My IES Abroad experience in Berlin, Germany

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My name is Emma Roach, and I am a German and Linguistics double major at University of Vermont. In Summer 2018, I had the pleasure of living and studying abroad in Berlin, Germany in IES Language and Culture program. While I had visited Berlin for a few days a couple years ago, nothing can compare to actually living in a foreign country. I spent 2 months this summer living in a homestay, taking classes, interacting with locals, and getting to know the city. Having never lived in a big city before, it was a bit of a shock for me at first, but I quickly fell in love with the city. Berlin has so much to offer in terms of culture, art, museums, music, food, and people. There’s no way to see it all in such a short time, but through my experience with IES, I was able to really make the most of my time there.
I came to Berlin already knowing German, which wasn’t necessarily true for everyone in our program - many students didn’t know the language at all, but IES offers multiple levels of intensive language classes, from beginner all the way to a literature class for those who already speak the language. I absolutely loved the literature class I took, because it was really focused on literature about the city, so we were able to actually see the places our readings talked about. This made our course really unique, and different from any other literature course I had taken before. By taking this course, and living with a woman who only spoke German, my German improved tremendously during my time there, even though I could already speak the language well. The fact that IES offers such a range of language classes really encourages every level of student to come there, and the professors really make the experience amazing.
I’ve always been a strong believer in studying abroad, and my experience with IES only strengthened this belief. I would always recommend to anyone to go study abroad, because it can truly open up a world of experiences that you never knew were possible. I can easily say that I grew so much during my time in Berlin with IES, and my abroad experience strengthened and inspired my desire to return to live in Germany one day. I would recommend IES for anyone interested in studying abroad, but especially for those who might be worried about a language barrier - the IES language courses, starting from the beginner level, can give you a really strong understanding of the language even in just a short time. IES is really helpful and understanding in all matters, and I’m incredibly happy that I got to have this experience with IES Abroad Berlin.

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps try to add the option for a homestay with younger people, because it can be more difficult to get the current cultural experience when living with an older person.
Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
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