IES Abroad Berlin – Language & Area Studies

Video and Photos

The Berlin Wall
Fernsehturm (TV Tower)
Hockey in Berlin
Brandenburg Gate
Berlin Bear Hug


Specially-designed to improve your German language skills, the IES Abroad Berlin Language & Area Studies Program draws upon Berlin’s rich culture and tradition to connect your coursework with the living history of the city. IES Abroad courses are taught in German by local faculty, and a variety of academic options are available at local universities.

Berlin will be your classroom. Can you imagine learning about German politics and policymaking in class and then taking a quick walk to visit the German Parliament? Or discussing multiculturalism in Berlin and then touring one of the city’s bustling Turkish neighborhoods? This is study abroad. Wherever possible, our courses take advantage of the city’s many historical, artistic, and cultural sites, and several courses also include a hands-on, practical component.


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$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

No, the general requirement is three prior semesters of German, though I think they may sometimes make exceptions for two semesters of study. All classes and coursework are in German, so you would definitely struggle with no prior knowledge. HOWEVER, IES have a number of other programmes in Berlin for which German is not a pre-requisite, but you take German courses while there-- for example, the...


based on 21 reviews
  • Academics 7.5
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.7
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 16 - 21 of 21
Yes, I recommend this program

IES Berlin Fall 2015

Berlin was not as much a German city as it was a multi-cultural city. It is a place where all nations are represented, including people, food and architecture. There were so many people from all over the world and all walks of life. Every time I was on the U-Bahn (metro) or the S-Bahn (city-train) I would here languages ranging from English (Australian, British, American, Canadian) to Turkish to Japanese to Swedish to Spanish to Serbian. It was remarkable to think that we all ended up in this small space at this moment in time in this specific city.

I also learned a great deal from the relaxed academic environment at the IES Berlin center, which enabled me to fully understand and more importantly appreciate the uniqueness that is Berlin- there is not another city like it. This relaxed and not-demanding workload also allowed for frequent travel within Berlin and Germany, but also to neighboring nations for a great price. It was almost too easy to say "hey let's go to Barcelona for the weekend, it's only 42euros round-trip." This travel was also very important to IES: this independence was fully explained by the program staff. All program health and safety was fantastic in preparation and I always felt safe knowing that my program was very well prepared to handle anything that might happen. This was something that was very important to me.

One thing that is definitely worth thinking about is if you are a pretty introverted person, you may feel lonely at times, even in such a big city. It is not easy being in completely new situations in a new country with people you do not know. Therefore, try to push boundaries and really find out who you are. Being abroad will be the best experience for you to cultivate aspects of yourself you did not even know existed! It is a scary but an exhilarating time!

I was only in Berlin from September 1st -December 19th, but I accomplished a great deal and saw so much of a part of the world I had never been to before. IES Berlin made my time abroad an absolutely remarkable experience that I would highly recommend to anyone! Take the time to see the world as a student. It is something unparalleled.

What would you improve about this program?
The level of academics was pretty low which did allow for a lot of free time. I wish we could have learned more in class!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Trip

My trip to Berlin this past summer marks a before and after in my life. I cannot stress enough how much my perspectives were changed, how much I enjoyed participating in another culture, how much I absolutely loved exploring Berlin's many cultures (Balkan music, Turkish/German cultural exchange, LGBTQ music scene), and how connected I felt with world history while I was there. This trip is perfect for people who need one last push to discover what they want to do after college.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish there had been more options easily available both to explore East German history and/or Turkish culture in Germany.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Es lebe Berlin!

The Language and Area Studies Program definitely met and exceeded my expectations! Within a few weeks of the semester I fell in love with the city, and by the end I didn't want to leave. The IES staff in Berlin was really helpful/accommodating and made sure that we made the most of our abroad experience. While in Berlin, I stayed in a small apartment in the middle of the city with two German students, which was a great opportunity because I got to experience the city with Germans who had lived in the city for years. My day-to-day life was conducted almost entirely in German and so my German language ability improved tremendously throughout the semester. I also signed up through Humboldt University's "Sprachzentrum" and found two language partners that I still keep in touch with even though I am back in the US. There was so much to do in Berlin that not once did I ever feel like I was bored and looking for something to do. From the cultural aspect to learning German to the famous Berlin Nightlife, there was definitely more to experience that was possible in just 4 short months. I would highly recommend this program to anyone that has a passion for German and wants to spend a semester/year in one of the coolest cities in the world!

What would you improve about this program?
It would have been nice if the classes had ended earlier each day so that we could explore the city more during the weekdays.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Berlin, du bist so wunderbar!

The past 4 months of my life in Berlin were absolutely great. The IES program in Berlin provided me with everything I could have ever imagined. The staff was always informative about events and things going on in the city, as well as having events for students at the center. My housing selection was well picked and conveniently located in relation to school and public transportation. Public transportation was a little overwhelming at first, but once you take the train, tram, or bus a few times, you will learn your way around pretty quickly. I always felt safe in my neighborhood and loved exploring around the city. The academic program at the IES center is not very hard and allows students to use their time to see things Berlin and Europe have to offer. All in all, I highly recommend this program to anyone looking to study in Germany.

What would you improve about this program?
I was not a fan of the large block of the German intensive course on Thursdays. I feel like this was too long and by the half-way point, myself and other students could not retain the information we were learning.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Falling in love with a city and a language

Through taking all my classes in German I began to understand the language but through my cultural immersion with my host family I fell in love with the language. The host families in this program are awesome, IES does its best to cater to requests and will help you move easily if there is an issue. The location of the office makes it easy to access the whole city and navigation is so simple and almost completely free for students. Although the university doesn't have clubs like a normal USA one, it is really easy to meet people throughout the city and the program really encourages that. I had an amazing experience and a lot of it was due to the help from IES!

What would you improve about this program?
I have been on other study abroad programs that included a lot more, especially when traveling with the program. When you travel with the program very little was covered and the trip isn't always included in base price.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

I learned so much about the culture I was in through the IES Language & Area program. Germans can be very outgoing when you let them open up to you. They are just as curious about us as we are of them from a societal standpoint and some amazing friendships came out of that-- both from the program and just being a local. I also learned so much about ethnocentrism and how the American culture is the epitome of it. Because of that, re-adjusting to the American lifestyle can be a little nerve-racking, but don't be worried about it. Learn to accept the similarities and the differences and help others understand it to.
For the program itself, I could say nothing but good things. The only challenged I faced was in my studies trying to find a balance between both styles of university. However, the work I did wasn't horrible and I still had plenty of free time to go on adventures and wander around. The advisers were fantastic and were always available for questions and concerns.