IES Abroad Freiburg - Environmental Studies & Sustainability
96% Rating
(14 Reviews)

IES Abroad Freiburg - Environmental Studies & Sustainability

This English-taught program allows you to explore topics in Environmental Studies, Forest Ecology, and Sustainability while living in Freiburg, a well-known center for environmental innovation. Freiburg and the surrounding regions will be your classroom. Can you imagine traveling to the Rhine River Valley to take samples and observe local ecology; or traveling to the forests of the Swiss Alps to further your discussions on forest management and tourism? Welcome to study abroad! Wherever possible, your courses take you outside the classroom to give you hands-on experience and to take advantage of all that your study abroad location has to offer.

Courses are organized as a series of three-week modules that focus on the sustainable management of natural resources, with a special emphasis on the adaptive management of forests, ecological processes in ecosystems, and human effects on the environment.

Locations
Europe » Germany
Program Type
Provider
Subject Areas
Ecology
Degree Level
Bachelors
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Age Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Contact IES Abroad or see website for details: www.IESabroad.org/freiburg
Other Locations
Freiburg

Questions & Answers

In order to apply, you must be at least 18 years old and have a 2.75 GPA or higher.

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    82%
  • Support
    96%
  • Fun
    89%
  • Housing
    89%
  • Safety
    99%

Program Reviews (14)

Default avatar
Weston
Male
23 years old
Whitewater, WI
University of Wisconsin- Whitewater

Advice from Freiburg

9/10

Studying with IES in Freiburg was one of the best decisions of my life. The program was unique and very immersive, providing a education tailored to the environmental consciousness of Freiburg and its surrounding areas. The instructors were very knowledgeable, and provided hands on experience with much of the courses taking place in the field (including one in the Swiss Alps). IES provides you with all of the tools needed to make your study abroad experience amazing. Whether you like to travel often or spend your time exploring the area, the staff is eager to help you make the most out of your time in Europe. I’ve made some lifelong friends from around the world through my experience with IES. Study abroad is what you make of it. My best advice is to let yourself be uncomfortable; make new friends, use the language, branch out, and enjoy your time abroad!

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Allie
Female
21 years old
Charlottesville
University of Virginia

An Ideal Way of Living

10/10

I gained close international and American friends, German language and cultural skills, more confidence, urban planning and forest ecology knowledge, and fond memories for a lifetime. I lived in a suite-style apartment with five Germans and one other American on my program -- communal living, hiking and becoming very close with both Germans and Americans made my time unique. I bought a bike at the beginning of the semester to get from point A to point B as the Freiburgers do (along with walking and taking the light-rail tram). Freiburg's urban planning is an amazing green exemplar for the world. While learning about sustainability, we were also able to practice it every day. Freiburg is nestled into the Black Forest, where we would hike often in our free time, many places based on suggestions from our IES staff. Our program's staff in Freiburg were truly wonderful -- extremely helpful and caring. They crafted our time there so we were not too overwhelmed in the beginning, gradually introducing more information and opportunities as we were there to explore the city, the surrounding areas, and meet Germans and learn the language and culture. My experience in Freiburg was a surreal chapter in my life that will inform new experiences of mine and provide a wider perspective on the world.

How can this program be improved?

More rigorous classes (without encroaching on outside free time); giving participants more information beforehand, especially about academics and schedules; more connections to the university and its students.

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Suzanne
Female
21 years old
District of Columbia
George Washington University

Freiburg, Germany - A Great Place to Live

10/10

The time I spent abroad on my IES Freiburg trip was the best time of my life. I ended up on the program in Germany partially by accident; I had wanted to go to France but happened to find the IES program, and because it focused in environmental studies - my area of focus - I decided to just go for it! And I couldn't have made a better choice. The classes were amazing: my program had a really unusual course schedule, where students would focus on one class for weeks at a time, instead of taking several classes at once. This structure allowed me to really delve deep into the subjects we were learning about, and it allowed me to have a lot of time to learn outside the classroom as well.

IES did an amazing job of scheduling trips and excursions for my program to go on, especially hiking trips. We were situated in the Black Forest region of Freiburg, and there were a ton of program-led trips to hike into the forest during the course of my semester. Our program also took us hiking in the Vosges mountains of France, and we event took a class trip to the Swiss Alps, where we got to study the forestry and management practices of scientists within Switzerland! Of course, not all of our trips were focused on hiking. We had multiple class excursions to France to see the Christmas markets in the winter before we left, and we also were given the chance to take tours of our city and learn more about its history and culture. The trips I went on with my program were awesome, and I don’t think I will forget a single one!

