IES Abroad European Union

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About

Taught in English, the IES Abroad European Union Program gives you the chance to study Politics, Economics, Business, and International Relations like you never have before.

The program features an integrative seminar that incorporates approximately 21 days of field study to travel to numerous countries inside and outside of the EU. As you visit each new country, you develop your understanding of the European Union, its history, and its institutions.

Europe will be your classroom. Imagine visiting the European Parliament and discussing current social and political issues with EU officials, or meeting with leaders of multinational corporations to learn about international trade. Welcome to study abroad!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

95%
based on 52 reviews
  • Academics 8.1
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8.6
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 15 of 52
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Teresa
10/10

Outstanding Academics

This program is really unique and truly inspiring. It offered amazing academics that really reinforced why I love what I am studying and what I am doing while matched it very well with course-related excursions that took us to new countries to explore and learn about the EU and domestic politics. The time spent abroad both in Germany and traveling was incredible and really felt balanced thanks to the planning of the administration. It also really helps that you are traveling with professors as academic advisors so they can really help you reflect on everything you have learned.

How can this program be improved?
Help students immerse more with locals, it really only happens when students go out and do it unlike with other programs where you are taking courses with locals and so on with this program, you are a bit more excluded.
Yes, I recommend
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Melissa
10/10

Learning while traveling

If you are looking to study internationally while also fulfilling your major requirements for International Politics, Business, or Econ; or just looking to travel a lot while learning, this is the program for you! I cannot say enough positive things about my experience with this program. For starters I was able to learn so much about the European Union not only in the classroom, but by traveling to different countries and hearing how the EU affects them as a country or even individually. That was probably the most important part of the program, because I don't think it would have been enough to just have sat in a classroom to learn about this material. It was also a great way to experience the different cultures and not just that of your host country. I would like to also say that the staff is absolutely phenomenal. They really care about your experience and do everything they can to make sure you are getting the most out of the program. The teachers are also there for the students! All of the classes I took were really interesting subjects and the professors really brought them to life. Plus the classroom setting is incredibly small so it leaves time for one-on-one help if you need it. This program really helped me to step out of my comfort zone and become more independent! The only issue I had during my entire experience was the fact that the program was a little isolated from Freiburg University. If you were looking to make friends with the locals it was difficult to do, unless you lived in a flat (which I didn't). So for the most part we hung out with each other. This also made it difficult to really submerge yourself in the culture and learn the language. Most Germans in this area were incredibly excited to have the ability to practice their English with someone, so sometimes you didn't get the chance to improve your German. Anyways, I would 100% recommend this program and would do it again if given the chance.

Yes, I recommend
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Yolanda
10/10

My time abroad in Freiburg

In particular, Freiburg is a beautiful place; in the winter there is snow, then comes rain, and in spring time the hills are green and the sun breaks through with warmth. Freiburg is a student town, the German culture is different; it's welcoming, a breath of fresh air, and eye opening. My time abroad, I always felt safe. I also had the opportunity to learn German, which is a goal that I have always wanted to fulfill. I got to participate in the Freiburg Marathon during April with a few of my friends as well as a few faculty members from the program. It was a lot of fun being able to run a 14km through Freiburg. This experience was great; having the people cheer me on as I ran through the city was welcoming, being a part of a team with my friends and professors, and challenging myself by running 14km without stopping and finally crossing that finish line was exhilarating. Furthermore, I got to participate in another run; Run For Europe. This was my favorite run because I got to run a 5K while running between the borders of Briesach Am Rhein, Baden- Wurttemberg, Germany and Ile de Rhin, France with my friends was amazing! I got to run with others who support a united Europe.
After having visited: Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Greece, Vatican City, Rome, Nice, Paris, Brussels, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Frankfurt, Basel, Grindelwald, Feldberg, and Freiburg. You learn that there is so much to see, to experience, and that life is a constant journey in which one expands their perspective of the world. I learned that there is so much more to learn, to experience, to do, and to witness. You only get one life and it's your job to live it to the fullest. Since having studied abroad I now have a greater appreciation for the world , cultures, the people that make up each country, and the country's history.
My study abroad experience has helped me grow personally, academically, and as well as professionally. Personally, I have grown to be more confident, independent, assertive, and ambitious through the IES European Union Abroad Program. I am from Oceanside, California and my university is about forty-five minutes from my hometown. I am use to having my family close by and having studied abroad in Freiburg, Germany was a learning process for me. I remember when I first arrived in Germany; at first I was nervous having to say goodbye to my mom because I have always had my support system close by. It was through this marvelous program that I was able to grow to be more confident and ambitious. In my leadership course: Leading Across Political Cultures, I learned to be ambitious and assertive through taking on leadership roles in my course; in our third leadership workshop I volunteered to be a leader in which I was required to lead a group of my fellow students to the destination of our workshop all on my own. In addition for a water conference that we had for this course, I volunteered to be one of the three moderators that had the task of coordinating, organizing, and running the water conference.
Furthermore, this Spring semester I challenged myself to try new things and to push myself to do better in my courses. This particular semester abroad was at times demanding at first but as time went on I got use to the work load. The first week of classes was the intensive phase; in which we had one week to learn the basic history of the European Union as well as an intro to German before we had a trip to Berlin and Prague. The education system for studying abroad was a bit different, in my opinion there is more independence to work on your own, in addition spending time and taking classes with the same seventy students was a nice change. I enjoyed connecting and getting to know these people My home university has five thousand seven hundred and eleven undergraduate students; it was also convenient to have all of my courses in one building, as well as a library, a lounge room, and study rooms within the same building.
In addition to having grown personally and academically, I was able to grow professionally as well. Being a Political Science major and having taken courses that focus on the American government system, I wanted to learn more about the politics of the European Union. I enjoyed getting the chance to learn about European Integration and European Foreign Security and Policy Analysis. It is one aspect to learn about the countries that are in the European Union yet it is another aspect to be able to visit these countries, to apply the knowledge that you learn and to see firsthand the important issues and their impacts that they have on these countries. I loved learning about the Copenhagen criteria, integration, enlargement, the migration crisis, the high youth unemployment in some countries, and as well as other topics about the European Union and the member states.
After having visited the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the European Council. I had the goal of learning more about European politics and expanding my mind on international issues and U.S. relations with Europe. I accomplished this goal this spring semester. I want to attend law school after I complete my bachelors in Political Science and become a civil rights attorney. Having acquired more knowledge about the European Union I have become more aware of the importance to stay on top of current international issues. As a political science it is vital to be versatile and aware of domestic and international politics and the impact that issues and events have on a global scale.
I am thankful and fortunate that I was able to learn about the European Union, to have visited: Czech Republic, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Nederland's, Switzerland, Belgium, and Germany and during my stay in these countries see firsthand the issues that these countries face. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience and it should be encouraged for all students to do. I am forever grateful for studying abroad and I have grown immensely because of it. It is due to studying abroad in Germany that I have a greater appreciation for the world, for politics, issues that affect the U.S. don't just affect us but they have global effects as well. Moreover, the most important aspect that I took with me from studying abroad is that we are just one speck on this earth; for there is so much more out in the world than we think there is. There is so much to learn and to share with others. Freiburg will always be a place I call home and if I didn't study abroad I would not have learned more, grown more, visited countries, cities, and met wonderful people. If you would like to learn more about the politics of the European Union, visit the institutions of the European Union, then I highly recommend studying abroad with IES through their European Union Program in Freiburg, Germany.

How can this program be improved?
I think the program can be improved by maybe adding a few new countries or one new country to the program based on current events in European Politics. Overall, the program is wonderful and I learned a lot from studying abroad through the IES Abroad European Union Freiburg Program!
Yes, I recommend
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Molly
10/10

An Unforgettable Semester in Freiburg

I had an amazing experience with the IES Abroad EU program, and there honestly isn't much I can say that was bad about my semester. Not only did I love living in the beautiful, sunny, and student-filled city of Freiburg, but I also learned so much about the EU that I never would have back home at my own university. The course excursions and extensive program travel were a highlight of my semester, and the trips were well-planned, offering us the invaluable opportunity to travel across Europe and visit many cities, while getting a unique political, historical, and cultural perspective on them that I likely wouldn't have gotten by visiting on my own. Both IES Abroad in general and the IES staff at our center in Freiburg were so helpful and organized and really made an effort to make all students feel comfortable and engaged while abroad.

Freiburg is an absolutely wonderful place to study abroad; it is a charming university city bustling with bikers (Freiburg is very eco-friendly!) and there are tons of things to do in one’s free time. Not only are there tons of restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bakeries to enjoy if you want to enjoy the wonders of German food, but there are also opportunities for shopping, enjoying local parks and the river Dreisdam, or venturing off on a short train ride into the neighboring Black Forest, where you can bike, hike, or ski! The EU program has so much travel incorporated into the semester, often to large European capitals, so having a home base in Freiburg, where it’s not overrun with tourists, was really great.

I lived in a student apartment complex with five German students and one international student. We each had our own rooms and shared two bathrooms, a kitchen, and living area. This living situation was nice because I had a lot of independence and my own space, but I still was able to engage with German students, practice my speaking, and learn about their lifestyles, studies, and interests.

On the topic of costs, which is often an important factor to studying abroad for many people, I would say that doing this program was really affordable, largely because the cost of living in Freiburg is fairly low. There are many options of where to buy food (stores and the local Münstermarkt), and groceries, toiletries and other living necessities were very inexpensive and much less than what you would pay for the same thing in the US (for instance, I could find a jar of jam for 1 Euro or a loaf of good German bread for 2 Euros). Although I’m vegetarian, I found that there were still many options for food, both eating out and buying food at the store. Freiburg also has tons of restaurants, pubs, cafes, and even a pretty good (and very inexpensive) student cafeteria, so there are lots of options for students at very reasonable prices. I won’t lie, the abundance of bakeries and cafes in Freiburg made me quickly addicted to the large array of delicious fresh German bread, pretzels, and pastries.

Although the course workload was definitely vigorous (probably more than other average abroad programs), I learned so much and gained a greater perspective on the EU, world events, and various European cultures. I might also briefly note is that this program is definitely focused on politics, international relations, and economics, and less so on intensive German-language development, understandably. However, being someone who really wanted to practice my German a lot, as I’ve been studying it for many years, I will say that I was a bit disappointed that most students on the program had little to no German language background, so I could not have those types of language engagements with them. Nonetheless, I still had many opportunities to practice German out in public and at home with my flatmates. I would recommend, however, for anyone thinking about studying abroad - to take a semester of German beforehand or have learned a little bit. It makes getting around and having simple interactions with locals much easier!

Overall, my experience in Freiburg and with the EU program was one that I truly will not forget. From visiting many beautiful and historic cities across the EU, to enjoying the Biergartens in Freiburg, to spontaneously deciding with two other students to venture on a 60km bike trip from Freiburg to France and back, the experiences I had were really irreplaceable. Without any hesitation, I would recommend this program to any student interested in the subject matter or who wants to experience life in an active, but charming German university city!

Yes, I recommend
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Spencer
10/10

Freiburg

I really enjoyed this program due to the classes that was offered, the travel opportunities, and the city of Freiburg itself. The classes are taught by qualified and interesting professors and I learned a lot about the inner workings and relationships of the European Union. The best part of the program is all the travel that is included. We went to Paris, Luxembourg, Brussels, Prague, Berlin, Strasbourg, and three further countries (I went to Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome) with the program, and got to speak with interesting politicians, academics, and NGO workers such as the Czech Foreign Minister and an MEP from Poland. Freiburg itself is a beautiful city with amazing people, located in the Black Forest and only a 30 minute train or bus ride to France and Switzerland. Overall, I learned a lot and got to see a lot of Europe.

Yes, I recommend
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Jack
9/10

Experiencing Europe with IES

During the Spring 2017 semester, I participated in the IES Abroad European Union program based in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany! I really loved my experience, it was invaluable to say the least. I will look back fondly on my time in Europe and the lessons I learned for the rest of my life. I would recommend the program to any student, especially those with an interest in Political Science, International Relations, or Economics.

My living situation was very pleasant. I lived in a modern, student apartment building called Berliner Allee in a flat with 5 flatmates. There was one other IES student living there; otherwise, all of the other flatmates are German students between ages 24-27. Some IES students use this as an opportunity to practice their German, even though I didn't personally! My flat was remarkably clean because of our "putzplan," or cleaning schedule, which is quite common for German living situations. I wasn't too far away from the IES center where we took our classes; it was about a 15 minute commute if that. Though depending on which neighborhood in Freiburg you end up in, the cleanliness of your flat, the number of flatmates, and the distance from the IES center can vary quite a bit.

As far as academics are concerned, if you are looking for an easy-breezy semester abroad, I would not recommend this program. We took all of our classes at the IES EU center. Obviously like any institution, there are easier and harder teachers and professors, but the required 5-class course load means you will definitely be working throughout the week. I wouldn't say it's as hard as a lot of American colleges and universities, but it is certainly no walk in the park. Finally, since the program includes quite a bit of travel, I definitely did my fair share of work on planes and trains. As we are currently in a period where the European Union is in flux, the topic courses I took, EU and the Muslim World, EU-US Relations, and Migration, were very current and interesting.

