Morning: A typical morning consisted of making a very German breakfast – muesli (granola) with yogurt and fruits. (I ate VERY healthy in Berlin given the abundance of fresh food and the cheap prices). After breakfast I walked two blocks to the street Tram that took me directly in front of the IES building. The ride took about 20 minutes and was always on time. I also made sure I had enough time to grab a 1 Euro coffee at the “mini–market” next-door to IES. Most mornings I had my German language course, so for most of the morning I was hyped on caffeine and practicing my German!
Afternoon: The IES Metropolitan Studies Program in Berlin is pretty intensive and the way my courses worked out, I was in class most afternoons. The great part about the program is that Fridays were reserved for “field trips”. They were mandatory, but who doesn’t love field trips. Our teachers would take us to a variety of locations to gain hands-on experience in the topics we were discussing. If we were not on a field trip, we often had an hour lunch break in which I usually packed a lunch or explored the many dönner and falafel restaurants.
Evening: Because I was in class all day in small classrooms, and also because I lived independently, I took the evenings as a chance to relax, catch up on homework, and watch my favorite TV shows. I also love to cook so I would invite friends over and have dinner with them. Weekend evenings were reserved for traveling or going out to bars and nightclubs.
Highlights: An academic highlight for me, was the program’s built-in trips to Paris, France and St. Petersburg, Russia. For an entire week we attended either the local IES facility or in Russia’s case, the actual Russian university, where we had professors teach us the same course material in English, but tailored to the specific country. Aside from learning from native professors about local customs and cultures, we also had a week to explore, sightsee, try local foods, and attend events.
Another highlight of my trip was the amount of travelling I was able to do in four short months. Travelling in Europe is beyond easy and much cheaper than one would expect. I was able to travel to Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Denmark, and Russia. In each country I can pinpoint amazing experiences that I had. This was one of the many perks of participating in the IES program.