Germany

Ailola Spanish School

I was really satisfied with my decision to study Spanish at Ailola Buenos Aires. It is located in one of the most impressive buildings in Buenos Aires, Palacio Barolo. The office staff did an incredible job at making you feel welcome. They assisted me in a lot of things and helped me to get the most out of my stay. Also the teachers did an incredible job und finally I can use the subjuntivo correctly. They always tried to align my classes with my personal interests. I can highly recommend this school to anyone who thinks about learning Spanish in Buenos Aires.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Germany
Posted: Jul 29, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

AIFS - American Institute For Foreign Study

I enjoyed my trip abroad immensely. I went to Berlin for four weeks during the summer of 2014. I took a class called "Land in the City, Green in the City" that explored the numerous ways that Berlin incorporated different plant life into their infrastructures. We visited roof top gardens, the forests and gardens in and around the city, buildings that had greenery growing on both the in and outsides of the walls. It was so much fun being able to explore the city in a more academic setting and then to be able to go out later and view it though a different lens.We also went on trips to Dresden, Potsdam, and to Prague. I am so happy that we did go on those excursions, because I probably wouldn't have left Berlin. I was that excited just to explore it. Our director was amazing and was always just a call away. She helped us with any medical issue, from one girl getting 18/20 of us sick with a 48 hour cold, to one of the guys getting a dry socket from flying after getting his wisdom teeth out a few days prior. They gave us meal tickets to buy food around town and in the dining hall, and our apartments were great. They were very simple, but I found it was mostly a place to sleep and to shower in, so simple worked out very nice.
10/10 would definitely do it again if I could.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Germany
Posted: Apr 27, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

AFS

It never occurred to me that I should check out reviews for this program, and I regret that now. Our daughter was on a scholarship program with AFS to spend a hear of high school in Germany. There were warning signs from the beginning that we should have noticed. During our interview for a host family placement, we were told that our answers to questions such as "Do you prefer a city or village? What kind of activities do you do as a family? What are you family chores at home? were all wrong and that we should change our answers to better suit the program.

Once our daughter arrived in Germany it became clear there were problems with her host family. She ended up being moved around to 4 different families in total, including one that thought she was the au pair being assigned to them. During this whole time any problems were always blamed on her. I will admit she is not perfect and can be difficult, but not the extend that was portrayed. All of the meetings with her supposed advisor were sessions that they would just complain about her and she would get no say in the matter or chance to explain, contribute or ask any questions. Any family problems were things she had to deal with. Reports were also repeatedly mixed up, they would confuse hers with another child's report, so she had no idea what was going on and where some of these complaints were coming from. It took many phone calls and discussions to get cleared up, but it continued to happen with each family. She would be told she had to sign these "contracts" with wrong information on them and told you have to because you don't want to go home.

One liaison she met with at one the schools she attend told her she was a failure for not making the family work (the family were the mother also told her she was a failure for not having a boyfriend). Of course they denied this, but there were teachers and other students present that heard this. One family was given a list of all the problems AFS though were going on with our daughter before she moved in. Again they denied this, but the host family asked about the items on the list with others whom informed us about it.

In the end there was just no support for our daughter. After she tried to work with her AFS contact to fix things with her first family they basically told her to stop complaining and not say anything with the next 3 families. Anything she did do would be seen as complaining and not trying. Everything was very one sided, always the side against her. She was never allowed to really succeed and flourish on the program because she was always under this cloud of you do or say anything and you will be sent home.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Germany
Posted: Feb 5, 2016
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

AFS

While I recommend AFS, I do so with reservations, as I would for any study abroad program. Did the year I spent in Germany in 1981-82 change my life? Absolutely, and I would never trade the experience despite all the problems I experienced, some of which were of my own making.

First: If you go for an entire year, do not expect to be treated the way foreign exchange students are treated here in the US. At my high school in California, foreign exchange students were put on the homecoming court, encouraged to try out for sports teams, allowed to go through graduation, and generally were given as many opportunities to experience being a teenager in America. When we took in a foreign exchange student for the summer when I was young, we took them on vacation to the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, San Francisco, and the California coast. We took them to Disneyland and Hollywood, San Diego and (only because they wanted to see it) Death Valley. In Germany in 1981, the school could care less that I was there and many of the students saw me as a stereotypical American - as if I represented Ronald Reagan himself (Germans saw Reagan's rhetoric as dangerous). Even my German parents were anti-American to a large extent. No matter how hard I tried to immerse myself into German culture and the language, I was rarely accepted as a young 17 year-old that just wanted to learn about a new culture and improve my German. Of course, American and British troops ran war exercises nearby running tanks through the streets, and American nuclear missiles dotted the countryside, so looking back you can understand what made many Germans upset. As a young America, I was clueless to all of this. The breaking point came one night when my German parents found out I was a Christian Scientist and then proceeded to trash my religion and my parents for raising me to believe in it (they were Lutheran, but didn't go to church, not unlike many Germans). To their credit, the local AFS people found another family that were much more caring and understanding as their own daughter was in the US with AFS in Ohio, getting all the experiences that expected when I went to Germany. While this was an awful experience, I learned to expect that people often see the worst in you, often based only on your nationality. I know this applies to Americans as well, I had just never experienced it as a child as my parents had raised me to be accepting and open to everyone. Still, I must say that at that time Germans were mistrustful of Americans and foreigners in general. They were much more willing to send their students to the US (over 250) than they were to take in Americans and other foreigners (only 80). This may be very different today.

