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Freie Universitšt Berlin (FU BERLIN) reviews

187 reviews
4.18 / 5 based on 187 reviews
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Jordan
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, School for International Training: Central European Studies
Freie Universitšt Berlin
3.8/5
Languages
Language of instruction: English
Local language was: Different than language of instruction
Was learning English a key decision factor?
No, it wasn't.
Was learning German a key decision factor?
Yes, I wanted to improve my German
How much did you improve your German?
My level before: Everyday knowledge (shopping, directions, etc.)
My level after: At ease in most situations
Language difficulties
Social
Educational
Administrative / Institutional
Overall
Personal comments
The homestay portion of the experience was designed to bring students directly into the host culture. Yet, as I stated before, my host family was not very social and did not make time to speak with me at length, which enabled me to go out more and speak with locals, which had its own problems. The majority of Germans speak some if not perfect English, thus attempting to practice with them was often futile. Ultimately, I feel that after four months in Germany, my language capabilities did improve.
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Jordan
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, School for International Training: Central European Studies
Freie Universitšt Berlin
5.0/5
Expenses
Main source of funding:
Family
Other sources of funding:
Personal savings
Work opportunities:
It was not legal for me to work
Personal spending habits
In Berlin, food, housing, and nightlife and far less expensive than in New York.
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Travel, Telephone:
was the same price as at home.
Nightlife, Food, Housing, Overall:
was less expensive than at home.
Accessibility of student needs
Second-hand text books
Second-hand household items
Computers / Internet
Administrative
Money from home
Personal comments
The Deutsche Bahn was quite expensive, yet I was able to get a German Railpass from the U.S. to cover individual trip costs.
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Jordan
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, School for International Training: Central European Studies
Freie Universitšt Berlin
3.8/5
Academic
Course recommendations
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My academic experiences
Quality of courses
Variety of courses
Access to resources
Interaction with teachers
Interaction with international students
Interaction with local students
Personal comments
none
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My opinion of the university assessment
Exams at end of course
Exams throughout the course
Essays and/or projects at the end of course
Essays and/or projects throughout the course
Overall
Useful  |  1
Jordan
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, School for International Training: Central European Studies
Freie Universitšt Berlin
4.2/5
Overall
I wish I had known...
No.
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In my opinion:
I loved it but I'm not sure everybody would.
Important factors in my choice
(1) Unimportant – (4) Very important
Academic reasons
4
Culture
4
Costs
4
Activities
4
Campus life
1
Party / people
3
Weather / location
4
Personal recommendation
SIT is a wonderful program and I recommend it for those wishing to experience actual culture, even when it shocks, surprises, or upsets you.
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During my experience abroad, I ...
(1) Never – (4) A lot
Became familiar with another culture
4
Traveled
4
Improved language skills
2
Met people from other countries
3
Became more independent
3
Partied a lot
4
Experienced a change in life
4
Advanced my studies & career
4
Final comments
When you choose to be an internationally-oriented person, you must endure all aspects of a foreign culture, whether or not they agree with your own cultural sensibilities. SIT gives you the chance to go to another place, experience an unfamiliar culture in a homestay while avoiding the heterogeneity of Western university life, and become far more independent. The excursions to Poland, Austria, Croatia, and Serbia & Montenegro gave me a firsthand perspective on both societies that have grown immensely since large scale conflicts, and those that are still in the aftermath. While my homestay might not have been subjectively the most enjoyable part, it allowed me to expand my consciousness about class in German society and how this manifests on the familial level.
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Jordan
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, School for International Training: Central European Studies
Freie Universitšt Berlin
3.8/5
Student life
Describe host city:
Students interact with the local community without much university involvement
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Nightlife, Activities, Travel: Takes place mostly outside the university/student environment
Personal social experience
Activities
Nightlife
Travel
Overall
Personal comments
none
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Useful  |  1
Jordan
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY, United States
International Relations, Undergraduate, School for International Training: Central European Studies
Freie Universitšt Berlin
2.5/5
Housing
Type of housing: With a family
Arranged by: Host university
If returning, I would choose: Apartment/House
Why?
See below.
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Personal assessment
Cost
Facilities
Location
Cleanliness
Space
Personal comments
While I honed some language skills through living with a German family, the members of the family were not exceedingly social and remained mostly quiet during meals, leisure time, etc. The adults did not make much money as sustainable developers, and were terrible alcoholics. The histrionic behaviour of their two children demonstrated how neglected they felt by their parents. Yet, the location was great and by the end I was spending more time out in the city practicing German and less time at the home.
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