James McKeane, 21, England
"I really liked the courses, which I thought were engaging, and the relaxed atmosphere makes it easy to meet people."
Nov 28, 2012
How long have you been at Freie Universität?
I have been here since the beginning of the spring semester, since April.
What are you studying?
German language and literature
Where are you from, and where do you study at home?
University College London.
Why did you choose Freie Universität?
Freie Universität has a good reputation, and I wanted to spend my semester in Germany in Berlin. It is also good to get out of the center of the city sometimes, and I think Dahlem is pleasant and calm.
What did you especially like about Freie Universität?
I really liked the courses, which I thought were engaging, and the relaxed atmosphere makes it easy to meet people.
Is there anything special that Freie Universität offers for international students?
The university puts on an orientation week before the start of term as well as seminars especially for foreign students, on topics such as how to write a Hausarbeit, to help you get used to the German system.
What did you like less?
I wish you could take books out of the library during the week. I often prefer to work from home and having to go in and photocopy makes the whole process more labor-intensive.
Do you have any suggestions for someone new at Freie Universität?
I went to lots of courses in the first two weeks – it’s probably the only chance you’ll ever have to look at all sorts of different courses outside of your discipline, as well as allowing you to make informed choices about what courses you want to take and being a good way to meet lots of people.
Any suggestions for living in Berlin?
I would recommend living in a WG (shared apartment), which is great for learning German, as you’re always surrounded by the language, and you get to learn about a side of the city you wouldn’t otherwise see. But there are a lot of people who have the same idea – I was once at a flat viewing with 25 others! So, leave yourself enough time to find the right place.
November 28, 2012