Studienforum Berlin e.V. Participant Reviews

Overall Rating

8 / 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    9

Awesome time in Berlin

I had a great time in this program and learned so much. It was a great learning experience and cultural experience that is not going to be forgotten. I had a great time in the program and it should continue to be a great program.

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program

Overall Rating

8 / 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    2

Abroad in Berlin

This program was really unique! We lived with host families assigned to us by the program, which wasn't a perfect match but worked. They then had you attend German courses which I would have preferred to continue since I knew no German before arriving in Berlin (And I had been told it was ok because most people also speak English but I had a hard time finding people who spoke English). We also chose from a list of classes and took three total. This was just the right amount of work for also being abroad. The classes were long but worth having once a week. The program provided opportunities for group travel throughout Germany and to Prague as well as a day trip to Poland (which would have been nice to make into an overnight trip). There was time to travel on the weekends on your own accord. Overall the experience was great! The student coordinator was excellent, friendly and helpful and the program did their best to be there for you! I appreciated everything very much

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Don't pass this up!

I can honestly say this program was a life-changing experience and gave me a new outlook on the other side of the world. Learning German, walking all over Berlin to see historical sights, an excursion to a different cities every other weekend, healthy eco friendly delicious food, an efficient transit system that you can rely on, host families that not only take care of you but also treat you like family, and once its all over it feels like a dream that you want to keep on reliving. If you have an opportunity to go to Berlin take it. Its a real game changer.

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Incredible

It open my eyes to a different way of thinking/living. Not only did I learn about the history of Berlin but I got to walk around to the actual places history took place. Not only did I read about German literature, such as plays, but I got to visit places where they were first performed. Not only did I get to learn about the environmentally conscious actions Berlin takes to reduce pollution but I got to be a part of it as well. This experience made me proactive and want to try and open other people's minds back home to what I have learned.

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program

Overall Rating

9 / 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    7

A semester well-worth it

Organization and Helpfulness: Beginning from the first day everyone involved with the program was more than helpful. As I arrived at the airport a representative was waiting to drive me personally to my host family. From there I was given my first German meal and realized very quickly that I was never going to go hungry. That first week was very casual with a walking tour and a Planned trip to Dresden. It was a lot to take in, but was planned effectively and had almost a casual feel to it. I was always told well in advance of where and when I needed to be someplace. On top of this the program was always willing and ready to help me whenever the help was needed.

Safety: I never felt scared or threatened in Berlin even during the nighttime. I can remember walking home from an event or a friend's place and feeling completely safe. Berlin in and of itself is also a very clean city, often you’ll see people walking down the street and picking up trash that did not belong to themselves, nonetheless they pick it up because they believe in bettering their city. Berlin is also a city full of greenery; around every corner you will find a park or a garden.

Living expenses: The most expensive thing that you will ever have to pay for is the transportation pass. However, this will cover all transportation for all of Berlin and very quickly you will discover that it is worth it. As for food, compared to other major European cities eating out is very cheap. But really with the program’s agreement with the families you don’t really have to worry about the meals except perhaps lunch. Personally I had a bonus living with a chef. Each day I was greeted with different foods that I had never experienced before coming to Berlin.

Language: Before this program I had not taken any German courses but I felt that I was really able to dive into the language with this program. I felt that as for an English speaker it was quite simple to pick up and understand. I personally never felt too lost. As for the classes I found them all to be well coordinated and entertaining.

Excursions and field trips: I can't even begin to choose between my favorite. Each and every one was thought through and allowed insight on both the history and the culture of Germany as well as other surrounding countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic. Each and every city had it's own character and life to it. I never felt like I was repeating trips.

Internship: At the end of the semester, the school creates a specialized internship relating to your career. For me I am a History major and was given an internship working with an online database working with primary sources. This experience is something that has helped shape my future career.

Relation to my career: Studying abroad in Berlin gave me the ability to experience History as I never have before. Taking into consideration all of the trips, language skills, interactions with people of a different culture, and overall life in a foreign country, I have gained a new perspective on what it means to understand history. It’s not about learning facts and dates in the past, but about how these facts and dates effect how people live their daily lives in the present.

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

I'm ready to go back!

My major and minor requirements have left me with a very strict schedule. The Berlin Residential Program fit perfectly into the fall semester of my junior year. It's a big decision, but I wouldn't change a single thing about the choice I made. My host family was fantastic-I still stay in touch with them and they have welcomed me back to their home any time I would like. The classes were focused on Berlin, so we were able to learn material and then go see it for ourselves. We received plenty of free time and also many excursions that, for me, were some of the best times. I would do this program a hundred times over. I love everything about Berlin; its safe, friendly, easy to get around, and cheap :) I also gained the best experience I could've imagined from my internship in a hospital. If you're on the fence, GO, there aren't many opportunities like this one and there is no place like Berlin.

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program

Overall Rating

9 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

Life Changing

The Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program is fantastic! I truly believe no matter who you are you will love this program. Berlin itself has many things to offer. If you're thinking about it.. it's defiantly worth it! *warning: program may give you the travel bug*

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program

Overall Rating

7 / 10

  • Academics

    4

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    8

Costly, but worth it if you know what you're doing.

