers many hikes and wineries, the Black Forest is fun to explore and has great skiing in the winter months, and it is only a short train ride from large German cities and the Basel and Frankfurt airports for easy weekend trips. After returning from the many field study trips, Freiburg quickly felt like "home."

The academics at the European Union program are very interesting and subject specific. All my classes were European focused, including one on the history of Europe, migration patterns, and regions that exist within Europe, in addition to the required EU Seminar and German language course. This program does not require prerequisite knowledge of the European Union itself, as the Seminar course ranges from beginner to intermediate EU studies based on each student's prior knowledge or experience with European studies, so that every student eventually has the same level of basic understanding of the EU institutions. Our accumulated experience was rounded out with the Model EU capstone project at the end of the semester, where students prepared the whole semester representing a member country in various council topics. It was a lot of work, but every student was still talking about the Ukraine crisis, EU border control and immigration, or corporate tax avoidance until the day we flew home.

The selling point of the program are the field studies unique to the program. In one semester, we visited 9 countries and 10 cities- more travel than I could've hoped to do on my own. The administration is very transparent and clear about the program trips, and students didn't have to worry about logistical planning for any of the trips- IES found accommodation, city tours, transportation passes, travel to and from city to city, and meetings and events, on an organized schedule given to us at the beginning of the trip. On every trip, students went to meetings at institutions, think tanks, or other organizations. Students were split into three groups based on your school major and interests, and attended subject specific meetings in each city (for example, I am an International Affairs major and was in a group that focused on international politics and foreign policy; our meetings included going to the French Foreign Ministry in Paris, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, and meeting with experts in Prague on the Czech Republic's government transition from communism to democracy). It is the perfect combination of classroom experience and real world experience- and provides students with an unparalleled understanding of the EU institutions and a richer travel experience than if I had organized travel on my own.

My study abroad experience was extended with an internship at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. This internship program is offered through the IES program, and I interviewed with staff members in Freiburg after submitting a written application. Seven students including myself had the opportunity to intern with a parliamentary member at the European Parliament for the month of June, and we took a complimentary course during May on cross-cultural communication and working in foreign environments. The internship program was a fantastic experience, and provided me with valuable work skills, an increased understanding of EU institutions and policy-making, and forced me to examine my own culture and how I present myself in foreign environments- all while exploring a new home in Brussels. I highly recommend applying to the internship program, which is also offered in Freiburg if students would like to intern at other organizations.

All in all, I couldn't imagine studying abroad with a different program. For me, this program had everything I was looking for- a program focused solely on European matters, a way to practice my German language, and a chance to cross off many places on my travel bucket list- and I was lucky to meet some of my new best friends in the process. Although it is subject specific and may deter from "traditional" study abroad experiences, you only need an interest in travel and trying new things to enjoy this program. In conversations with other students from my home university who studied abroad, I seem to have had the most enriching experience. No other program provides you with hands-on learning, a hybrid of classroom and real world experience, and extensive travel quite like the European Union program with IES.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I met some of my best friends this semester

Freiburg is the German version of a college town. At first I was a little worried that I wouldn't be in a big city like Heidelberg, Munich, or Berlin, but I very quickly found out that Freiburg was the perfect size. Having a population of around 200,000, Freiburg felt like the perfect size. Campus and downtown were always bustling and there was always something going on, yet there were numerous hills, trails, parks and lakes that were quiet and not packed at all, so that you could have some nice alone time. With a great public transportation system, you could get to every corner of Freiburg in about 25-30 minutes. The city is known for being one of the wealthier areas of Germany and it is really evident that the city is well kept and aesthetically pleasing. The atmosphere of the city is great because it is very german, yet very multicultural and very student oriented, yet family friendly. It is important to note that I never ever felt unsafe in the city. Even walking 30 minutes home at 3 AM, I always felt safe in the city!