I was also extremely pleased with my housing situation. IES had us fill out a housing survey before we were assigned our flats to match our personalities with other students and the different neighborhoods of Freiburg (which each have their own character), and I was placed perfectly! I lived in the Vauban neighborhood and loved the quirky but homey feel of the place. My flatmates were all really inviting and helped me get comfortable living in Freiburg, and were always willing to help me practice my German! I still keep in touch with them after having come back to the States - I really clicked well with them, and I think I made lifelong friends.

Finally, the people running my IES program were some of the most amazing and helpful people I’ve ever had the opportunity to interact with. My program director, Katie, made herself available 24/7 to help us adjust to life in Freiburg. She was there to give us tips on where to eat, which clubs to go to, and she even helped me buy a cell phone when I first got there! She really made an effort to get to know us all and listen to our suggestions for programming and events, and that made my experience 100 times better. And though I didn’t get to see the rest of the IES staff as much, the interactions I had with them were all super helpful and helped me have an incredible time in my city!

Overall, I cannot express enough the gratitude I have towards IES for creating such an amazing experience for me abroad. I made lasting friends, had incredible experiences, and learned lessons - both inside the classroom and out - that I will never forget.

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Manuela
Female
22 years old
Maplewood
Skidmore College

Hardest Part Was Leaving

10/10

I will always have a home in Freiburg. The people there are welcoming and hospitable, and I really felt like I was a part of the culture there. It's funny that even in a totally new and unfamiliar place, we are inclined to fall into our own little routines. Some of my favorite included my (almost daily) butter pretzels and afternoon coffees at my favorite cafe, or memorizing my walk from the residence hall to class. Freiburg is so much more than it seems. You learn all about its history and sustainability initiatives in a hands-on way, taking tons of field trips (hello bike tours, hikes in the Black Forest, and overnights in the Swiss Alps) and hearing guest speakers, or even just wandering about on your own. Our classes were in four 3-week long modules, so we were out of class by the early afternoon, giving us ample time to explore the city. There weren't that many people on the program (only about 21), but we were a very tight-knit group, and I walked away with life-long friendships. The professors are passionate about their subjects and it's apparent in the classrooms. The workload is manageable, and you have the opportunity to take two week-long trips to wherever. The center's staff are incredibly helpful and supportive, making sure everything was okay and we had plenty of opportunities to get to know Freiburg and the surrounding area. This program is perfect for anyone interested in studying sustainability in one of the best models of it.

How can this program be improved?

Other than switching the order of the modules, I'd say the only other way I wish the program was different was that it was longer!

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Allie
Female
22 years old
Stow
Hobart and William Smith Colleges

The Extra Push is all You Need!

8/10

Originally I was interested in studying abroad with a group of students who studied at my college; however, stepping out of my comfort zone and traveling solo proved to be one of the best decisions of my entire life. With the tram system, the Deutsche Bahn railway system and biking, it was so easy to explore the city and beyond its borders, Without having traveled alone before I gained independence and confidence in traveling and managing daily life on my own. Despite being a city, Freiburg feels small and community-oriented, allowing for easy mobility and connections to be made.

Regarding academics, the 4-module system helped me manage my time by focusing intensively on one subject at a time, and we had field excursions in the Black Forest, France and Switzerland, which enabled us to apply our new knowledge to the real world around us. With only 20 students in our program, connections were made quickly and new opportunities opened up, (which I learned to always take advantage of, because for some, this is a once in a lifetime experience!)

As I am the youngest of three daughters, I continually looked up to my two older sisters. In my eyes they were risk-takers and I admired their abilities to grasp any opportunity within reach for an adventure. While only in high school, my sisters shared their study abroad experiences from Kenya, Africa and Glasgow, Scotland, and I was since inspired to study abroad. I will always remember the car ride to the airport, the day my parents were about to drop me off for my 5 month adventure. I couldn't talk the whole ride because I was holding back tears, tears of unknowing-ness, excited-ness, but mostly last minute nervousness and fear of walking through the gate; we arrived at the airport early and had time to sit, and I seriously contemplated turning back and going home. As I hugged my parents goodbye, the tears started streaming but I knew that not stepping through security would be the biggest regret of my life. Scared every step of the way, I remembered the times in my youth when I wanted to quit a sport or stop ice skating, for example, because of fear, but my mom told me me to "put my big girl pants on". Although in those moments those were definitely not the words I wanted to hear, my mom encouraged and continues to encourage me everyday to become stronger and more independent.

