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IES Abroad Freiburg - Language Area Studies Semester/Year Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing 4 Months

My experience in Freiburg was one of the best 4 month periods of my life. I found the logistics of the Freiburg Study Abroad to be superb, and this little city in southern Germany offers everything. You’re surrounded by the Black Forest and Freiburg is an authentic German town with a lot of energy from the masses of college students. Dorm life was fantastic for me - that’s how I met the most germans and my roommates were very welcoming. All in all a fantastic experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Semester in Freiburg

Freiburg im Breisgau was an absolutely amazing city for my study abroad experience. The city is extremely vibrant and filled with an immense amount of history and life. It was always easy to find things to do and to move about the city. I personally rented a bike during my first week and used it every day I was there. Almost everyone bikes in Freiburg and there are bike paths present everywhere in the city. I found this to be a great way to get around and explore as it was often much faster than taking the tram and the weather was perfect for biking almost every day. Additionally Freiburg presented me with tons of opportunities to practice my German language skills and as a result I improved A LOT. The locals were extremely nice about the language learning process and were always willing to help you if you had any questions. The rooming situation was also a big help for learning the language because you are placed in a dorm living with native Germans. The classes were also all taught in German and dealt with very interesting and applicable topics. The teachers were also very willing to help at any time and were very good about promoting an environment in the classroom where everyone wanted to speak and participate. I spent lots of time in Freiburg with friends in the beautiful local beer gardens, biking through the city, and hiking through the black forest. This experience is one I wont forget and I recommend it to anyone looking to learn about the German culture and greatly improve their language skills.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Black Forest Bliss

Freiburg is an incredible student town where city and country meet. It's an incredible experience to ride your bike throughout the city and various neighborhoods, marveling at the Black Forest and German architecture. The city itself is quaint with many restaurants, bars, museums, and cinemas. I've been in Freiburg a year and still have so much left to see! But, Freiburg isn't so large that it feels unmanageable. I find that when I am in town, I am almost always bumping into a friend or acquaintance! I have absolutely loved my time abroad studying alongside Germans and other international students. It's been a great opportunity to practice and expand upon my German. The people in Freiburg are so friendly and always supportive of the language learning process (and many mishaps!) which I found so helpful. I enjoyed many visits to the beautiful beer gardens throughout Freiburg as well as many a picnic in the Black Forest. The city itself offers something for everyone's taste, if you're simply willing to explore!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Semester in Freiburg

I had a great experience studying abroad in Freiburg im Breisgau with IES! I had a really great experience in all facets. Freiburg itself is a really cool, not-overwhelming town in the Black Forest with lots of culture and things to explore, but also very centrally located for travel in western Europe. This program specifically offered really great, knowledgeable professors whose classes I genuinely enjoyed taking. It was also cool to meet fellow students on my program who were from all over the country and incorporate their perspectives along with German viewpoints into my own worldview, and to experience it changing. The program staff were very nice and helpful and seemed to go out of their way to help and accommodate students. I would highly recommend this program to others!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Colorful Time By The Black Forest

When I first came to Freiburg, I had no idea what to expect. My German hadn't seen much use outside the classroom, this was my first time living abroad, and I knew that I would not know anybody involved in the program. The affair could have gone in a few directions. It ended up being one of the best experiences of my life.

The IES Abroad staff created a community of individuals, a whole comprised of students from vastly different academic backgrounds. By providing us with numerous resources (ranging from the helpful "Cool Places to Go" to the essential "What To Do & Where To Go If Anything Bad Should Befall You"), our lovely administrative staff gave us a solid foundation which in turn made us feel more comfortable branching out in our own directions. While feeling always welcomed to attend IES events where I would get to know my fellow students better, I never believed myself put upon by the program, never saw my attendance at said events as being obligatory. In short, as I was getting settled in, IES was there if I ever needed them yet gave me room to pursue my personal plans (i.e. international travel).

Freiburg itself is among the most beautiful cities I've ever visited and I plan to return! The people were quite friendly and always willing/able to switch into English if need be. Though there are some labyrinthine parts of the city, the ubiquity of maps allowed for safe navigation while the exemplary public transportation system facilitated my dorm-to-class commute. (One could buy either a bike or a Straßenbahn Semester Ticket for a reasonable amount; having a personal preference for reading/looking out windows while traveling, I chose the Straßenbahn Semester Ticket). The Black Forest is, besides being readily accessible (especially with the Semester Ticket, which at designated time intervals allows one to take regional trains for free), nothing less than utterly absorbing in its beauty. In fact, from the Münster to the numerous art museums, this city was brimming with top-notch aesthetic experiences.