Second: Rememeber, it's a study abroad program. You live with a family and go to school for a year in a completely different school and social setting. I say this because a few students that had to go home during the year failed to see this point. They expected the kind of freedom that most American teenagers get in the US, including choosing your own classes or being allowed to go out at night with friends; this was not how things worked in Germany. If you want to party in Europe, go on a vacation.
Like many students, I had graduated from high school so taking a full slate of classes was a shock because my German was not very good when I first arrived. I asked the school if I could take an intermediate German class instead of Latin, but the school and my parents said no. I found out later it was because the program was mainly for Turkish immigrants, and my German parents openly hated the Turks (my second

Third: It is expensive, so be aware of what you are spending your money on. AFS isn't perfect, but some of the negative comments suggest that parents or their children expect everyone to bend to their idea of what the experience should be. AFS cannot guarantee the perfect experience. In hindsight I probably would have had a much better experience going abroad in college when I had a few more years of life-experience and the ability to travel on my own or with friends on holidays. I was not mature enough to understand this at the time. And if you sign a contract, read the fine print!

In short, I would only recommend you to do a foreign exchange program if you are mature for your age (I was not), almost fluent in the language (I only had 2 years of German, not enough), and have not led a sheltered life. If not, wait until college.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Germany
Posted: Oct 30, 2014
Overall:
7
Support:
5
Value:
6

I used CSA to study in Hamburg, Germany. Had a good experience. CSA was very convenient and easy. Got my confirmations quickly, and I even received a tuition discount. CSA administrative cost is included in the program cost, and I didn't mind paying for the services provided......was worth it !

Not sure why other students are complaining. Nothing is for "free"....even services cost money....such as a lawyer or accountant......even a "dog-walker" costs a fee to walk your dog for ya.

CSA is not a scam....it is a credible study abroad agency, providing program services for a variety of programs worldwide.....for very reasonable prices....conveniently priced in U.S. dollars...which change daily in value in the currency markets. Many American's do not realize that money is a commodity, that is traded daily (by the minute)....and that the value of the U.S. dollar changes daily....as does all currencies.

Have you seen the prices charged by other providers ? CSA is a true bargain when compared to others.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Germany
Posted: Apr 27, 2013
Overall:
0
Support:
0
Value:
0

Sankalp Volunteer Society India

It's is hard to find the words to describe the overwhelming experience I've had here in India. I stayed with "Sankalp" for almost three months now and it's been a true blessing for me to have been able to work with the children and see the joy in their faces everyday. It has taught me a lot about myself and has opened my mind to different cultures and people. If you ask somebody that has been to India before how they like the country, you rarely hear the answer "so so". It generally is either: "I love it" or "I hate it". I, for my part, can say I love India, the culture, people and everything. But if I had to say what I liked BEST about my overall stay here in India, I would have to say working with the kids every day. Giving them the chance to an education, which they without us most likely wouldn't have, and seeing them smile and laugh everyday has been a real joy for me. Of course everybody's experience is different and wherever you go you'll always face problems. Not everything went as smoothly as I hoped with the organization, but the program itself is absolutely "top" and a MUST for anybody, who wants to experience something out of the ordinary, something MEMORABLE for life!!! I'm heading to Africa next for another 7 months of volunteering, but I miss the kids already and I don't think one day will go by without me smiling about all the memories I've collected here during my stay.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Germany
Posted: Dec 26, 2011
Overall:
8
Support:
7
Value:
10

GeoVisions

My experience in Untershofen, Germany with the Conversation Corps is beyond words. Nestled in the southern Bavarian alps, this small village offered a different side of the rat-race of life. Each morning I would tutor "the Mom" for a couple of hours before she began work for a representative of the European Union. We worked with documents that she would be using in her job so that she could better understand the conversational side of English.

From these documents we made vocabulary lists that she needed to study and understand. I would also assist her 12 & 14 year old children with homework from time to time. "The Dad" spoke wonderful English and had a complete understanding of the language. My job was to assist with conversational skills and understanding.

I could not have asked for a more wonderful family. GeoVisions match for me was marvelous. I had a lovely bedroom, shared a bath and was treated as a valued member of the family. After 2 weeks of tutoring, I had a week off while the family had school holiday. I took that time to travel to Prague, Dresden and Berlin! Then 2 more weeks of tutoring before I traveled back to Georgia.

I encourage anyone interested to explore possibilities with GeoVisions. It was an experience of a lifetime!

Becky R

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Germany
Posted: Dec 16, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

University Studies Abroad Consortium

This program was very disorganized. From the moment I got there, nothing went smoothly. The housing office was slow to respond to questions and concerns, despite the fact that they expected quick responses. They also promised no student would be assigned to a housing arrangement without internet, which was a lie. They also did not place students in accommodations with Germans, in order to practice their German skills. It was also very hard to meet Germans. USAC students are kept separate from Germans and most other international students. We could apply for a language partner, but there was a very long waiting list, and some students did not even get a partner until then end of the semester. Some students were assigned partners that lived in other cities, so it was very hard to find times to meet. The language instructions goes very fast, and it is hard to absorb everything they try to teach you. The town was actually very nice though. It is a medieval town that was not destroyed during World War II.

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Germany
Posted: Jan 31, 2010
Overall:
4
Support:
3
Value:
6
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