For me, travel was far-and-away (pun intended) the best aspect of the program. I can guarantee by the end of the program, you will feel like you did not spend enough time in Freiburg. First, there are 21 days of built in travel included in the program. If you plan no additional trips, you will still get to visit 7-9 countries with your classmates. Second, the program schedule includes two "Wanderlust Weekends." These are weeks with no Friday classes to allow you to get an early start on a fun travel weekend. With mine, I went to London, England and Nice, France; both were lovely. Finally, there is a healthy-sized Spring Break to allow for further travel. In total, I visited 14 countries in Europe and North Africa throughout the semester.

One of the most important things I learned on the program is that the more you travel, the more you realize how much more there is to see. Even though I was lucky enough to see some amazing cities, there were many that I wish I had WAY more time in, and even more that I wanted to see but didn't have the time. You really get an idea of how enormous the world is on this program, which is a lesson worth learning.

Yes, I recommend
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Trisha
9/10

Fantastic semester!

I had an incredible experience with the IES EU Program. My professors were engaging and personable. They encouraged us to have thoughtful discussions and tailored lessons based on our interests. Classes rarely seemed boring or dull. By far the best part of the program was being able to attend meetings on the various trips that we took. This program is so unique in that it takes students to so many countries with no additional cost. My favorite meetings were visiting the Russian embassy in Berlin and meeting with the MEP of the political party Jobbik in Budapest. Our trips were structured well so that we had lots of free time to explore on our own, as well. Freiburg is picturesque and fun in itself. On the weekends we would take quick train into the black forest and go hiking or skiing. There is so much to do, see, and explore. I had a phenomenal time abroad!

Yes, I recommend
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Paul
9/10

My EU Experience

This program is an extremely unique opportunity for two reasons. The first is that it is so focused on a single topic: the European Union's history and structure. The second is that the cross-continent field trips such as to the European Parliament in Strasbourg or to the rest of the EU government in Brussels are built into your classes. For an Economics and Political Science double major, this was a great opportunity that I am confident will reflect well on me in my professional life. IES is very well organized and will really take good care of you. I never felt like I was "stuck" or mixed up in a situation that couldn't be solved, which is a reasonable worry for someone going on study abroad. Being based in Germany, some people might have worries if they don't speak German. I will say as someone who speaks German that I had an advantage, but the overwhelming majority of people in my program had zero German experience and did just fine. All in all, this is a great program that you won't find a duplicate for and is very well-run.

Yes, I recommend
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Maia
10/10

Best Experience!

Choosing the IES European Union Program was the best decision that I have ever made. Because the program included travel, I was able to visit 9 different countries across Europe at no extra cost, including places like Bucharest and Budapest. Cities that I would never really think of visiting on my own. More than that, studying abroad gave me a sense of independence and confidence that I would never have been able to achieve otherwise. Having to figure out how to navigate so new places forced me to rely more on myself and pushed me out of my comfort zone. However, I still had support and help from the IES center staff when I needed it. They did a perfect job of making us feel at home and cared for, while also giving us space to challenge ourselves. While there was not as much cultural immersion as I expected (it was difficult given all the travel and being a program full of Americans), I would not change anything because I had so many great experiences and met so many great people in my program that I still talk to today.

Yes, I recommend
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Anastasia
10/10

Best Semester

Absolutely loved my program. With the program visited 12 countries. It is a lot of traveling, but the semester is built the way that you don’t get tired or exhausted. Freiburg itself is a safe picturesque city. A lot of good places to go out, weather you want to go hiking or to a nightclub. If your level of German is low or non-excitant, it is not an issue. Pretty much every country we went to and in Freiburg, Englsih is widely spoken, so it was very easy to navigate and live there. IES stuff is incredibly caring and attentive. They helped me and any student who needed help or advice. Living situation is very nice. All buildings are located in safe area, close to a grocery store, downtown and IES center. Even not being a political science or related majors, you can definitely benefit from this program. There is a good variety of classes you can choose from.

