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Athena Study Abroad in Heidelberg, Germany
Athena Study Abroad participants doing the love sign Athena Study Abroad participants doing the love sign

Athena Study Abroad in Heidelberg, Germany

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Night picnic by the river

I chose Athena because It had the perfect location I was looking for and the cost was very reasonable. I now understand that before I had no real understanding of how different cultures were. It was so eye opening how people's lives are so much different than mine in the United States.

My greatest experience was a simple night picnic by the river thanks to all of the great people that were in the same program. We were fully immersed in the culture and met a lot of people from all over Europe.

The only challenges I faced were mostly because of my own lack of knowledge of the German language. However, it was surprisingly fun to figure out different words and phrases of the language while talking to native speakers. I also really had to get used to always eating with a fork and a knife. I also had to get used to walking everywhere.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

I loved my marketing class

I love Athena! I've done three study abroad trips through Athena already and now I want to see the rest of the world. Studying abroad really opens your eyes to what the world offers. I know that when it's an Athena program, it means it's going to be good and that I'll always have someone there to answer my questions. Ben (my on-site advisor) was really helpful in answering any questions we had on anything from field trips to how the laundry machines worked. He even killed a spider for us once. Really nice guy.

The marketing class was phenomenal. I really learned a lot and actually looked forward to going to class and listening to what our teacher had to say. I LOVED my it. The topic was intriguing, the teacher knew what she was talking about, and it was just over all a great class. I would take this class again in a heartbeat.

I didn't care quite as much for my cult-urology class. The topic was really interesting but the professor was a bit harder to understand and it was pretty early in the morning, so it was hard to stay focused on what he was saying as much. In addition to that, we were given a full semester syllabus for a summer program, so when things were due was a bit confusing and made it hard to get the class to transfer in correctly or at a higher level.

Germany changed my understanding of the world when I could see the past and the future melding seamlessly together in construction of their cities. We don't have that sort of rich history in the U.S. and it's amazing to see how it is worked into the fabric of their everyday lives.

The rooms were good, I like that desks were provided for us to do homework. The kitchen area was a bit of an issue for the summer semester I was there. The other students didn't have much respect in terms of cleaning up after themselves, so it was left to my friends and myself to clean up after them so that we weren't penalized with losing money off our room deposits because of their mess.

There was a lot more walking, but I expected that. I noticed that there wasn't a whole lot of talking on public transit or loud talking in public, so that was something that I was rather conscious about because I went with a really loud friend of mine. One weekend we went on a trip by ourselves to Nuremberg, but we didn't do a whole lot of research ahead of time. It didn't end very well for us, but that was entirely our own faults. On the other weekends we made a point of attending as many of the scheduled field trips as we could, or we would go down to the "old town" and go shopping. I loved being able to visit castles! Also, it was very moving to be able to visit a concentration camp and to actually see in person one of the places where so many people suffered. I felt very safe in Germany in general. Heidelberg felt very safe and because it's such a student hub, it was used to foreigners and we didn't have much of an issue with the natives on language or the like. We didn't really participate in much of the nightlife though.

Probably the biggest challenge my friends and I faced in Germany was how the other students treated the kitchen. They didn't really show any respect for the three different recycling bins, and I was left to constantly clean up behind them just so we could have clean dishes to eat off of and use. There were already pretty strict policies put in place about the kitchen area, so I think we just kind of lucked out with that particular batch of students.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

This was my third Athena led program and they just do such an amazing job.

I love Athena! This was my third Athena led program and they just do such an amazing job. I know that when it's an Athena program, it means it's going to be good and that I'll always have someone there to answer my questions.

Germany changed my understanding of the world when I could see the past and the future melding seamlessly together in construction of their cities. We don't have that sort of rich history in the U.S. and it's amazing to see how it is worked into the fabric of their everyday lives.

I felt very safe in Germany in general. Heidelberg felt very safe and because it's such a student hub, it was used to foreigners and we didn't have much of an issue with the natives on language or the like. We didn't really participate in much of the nightlife though. I loved being able to visit castles! Also, it was very moving to be able to visit a concentration camp and to actually see in person one of the places where so many people suffered.

