Great Internship: Terrible Support

Growth: 10
Support: 4
Fun: 8
Housing: 3
Safety: 8

Though I can understand that it may be difficult to find some internships for participants, I feel Cultural Vistas didn't appropriately handle the situation. Not only was I forced to plan a summer abroad in 2 weeks, but upon arrival I found out there were still a number of participants arriving in Germany who had not yet been given an internship.

There were also students who didn't have a place to live upon arrival (including myself) and to that end, our "program specialist" didn't provide any helpful solutions other than a couple of websites that are easily found in the top 5 results while Google searching "Housing in Berlin". After finally finding housing, I was not informed that certain areas of the city should be avoided. Not only was I in somewhat of a ghetto, but my landlady was a complete nightmare. (I could go on at some length here, but I digress)

This is not to mention the atrocity that was the orientation seminar. Our "program specialist" gave 90% of the presentation, which was a mixture of obvious facts about Germany that could be found in our previous reading material as well as some (sometimes embarrassingly exaggerated) generalizations of the Germans and German culture.

The German woman that was part of the seminar didn't get the chance to speak much, which I found odd simply because I would trust her more on the subject than the ramblings of a (seemingly) ignorant American who was telling us more about the time she stayed in Köln than actually preparing us for working abroad. We were also not informed as to who would be "looking out for us" after the seminar, as she would be on vacation visiting her German friends for the following week after orientation.

Once situated, Cultural Vistas offered little support to the participants I stayed in touch with. Many felt that the program was unorganized and tried little to help participants who found themselves in sticky situations.

Though I have my criticisms, I love the company I worked for. The people are fantastic, location ideal, and I was actually asked to come back to work more for them with a paid internship and (hopefully) a job. I am currently back in Berlin for this purpose. Without CV, this wouldn't have been possible, so I am VERY grateful that I found this opportunity. Though I must say I am also very lucky to have been placed in Berlin, because other participants were located in small villages with no nightlife or entertainment opportunities.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would