This program is so unique because it mixes classroom learning with real world experiences. This blend of knowledge, centering around everything European Union related, is designed in a way for students to get the most out of the program. At first I was nervous about having to learn in a European system with European professors because their values and norms are so different, but I found out that IES really tries to cater to Americans. The best part of the program was the learning. Now hey - that sounds really nerdy of me, but everyone on the program was nerdy in some way. We would spend a couple weeks in class learning about current events and EU institutions. Then, what really brought it to life, we would visit the places that we talked about in class. It was super unique to see these things in real life, because how many people can say they have been to the Council of Europe?
The field study trips that accompanied the program were some of the best times of my life. Just with organized IES field trips, I got the opportunity to visit 10 different countries! Everything was planned perfectly and organized expertly. The travel was always on time, comfortable and not too long. The accommodation was clean, comfortable and always in a good location. We had a walking tour in every city we visited right when we got there, so that we could learn about the history, culture and layout of the city. We also had about three or four academic meetings in each city where we learned about the political culture and government of the city and country. This is where we got to meet very high up, important people who held good positions. We learned so much from just discussing and listening to these people. Although all of that sounds really academic, we still had so much free time. We had almost all afternoons and evenings off, so we could pick our own dinner restaurants, go see all of the touristy sites and then go out and experience the local nightlife. The truth is, even if you plan your own travel throughout Europe, it will never be as cheap and well planned as the IES trips.

I met some of my best friends this semester! Studying abroad is kind of like your first month at college: nobody knows anyone and everyone is looking for friends immediately. I made incredible, lifelong friends through this program. The people are more academically driven than your usual university student. The kids are all quirky, nerdy, weird and fun. This basically means that during the day we would have political discussions and would watch John Oliver together, but at night we would go to bars and clubs together. The people come from many different universities all through out the country, so it was really unique to share experiences. We all got so close that we are planning a reunion this year. The people really helped out on limiting home sickness and eliminating the side effects of cultural shock.

We got to live in student housing! I was really excited about this prospect because we spent so much time with American IES students on the program that we didnt get to meet many Germans. The housing opporunity allowed us to meet and interact with german univeristy students who were in the same boat as us! It really gave me a chance to compare and contrast American vs. German life. This was an added plus for the program.

Overall, even though places like France, Spain, Italy and England sound like the most popular places to study abroad in Europe, Germany is the hidden gem. Germany is right in the middle of Europe so travel is incredibly easy because everything is so close. Germany is also doing well economically so the country is thriving, yet prices are not too expensive. My favorite thing about the country is that it is very punctual and very orderly, so you know exactly what you are getting. I would recommend this program to many different types of students - as it really is a fantastic experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Can I Go Back Already?

Location:
Freiburg is the biggest town in the area with around 200,000 residents and a lot of them are college kids. It's very walkable and the public transportation makes it even easier to get around. You will get to know the city pretty quick as it isn't that big, but you definitely won't get bored of it. Definitely take advantage of the Schlossburg and the numerous biergartens around it during nice weather. The best Döner kebab place is most definitely Uni Döner in downtown. There is a train station in town which can get you to some major cities around the area, but you will have to travel via train to either Basel or Frankfurt for the closest airport which some view as a hassle.
Academics:
You will come out of this program with a much better understanding of the EU than most EU citizens. The syllabi may look intimidating, but don't let that deter you. The papers are meaningful and related to the coursework and the professors are not overly harsh graders. I definitely encourage people who want a challenge to take the Leadership course with Kerstin. That has been the best class I have ever taken, including high school and college. The only aspect of the academics I was disappointed with was the lack of business courses, however, that encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and take classes, like Environmental Policies, I otherwise would have never taken. The Field Trips are incredible. You have one or two academic meetings in the day where you learn about different topics relating to the EU from people who are experts in those fields, which is much better than having your professor make you read those chapters in a text book. Then you have the nights free to explore the city. My friends were so jealous of all the travel I experienced through my program and how I didn't have to worry about any of the logistics of those week long trips.
People:
My program had the largest amount of people they have ever had with over 90 students so there was a wide variety of interests and personalities which I loved. From my experience, the kids enrolled in this program are more academically driven than your average college student. The kids on the program are going to be holding some high positions in the political, business, and international affairs world in a couple years so it is a great place to do some networking. That being said, they also know how to have a lot of fun.
Overall:
Incredible experience. You mostly hang out with other Americans on your program so if you want to meet Germans, get involved with some pick up sports and or another program on campus!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