I argue that study abroad programs are a vital part of the college experience and are effective in shaping open-mindedness--a necessity for a GOOD liberal arts education. Yet, would I pay such exorbitant fees to have a great experience? I would, and did, but your answer may differ.

Here are the highlights of this program so as to sway your decision:

1. Berlin. HELLO! It's Berlin people. You stay in this amazing international city for 3 and a half months. Spend your free time wisely and you will become well-acquainted with both German culture and Berliner culture (the two are vastly different in many regards). It's the best of both worlds, but here's the rub: if you don't know what you're doing in Berlin, then stay home because it will be a waste of your time and money. And it will be a waste of time for the program directors who work tirelessly to plan every detail so that even the simple act of getting a workable phone in Germany is taken care of. If you've ever travelled internationally, you know that it is the simple things that are the most difficult to manage. Studiumforum takes care of those details so you can enjoy the freedom of learning and engaging with a beautiful new culture. If you want to know more about Berlin, its traditions and culture, then go because I simply can't describe it well enough in a short review.

2. You can get by with English only. You shouldn't, but you can.

3. Excursions provide the historical context that you need to understand such a complex city. Each excursion is related to your courses and VERY relevant to your experiences, right from the language down to the doner. These day or weekend long excursions are informative and provide a little free time to explore new areas of Germany. You will pay thousands more for these trips as a tourist and simply will not get the closeness that you do via this program.

4. Networking. The program director opens up his connections and throws you opportunities, seemingly out of thin air. During the last month or so of your stay, you will intern somewhere, doing something. The possibilities are endless: from Opera houses to Human Rights Institutions. If you're smart (which you are since you decided to continue reading my hastily made review) you will take advantage of the opportunities that the internship provides. Oh, and outside of the internship right? Every situation is a networking opportunity, but you know this.

Convinced?

Study abroad programs instill something that every honest teacher strives for, well-rounded thinking. You are forced to accept new rules and values that will conflict with your own, no matter how simple or how grand. In terms of good study abroad programs, I'd say this one is close to the top, at least, from my own experience. Again, just remember to weigh your options. Is it worth the money? Well, if you're already paying thousands of dollars on tuition (if you're a NAZ student, this program is the same price as your tuition + housing, sorry commuters) then why not?

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    9

Once in a lifetime experience

I chose to go on this program as a final semester senior, and I can honestly say it was my best and most worthwhile semester of my entire undergraduate career. Through this program, I was able to study the German language and experience the German culture. This program provided opportunities to learn about many new concepts which have helped me to grow as an individual. I learned a great deal about myself as a result of this program. As an independent person, I enjoyed a great deal of freedom while simultaneously having the support and guidance of the stellar Studienforum faculty. This program provided me with some of the most wonderful opportunities of my entire life and I know that the things I have learned as a result of my participation in the Studienforum program will forever help me to continue moving forward and growing as an individual.

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program

Overall Rating

9 / 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    8

Go

Studying abroad changed my life.
I learned things about myself that I never expected would change.
I was challenged in ways that I never thought I would experience.
I had my eyes opened wide to another life on the other side of the ocean.

Whether it is through this program or another one, if you have the chance, you need to take it and study abroad. No matter what, make sure that you do it.

With that being said, let me tell you why you should choose this program:

1. Berlin has my heart. And you will fall in love with this city too. Do you like going to the park? Berlin is filled with parks (and peacocks if you know where to look). Do you love history? Berlin is filled with museums in every section of the city. I find Berlin to be the most historically interesting city in the world. Do you like music? Opportunities await you everywhere. From world-class orchestras at the Berlin Philharmonic to jazz artists in the basement of a bar, there is always something playing somewhere for anyone. Do you like partying? I do not party often, but if you do, I guarantee you will find a place to dance/drink/what have you until 6 in the morning and walk home to nearly see the sun rise (Because I did). Also note: In Berlin I felt completely safe as a 21 year old girl walking home alone. Do you like Christmas? Berliners and Germans in general know how to Christmas. By about the end of November there are Christmas markets everywhere in Berlin and they are usually open everyday, so if you love festivals, Berlin is the place to be. This list could go on for a very long time.

2. Dr. Jacobsen, the program director, and his program coordinators are amazing. If you ever need help with anything, they will go above and beyond to help you. They will take you on unforgettable trips. They have written into the program an entire week off from studying, so that you can travel and see more of Europe during your stay in Berlin! They will work their hardest to find you the best internship for your personal interests. I, a double major in Mathematics and German, had the opportunity to intern at a highly prestigious and respected research institute in the heart of the city, all because of Dr. Jacobsen and his staff's hard work and connections to organizations around the city. And I absolutely loved my internship. Through no other program will you find such dedicated, helpful people and the grand opportunity of an internship that will teach you so much about yourself and your career interests. This list could also go on for a very long time.

I could write a doctoral's thesis on why you should apply for this program, but you don't want to read that much writing. Simply put, just go. Go on this program. I have no regrets about going on this program. Everyone who comes home after this program speaks about it afterwards with stars in their eyes. The same will happen to you if you decide to go too.

Do not hesitate to ask them questions. They will love to hear from you. And it is important that you ask them anything that is on your heart.

I love Berlin. Go.

Program: Berlin Residential Fall Semester Program