Applicants to the FU-BEST program should be at least 18 years old, have reached the equivalent of second-semester sophomore status in college or university, have a very good command of English in order to complete a rigorous academic program in that language, be committed to participation in our intensive German language component, and have a GPA of at least 3.0. Students whose GPA is below 3.0 are welcome to apply, but cannot be guaranteed admission to the program until their overall qualifications are more closely reviewed. The FU-BEST program is intended for students at the second-semester sophomore level or beyond at 4-year universities and colleges who are in the process of completing their B.A./B.S. degree. Students whose native language is not English should note that the program is aimed primarily at students with fluency or at least a high level of proficiency in English. Non-native-speakers should plan to submit English test scores along with their application. For TOEFL, the score should be minimally 100. In the case of IELTS, the overall score must be at least 6.5 and the scores on individual parts must be no lower than 6.0.
No. Although we expect the majority of participants to come from the U.S., students from other countries are also welcome to participate. Our academic calendar is, however, primarily tailored to North American standards.
By and large, yes. The overwhelming number of participants are expected to be undergraduate students. However, interested graduate students who wish to participate and, if necessary, who have obtained prior approval of FU-BEST credits from their graduate director/advisor, are more than welcome to apply.
Yes. You will receive FU-BEST credits even if you are not or no longer enrolled anywhere. Do keep in mind, however, in case you are well beyond the standard undergraduate age range of 18-22, that the FU-BEST program is designed for students in that particular age-cohort. The FU-BEST program is not set up as an adult/continuing education program.
This depends on your country of citizenship. North American and most European students do not need a visa for Germany, students from most other countries do. Please check with the German embassy or consulate in the country where you are currently studying and read through our Visa Information for International Students (pdf).
You can drop or add one or more courses during the first week of classes. Adding a course naturally presupposes an available spot in that course.
Yes. You will receive intensive German language training at whatever level you find yourself, from elementary/beginner to advanced, if you are (or intend to be) a German major/minor at home and/or if you have any demonstrated prior knowledge of German beyond the absolute beginner level. Absolute beginners can opt for the double-course intensive track or for our single-course Experiential Beginning German section.
In principle, yes, but keep in mind any restrictions that your home institution might have in this regard. After all, you will be earning credits for transfer back home, so it is important to conform to all applicable regulations from your own school.
In principle, yes, but only after you set things up with faculty and other relevant officials at your home institution. So check on your home campus for applicable rules and regulations in this regard. Also, please note that FU-BEST is not likely to admit applicants who want to pursue more than one Independent Study course during a semester.
This deposit is like a down-payment on your overall fees. We require this deposit as an insurance element for our own planning purposes, in order to "deter" sudden, casual withdrawal by previously admitted participants. Remember that your deposit is only due after you have been notified of formal admission to the program, and that the deposit is subtracted from your remaining fees. You will not be required to pay this deposit prior to formal admission. For further information, please read the "General Terms and Conditions of Business" document, which you should download from our website.
Yes. You will have classes and local program-related activities during the weekdays (Monday through Friday), but most weekends will be free. You will also have a one-week mid-semester break.
Yes. If you have the requisite German language skills, arrangements can be made with your teacher(s) to adjust your reading package and to write exams and/or papers in German. It is best to wait until you have settled into the program before making any such adjustments and decisions, however.
Students with advanced German language skills (Advanced 1 or 2) may also want to check out our GermanPLUS+ package for an attractive combination of advanced German language courses and three German-taught subject courses.
Officially speaking, no. You will not be able to obtain a work-permit in Germany while enrolled in the FU-BEST program. Getting into trouble with German authorities as a result of performing illegal work is definitely something to avoid, and will also jeopardize your participation in FU-BEST. This excludes such things as babysitting, of course.
On campus, participants can access the wireless campus-wide internet free-of-charge through their laptops and other devices. We also have a number of regular computers, connected to a printer/photocopier. However, we would strongly urge you to bring your own laptops. If you opt for a homestay, you will need to discuss your computer needs/interests with your host-family upon arrival. The apartments feature an internet connection via Ethernet cable, and WiFi access is provided in the common areas on the ground floor.
The apartments do not feature telephone connections. Most participants buy a German SIM card (and a cheap cell phone) at one of the nearby shops once they are in Berlin. If you opt for a homestay, it is up to your family whether they allow you to use their landline (if available).
Applications are processed on a first-received-first-enrolled basis. Earlier applicants thus maximize the likelihood that they will obtain a place in their top-choice courses. Beyond that, your ranking on the course enrolment form is used to shift you into the next available course, in case one of your preferences is no longer available.
Freie Universität Berlin offers a broad assortment of intramural sports and recreational activities for which you would be eligible to register, but you need to keep in mind that the U.S.-style semester schedule used by FU-BEST does not really coincide with the standard German semester calendar as used by Freie Universität Berlin. The university does not have the kind of exercise/recreational sports facilities common to most institutions in the U.S. However, the Lankwitz Campus also offers a Kraftklub (Fitness Studio) option you could purchase (18 € for one month, 14 € per month when signing up for 3 months, and 10 € per month when signing up for 6 months). There are also a number of public swimming pools in the city, both indoor and open-air. Furthermore, joggers will enjoy Berlin’s many parks and the forests located on its outskirts.
FU-BEST participants are in principle admitted on a semester-by-semester basis. Participation in two semesters (i.e., a full academic year) is possible, provided that a participant is still able to enroll in sufficient German language credits as offered and required by the program. Any participant’s German language placement and classification are regulated by FU-BEST placement procedures only.