PREPARATION. Germany Berlin - Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. level bachelor s master s PhD. exchange application process

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1 Report 1 faculty/college Humanities level bachelor s master s PhD name study programme Bachelor History exchange application process PREPARATION For me the application process was a bit more difficult than normal. I really wanted to go to Berlin, but because I knew it was a popular destination I applied to both universities in Berlin. I did not get in with the Freie Universität and my application for the Humboldt University got already rejected by Utrecht University, because they did not have a specific contract with the history department, only with the musicology department. I heard from the contact person of the international office of humanities that no one applied from the musicology department. She also advised me to search for another place to study abroad. Because I really wanted to go to Berlin I got directly in contact with a person from the Humboldt University and asked if they wanted to change the place from the musicology student to one for a history student. I got accepted then. counselling & support at Utrecht University Utrecht University offers good information and most of it is also good explained on the website. If you have questions you can always send an to or call with a contact person from an international office of Utrecht University. Independency is expected from the students though, the service is there, but you have to ask for it yourself. The most difficult part is understanding how everything works at the university abroad. Utrecht University can not help you so much in that part, because they also often do not know how it works at the universities abroad. You are really on your own there and have to find out how everything works by yourself. At the Humboldt University they luckily had a guide for international students, which helped me a lot. The hardest part was choosing courses, as the description of the courses was all in German and I could not speak German very well before my stay abroad. academic preparation Before I went I knew most of the courses would be in German, so I would had to learn at least a bit of German before I went. From other students, who went to Berlin, I heard the academic level was quite the same as in the Netherlands. I did not do much and do not know if there was something to do about academic preparation. language preparation In the semester before my stay abroad I took part in a language course from the Bachelor German of Utrecht University. The level of this course was B2. Before the semester started I took part in an intensive German course at the Humboldt University. The teacher of the class was very nice and he lived his whole life in Berlin so he could tell us a lot about the city. Besides that it was a nice way to already meet some people and it was interesting to be in a class with so many different nationalities and compare cultures together. finances I applied for an Erasmus+ grant and I received it, that was around 210 euro's a month. Because I had already studied for three years and made use of the student financiation from DUO I had to borrow money from DUO instead. Because I did not make use of the student card for public transport in the Netherlands, I got 100 euro's a month for public transport in Berlin. Besides that my parents supported me a bit. Before I went to Berlin I calculated that I had between 900 and 1000 euro's a month to spend. This is also the average amound I had spend every month, when I look back at it now.

2 study programme (content and organisational issues) STUDY ABROAD PERIOD I think that most courses I took were on a good academic level, if I compare them to my programm in the Netherlands. The teachers and professors were very skilled. I took part in a German course, which helped me to work on the basis of my German and to better understand the lectures and seminars. The lectures and seminars, that were in German, were pretty hard to understand. I discovered it was a whole difference to understand and speak German in everyday life than to to that on an academic level. I think I missed a part of the lectures and seminars because of the language barriere, but it was an interesting and challenging experience. Humboldt University offers a wide range of courses in the history field. What I thought was very interesting is that they offer a lot of specialised courses. I took part in a course about the Russian Revolution. Because it was a relatively specialised course we could discuss different sides of it, which gave a more complete view on things. Another course I took part in was one about the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the DDR. