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Germany : Reviews (Berlin)

The following program review responses have been selected for publication by Study Abroad & Global Engagement
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Jaclyn Louise Bitto, Summer 2012 Participant
My favorite part was living with host families and getting to know the local people in Eutin! It was such a great time to get to learn about a new culture and get to know how someone else lives.

 

Nicholas Joel Matherson, Summer 2012 Participant
The people. Getting to know the kids in my group as well as my host family was an experience like no other. Being isolated in a foreign country halfway across the world really brings young adults close together - even the awkward ones - who knew! Also, really feeling like part of the family when you wake up in the morning and eat breakfast with the siblings and parents was an experience that helped me gain new perspective on my real family back home and myself.

 

Alexander Konrad Montgomery, Summer 2012 Participant
My favorite part of this program was the fact that I was able to become more fluent in the German language so early on in my education. Although I have only had a year of German training, I feel that through going abroad and being immersed in the culture and language, I can count myself much more advanced than if I had only studied in America.

 

Mitchell Craig Pruett, Summer 2012 Participant
My favorite part of the Eutin program was the travel portions. From the cultural events such as Kielewoche to the tourism excursions like the one up into the Alps, travelling provided an incredibly hands on way to learn the culture, topography, and regional differences of Germany.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
My favorite part of the program was the travel phase, in particular visiting Berlin. I liked the way the program was set up with language acquisition up front so that we got more out of the travel. As a political science student I especially enjoyed touring the Reichstag building.

 

William Michael Kidder, Summer 2013 Participant
I was great being able to travel a little while we were out of class, it allowed me to understand the culture even more. Meeting new people was really great. Not just the other students that I went with, but my host family and other people from the country as well.

 

Katherine Camille Taylor, Summer 2013 Participant
I loved being able to stay with host families during this SLI program and completely immersing myself into the culture. I honestly feel like without this, even though I was abroad in Germany, my language wouldn't have improved nearly to the amount that it did. I also loved staying in one town and taking weekend trips to other big cities, instead of traveling around all at once in the beginning or end of the program.

 

Summer 2014 Participant
My favorite part was traveling around and seeing different cities, however i loved getting to know my host family

 

Catherine X Martin, Summer 2014 Participant
My favorite part of this program was exploring cities such as Hamburg on the weekend with friends.

 

Summer 2015 Participant
My favorite part of the program was being able to live with a host family in Eutin. That was so helpful in getting me to speak the language, and I feel like I understood so much more in those 6 weeks than I would have a year in a classroom at KU.

 

Larresa Lene Kelpin, Summer 2015 Participant
My favorite part of the program had to have been the travel portion of the trip. We spent around 6 weeks learning the language in a classroom, and the travel portion was were I got to spread my wings and test my new skills out, as well as learn new words and phrases used daily.

 

Summer 2015 Participant
I loved walking through all of the German cities and experiencing the differences they had to offer from American culture.

 

Averi Josephine Gengler, Summer 2016 Participant
I thoroughly enjoyed sitting down and having dinner with my host family most evenings. Not only was it a terrific opportunity to practice communicating in German, but it is so enriching to form relationships with people in a different part of the world, just to find out we are all the same. It's truly a special experience.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was having the ability to experience Germany away from touristy areas. Eutin is a small town and you live with a host family, these combines gave me an authentic cultural experience I will never forget. I also became very close with the other students in my program, which is an awesome perk.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was experiencing the culture during the two weeks of travel around Germany.

 

Jacob Albert Ellenberger, Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was living with my host family. We bonded very early on and I felt like a part of the family. In terms of education, cultural experience, and fun, this is the most important aspect of the trip. Living in a host family meant fully embracing a culture and language different than my own, and learning to adapt and thrive in uncomfortable circumstances.

 

Tyler Michael Smith, Summer 2017 Participant
My favorite part of this program was the experience of living with a host family. My host family did an incredible job of making me feel like I was part of the family. They took every opportunity to immerse me in the German culture and help me with my language skills. They were extremely patient in the beginning when my speech was not so good. They were fun, caring, and engaged with both my studies and my interests. They were always there to help me and always will be. My host family considers me now a part of the family. At the conclusion of my six week study in Eutin, my host family told me that their door is always open for me to visit, for which I plan to do as often as I can. There was nothing more amazing than having the wonderful opportunity to be a part of this experience, and leave with friends and family for life.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
My favorite part of the program was getting to spend time with my host family and explore Germany. The bonds I created with my family were so special and central to my experience abroad, and I'm so thankful I got to spend six weeks with them learning the language and better understanding the culture. On top of that, traveling around the country taught me so many different things about the art and life of Germans.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
My favorite part was being able to use my German everyday when talking with my host family, friends and natives. It was cool to be able to use knowledge I gained in the classroom and put it to use in the real world.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
My favorite part of the program was our trip to Berlin. It's such an amazing city filled with many things to explore. I enjoyed the fact that our teachers gave us free time in every place we traveled to, to explore and experience the cities in our own way. It was an overall amazing experience.

