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Studies > Germany > Berlin > Freie Universität Berlin > Review by Anne 
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Freie Universität Berlin (FU BERLIN) reviews

188 reviews
4.18 / 5 based on 188 reviews
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Anne
Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States
Humanities, Undergraduate, Lexia
Freie Universität Berlin
2.5/5
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: Did not speak it
My level after: Basic phrases
Language difficulties
Social
Educational
Administrative / Institutional
Overall
Personal comments
German was a difficult language to learn while in Berlin. In retrospect, I should have learned basic words and phrases before I got to Berlin and furthered my studies once I was there. As an international city, most people in Berlin spoke English very well. As soon as locals heard my American accent, they imediatly spoke to me in English even if I attempted to speak in German. This became very frustrating. Language wasn't an issue at the University because classes were in English.
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Anne
Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States
Humanities, Undergraduate, Lexia
Freie Universität Berlin
2.5/5
Expenses
Main source of funding:
Family
Other sources of funding:
Personal savings<br> Other
Work opportunities:
I didn't want/need to work
Personal spending habits
I spent more money on personal things like shopping and telephone calls to family and friends. Most students could avoid these costs. I spent more money on travel bcause I was in a region of the world that I was not planning on returning to for a long time. I took advantage of my location and was happy to spend the money for a once in a lifetime experience.
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Overall, Telephone, Travel, Food:
was more expensive than at home.
Nightlife, Housing:
was the same price as at home.
Accessibility of student needs
Second-hand text books
Second-hand household items
Computers / Internet
Administrative
Money from home
Personal comments
Phone bills were astronomical. Do not use cash advances on any credit cards.
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Anne
Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States
Humanities, Undergraduate, Lexia
Freie Universität Berlin
3.8/5
Academic
Course recommendations
My courses were predetermined and lasted only 6 weeks. They included an economic history of Germany, Unification Issues, Life in Cold War East Berlin and introductory German language classes. It is best to try and immerse yourself in the host language as quickly as possible. I found it hard to talk with locals becuase they wanted to speak in English as soon as they heard my American accent. All courses on German history during the Cold War are fascinating. Berlin provides the best possible "city as classroom" opportunity I can think of. Locals can still tell you first hand stories of life during and after the Cold War.
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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
Anne
Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States
Humanities, Undergraduate, Lexia
Freie Universität Berlin
4.2/5
Overall
I wish I had known...
Expect to feel homesick even of you are an experienced traveler. Do not hold back from new experiences. If possible, plan your study abroad for at least one year. It takes a good deal of time to get comfortable with the basics like transportation, cool places to go, people to hang out with, etc. Leave yourself enought time to really settle in and don't wish the time away.
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In my opinion:
Most people loved it.
Important factors in my choice
(1) Unimportant – (4) Very important
Academic reasons
3
Culture
4
Costs
4
Activities
4
Campus life
1
Party / people
2
Weather / location
1
Personal recommendation
Advertise your school in study abroad circles as a school in the most fascinating city in the world. Its a city on the brink of a whole new future and one that has a fascinating past.
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During my experience abroad, I ...
(1) Never – (4) A lot
Became familiar with another culture
3
Traveled
4
Improved language skills
1
Met people from other countries
3
Became more independent
4
Partied a lot
4
Experienced a change in life
4
Advanced my studies & career
4
Final comments
I loved my study abroad. It allowed plenty of time for academics, travel, social activity and independant exploration. Helpful hint - be sure to drink plenty of water after your flight overseas. I was dehydrated after I landed in Berlin and was sick for my first 2 days!
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Useful  |  0
Anne
Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States
Humanities, Undergraduate, Lexia
Freie Universität Berlin
3.8/5
Student life
Describe host city:
Students interact with the local community without much university involvement
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Travel, Activities, Nightlife: Takes place mostly outside the university/student environment
Personal social experience
Activities
Nightlife
Travel
Overall
Personal comments
Since Berlin was a city in flux back in 1996, I am quite sure most of the local hotspots are no longer there. And even though the Berlin Wall was down long before I landed in Berlin, the city was still very divided. My vote? Hang out in the former East Berlin as much as possible. More character, cooler bars, better locals with better stories and better nightclubs. Definatly hit some techno clubs (E-Werk was the spot when I was there).
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Useful  |  6
Anne
Michigan State University, East Lansing, United States
Humanities, Undergraduate, Lexia
Freie Universität Berlin
3.8/5
Housing
Type of housing: With a family
Arranged by: Independently - I had no other choice
If returning, I would choose: With a family
Why?
Living with a family provided a glimpse into the everyday culture that I was looking for. If a student is searching for an experience that can teach them about a diffferent culture, the best advice I can offer is to immerse yourself as fully as possible in that culture.
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Personal assessment
Cost
Facilities
Location
Cleanliness
Space
Personal comments
I enjoyed eating, speaking and traveling with my family while in Berlin. Stories were exchanged, viewpoints were argued and a deeper understanding of two different cultures was achieved through my time in a home stay. My personal opinion is that living with other American students during my time abroad would have been a waste of time because it is too easy to slip back into what you know. One of the main reasons a student should study abroad is to broaden their horizons. Living with a family in Berlin did that for me.
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