FU-BEST
90% Rating
(21 Reviews)

FU-BEST

FU-BEST (Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Program) is a semester program of Freie Universität Berlin for incoming students based on the American calendar. FU-BEST is offered in Fall (late August through mid-December) and Spring (February through mid-May) and features a combination of university-standard German language instruction on all levels and a large menu of subject courses (primarily in the humanities and social sciences) taught mostly in English. All courses make practical use of Berlin as a resource and have a strong focus on Berlin, Germany, and Europe in their respective subjects. Student services, cultural offerings, a week-long excursion to German and European destinations, and accommodation in homestays or studio apartments add to an intensive, enriching academic and intercultural learning experience for over 300 students each academic year.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Audrey
Female
21 years old
Berkeley, California
University of California- Berkeley

Meaningful Internship for Social Service

10/10

I really enjoyed my internship with the FU-BEST program. I was placed working with a nonprofit that houses refugees in Berlin and I got to spend my time with children each day. I learned a lot about my needs, my desires for my future, and how I can incorporate social change into all of that. It was a really unique experience and opportunity to work alongside some amazing people and organizations who work hard to integrate and assist the many refugees in Berlin.

I gained a lot of cultural knowledge from the course that goes alongside the internship and it helped me contextualize my experience and prompt me to ask myself many personal questions about my career and personality. It was a good space to really explore those themes and it pushed me to focus on being present and engaged while abroad in an unfamiliar job setting.

I chose to do a personal photo project in my last few weeks with my internship which was super fun and rewarding for the refugee families, children, colleagues, and for myself. I took portraits of children and documented summer party events that allowed me to be involved but still observe the situations. I got to display them in the refugee shelter and give copies to the families to keep. It was a good way for me to also be of service to the nonprofit company because my German (beginning) skills were limited and thus limited some ways I could participate. However, don't let this discourage you from applying if you are up to the challenge of practicing your German skills and want to dive far from your comfort zone.

How can this program be improved?

It would have been nice to have more support from the FU-BEST staff in terms of what kinds of fields/internships are common and suitable in Germany. My internship field worked out for me, but I would have liked to expect and know more of what to expect starting.

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David
Male
20 years old
San Diego
Point Loma Nazarene University

Satisfied with my Internship Abroad

10/10

This unique experience allowed interns to develop a better understanding of the German business culture and gain experience in a German working environment. I am very grateful for the opportunity and am extremely satisfied with my experience. Through my internship I was able to perfect my German and make other personal developments. Working in a German business environment definitely strengthened my work ethic and gave me more clarity for what I wish to achieve in the future with a profession.

How can this program be improved?

The weekly internship class became quite tedious, especially after a long work week. The distance from my residence and work made the class even less enjoyable. Although the class did provide some help and useful information, it became rather redundant.

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Connor
Male
25 years old
USA
Clark University

Connor Ruby FU-BEST Internship

9/10

The FU-BEST internship was an invaluable addition to the FU-BEST study abroad program. The internship gave students the opportunity to spend 2 months interning with an organization in Berlin. For me personally, this could not have come at a better time. Having finished my undergrad studies, I had long hoped to do my masters at a German University and study in German. While the language courses that I took during the FU-BEST courses were also very helpful, the internship gave me a chance to put what I had learned into practice on a daily basis. My internship was at a German academic institute and think-tank, and most of my coworkers were German, so I was able to get a lot of practice every day. Furthermore, the internship helped me get a sense of what a German work environment was like. Because of the progress I made during the internship, I am both much more confident in my German language skills and more able to see myself not only studying, but actually working, in Germany. I would highly recommend the internship to any FU-BEST student who wishes to augment their study abroad experience or is considering additional studies in Germany.

How can this program be improved?

I would recommend that the length of the internship be extended from 2 months to 3. 3 months is the typical length of time for an unpaid internship (Pflichtpraktikum) in Germany. I recall that one of the reasons my adviser at Cultural vistas had difficulty finding a suitable internship for me is that many companies/organizations wanted an intern who could stay on for a longer period. Even for the internship I got at CIFE, they also asked if I could stay any longer than 2 months. I ended up offering to stay an additional two weeks, making the internship 10 weeks. Increasing the length of the internship would not only make applicants more attractive to potential companies, but would likely also enhance the extent to which participants learn from the internship.

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Lia
Female
20 years old
New York, NY
Fordham University

Cultural Emersion

8/10

FU-BEST offered a comprehensive study abroad program that allowed students to apply what they learned in the classroom to the history of Berlin. The program also provided us plenty of opportunities to explore the city. My favorite part of the program was going to Stammtisch, our weekly social gatherings. I also liked the week long excursions that are a built-in part of the program. We took many day trips so I got to see more of Germany than just Berlin.

How can this program be improved?

I wish that we had more opportunities to be integrated with the German students at Freie Universität.

Paul
Male

I Lived Here For A Year And Well Yeah It Was Fun

9/10

I spent my Junior year in Berlin and could not have been happier about my decision to study at FUBEST. While a year away from the US may seem a lot, I'd posit two semesters as the bare minimum time spent in Berlin to start understanding some of the various anxieties or issues currently holding the city's attention; this sort of year is a really (I think) healthy way to imagine transatlantic/world interactions in a honest, truthful light. A lot of the conversations happening in Berlin (immigration, rises in abhorrent Nationalism) are occurring in Berlin and happen in a really engaging way given Berlin's long history of activism/progressivism. Being in Berlin right now is a really great experience.

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