Name: Erol Koymen Email: email@example.com City Studied Abroad In: Berlin, Germany Program: Vanderbilt in Berlin – Free University
Program Details: -‐Seven weeks in first summer session -‐Courses in German Language, German Culture, German Music, German Literature, German/European Politics -‐Courses full credit in German, and others including European Studies, Music History, Political Science, and even Communication Studies -‐Live in a private apartment in the same building with Germans and other students in the program -‐Small group of Vanderbilt students (about 8 – 10), but a very large group of other students – mostly American – in the overall program -‐Students from many different universities (Harvard, UNC, University of Pittsburgh, University of Hawaii, James Madison University, also Canada, Poland, Switzerland, Netherlands -‐In addition to Berlin, the first week features a trip to Potsdam. Pre-‐arranged trips are also offered to Weimar, Dresden, and Hamburg; of course, one should take his or her own trips as well Courses Taken: -‐The History and Culture of Berlin (with Peggy!) -‐Berlin: A Tale of More than Two Cities -‐Semi-‐Intensive Intermediate German Recent Courses Offered: -‐All levels of German language: Semi-‐Intensive Beginner through Intensive advanced -‐2.03: Transnational Cinema in Germany (Dr. Silvia Vega-‐Llona) -‐Deutsche Exilliteratur (Dr. Gregor Streim) -‐Understanding the European Union -‐ Internal and External Affairs -‐Music Composition -‐ Compose, Rehearse & Perform -‐Espionage in the 20th Century -‐Borders & Crossings: German Literature and Culture from Romanticism to the Present -‐Art of the Western World -‐ From Ancient Sculpture to Action Painting -‐Mass Media and Popular Culture in Berlin -‐Music in Berlin: Three Centuries of Tradition and Innovation at the Crossroads of Europe Favorite Parts of the Program: -‐Peggy! Whatever you want to call her: Dr. Setje-‐Eilers, Peggy, Pegs, etc., she is really a lot of fun and great at showing off the city
-‐The single best thing about Berlin is how many different opportunities it has to offer. I was more aggressive than most about taking advantage of everything there was to do and see, and I still came home with a very long list of sights left unseen -‐The mix of old and new architecture: at first I was a bit disappointed at how “new” Berlin felt (so much was rebuilt after the war), but this quickly became for me an integral part of the dynamism of the city -‐Berliner Philharmoniker in the Philharmonie: one of the absolute best orchestras in the world; if you have been going mostly to the Nashville Symphony, you will definitely notice a difference! It is also an interesting modern building. -‐Die Neue Galerie: great modern building by Van de Rohe, and great modern art inside it -‐Das Pergamon Museum: Treasures from the ancient world that the Germans uh . . . borrowed, such as the Ishtar Gate from Babylon and the namesake Pergamon Altar are to be found in this museum. It is not to be missed. -‐The Museum Island: Five different museums – thousands of years of art, all on an island in the middle of Berlin, and this is only one of several museum districts in Berlin -‐Kreuzberg: the traditional Turkish quarter. Really an interesting vibe, great Turkish, and a cool Turkish Market (also with good food) -‐Kunsthaus Tacheles: a half wrecked old building that is now something like an inner-‐city artists’ colony; very interesting people and art; especially fun at night on the weekends -‐Berlin is generally pretty affordable -‐In addition to German food, there is a wealth of international dining options. I can remember great Turkish, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and American places, and I am sure that you could really find almost any kind of food that you could ever want somewhere in Berlin.
Least Favorite Parts of the Program: -‐The apartments in which you live are safe, quiet and spacious, and you have your own kitchen, but they are quite far from both the university (to which you will travel by bus), and almost everything else that you will do in Berlin (which you will access by train) -‐The classes that you will take are interesting and taught by highly qualified faculty, but be aware that they are real classes which count not only for credit but for GPA points; be prepared to put in full days and to spend some time on homework -‐If you are expecting that Berlin will have an old, European vibe, with charming, narrow streets and grand old buildings, you will be disappointed. Of course, there are some old, charming parts of Berlin, but generally that’s not what the city is about. What you will find is a fascinating city that both wears its history on its sleeve and is decidedly forward thinking. -‐The fact that the FUBIS program is so large means that it will be very easy to hang out with other Anglophones and non-‐Germans exclusively. Try to avoid this, both because American college students can be somewhat immature during such a program and because you will miss out on experiencing part of the culture. -‐Technologically, you may feel that you have taken a few steps backward. The building where classes are held has incredibly slow computers, and you have to pay rather a lot to have your own internet connection
Best Restaurants in Berlin: -‐For very traditional Bavarian food in a nice setting, the Weihenstephaner in Hackischer Markt is very good. -‐Cafes by the Wannsee -‐Biergartens throughout the city; especially in the Tiergarten (the Tiergarten Biergarten), and the Prater Garten Berlin – the city’s oldest at 150 years! -‐Kurrywurst – you can find it anywhere and it’s quite simple, but somehow this hotdog with ketchup and curry powder is very Berlin -‐Turkish restaurants in Kreuzberg. Don’t just eat Doener at 2 in the morning and think that you are getting Turkish food! Find a nice sit-‐down Turkish restaurant in Kreuzberg, and experience the best Turkish food that you will find outside of Turkey! -‐The Chinese restaurant on the corner near the apartments where you will live is quite good I would recommend this Program Because: -‐Berlin is really incredible when it comes to cultural offerings: you could go to a museum every day and a concert every night during your stay in Berlin -‐At the same time, it offers a great nightlife and a lot of different kinds of people -‐Essentially, you will not run out of things to do in Berlin (you will run out of time first!) -‐Berlin is excellent for students interested in current European affairs -‐The Professors are really great and the classes are small Other Things to Know about Studying in Berlin: -‐Probably my number one piece of advice would concern the temptation to stick solely with the other FUBIS students. Certainly, you should get to know them and you will probably make some good friends, but if you hang out ONLY with other FUBIS students two things will happen a) You will not make as much progress as you could with German b) You will remain more of a cultural “outsider” So, at least a few times, screw up your courage, maybe take one FUBIS friend or, better yet, don’t take one, and go to a museum, sit in a coffee shop and read, go to a bar, take a weekend trip even. The idea of going alone on a trip or to a bar may sound heinous, and of course you should be smart, but trust me that it’s worth a shot. You don’t know anyone, so there’s no need to worry about looking “awkward”. At the worst, you have some alone time (which can also be great when traveling). At best (and far more likely), you are an interesting American college student and you make some German friends; in a laid-‐back city like Berlin, you’ll have no problem. Just like Berlin has too much to see and do in seven weeks, there is too much to write about how great Berlin is in any one guide. You have to see it yourself!
Published on Apr 5, 2012
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org City Studied Abroad In: Berlin, Germany Program: