FU-BEST logo in blue and yellow

FU-BEST

About

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.

Website
www.fubest.org
Founded
2005
Headquarters

Maltseserstraße 74-100, Haus S
12249 Berlin
Germany

Reviews

Default avatar
Megan
8/10

The GermanPlus program was heavily academic based. Students take Academic Writing in German, and a German language class (c2). Additionally, students take three subject courses: art history, identity and politics, and theater. The classes are part of a package and cannot be changed, and they are split from 9-12, and three days a week subject courses are 4:30-7. We did not enjoy the long break in between because it would be late by the time we would get home every night and between classes there wasn’t enough time to go expplore Berlin. People in lower levels of German had the opportunity to explore more, but often did not take it. I feel we would have used the opportunity better and would have been able to practice our german with the locals. Our german definitely improved a lot, as well as pronunciation, due to all of our classes taking place in german. Our assignments were also in german and because of the support provided our by our german teachers, our written assignments (all in German) had to be top notch. Meanwhile, students in lower levels would often pull together their ten-page research papers the night before they were due since they were in English. You will need to invest much more time than for a traditional study abroad program, or than students in lower levels, but you will improve your language skills significantly. The students in our program were pretty isolated from the rest of the FU-BEST program, but we got along very well and spent most of our time together. We were able to practice german together and help each other. There were six girls officially in the GermanPlus program, meaning taking the german courses and subject courses, but there were several other students from the higher levels of german who were able to enroll in the subject courses. They didn’t receive the support we did for our assignments and often didn’t know how to complete assignments without this help. Also, this led to inconsistencies between professors’ grading because these students were sometimes grades easier and not so much on grammar, whereas we had to pay attention to grammar.

How can this program be improved?
The areas that could use the most improvement are definitely those concerning organization; because there were students not in the GermanPlus german courses, the subject courses were affected. Because of our schedule, we didn’t have a lot of time to explore. I think the german identity and politics course could have been more focused, or at least have concluded with germany’s role in present day politics, within Germany, the EU, and the world. I think the nature of the theater course (for which theater visits and written critiques were required) did not lend itself to the Hausarbeit assignment and I would like to see longer critiques instead of a Hausarbeit. The art history course was helpful for learning german history, as the pieces were visual aides to remember the history. I found the theater course the least current/relevant, although I understand that Brecht and Schiller are classic german literature. However, we are from an American program, and will be able to use this information the least. This course could have been replaced with a German version of the green energy course, as that is a current issue our generation is interested in.
Yes, I recommend
Lita
10/10

If you make the effort to immerse yourself with Berliners then you will definitely have the best time. The FU-BEST program itself helps you to get to know the city with monthly field trips, museum passes and weekly Stammtisch! The academic program incorporates field trips/ excursions so that you can get to see more of the city while also discussing the material.
Great support from the student advisors and the teachers too.
The only thing is, the program was just for American students, so it was hard to get to know other German students in the university. And the program is in the Lankwitz campus which is more isolated and less student-oriented than the Dahlem campus for sure.

Viel Spaß!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Thomas
9/10

Choosing to participate in FU-BEST was the best decision I made as an undergraduate. It is what I will remember most from my time in college. Each weekend that my friends and I traveled around Europe, by the end, we were ready and anxious to get back to Berlin. I wish everyone could have the privilege to study in such a unique, cool city. It was the most amazing experience and better than I could have ever imagined it being.

How can this program be improved?
More housing options closer to campus
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Robert
9/10

Overall great program. Comes with great excursions including a full week trip to a nearby Country. Would be better if it were on main campus to meet more germans but that is a minor issue. Intensive German was a annoying too. I relearned most of the grammer and at an easier standard. Besides that, a lot of fun and great people. Berlin is an up and coming city. There is always something to do and something to see.

How can this program be improved?
Fix German. Move to Main Campus
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Caitlin
9/10

Berlin is by far the most fascinating city I have ever visited. Filled with an immeasurable supply of history, architecture old and new, and an incredible network of public transportation, Germany's capital city was a blast to explore. Though overwhelming at first, it was fun to gradually expand my knowledge of a new city map. The museums are fantastic, the bars and clubs are endless, and they come in every variety, and the people are wonderful. That stereotype of Germans being cold and unfriendly is generally false, and I felt very welcomed. I couldn't even speak a word of German but found no trouble communicating with almost anyone with whom I interacted. The exploration of this incredible city was assisted by the FU-BEST program and the program staff. With newsletters and cultural excursions and week-long international trips, FU-BEST helped me to make the most of my semester abroad. One of my favorite things that the program provided was complementary tickets to my choice of an opera and ballet, furthering my cultural immersion.

Perhaps even greater than all of this was the individuals who made my experience special. I chose to participate in a homestay, and I was so happy with my decision. My host family was welcoming, generous, and helpful, and everybody truly made me feel at home in this new city. I'm sure it would have been easy to feel lost when trying to orient myself in an extremely new situation, but my host family ensured that I never felt that way. The classmates that I met in FU-BEST, too, were some of the greatest people I've ever met. Coming from a relatively small school, the opportunity to get to know a wide variety of fascinating new (American) students was so exciting, and the friendships were so easy to form - we were all thrilled to be studying similar subjects in a new city, as well as looking for friends to explore Europe with. In fact, I liked one of them so much that I decided to date him and still am! You will learn so much from these new friends and you will experience so much life with them, and for me, that was one of the best parts about being in Berlin.

I would not change anything about my experience with FU-BEST. I am grateful that this program brought me to Berlin and for the opportunity of a lifetime. I will certainly be back.

How can this program be improved?
As others have mentioned, the location of the apartments was less than ideal. While I did not live there, I know that it took many of my friends about an hour to commute to campus. The facility itself was relatively nice.

The academics were also a bit overly rigorous. Having three 10-page papers due within 2 weeks of final exams was overwhelming. I would have preferred the assignments to have been spaced better; however, the courses were interesting.
Yes, I recommend

Programs

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3
Starting at
$5,000
FU-BEST
80% 4 reviews
Germany
Starting at
$3,900
FU-BEST
97% 3 reviews
Germany