In each challenge I faced while abroad, I reminded myself of her words and thought about the things I would miss out on because of fear. If I had not taken that step out of my comfort zone, and if I had turned back from the airport, I would have never experienced another culture and world unknown to me. The experiences I had traveling were unforgettable and I was able to frame each challenge or mishap as an obstacle that I was determined to overcome.

How can this program be improved?

One suggestion I have regards the language program. The time was a bit of a challenge, 6:30 pm, but additionally, I felt as though the courses could have been structured differently so that we could have had more practice conversational speaking within the classroom. I found that because our program was all Americans, we naturally spoke English to each other. I found it very challenging to find the time and people to seriously practice with.

Shelby
Female
22 years old
Arvada, Colorado
University of Rochester

An Outdoor Classroom

10/10

Studying in Freiburg was life changing in the best of ways. Students are immersed in a society of outdoorsy, friendly, green-living people. Classes are starkly different than their American counterparts: a module system allows you to focus entirely on one subject for 3 weeks before moving onto the next. Although the classes broach challenging subjects, their interactive, discussion-based style allows for easy absorption of material (and many class days spent applying knowledge in the field while hiking!). Minimal work was required outside of class which allowed us to wander the cobblestone streets, throw potluck dinners and bonfires, and explore Europe.

Aside from introducing you to the green lifestyle and educating you on international forestry subjects, this program offers guided excursion and the perfect location to travel on the weekends (or a plethora of hiking trails and cool places to explore within walking/biking distance!). I've returned home with a new perspective on forestry, diversity, and international relations, along with German conversational skills. More importantly, I made life-long memories and friendships.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing I can think of that could be improved is the opportunities to meet Germans. Aside from an optional tandem partner, interactions require a lot of self-motivation to mingle (and not stick with the American crowd). That being said, you'll still need to be willing to put yourself out there to meet new people anyway!

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Kristen
Female
22 years old
Minnesota
University of Minnesota

It's All Possible!

10/10

I had an amazing time in Freiburg and the region. My German language skills improved, thanks to formal instruction and casual conversation. My travel skills improved, thanks to excursions in the Black Forest, Munich, Berlin, France, and Switzerland. The program office was very supportive and helpful as I adjusted to life here. I built connections to the people, organizations, and places in Freiburg.

The most important experience so far was learning about and participating in a green lifestyle. Freiburg is renowned for its sustainability and environmental awareness. My locally and internationally based course content was supplemented by real-life actions: using the extensive bicycle and public transportation networks, purchasing fresh local food, participating in climate-conscious events and rallies, meeting community leaders, experiencing sustainable urban development. I was able to prioritize how I spent my time and energy.

How can this program be improved?

I was one of the first people to move into a new student housing building, so my apartment was lonely for the first 3 weeks. However, my roommates joined soon enough and I had the other American students.

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Kaitlin
Female
24 years old
United States
Emory University

Studying Abroad in Freiburg

9/10

I attended IES's Environmental Studies program in Freiburg, Germany. I absolutely enjoyed my time abroad. All of my classes were concentrated in the environmental field. My favorite was a renewable technologies class taught by four engineering professors. Another class that I gained a lot of knowledge from was ecosystems and forestry in Southwest Germany and the Swiss alps. During one field trip, we took a three day hike in the Swiss Alps looking at the make up of the forests and discussing how the Ice Age and the forestry culture of the region has shaped the area. The program is located in Freiburg, which is not only an ecofriendly city, but also has a major university to get the most out of your study abroad experience.

How can this program be improved?

I would offer more class options, but this program is still relatively new and is working on expanding.

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Katrina
Female
24 years old
Aspen, Colorado
Texas Christian University

Adventures of a resident german.

