If you follow CIEE news and events, you may have noticed our recent obsession with Berlin, Germany. This fall, we launched our brand-new Global Institute in Kreuzberg, one of Berlin’s most exciting districts.
Over 200 students arrived in Berlin this fall for the inaugural semester of the CIEE Global Institute. Our new Global Institute challenges the traditional concept of student living-learning design: what used to be an old factory for car radio buttons has been transformed into a multi-purpose academic facility, including a student residence that Fast Company Design calls the ‘nicest dorms ever.’ Our Global Institute has received praise from Slate, ArchDaily, I Like Architecture, and more.
Photo via Slate.com (by Chris Mosier. Courtesy of Macro Sea)
Meanwhile, CIEE is preparing for our annual conference in Berlin this November. As we focus on ways to reimagine the field of international education, it was a natural fit to choose Berlin as our conference location, a city known for reinvention and innovation.
CIEE has facilitated programs for U.S.-German exchange for many years. Our U.S.-German exchange programs include:
- College study abroad and high school abroad, and Global Navigator (high school summer abroad) programs for U.S.-based students to study in Germany
- The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX), a scholarship exchange program jointly funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Congress that offers young Americans the opportunity to attend high school in Germany for a year
- Work & Travel USA and Internship USA, our J-1 exchange programs to gain training experience and explore the United States
- The USA High School program, which places students from around the world in high schools around the United States
- Faculty-Led and Custom Study Abroad programs, which are created in collaboration with faculty and study abroad advisors and organized through our Berlin study center
So, what’s the appeal of Berlin? We asked a few of our study abroad alumni to tell us, in their own words, why they chose to study in Germany. Here’s what they had to say:
A city of culture, adventure, history, diversity and intellect
“I studied in Berlin, Germany with CIEE after declaring a German major at my home university. I felt like it would be an awakening adventure, because as they say, Berlin is never Berlin. Berlin is a city of culture, adventure, history, diversity, and intellect: something I felt my small town home in the Midwestern U.S. lacked. Through CIEE, I met some of the best friends I have ever had. It's been almost three years, and I still communicate regularly with my CIEE friends."
“Because of my awesome experience abroad, I volunteer frequently with the Missouri State University Study Away office, discussing Berlin, Study Away, and international travel. After graduation in 2014, I was selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant for Hamburg, Germany. While Hamburg is a special place, I always say there is a hole in my heart shaped like Berlin. I truly believe CIEE in Berlin shaped me as a person, gave me language skills I didn't know I could achieve, and set me up with the encouragement I needed to grow into the person I am.”
- Niki Lynn Kennedy, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2013
I got to learn about the field of architecture
Photo Credit: Zach Fields
“I studied Urban Architecture and Design in Berlin, Germany in the spring of 2015. Saying I loved it would be an understatement. I fell in love with the city of Berlin, and no matter where I traveled I couldn't find another city that I liked better. In my home university, I study Environmental Sciences but eventually plan to pursue a Masters in Architecture, which is why I chose the program. Not only did I study environmental aspects, but I also got to learn about the field of architecture. I was able to study the Spree River which runs through the center of Berlin, and my studio was located right on the riverfront! Now I am applying to graduate schools and my professor in Germany is even serving as a reference for me. I do plan to return to Germany for an internship, a job, or just to visit the friends I made along the way. Maybe I could even work at the new study center! Then I could really share my share my experience with the brand new students. For now I'll have to wait, and to any student traveling abroad: Viel Gluck.”
- Zach Fields, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2015
I made friends from all over the world
“I chose Berlin because I knew that if something went wrong, I had family friends that lived near Munich. I loved the fact that the water was so clean and you could get everywhere by taking the U-bahn. For people who live in areas were public transportation is non-existent, it’s a big change and a new experience. I did not know what to expect,, and was very surprised by the number of international students that attended the school. Back in the United States, I have always lacked the opportunity to work with international students, because my small university does not have a large program for study abroad. I made friends from all over the world, not just Berlin, and that was probably my favorite part of going to Berlin."
Photo credit: Elizabeth Brock
“Having returned to the States almost two months ago, I am now participating in my school’s growing study abroad program. I am attending a conference and will be talking about CIEE and Berlin at an upcoming study abroad fair. I am very excited to share my experience with other students in an area and a school where few students feel like they have the opportunity to study abroad.”
- Elizabeth, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2015
Studying abroad made me more confident and assertive
"Studying abroad in Berlin not only exposed me to a new culture, language, people, and environment, but it also helped me become more sure about myself in a number of ways. Through experiences like living with host family, learning German for the first time and traveling throughout the city, country, and continent, I became more confident about myself and my abilities. I fell head over heels for my new home and absorbed as much of it as I could.
I was able to assist in the restoration of a mural on the East Side Gallery (the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall), become close with my host mother over daily cups of jasmine tea, and talk to locals and residents, who quickly became friends, about their experiences living within the city that history shaped and still creates today. Because of my time in Germany, my ability to learn a new language has grown, and I am continuing with German. I also have caught the travel bug more than ever and plan to travel as much as I can. Studying abroad made me more confident and assertive, while also opening my world to a whole new set of experiences."
- Sarah Lucas, CIEE Study Abroad in Berlin, Spring 2015