Ef Gap Year Berlin

Ratings
Overall
10
Academics: 9
Support: 9
Fun: 10
Housing: 10
Safety: 9
Review

When I arrived in Berlin, I had no idea what to expect. I knew zero German besides "Guten Tag" and had never traveled by myself before. At eighteen years old, I had just graduated high school from a very small town where I knew everyone. The idea of meeting hundreds of new people in the span of six months all coming from different cultures was mind boggling to me but I am so thankful I decided to come here. Coming to Berlin with EF was the best decision of my life. I have met some of the most amazing people and have made lifelong friends with people all over the world. I have learned more about myself in six months than I knew my whole life. In the US, gap years are not very common. Many people questioned why I didn't just do the typical thing and go straight to college. However, every American here has the same feeling I do and knows they made the right choice. Now I'll get to the specifics. I live in the EF residence which means I live with other EF students. There are other students who live in host families. Those who live in host families do have a more genuine cultural "immersion" since they must speak German to their families at home and get to learn about German culture from actual Germans. However, students living in host families can live up to one hour from the school so it can be slightly restricting when going out with friends (however most of my friends are from host families and still go out plenty). The school is full immersion meaning German is the only language spoken in school which is pretty intimidating if you come in knowing zero German like me. However, this forces you to pick up the language basics very quickly. The residence and school are really in the center of Berlin. The residence is right beside the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and only a minute's walk from the Brandenburg Gate and Tiergarten. Since it is in the center it is also easy to get anywhere in Berlin with the Ubahn system. Ef really gives you a lot of independence and freedom. They also bring you on occasional trips. For example, I got to go to Barcelona my second month with the school. There is a huge variety of people that come to EF Berlin and there are always waves of new people coming into the school which is always really exciting. Overall, I am very happy with my decision to come to Berlin with Education First.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
2016