10/10

Freiburg is an amazing city which has many different aspects to offer. It is also very international and is extremely close to France and Switzerland. I really liked the outdoor activities that Freiburg had to offer. Hiking, swimming, rock climbing, and more. The program was great because it fit well into my major, but the classes were lacking rigor. I would say that this is good for a study abroad program though. The social life was great, but it was hard to integrate into german culture because we didn't have that many interactions with german students. I had two tandem/speaking partners which at least allowed me to get to know a few more german people better. I would highly recommend having a tandem partner. If you are there to learn german I would suggest branching off from the people in your program because otherwise you will just end up hanging out with only americans. Overall it was an amazing experience and I would highly recommend everyone to take part in some study abroad program.

How can this program be improved?

I would say that one of the only major problems would be that there was not any time off to travel within the programs. We had class every day of the week, and only 3 three day weekends which meant that you could only do a 2 day trip anywhere. Another problem is that the classes are very time consuming and are not equally challenging.

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Hannah
Female
24 years old
Bloomington, Indiana
Indiana University- Bloomington

Academic Year in Freiburg

9/10

One great thing about this program is you can make it as easy or challenging as you want it to be by taking as many classes at the German university as you want (at least 1 per semester).

Another awesome thing is the IES staff. They were so incredibly helpful in any and all situations--you just have to ask!
Freiburg, as a city, is really easy to get around either public transportation (tram, bus) or by bike.

How can this program be improved?

One thing that would make this program better is if they had more opportunities for the American students to meet Germans. It was difficult to meet Germans because most of them already had friends and were not very interested in befriending Americans.

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Emily
Female
24 years old
Seattle, WA
Whitman College

Getting out of my comfort zone

10/10

I loved having the opportunity to live with local German students. They were interested in getting to know me and even threw a party for me when I left! I volunteered at a local hospital during my time in Freiburg and that improved my German drastically. Everyone was very friendly and I had a wonderful time in Freiburg. I would have stayed for a whole year if I could have!

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Hillary
Female
24 years old
Tacoma, Washington
Pacific Lutheran University

IES is making Freiburg an amazing experience

10/10

IES set up our program with just the right amount of structure and freedom. When we first arrived, they provided many opportunities for us to get to know the other students in the program as well as Freiburg. We've taken several optional trips, planned and paid for by IES, to the Swiss alps and France. If ever I need support, for personal or school related needs, I know I can ask any of the supportive, kind IES employees. It's so wonderful here!

How can this program be improved?

It's really expensive.

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Freiburgerin
Female
24 years old
Illinois
Lehigh University

Das beste Semester meines Lebens

10/10

Living and studying abroad in Freiburg was everything I dreamed it would be and more. I know that sounds cheesy, but in all honesty, there were times that I just didn't feel like what I was doing was real life because it was simply so amazing.

The program through IES was the perfect way to balance independence in a different country while simultaneously knowing that any problems or questions you have, there is someone there who can and will help you out. The staff at IES really works to make your experience the best it can be, and as a student of the German language, this included not only language immersion but also cultural immersion, which are two hugely important factors when considering going abroad.

For classes, IES offers a wide selection of topics but also gives students the opportunity to enroll at the university, which is an incredible opportunity, as this university is one of the best in Germany. If you decide to only enroll in IES courses, however, you are not missing out on much because these classes are taught by some of the most wonderful professors. They aren't just there to teach you about some topic; they're there to inspire you and help you. It's so obvious that they do what they do because they love it. In addition, with a destination like Freiburg, the overall group is somewhat smaller than in a major city, which is beneficial for academics because class sizes remain small and intimate.

The living situation varies per person; however, there is a general layout. IES divides students into neighborhood groups, so a handful of IES students will live in the same complex. There are usually various areas around Freiburg where students are placed, but everything is easily reachable. Within these complexes, there are different buildings where German and other international students live. IES has reserved rooms for their students, and you may end up living with anywhere from one to five or more flatmates of various nationalities. Your flatmates will become really useful resources for figuring out Freiburg! Also you will always have your own room but will have common bathrooms and a kitchen.

Freiburg itself is a great place to be. There is always something to do in the city, but I never felt overwhelmed. And if you're more of an outdoorsy person, then Freiburg is also perfect because it's in the Schwarzwald region, which provides plenty of hiking opportunities.

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Freiburgguy
Male
32 years old
scottsdale, arizona

Freiburg was amazing! IES is wonderful!

9/10

I had an amazing experience in Freiburg. It's such a great university city and there is always something to do. IES staff were very helpful and I couldn't have asked for a better study abroad experience.

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IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student should have the opportunity to

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