 

Jaclyn Louise Bitto, Summer 2012 Participant
The traveling part was the most rewarding because we got to experience different parts of Germany and see how even in a small country they have many different cultures and ways of life.

 

Nicholas Joel Matherson, Summer 2012 Participant
The opportunity to speak as much German as I could handle was truly a valuable learning experience. I would say that I learned more about German over in the country in two months living there than I did three years studying it in school.

 

Mitchell Craig Pruett, Summer 2012 Participant
The most rewarding part of the Eutin program was interacting with native speakers of German. It was exciting to be able to hold conversations with people in a shop or restaurant that would have been impossible to have prior to the experience the program provided.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
The cultural and relational experiences were very rewarding. I enjoyed getting to know the host families, making friends with my fellow students and locals, exploring the local cultural offerings, and of course getting the chance to learn a language while being immersed in it and the society it built up.

 

Dustin Taylor Wolfe, Summer 2012 Participant
The consistent use of the German language was so rewarding. I went to Germany as a student who know how to say a few things in German and came back a proficient speaker of German.

 

Casey A Craig, Summer 2013 Participant
I found living with a host family to be the most rewarding. By the end of my stay I noticed my language skills had greatly improved.

 

William Michael Kidder, Summer 2013 Participant
Although the entire program was extremely rewarding, I feel that the traveling at the end of the trip was probably the most rewarding. We were able to see more of the cultural and linguistic differences around the country.

 

Katherine Camille Taylor, Summer 2013 Participant
I found that my conversational German was definitely the most rewarding to me by the end of my trip. When I first arrived at my host family's house, I could barely understand anything that they were trying to communicate to me in German, if anything at all. However, by the time I left, not only could I understand a significant amount more of the German being spoken to me, but I could carry on long and useful conversations to a native, which was extremely rewarding and self fulfilling to me. This was my goal of the trip and I am so happy that I could accomplish it.

 

Catherine X Martin, Summer 2014 Participant
I found the improvement of speaking German the most rewarding because it allowed me to bond with the host family and community in a more intimate way.

 

Brenna LeeAnne Murray, Summer 2014 Participant
Being able to order food or walk into a store and not having the servers automatically switch to English was really something special.

 

Summer 2015 Participant
I think living with a host family and being able to tour various German cities were very rewarding parts of the trip, and I will certainly never forget our visit to Dachau. Though we had originally planned to go to the BMW Museum in Munich, all the students voted to go to Dachau instead. That was an experience I think we all just needed in some way. It certainly cannot be repeated.

 

Summer 2015 Participant
I felt rewarded when I noticed things in my daily life that were just like what we learned in class.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
By the end of this program, my conversational German skills had improved tremendously. Yes, in the classroom we learned more textbook German grammar, but because you are immersed in the culture, I found it easier to have normal everyday conversations than before. This includes learning more common phrases, correct pronunciation by listening, and being able to formulate questions and responses quicker.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
I found exploring Germany and experiencing the culture the most rewarding.

 

Jacob Albert Ellenberger, Summer 2017 Participant
The most rewarding element of this program was the strong relationships I made overseas. Not only did I become close with 12 fellow Americans, I met and befriended many Germans.

 

Natasha Bailey Rickel, Summer 2017 Participant
Being able to travel the last two weeks of the program allowed me to practice all of the German we learned in the classroom for the first six weeks. Nothing felt better than when the Germans complimented my German when we were out traveling around Germany.

 

Zoe B Mixon, Summer 2018 Participant
By the end of the program, I was able to understand and communicate effectively with my host family.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
The most rewarding part of the program was learning how everyday life works in Germany. I got the feeling that I was not a tourist and that I could fit in like a native. Going to restaurants, buying groceries, taking the train was all a new experience and being able to do these things while knowing how to speak some of the language and knowing about the culture was very cool.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
The most rewarding part of my study abroad experience is that my understanding of the language has significantly improved. I can accredit that to hearing different dialects throughout the regions, as well as the different German accents.