I LOVED my marketing class. The topic was intriguing, the teacher knew what she was talking about, and it was just over all a great class. I would take this class again in a heartbeat. I didn't care quite as much for my culturology class. The topic was really interesting but the professor was a bit harder to understand and it was pretty early in the morning, so it was hard to stay focused on what he was saying as much.

Our advisor Ben was really helpful in answering any questions we had on anything from field trips to how the laundry machines worked. He even killed a spider for us once. Really nice guy. Probably the biggest challenge my friends and I faced in Germany was how the other students treated the kitchen. They didn't really show any respect for the three different recycling bins, and I was left to constantly clean up behind them just so we could have clean dishes to eat off of and use. There were already pretty strict policies put in place about the kitchen area, so I think we just kind of lucked out with that particular batch of students.

I've done three study abroad trips through Athena already and now I want to see the rest of the world. Studying abroad really opens your eyes to what the world offers.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    7

Vulnerability is an amazing feeling!

Danke schön Athena, for allowing me the opportunity to go on an adventure and learn more about myself and gain more cultural intelligence with the world around me.

The opportunity to be as vulnerable as possible. I grew as an individual because I made my own decisions, tried new foods in restaurants and when cooking, and traveled alone. I enjoyed the little time to discover more of myself by seeing a glimpse of the world. Vulnerability is an amazing feeling!

I have been able to develop my cultural intelligence and understanding of different cultures. I like the feeling that the world is really not that big of a place.

Our on-site advisor was helpful and easy to contact if I had questions. Wish she would of been German and not Peruvian living in Germany only because it would of been helpful to know full Germans and get advice from them. My classes were engaging. But I did not like how long they were and the professors were not my favorite - just a different type of teaching in Europe than what I am use to.

With regards to where I stayed, I had my own room, the bathrooms and kitchens were cleaned almost daily, good location because safe. The excursions were cool and something to look forward to during the week. Although, some of the companies we visited were so boring and I learned nothing. but I enjoyed the cars industries and SAP and the beer and wine and city visits.

Heidelberg was cool because everyone speaks English fairly well, but are all Germans. I felt comfortable and safe and not excluded. I also tried my best to learn the easiest of phrases and words out of respect.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

My horizons have been broadened

My horizons have been broadened, eyes opened to other cultures and overall my appreciation for different ways of life have been enhanced. I now take a look at my life in comparison to the rest of the world and evaluate what can/should be changed.

The Athena program advertised well the business opportunities for the Heidelberg program which I liked. Overall, the entire ESC staff was so helpful in anything that I needed while abroad. If it wasn't for their support, I would have had some more difficulty with basic problems.

The classes were stimulating, but relatively basic. I did not enjoy and had challenges with meeting people from Germany because I was not in class with anyone besides the ESC students. I think it would be helpful if Athena/ESC could differentiate between the classes at SRH which have other german students and the ESC classes which do not.

Traveled a lot during the weekends and went out to bars etc on nights.The nightlife felt extremely safe and overall Heidelberg is one of the most safe cities I have been to. The people were so welcoming towards foreigners. The excursions were extremely beneficial and were provided every week. My favorite was volunteering at the refugee camp.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Going to Germany has always been my dream

Athena was the only program that actually got back to me after I visited the Study Abroad Fairs. I have visited the fairs for a couple or so years, just trying to learn more, but no one had emailed me back about their programs. Yet, one day, Athena was there and we talked and they got back to me about my questions and soon I found myself booked and ready for my first study abroad experience. Going to Germany has always been my dream and I found myself feeling very comfortable. There was no culture shock and my love for Germany only grew. My stay has made me more eager to learn the language and return to experience more of the beautiful country.

I felt very safe in Germany. The housing building was locked at night, the locks on our bedroom doors worked, it just felt very safe no matter where I went. I liked my housing. The rooms were small but very homey and we could cook in the kitchen whenever we likes. It was perfectly fine to me and I had a lot of fun. I could go without the drinking noisy other students, but my experience was great.

I spent much of my time walking around and talking to my friend, who was finally in the same time zone as me. She even came to visit me one weekend and another weekend, my friends who came on the trip with me, we went to Nuremberg.

