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.
Would you recommend this program?
No, I would not