All in all, the IES Language/Area Studies Program in Freiburg was so much more than the typical study abroad experience. It was another home - and still is, for me. I look forward to returning to this wonderful city, reminisce about old memories, and make many new ones!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Freiburg is Amazing

I had an absolutely amazing time in Freiburg. I spent the Fall 2014 semester there, and it was one of the best decisions of my life. While the academics of the program weren’t quite as challenging as those of my home university, I still learned a lot of new things, such as German art history or Germany’s role in the European Union. One of the most important aspects of the program for me was that every class was taught in German. The language intensive at the beginning of the program prepared us well, in my opinion, for the classes to come. My German improved so much during the course of the program, and I became a much more confident writer and speaker.
Cultural immersion was another great aspect of the program, and the on-site staff really tried to get us accustomed to Freiburg and its surroundings not long after our arrival. They took us on day trips into places like the Black Forest and the Swiss Alps, as well as taking us on walking tours of Freiburg. The staff there in Freiburg is top-notch. Their office hours covered pretty much the entire day, and they were always ready to help with any problems that came up. Furthermore, they were all extremely nice and were always willing just to talk if a student wanted to.
The living situation was also great. I was lucky enough to live in Händelstrasse, a student apartment building that backs up to the edge of the Black Forest. I took advantage of nearby bike and walking trails to go biking to different towns in the area on the weekends. The countryside in Baden-Württemburg is beautiful. My roommates were all German, two girls and one guy, and we all got along very well. We spoke mostly German around the apartment, which also helped with my language skills, as well as my cultural immersion. I also made German friends through playing soccer at the University sports school every week. I still keep in touch with them, and one might even come visit this summer.
As far as safety is concerned, Freiburg is a very safe place. I never once felt like I was in danger, even walking back to my dorm late at night. I felt very comfortable with my surroundings, and the people there are nice enough to help someone if they were in trouble.
Overall, every aspect of the Freiburg Language and Area Studies program is brilliant. That Fall semester was the best semester of my life, and I hope one day to visit Freiburg again. I would definitely recommend the program to anyone who wants to greatly improve their German and have a great and culturally rewarding time doing it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Freiburg Top 10 Moments

10. Bartending at a French Wine and Champagne Bar in the Markthalle.
9. Grilling on the balcony of my dorm with my roommates.
8. Riding my bike into town along the Dreisam river everyday to get to class.
7. Playing Baseball for the Freiburg Knights.
6. Interning at a high school assistant teaching in English.
5. Working at an English Immersion camp in Basel, Switzerland.
4. Drinking glühwein at the Christmas Market on a cold day in-between classes.
3. Wine tasting at the local wineries.
2. Riding the Straßenbahn to the end of each line, exploring the edges and different neighborhoods of Freiburg.
1. Biking a five-day trip leaving from Freiburg heading towards and across the Rhine, north through the Vineyards of the Alsace region in France, and back down again to Freiburg.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Beyond expectations

During Christmas time in Germany every town has its own Weihnachtsmarkt, or Christmas market. My Tandem Partner wanted to take me to the famous Medieval themed Weihnachtsmarkt that was close to her home town. Though we spent six hours on the train that day to get to the medieval market, it was totally worth it. We had a wonderful time sampling foods and marveling at the booths and costumes. My tandem partner and I are still very good friends.

It was highly recommended to me by my German language professor and the study abroad advisers at my school.

I lived in a student dorm which was a suite that I shared with 3 other German students. We each had our own bedroom, there were two bathrooms and we shared a communal kitchen.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Beyond expectations

I loved having the opportunity to live with local German students. They were interested in getting to know me and even threw a party for me when I left! I volunteered at a local hospital during my time in Freiburg and that improved my German drastically. Everyone was very friendly and I had a wonderful time in Freiburg. I would have stayed for a whole year if I could have!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I had a blast and learned SO much German.

Honestly, every single minute was amazing so it's hard to pick out one experience. If I had to say, I would pick my time in Feierling - Freiburg's best beer garden. It had THE BEST Radler (beer + lemonade) in the world and the food is to die for. I went at least once a week with friends for a few hours and always had ridiculous amounts of fun :)

The only other option that my school offered was IES in Berlin but I'm not really into big cities. I loved being near the mountains and the cute cobblestone streets and the adorable Badisch accents. Freiburg is more traditionally 'German' than Berlin (although Berlin has its own culture that it great too).

I lived in a dorm with three other people. Two were female Germans and the other was a Swedish guy. We each had our own rooms. There were 1.5 bathrooms and a large kitchen with a big table which doubled as a living room. There was no microwave (but I think that was kind of unique). We had a student bar underneath our building and there was also a large soccer field and trees that always had hammocks on them. One of the best parts about Händelstrasse - we had a trampoline :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

FREIBURG IS AWESOME

As most of my friends will attest to, being in Freiburg was the best time of my life. I had a blast and learned SO much German. I wouldn't say I'm fully fluent, but I'm pretty close. I miss my home-away-from-home every day. The city is beautiful and big - but not too big. It's right next to the Black Forest and if you're lucky (like I was) your dorm will back up to hiking trails! I made friends from all different countries that I will never forget. If you want to learn German and have a uniquely German experience, Freiburg is the perfect place <3

Academics:
While the classes weren't as challenging as classes at my home university, they were really really fun and I learned so much. The first month of intensive language was really helpful; I got a good basis to start the rest of my time abroad. All of my teachers were kind and engaging and I looked forward to almost every class.

