Haedyn Smith - 2015 Program Participant

View Overlooking Budapest, Hungary

The view from a hill in Budapest, Hungary. Photo credit to Haedyn Smith

Why did you choose to study abroad in Berlin?

I chose to study abroad in Berlin, Germany, mainly because it was a large, German speaking city. Also, I knew that Berlin was a lot different from other cities in Germany. Berlin boasts an eclectic mixture of people and many cultural offers, so I knew it was the place I wanted to spend my semester abroad. 

What were your housing arrangements like in Berlin?

I decided on the home-stay option for housing. I lived in an apartment with a 49 year-old woman. My host was usually very busy, so we saw each other seldom, but I ended up really liking my living situation. Your living situation is what you make it, so make sure you specify your wishes and concerns when submitting the housing request.

Big Ben in London, England

London in one picture. Photo credit to Haedyn Smith

What was the most memorable experience you had while studying abroad?

My most memorable moment while abroad was the week-long trip that was planned through IES. I highly recommend going on this trip because it was such a wonderful time. For my trip, we went to Vienna, Budapest, and Krakow, which were all cities I probably would not have made it to without this trip. This trip allowed me to not only see beautiful cities, but I also bonded with many of the other students in my program.

What was the biggest challenge you faced abroad?

The biggest challenge I faced abroad was navigating public transportation because there is really nothing comparable in the USA. The many lines of the U-bahn and S-bahn are pretty confusing, but after taking public transport a few times, you will learn your way around and begin to feel more confident.

Schloss Charlottenburg, Wihnachtsmarkt

Schloss Charlottenburg, Weihnachtsmarkt. Photo credit to Haedyn Smith

What are the top reasons you’d go back to Berlin again?

Berlin was an absolute wonderful city, and of course, I am planning to return very soon. I would love to live in Berlin in the future. The city is a cultural haven; there is always something going on and something new to see or do. And obviously, I would like to go back again to keep bettering my language skills. 

How has studying abroad impacted your life?

This IES program has truly changed my life. My way of thinking about things has changed entirely. I think the difference between cultures was the catalyst for this change in my thought-pattern. You develop a global perspective and realize that there is so much going on in the world than you could ever imagine. All in all, I would highly recommend the IES Abroad program. The staff was organized and always informed on events going on outside of the academic program. In addition, all of the professors I had in class were extremely intelligent and charismatic. They made my academic experience in Berlin interesting and fun. I am so happy that I had the chance to study in this wonderful city and cannot wait to return soon.