My favourite things about studying abroad as an American Studies student
Written by India Willsher, a 4th year American Studies student.
Hi, my name is India. I studied abroad for a year at Freie Universität Berlin in Germany during the third year of my degree. Freie Universität has a large American Studies department, and all the classes are taught in English, which is great! I mainly took classes in American history and politics but also some English literature classes. One of my favourite things about studying at FU was having the opportunity to take classes in areas of interest to me that aren’t available to me as part of my home degree. The university has a very friendly and laid-back feel to it, and I loved it so much that I have applied to do a master’s there next year! The university also has a very nice club for international students. They organise weekly excursions, and for me, this was a great way to make friends and discover new parts of the city. The most memorable event I went to was a tour of the district of Kreuzberg from the perspective of a refugee. It was very special to learn about how migrants have shaped this area of Berlin. Kreuzberg was my favourite area to go out in as there are many cool bars, restaurants, and cafes, so it was interesting to understand more about the history of the neighbourhood and the people who have shaped it.
My favourite part about living and studying in Berlin was the vast amount of nature that there is within the city. Berlin is full of green spaces and there are over 3000 lakes that you can swim in. In the spring and summer, my friends and I would often spend days at the lakes having picnics and going swimming. Being in Berlin is also a great location to be in if you want to travel to other parts of Europe. During my year abroad I visited Prague, Vienna, The Netherlands, France, Slovakia, and Italy, as well as some smaller towns and cities in Germany. The public transport in Germany is also much cheaper than in the UK so it’s very affordable to do small trips!
Having the opportunity to study abroad and live in another country has definitely made me a very confident and independent person. Berlin has a very special, laidback, and welcoming feel to it, and I feel very lucky to of been able to live there for a year. Having to organise accommodation, arrange my residence permit and enrol in classes had its challenges, but overall, I couldn’t recommend studying abroad enough! Studying abroad is a great opportunity to meet people as you will make friends from all over the world and from many different backgrounds. The sense of spontaneity and freedom that you have is very special and I feel incredibly grateful that I was able to have so many memorable experiences.