Where learning is not confined to classrooms

If you want to travel to 10+ countries, this program is for you. We learn while traveling by visiting the EU institutions and talking to the EU representatives. We learn the culture and the language because we are roomed with students at the University of Freiburg. The staff here is terrific: Always helpful and caring. You will feel like home in Freiburg, a small, picturesque city surrounded by the Black Forrest.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

IES Abroad European Union - not a dream because it's been so real

1) THE PROGRAM

Want to travel to 6+ countries with the program and as many as you wish on your own? Then the IES Abroad European Union program is for you. The program's focus is the European Union. Thus, we had the opportunity to visit the EU member states, came to many important EU institutions and national embassies, and discussed various EU-wide topics. We came to the European Commission, the EP, and the Italian Foreign Ministry, just to name a few.

2) THE STAFF
I cannot tell how much I love the IES staff! They are extremely helpful and caring. They took us for dinner on Thanksgiving and it really helped us homesick students.

They also helped us adjust to our new life in German by coordinating cultural trainings. In these training sessions, we were provided with tips and advice on German culture.

3) THE CITY - FREIBURG
When we do not go on field trips to other countries, we enjoy our time in Freiburg, a small city beautifully located near Switzerland and France. (In fact, when I was studying there, during the weekend I made a day trip to Basel, Switzerland, and Strasbourg, France which was only 1 hour away from Freiburg.)

With the convenient public transportation system, you can basically go to everywhere in Freiburg. Freiburg is surrounded by the Black Forrest where you can go for a hike and a picnic to relax after hours of studying.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I would go back to this program again and again, without a moment's hesitation

I absolutely loved my time in the EU program. I had the happiest four months in my life.
-TRAVEL
Traveling is what first attracted me to the EU program. The program itself took us to 3 different trips and 8 different cities over 3.5 weeks. The trips were very well organized with different activities/lectures to learn about the EU and the local culture. We always got clear schedules, maps, and recommendations for places to visit in each city. I also took several weekends to travel to different countries with my friends. It's just so easy to travel in Europe!
-ACADEMICS
The classes we had at the center were very well-connected with the things we learnt from traveling. In the end, I was surprised by how much I learnt about the EU in just one semester. Even though traveling and having fun had been my priorities this semester, I still got much out of my classes. Also, the professors were just very interesting people themselves! They came to trips with us and you really got to know some of them well!
-LIVE
We lived in University of Freiburg student dorms with German students. The dorms were very nice and my room was huge! We had a nice living room/kitchen so I cooked with friends in there a lot. My German suite mates were wonderful people. They were very helpful and great to talk to. We had suite mates dinners and hangouts at the student bar. Freiburg is an amazing city with lots of students and a gorgeous view everywhere you go. You will find great restaurants, shopping malls, bars, and clubs here!
-CULTURAL IMMERSION
Because the EU program is taught in English, most students don't come knowing German already. We don't have classes in the University of Freiburg or with the German students, which could be a downside to cultural immersion. However, I believe most students didn't choose this program for an intensive language training and the program already did its best by arranging us to live with German students. I still had many chances to immerse myself in the culture, just by talking to my professors, local restaurants owners, and exploring the different corners of the city on my own. If you're driven to know more about the culture here, trust me, there will be plenty of opportunities to do so!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The most amazing four months of my life...

It would be difficult for me to say anything other than that my four months abroad on the IES European Union program were the best four months of my life. Seriously. I made better friends than I ever could have imagined, and experienced more than I ever could have dreamed. Boarding the plane to leave was one of the most difficult things that I've ever had to do. Of course, these are things that a lot of students say when they go abroad, so it's important to clarify what makes this program so unique.

THE CITY/LOCATION
Holy crap. Freiburg. It's the most beautiful city. And it's become my second home. I can't even say that about the city where I go to school in the United States. Freiburg is just that good. It's a smaller city--only 200,000 residents or so--but that means that you can get to know it on an intimate, deep level, which wouldn't be the case in a city like London, Paris, or Copenhagen. It's hyper-green, crazy environmental. You can even see wind turbines from the IES EU Center. It's traditional. Witness the Christmas Market and the daily (!) farmer's market in the Münsterplatz. It's also remarkably cosmopolitan and young. There's even a North Face store. The University in Freiburg is has something like 30,000 students, and that just means that the city really tailors itself to that audience.

For bars, clubs, and nightlife, that's a great thing. Be sure to check out the local student bars, which often have great deals and are great opportunities to meet Germans. StuSie, Mudom, and Vaubar come to mind. O'Kelly's also shows American football for when you get homesick. It can also be pretty fun to check out the local biergartens. The biergarten on Schlossberg in particular deserves some recognition. It has amazing views, a killer authentic atmosphere, and of course, great beer.

Suffice it to say that you can study in a large city if you like, but if you want to really love the city you're in, and really experience it on a deep level, you'll want to choose somewhere like Freiburg.

ACADEMICS
Interesting, intellectually-stimulating, but--and this is important to keep in mind if you are considering this program--somewhat more challenging than I expected. Mostly I think this was a result of differences between the German university system and the American system. For example, in Germany, it is common to assign a large term paper and have a comprehensive exam in a course, without many other opportunities for points. Students may not even attend class aside from the final exam. While it depends a lot on the course and the instructor, in many cases IES keeps these aspects of the German system, but adds elements of a more American classroom experience: participation points, grade deductions for absences, graded quizzes and midterms, or short essays. In some cases this works well. It definitely kept me on my toes. But in some cases it felt like an absolutely absurd workload, especially during weeks where multiple classes had large assignments due.

This could probably be solved through additional communication between instructors and administration. But I couldn't help but feel like the workload was a bit beyond what I expected. It didn't end up being a huge issue, but it's something to keep in mind if you're considering the program.

LIVING SITUATION/CULTURAL INTERACTION
I lived in a student housing complex in Vauban, a hyper-green neighborhood south of Freiburg central, and shared a flat with German and other international students. Typically you'll live in a single room with a shared bathroom and kitchen. While I considered buying a bike early on, I figured I would prefer the flexibility of a Regiokarte (transit pass) for late-night weekend returns home, so I didn't purchase one, although I could see if you lived in Engelberger that it might be convenient. It was a lot of fun getting to know and talking to my German flatmates--especially about the United States and world affairs--although I do wish there were more opportunities for interaction.

That said, IES groups students together, so there will certainly be other American students living in your residence complex. If you're interested in a high degree of cultural interaction, this might be discouraging, but if you're interested in making a lot of new and really good friends, then this is an absolutely ideal situation. All of the Americans--including those on IES Freiburg or other abroad programs--became great friends just by sharing dinners and going out together. That was just what I needed, so I didn't mind, but I could see how if your goal is intercultural interaction, then you might be disappointed. My best advice is that if you seek it out, you can find it. You just have to seek it out.

FIELD TRIPS/TRAVEL
Oh God. I could go on and on. Intellectually, nothing could compare to getting the opportunity to pick the brains of representatives from the European Commission. Or the head of the permanent delegation of Turkey to the EU. Or--and I swear this is true--a top diplomat at the permanent delegation of Russia to the EU. We talked with him for an hour and a half about Crimea, NATO, and the Ukraine. Seriously! I will never forget his unique perspective and how much it clashed with that of the EU and the U.S.

The field trips were an opportunity to engage with thought leaders and decision makers in a way that few Europeans--let alone Americans--ever get to experience. As long as you approach them in that way, you will absolutely love them. And what's not to love about 22 days of included travel? I went to Berlin, Prague, Luxembourg, Brussels, Paris, Strasbourg, London, Stockholm, and Tallinn on field trips with the program and could not have been more pleased. Sure, it would have been nice to have more time, but I feel like I had a perfect amount of time such that I have a view of what each city is like and (perhaps most importantly) a desire to come back. Each city included a tour organized by IES which was insightful and helpful. In some cities, you'll visit the local IES center to conduct meetings. In London, one particularly amazing, hilarious, and knowledgable IES instructor decided out of the blue that he wanted to take us all out for drinks! Don't worry about not having enough time each day--there's plenty of time to go out, take in the sights, go clubbing, or visit a museum. And on the last trip, you'll have a free day in each city.

You do not even necessarily have to do any travel outside of the program. IES organized a weekend day trip to the Swiss Alps, which included perhaps the most amazing views I've ever seen. They also did a castles trip, which I did not attend but I heard great things. I did three outside trips. One to Rome, and two to Munich (you'll want to go to Munich multiple times--too much to see!). Others went to Amsterdam, Dublin, and even exotic locales like Kiev. It's really easy to get anywhere using your Regiokarte, Deutsche Bahn (DB) trains, and the Basel EuroAirport. By all means, travel to your heart's content, but don't neglect Freiburg. The city is incredibly beautiful, and there are smaller attractions nearby that don't require much travel but for which you'll want a full day.

OVERALL
The IES European Union program changed my life. It helped me to grow in self-confidence, developed my independence, and built friendships that could last a lifetime. I've developed an interest for international affairs and diplomacy, and I can't wait to take the knowledge and skills that I've developed to the real world. If you're looking for a program which will allow you to slack off, skip classes, or simply party all the time, this one is not for you. If you're looking for a program which will allow you to become fluent in German or interact mostly with Germans, this one is not for you. But if you're looking for a program with a work-hard/play-hard mentality, where you will develop lasting friendships and engage thought-leaders and decisionmakers while traveling to and experiencing the best of what Europe, Germany, and Freiburg have to offer, then stop reading this review and apply. Now.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

The Best Place on Earth

While it is hard to denote just one memorable experience, I would have to say that riding our bikes along the Dreisam River in Freiburg with the wind and sun at our backs was pretty great. We did this pretty much every day and it never got old!

I met with my study abroad adviser and she threw this idea out there. I had never heard of it and I still credit her to this day with my amazing experience!

I lived in a University apartment with 4 other German University students and one other student on my program. We each had our own room then shared a kitchen and a bathroom. It was a fun way to immerse ourselves in the culture without having a full homestay!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Best Place on Earth

The IES Abroad European Union Program based in Freiburg, Germany was everything I could have wanted and more. Not only is Freiburg a lively University town filled with fun bars, affordable restaurants, great outdoor activities, and friendly locals, but the program itself trumps all. Three separate trips are built into the program allowing students to apply their knowledge of European political and economic systems firsthand in the countries that they visit.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    3

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Best semester of my life

This semester was the most fun I've had since being in college. I had so much fun with everyone in the program, and the travel was incredible. A note about life in Freiburg: integrating into German culture is on you!!! You have to make an effort, since you're studying at the IES center and not in a university you're surrounded by Americans all day every day. But it's possible to bond with flatmates and locals, many of my friends did that. My dorm experience was relatively uneventful, but I spent a lot of time at my friend's flat since her flatmates were the best!!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Best decision I ever made

I've been studying German for about three years in college and going abroad with IES was my first time in Germany and I had the ability to put my German to the test! This opportunity was one of the best decisions I've ever made! I was able to improve and actually use my German, I made new friends, met great people from across the globe, learned so much about the EU (and its relationship with the US), and traveled to so many cool places through this program. I cannot stress enough how much this program has changed me, not only did I have so much fun, but I also grew and changed as a person during my time there.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Exceeding all expectations

When I started my study abroad search, I was seeking a program that combined my interests in social sciences, history, and politics in a practical, hands-on approach. IES Abroad's European Union program seemed like the perfect opportunity, with over 3
weeks of travel and meetings throughout the semester with policy makers, journalists, and lawyers all over EU-member states. My German was also improved, as the center's location in the heart of the Black Forest (in Freiburg) meant that I would get first hand experience for practicing language skills. For roughly 4 months, I was immersed in the local, national, and international political culture of Europe, with visits to Brussels, Prague, and Barcelona, to name a few spots. Freiburg is also close to cities like Heidelberg and Colmar (in France), and they were just a short train ride or bus away. Alongside my 80 classmates, I got the chance of a lifetime to see Europe in a fresh and exciting way, and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect program for an adventurous historian with ambitions to work in policy making and law.
In addition to the work and opportunities throughout the semester, the IES EU program also encourages students to find research and internship opportunities in Europe for a greater look into European affairs. In February of my Spring semester, I began applying for internships in Brussels, The Hague, and Geneva after hearing about opportunities from my professors and encouraging speakers. As a result, I spent the summer of 2016 working for an international corporate index tracking organization in Geneva, Switzerland. While Switzerland is not a part of the EU, I feel that my experiences with IES Abroad on international visits and excursions helped me to be properly prepared to live and work abroad in one of the international hubs of European Legal and Human Rights Activities. My work brought me education on patent law, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and compliance with the UN's Social Development Goals (2016-2030). I've even gotten the chance to collaborate on UN legislation and working group documents as an independent observer. I feel that I could not have done these things without the help of IES Abroad's staff and educational resources, and I'm so glad I applied to this program over a year ago.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Best Four Months!

Studying abroad was most definitely the best four months of my life filled with traveling to 20 European cities, making a home in Freiburg, visiting European institutions and organizations, and creating endless memories with the people on my program.

Housing:
There are about four to five residential buildings that the 70some of us on the program all lived in. It is about a 20-30 minute tram ride between the different dorms which does separate people at first, but eventually students would travel to other dorms together. Living arrangements vary from 5-8 suitemates—who are generally University of Freiburg students. My suitemates were very friendly and welcoming and were genuinely interested in my experience in Germany. Getting to know your suitemates is a great way to interact with local students and immerse more into the local culture. Note for the students studying abroad in the Fall: the university students do not usually arrive until mid to late October—so things are quieter and slower at first, but once they arrive things start to pick up!

Freiburg:
There are not enough words to describe how great of a city Freiburg is. It’s a small to medium sized university town where you can easily get around, by foot or the convenient tram, and be comfortable with your surroundings. I felt safe and comfortable adjusting to the city and while I did a lot in the city throughout my four months there, it is a big enough city where there was still a significant amount of things I did not get to do.

Academics:
The IES EU Center is a nice and comfortable building…that we spent A LOT of hours in...to study, hang out, and for classes. The seminar is based on your previous political science classes and focuses on a more in-depth knowledge of the European Union institutions and their workings. A German class is required but previous German knowledge is not needed. I had taken four semesters before studying abroad and my language did improve by hearing locals speak and talking more than usual but due to this being an English speaking program, personal effort is necessary to progress your language ability. The other three courses are electives—the great thing about these are the local field trips and lectures you attend (during course excursions) relate to the material learned in class. The Model EU at the end of the program effectively summed up the program. We were able to take everything we learned throughout the semester and apply it to relevant policies.

Course Excursions:
The field trips were the highlight of the program—it makes it a unique program and take you to places, like the European Commission, European Parliament, various think-tanks, academic experts and more, that normally one does not have the opportunity to experience. The meetings and people we met with on these course excursions allowed us to see how the “experts” of the European Union deal with the current events. The excursions are well-planned out and the days are busy filled with meetings but there is still time to enjoy the cities.

I would highly recommend the IES EU program for many reasons—especially to those who are interested in aspects of politics and economics, as this program is heavily focused on these academic areas. I’m already counting down the days till I can go back and explore more of Europe and especially visit Freiburg again!