The only challenges I faced in Germany, was the class that I took, but that has to do with my learning disability. Regardless, I passed. The course was very interesting, though rather early in the morning for a full out lecture class. I would suggest that the professors who teach lecture in the morning, to include the students more in the discussion, so that the students are not just sitting there falling asleep on their notebooks. The activities were great, the trips and tours we took, amazing. The only problem I had, which was mentioned before, was the tour in the Art museum and the visit to the Frankfurt bank, those were my own concerns. The trips we took were amazing and very fun. Though, personally I like to go around an art museum without a tour guide, I still enjoyed my time on every tour we took at our destination. The bank trip was the only trip that I disliked, I would have liked to see more of Frankfurt. I also just enjoyed being about to enjoy Heidelberg on my own.

Our on-site advisor was always helpful. I felt comfortable with asking help and questions when I needed to. They really helped me out. I can not remember their name and our email system gets rid of emails over a certain date and when the inbox gets too full, so I no longer have my emails between them and myself.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

I felt my experience was more unique and special

Getting to know the other U.S. students at the ESC Heidelberg had the greatest impact. It was fun to get to know a diverse group of U.S. students, rather than to travel with other students from my own university. Everyone had different backgrounds, majors, interests, and came from different states and universities. We found things in common, and bonded over exploring this unknown sphere of the world. I learned that much of the world lives at a different pace of life, and values different things. I enjoyed bringing home these values, and was able to better recognize what makes my home area, and our country unique.

The way Athena presented their study abroad programs made me able to imagine myself actually studying abroad in the locations. The fact that there were fewer locations to choose from than some more widely known study abroad programs gave me confidence that Athena was dedicated to each program they offered, it made it easier to distinguish which program was meant for me, and made each one seem more special. The website was fun and appealing to navigate. I wanted to chose a less mainstream study abroad provider, because I wanted a more unique study abroad experience. After reflecting on my experience, and comparing my experience with other friends who went abroad with more widely known programs, or with our own university, I felt my experience was more unique and special. Regarding the courses that I had, history was not engaging, although this is wasn't so unexpected. White Collar Crime was very engaging, interactive, able to relate to my own major and every day life, able to apply concepts to international and home country issues.

Having my own room was awesome. The majority of the rooms were SINGLES. I was under the assumption that I was more likely to get a double room, and was glad to have a roommate. When I found out most of us had singles, I was glad to have my own space. During my free time I hHiked on the mountain down the street, walked to downtown to shop, eat, drink, and explore. Hung out in the ESC with new friends late at night. Travelled on weekends. It was nice to see different castles and go to different types of museums. I felt these experiences were unique from sightseeing I would have done in my home country or other countries. I felt safer in Heidelberg at all times of day and night than I do in downtown West Chester. There are plenty of options for nightlife, all types of bars and clubs are downtown. The fireworks show was a big event the entire downtown prepared for that was very fun to see the crowds. The host city was welcoming to foreigners, most people spoke English or were patient if not.

Some adjustments that I had to make were being quieter in public spaces... People seemed more tame in public spheres than Americans do. People start their days early and end their days early. Plastic bags are not given to shoppers in the grocery stores. Dining out is a slower pace. Etiquette of dining out was frequently frustrating. As wonderful as it was to experience a change of pace while dining out, I wish I had known before arriving in Germany. Servers are less responsive and prompt, sparkling water(the only water option at restaurants) is the only available in a small quantity and is expensive, and it is not common to take home leftovers. This made going out to eat on days we had class difficult, since classes were so long, and restaurants don't stay open very late for dinner.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    8

I wish I could go back!

I loved my time abroad and enjoyed every second of it, I wish I could go back!

I have a much better world view than I did before. I chose Athena because the Heidelberg program had the classes that matched up with my major the most and it was also not super expensive.

I was able to go out on my own and enjoy the culture by myself and not be a part of an obvious tourist group. This allowed me to immerse myself even more into the local culture. In regards to our accommodation, we had to by all of our food and make it our selves. Very good housing location though.
I had some struggles with the language barriers and directions, or trying to find my way around in a country that didn't speak English. But it was all a lot of fun but I am glad I am back home. However at the same time I want to go again.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

I was good

What went well in regards with my living situation was that I met people right off the bat. I found both my courses to be stimulating and engaging.

Some of my challenges was that I had trouble withdrawing money at first, but I got that fixed. Airlines lost my luggage and flight was delayed, so I missed my flight to Frankfurt; thus, I missed orientation and had trouble getting a hold of shuttle service. No suggestions really just unfortunate series of events.