American College Program at University of Fribourg

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About Program

Study in Fribourg, Switzerland with this American College sponsored program at the University of Fribourg. Fribourg is a well-preserved city with medieval history visible through its architecture. Bilingual in French and German, students will be able to take courses in the local languages and some in English. In addition, study the culture and politics of Switzerland and Europe. Check out the university's website for more information today!

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writer207
6/10
Yes, I recommend this program

ACP: Be Prepared for Culture Shock, Independent, Outgoing and Aware!

I studied with the American College Program many years ago. After having worked in study abroad advising, I look back and realize that the program was well-organized and ran well: we had nice excursions to the Cardinale beer factory, and after a two-day welcome orientation in Zurich, spent time in Lausanne, Lucerne, Berne, and Biel/Bienne. There was also a personalized language course to prepare us to earn a diploma in French language.

However, as a young American student experiencing culture shock, there were facets that were displeasing to me and my fellow students at the time: a meal plan that included a cafeteria where the food was not very good, a small number of American students, the difficulty of meeting Swiss students, the copious amount of free "down-time" that ended up being spent shopping and drinking coffees, beers, etc. Also, as a French major who had never studied German, it was frustrating to only be eligible to take half of the courses offered at the University.

At my home university in the US, I took a demanding level of courses and participated in many extracurricular activities, so it was a bit of a shock to put the brakes on. In retrospect it would have been nice to have had a volunteer or internship opportunity to better utilize my free time during the program. I took an overload of classes because of the boredom and isolation I felt. While our advisor encouraged us to visit him at his office if we needed help, I was too young to reach out and let him know I was having trouble dealing with culture shock. Perhaps he could have offered to hold one-on-one meetings with the small number of students on the program to be sure that we were adjusting well.

However, this is a very American-college-student hand-holding-fill-my-time-up-for-me mindset, and part of the experience was simply to live a different kind of lifestyle, to get to know what it was like to just be by yourself, and experience what it is to be a stranger in another country. I ended up spending a lot of time and money traveling in Europe, but it seemed that this tourist attitude I adopted treated the symptoms but not the cause: I didn't really understand what I wanted from the experience. In the end, it has taken years to realize how well you adjust depends on your outlook, and just how much it takes to make the most of your time during study abroad. At the time, it was difficult, but advising others dealing with culture shock has helped to add more meaning to my experience and grow from the time I spent abroad.

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