How can this program be improved?
N/A
Yes, I recommend
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Tyler
10/10

My European Union Program Experience

I enrolled in the European Union program in Freiburg to gain a better understanding of European culture through the Political Science and International Relations lens and have the ability to visit famous European cities that were also relevant with our studies.
As a Business major, it would seem that my studies were not exactly compatible with my major. However, I was able to fulfill some of my major requirements while still being able to take some Political Science and International Relations classes that I thought were very interesting and could diversify my academic background.
The semester when I studied, the Fall of 2016, could not have been a better time to study abroad. With Brexit and very similar elections occurring in nearly every major European state coupled with the US elections, the subject matter was relevant to everybody and we had plenty of material to discuss in class and when we visited the different bureaucratic cities.
The relevance of the material we study in class were extremely relevant with the current events and that was vital for me as there was the study aspect in my study abroad and also in practice, as I was able to combine the two together and gain a better understanding for European political culture.
As this program is geared towards Political Science and International Relations majors, there were times where I felt I was out of my element, as I did not possess the foundational knowledge of the subject matter we would study. However, it was still very beneficial for me to study different subjects as a Liberal Arts student.
The program did a fantastic job of balancing class work with our travels, as the professors had a great understanding of our time constraints as our schedule had us outside Freiburg almost every two weeks.
With my college tuition and the study program expense being equal, it was fantastic to be able to visit these cities without paying more out of pocket.
Freiburg is also a vibrant, university-driven town to be in, and in close proximity to France, Switzerland, and other European states.

Yes, I recommend
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Zach
10/10

Exploring the European Union

My semester with IES Abroad European Union was an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow. As a student of International Relations and History, I was able to explore my passions within a practical context in Europe. One of the biggest advantages of studying abroad with IES Abroad EU is that you learn just as much in the classroom as outside of it. Within our multiple field trips, I visited 12 countries across Europe, and engaged in meetings with EU officials and academics from a wide variety of fields. Some of my favorite memories include visiting the European Commission in Brussels, hiking in the Alps, and bonding over the cold in Latvia. Moreover, the base city of the program, Freiburg, is a gorgeous and quaint town. It is easily accesible, due in part to the excellent tram system, and will quickly make you feel at home (and it also has a great selection of restaurants). Additionally, the IES Abroad Staff are some of the most attentive and caring people I've ever met, and they would always make sure that everyone on the program was doing well. My semester abroad was a big leap for me - a push to try something new - and I'm immensely glad I did it!

Yes, I recommend
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Tess
10/10

A Life-Changing Experience

My time in Freiburg was the greatest time of my life, and I highly recommend this program. Freiburg is the perfect city, because it is the right size to feel comfortable and very safe. One of the best parts of the program is the travel included in the curriculum, where you get to travel to eight different cities. The IES center staff do an incredible job planning the trips, providing suggestions and tips for each city and exposing us to unique speakers and experiences. As someone who had never traveled outside the United States before, having a structured form of travel was very beneficial and made travel a lot less overwhelming for me. For a personal example of how helpful the center staff is, I cut my hand while in Freiburg and needed stitches. A staff member scheduled an appointment for me with a doctor that speaks English to remove my stitches, which was incredibly helpful and made a stressful and scary situation much easier. This program and this city is one you will not regret experiencing!

How can this program be improved?
n/a
Yes, I recommend
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Teresa
10/10

The Discovery of Fernweh

fernweh | (n.) when you feel like you have to leave your familiar surroundings to discover new places. it is the need for distance, the wish to experience something far away from home, the urge to escape from your everyday life by travelling

The IES Freiburg EU program was the perfect way to find Fernweh! Freiburg was the perfect home-away-from-home. It was safe, beautiful, fun, and the perfect size for the aspiring city girl. I had my little slice of heaven hidden away in the Black Forest! We were able to travel so much - which was so easy due to the central train station in Freiburg.

Yes, I recommend
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Katie
8/10

Best Semester So Far!!

The EU program was so much fun!! Especially the travel aspect, you go somewhere once a week every month and it's the best thing about the program. The center is really nice, some of the professors are great while others are meh, as usual. Classes were interesting for the most part.
There's some good places to go out in Freiburg, and the food is the BEST. There are a bunch of shops down the main street downtown to go shopping. It felt like we weren't in Freiburg much because of the travel but the time we were in town was great.
A couple things to think about are if you plan on fully immersing yourself in German culture you're going to have to do everything you can do to that. In Freiburg you're in classes at the IES Center not the local University, so you're spending 80% of the time surrounded by Americans. Also, this is not a program you can go into assuming you're going to barely be doing any work. For me, it was like any other semester work wise. All of that being said I LOVE Freiburg and being there was so much fun, and I would absolutely go again!!

Yes, I recommend

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