The Catholic University of America

 

Top Five Reasons to Select the Program

  1. There is no better location and view than having the Black Forest in your backyard! If you are looking to get out of the D.C. feel for a bit, but don't want to be completely in farmlands, Freiburg has that nice balance.
     
  2. One of the most appealing aspects of the Freiburg program was the length. Many of my friends were leaving their programs before I had even started my classes in March. in the spring, we begin in February, have almost a month of intensive German classes with limited homework, and courses last from March until July. It was amazing to have so much time to enjoy being abroad and actually get involved in the city through my internship and become a part of the community.
     
  3. The weather (for the most part) is beautiful. I unfortunately attended my program during the coldest Spring in 50 years... so I cannot attest to that, but on the days it was nice and warm, it was beautiful!
     
  4. It is the greenest city in Germany. It is known as the "gruener Stadt" for the many buildings that produce solar energy much more than the building's actual needs, for the seven ways to recycle your garbage, and also for the abundance of bikes! I have to say, I was amazed to see how hard it was to find parking with my bike because the bikes were all over the place in Freiburg! I absolutely loved it!
     
  5. Your central European location could not be better. We were able to take excursions within Germany and to France and Switzerland in no time. Class trips consisted of jumping over a boarder to watch an opera, or to see a museum in this country or that country. We are so close to France, I even biked there one day!

What I Wish I Would Have Known Before I Went

  • Transportation is difficult. There is an airport in Freiburg, but not particularly open to the public.
     
  • Pretty much every place except for banks and grocery stores do not have air conditioning. It is not an issue for me since I love the heat, but I have to say, it got a bit uncomfortable trying to sleep in the June evenings.
     
  • I would have invested in a really nice camera if I had known how beautiful Freiburg and the neighboring area within the Black Forest truly was. I would have taken a photography class ahead of time too to get some top-notch photos!
     
  • Do not pet the dogs in Germany without asking.
     
  • Make sure you get a bike when you're in Freiburg. Basically every student and every professional travels around on a bike. I was lucky enough to have relatives who lent me a bike, but my suggestion to you is to ask IES in advance if a student is looking to sell their bike when they leave the program, or trying to buy one at their semester sales. I saved 80 Euros a month not having to buy a Strassenbahn pass and put all that money towards traveling, of course!


A Funny Story or Situation

My friends and I traveled to Alanya, Turkey and decided it was the first day we'd go into a mosque. Therefore, for modesty purposes, I wore a scarf around my head, flats, leggings, and a long heavy skirt. We decided to check out the Alanya Castle at the top of the mountain in the town and since we couldn't find the tourist buses, we decided it wasn't that bad of a walk. After a few wrong turns to see things off the beaten path, we truly were off the beaten path. A couple hours later, we had no idea where we were, but kept going up to eventually reach the castle at the top. We somehow ended up on a very very narrow, steep, ancient pathway. It wasn't quite a pathway, rather it was a stone wall built ages ago bordering the edge of the mountain that bordered a straight shot down the cliff into the water. I seriously feared for my life trying to climb this thing and an hour into the climb, was begging to turn around, but we were about halfway and I didn't know if I was able to physically turn my body around. We finally made it to the top to find that, clearly, this path was not meant for people to use. The path lead us straight to a giant vertical wall where we then had to scale the wall to get down and climb some rocks to find tourist on the other side taking pictures of us and shaking their heads in disbelief. We now call it "The Great Wall of Turkey" and to this day I will never choose to do it again, but I am incredibly proud I climbed a cliff and scaled a wall in a skirt!

The Teacher From Whom I Learned the Most

Christina Freudenberg, from my German language class was so well informed when it came to German grammar. She was also excellent in English and used it once in a while to explain things more in depth to us. I enjoyed the times she took us to cafes, along with the daily fun activities in class. It literally took me until after I left each course until I realized how much useful information I learned and utilized it almost each night speaking with my flatmates.

Housing

Freiburg gives you the opportunity to live scattered about the city. I really liked visiting my fellow IES students because we all lived somewhere different and I got to know the city better and I loved the adventure on my bike getting there. Some students, like myself, lived directly in the city. Others lived right by the Black Forest outskirts. You also get to have German flatmates who attend the University of Freiburg. I had three flatmates directly from Germany, and the other three were from Japan, Turkey, and Sweeden. We never spoke a word of English in the building!

 

Student Profile:

MajorInternational Business and German

Hometown: East lyme, Conneticut

ProgramIES Freiburg

Term Abroad: Spring 2013

Contact Emily