Living Situation:
Everyone lived in one of 4 different dorms but mine (obviously) was the best. Händelstrasse will be in my heart forever. I had three awesome flatmates: two female Germans and one Swedish guy. I became really good friends with the Swedish guy and we still talk even after not seeing him for six months!

Cultural Immersion:
Be prepared because EVERYTHING is in German. From the moment I got there we never spoke English. All our orientations and classes were in German which was difficult at first but as the semester went on I realized that it really helped my fluency.

Another good 'cultural immersion' aspect of IES were the cultural activities we did during the month of intensive language. Often we did scavenger hunts around the city to discover new places. One of these led me to my favorite restaurant in Freiburg - Oma's Kuche! (Best potato soup you will ever eat, I promise.)

Program Administration:
Everyone working at IES is there to help you 24/7. They are so nice and understanding. A good example - I needed a new glasses prescription and IES called a glasses shop and got me an appointment and because it's Germany, my prescription was free!

Health and Safety:
I never felt unsafe in Freiburg and I regularly walked 20 minutes back to my dorm at 1 am :D

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Excellent cultural immersion program

This is a really good program. By the end of it, I felt that I really knew the area I lived in on both a geographical and personal level. My German undoubtedly improved in leaps and bounds, and I feel that I now have a much better grasp of German culture. The area in which this program truly shines, however, is in helping students to gain cultural fluency. And while I certainly found that fluency helpful in navigating the German academic world and the IES staff approachable and knowledgeable, it is worth noting that students with exceptionally specific areas of study may have trouble finding classes that fit their focuses.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

A truly immersive experience

I participated in the full academic year at IES in Freiburg and was pleased with nearly all aspects of the program. The course selection is broad, only limited by the number of students in the program. However, if a course is not offered by IES it is very easy to take it at the University. The IES professors are very engaging, knowledgeable, and cognizant of the students' other cultural backgrounds.The administration was also very competent and helpful in all regards. The full year students have the opportunity to stay in the Alban Stolz Haus, a student dorm in Littenweiler. There are many student-organized activities every week and the dorm seeks to foster great interaction wishing the ASH community. The city of Freiburg is truly a gem of Germany. Situated near France and Switzerland, one has plenty of opportunities to travel. The organized trips by IES to Italy and to Berlin/Hamburg were also very enjoyable. Living in Freiburg for an entire year, one has the chance to truly integrate oneself into the culture and student life. It is a vey vibrant city, always with something to do. I made German friends during the year that I will keep my whole life. The chances to improve fluency are ample, regardless of what level one is starting at. It really was the best year of my life.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Glad to go, sad to leave

I am so glad that I chose to go to Freiburg for my semester abroad. As a German Studies major, it was important for me to be able to immerse myself in the language, and Freiburg was a great place to do that. It has a smaller town feel, but is by no means a tiny town. The city itself is beautiful, especially in the Old Town. There are so many things outside of academics to do and experience around Freiburg. The program is great, and the staff at the IES Abroad Center were both well-qualified and more than willing to help if a problem arose. I really enjoyed all of the classes that I got to take while I was there, especially since the topics were taught from the European perspective instead of the American one. The courses challenged me, and since they were all in German, my language ability improved immensely. I also made some good friends while I was there, and was definitely sad to say goodbye to them. More than anything, I was sad to say goodbye to the city that I had come to love in the four short months that I spent there.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

A semester in Freiburg Green City

I learned so much this semester at IES. Taking all my classes in German sounded like it was going to be impossible but IES professors help you through it. I was glad to be able to take my classes in German without having to go through the University, which for some can seem too daunting. I got an internship over the summer at an organic farm nearby and that helped improve my German tremendously. my roommates are all very nice and though I lived a little farther away than most students, I loved my neighborhood. I got to live right next to the black forest. Would definitely recommend this program for any student looking to improve their German in a medium sized town.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

Out of your comfort zone...

Coming to Freiburg gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone, but with a small enough group and city that it was a smooth transition. My experience has introduced me to friends, both within and outside of the program, who will be lifelong friends. The people of Freiburg are exceptionally kind and helpful, especially when you make the effort to practice your German. The program itself has given me the support to feel comfortable living here in Freiburg and the staff here have helped me with things related directly to school work as well as any other questions I have had.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    3

  • Cultural Immersion

    5

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health and Safety

    7

  • Social Life

    6

The challenge is worth it!!

Though I had my doubts going into it, I have no regrets about studying abroad. I learned a lot and grew up in ways I never imagined. I've always been independent, but this experience made me feel all the more confident in my ability to be self-reliant. I traveled a ton by train, entirely by myself, and saw so much of the world without worrying about what anyone else wanted me to do. Though it was undeniably stressful, the challenge was more than worth it. I loved feeling like a real adventurer.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Freiburg in the Fall

I had a really amazing time abroad in Freiburg with IES. I chose a small city on purpose and Freiburg ended up being a great fit because it was small and authentic. There was always something new to do but I also enjoyed traveling during a lot of my weekends. The classes I chose were also conveniently arranged so I could have more time off to travel and explore Europe. My German definitely improved tremendously and I now feel confident to hold a conversation which a local person. I enjoyed all of my classes and really liked all of the teachers and staff. IES was always there for us to help with anything that can go wrong while living in a foreign country. I always felt their support but did choose to live pretty independently. I liked my living situation as well and was very close to the downtown altstadt. Freiburg also has great going out options, though it is not comparable to big city night life. I recommend this program to anyone who is looking for a quiet German town and wants to improve their German through authentic conversation, great classes and fun excursions. Beautiful place, awesome program.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    6

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    9

Exciting, Cultural, Immersive, Fun, Delicious

Walking around the local market interacting with the locals in their own language was truly memorable.

I wanted a program that allowed me to completely immerse myself in the area. Being in Freiburg, living with other university students, and speaking only German meant that I was able to really learn and become a part of the culture.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Das beste Semester meines Lebens

With all the nerves that came along with going abroad, there certainly was a lot of excitement to counter any of that anxiety, and traveling abroad with an organization like IES made everything a million times easier. It's great to have a staff who is so helpful in not only the "getting there" process but also during your ENTIRE stay.

To put it simply, being in Freiburg was a dream. Although it was a sizable city, it was not too large where I felt overwhelmed or even too small where I felt underwhelmed. There was always something to do, explore, or get involved in, and I loved to have so many opportunities at my fingertips. Being in a university city, Freiburg is vibrant and full of life with not only German students but also international students from all over. And with the living situation provided by IES (mixed apartment style-living), I had the opportunity to meet people from all around the world AND use my German in an everyday setting.

As far as academics, IES offers a handful of wonderful courses taught by amazing German professors who just love what they do, and it shows in any interaction you'll have with them. The professors are also really interested in forming bonds with their students- something that will make your time abroad even more special if you take a trip to a museum, grab a meal together or even attend a dinner at his/her home! On top of this option, students can also enroll at the local university in courses of all different varieties, so that is certainly an amazing opportunity to take advantage of! Plus IES works with many organizations around Freiburg to help students who wish to have an internship find a suitable placement.

I often struggle to summarize just how much I loved my experiences abroad; it's something that changed my life and will honestly remain a huge part of who I am forever. Going abroad is an amazing experience that ALL students should experience, and going abroad with IES will seriously make it even more memorable.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    7

Freiburg, Germany

My abroad experience was fantastic. I made friends with my German roommates in our student apartment. Class scheduling allowed me to travel on most weekends. The workload in classes was fair and I was able to increase my German speaking, writing, reading and understanding skills. The administration was knowledgeable and efficient. The city of Freiburg was a perfect backdrop for study abroad, as it wasn’t a huge city, but you were able to discover something new every weekend. I was also nice to return to a quieter city after long weekends of travel while bettering your German skills. Put simply, this program was so great; I wish I could have stayed for the entire year.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    7

IES Freiburg Langauge and Area Studies

My experience with IES Freiburg was amazing. The staff was super helpful with any problem you may have, and were also incredibly friendly and genuinely enjoyed helping students integrate themselves in Freiburg. Classes were somewhat strenuous, but the work did not stop me from being able to enjoy all that Freiburg and Europe has to offer. Everyone in Freiburg was very friendly, especially other students at the University of Freiburg. The dorms were very serviceable and most of them (except Littenweiler) were conveniently located in proximity to the city. Overall, I can't give enough praise to IES Freiburg or my abroad experience in general, it was truly amazing.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Social Life

    6

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    3

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    8

Freiburg is absolutely beautiful, the program was ehh

My most memorable experience was snowshoeing up Feldberg, the tallest mountain in the Black Forest.

I chose the program because I wanted to be near nature, but still in a city, and I wanted to learn more German.

I stayed at Engelbergstrasse. Great, convenient place. Great place to have a bike.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    3

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    6

Freiburg is absolutely beautiful, the program was ehh

I wish things were more organized. I LOVE Freiburg though! Make the most with what you have. For example, there were no airports nearby. Traveling during vacations was difficult and costly. On the other hand, the "seclusion" really challenged me to get to know the area, get an internship, learn the language, and be immersed with my German peers.