In selecting a study abroad program, I was most intrigued by the possibility of immersion in a foreign culture. Many of my friends who studied abroad in college participated in programs that essentially seemed to consist of the experience an American campus transplanted somewhere else in the world: Their language competence did not seem to improve very dramatically, and they spent most of their time in what seemed like an insular community of fellow American exchange students. While many of those experiences were clearly fun and educational, I was looking for a deeper exposure to culture and more personal responsibility, which is why I chose the BCGS. I could not be more happy that I did so! The time that I spent in Berlin with the BCGS, as well as the two months of language classes I took in Germany beforehand, were among the most enjoyable, engaging, and educational in my life thus far. The program demands a high level of personal responsibility and self-motivation, but Carmen and Niko and the rest of the BCGS staff were always willing to offer help and advice and provide all the resources necessary to accomplish a very ambitious program. As a student directly enrolled at the Freie Universitaet, I sat in seminars with German students and experienced an educational culture distinct from its American equivalent. I made several good friends, and during the semester was able to find time to explore both in Berlin and on trips to other cities. I am planning to pursue a Masters degree in Germany shortly, and the decision to do so was driven in large part by the significant and positive impression that my time with the BCGS left on me. My only regret is that did not stay for both semesters. I highly recommend that anyone considering it apply, and stay for both semesters to get the most out of your time in Berlin!