 

Nicholas Joel Matherson, Summer 2012 Participant
It's better to get along with the people who surround you than to gently shy away with awkwardness. Even if you don't think you can speak the language very well (or can't at all, for that matter), even attempting to speak shows any native speaker that you're at least trying. The most difficult part is putting yourself out there, and the most difficult part before that is realizing that that's the most difficult part, but once you're able to understand the feelings inside your head, you can see that shyness transform into eager courage. Once you start speaking, you will never go back.

 

Mitchell Craig Pruett, Summer 2012 Participant
I learned to pack lightly! While it is nice to have plenty of clothes, minimizing the amount of things that one brings drastically improves his or her ability to navigate the tight spaces in European trains and on European roads and sidewalks.

 

Summer 2012 Participant
It is important to open yourself to enjoying new experiences even if you are unsure about it. The most rewarding things in life often come out of trying things you thought you would be uneasy about it or unsure of.

 

Richard Thomas Barkosky, Summer 2013 Participant
When you take German at a university in the States you get a pretty decent grasp of the practical application (reading, writing, speaking, hearing) but when you study abroad you see what you can potentially do with that skill.

 

William Michael Kidder, Summer 2013 Participant
Learning German in the country is so much better than learning it in a classroom on campus. Being there, you're able to learn so much more than just what is in the book.

 

Summer 2014 Participant
Study hard and use as much German as possible and enjoy the experience.

 

Catherine X Martin, Summer 2014 Participant
Packing light is a must. There will be many things to buy while abroad and if you have the money to spare, you better make sure you've got the space too.

 

Brenna LeeAnne Murray, Summer 2014 Participant
Do everything! Become friends with your group, go places with your host family, and eat everything that is put in front of you. You might be uncomfortable at first, but when your flight to come back home leaves you will wish you never had to come back to America.

 

Summer 2015 Participant
I learned to be flexible when dealing with another culture. It took me a little while, but I eventually stopped fighting the experience and was able to adapt to my environment, which in turn made it easier to learn the language and the culture.

 

Summer 2015 Participant
It is very difficult to be away from people you love and care about for eight weeks, and the time differences makes it very hard to stay in touch while you are away. Be prepared to miss home and feel like you want to go home, but just know that your time away is only a small part of your life, so you should make sure to make it memorable.

 

Averi Josephine Gengler, Summer 2016 Participant
Bring a comfortable pair of shoes. You're going to be doing a lot of walking!

 

Summer 2016 Participant
While it is fun, there are not a lot of opportunities in a small city such as Eutin to have fun. You have the opportunity to hang out with your host family, but the age group in Eutin is either really young (16 and younger) or older. Therefore, you might see yourself only really being able to have fun with your classmates that are in your same program. Most places close around 11pm at the latest. When the second half, or travelling portion begins, you will find yourself having to wake up pretty early on average at about 7am in the morning - even on weekends. It is worth it if you are interested in language learning and other cultural aspects such as living with Germans, german nightlife (outside of Eutin), and being able to explore museums and learn of German history. However - it can get repetitive (touring many churches/museums).

 

Summer 2017 Participant
You learn so much not only about the German language and culture, but this trip made me so much independent. I learned how to get by in a different country without my parents there to hold my hand, and now I feel as if I could travel the world and be okay because of what I learned on this trip about travelling.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
That homesickness is real, but you can find comfort in the other students and staff on the trip.

 

Tyler Michael Smith, Summer 2017 Participant
Don't be afraid to step outside of your personal boundaries. That's how you learn the most and discover your own personal potential and how to improve yourself. You will find yourself in numerous situations where you will have to act on your feet and really put your knowledge and experience to the test. All I can say is don't let it intimidate you, because as I have found myself in that position many times, and it might be a little uncomfortable the first time around, chances are you will have a second opportunity to go through that same situation and really show how much your skills have improved in whatever that situation pertains to.

 

Summer 2017 Participant
When it comes to your host family, expect nothing and appreciate everything, and you'll be very happy.

 

Summer 2018 Participant
One thing I would tell future students is to commit to the program. Let yourself try new things, and meet new people, and form new connections. Studying abroad is a very special opportunity that might come once-in-a-lifetime. Capitalize on the time you have, and learn from the people around you.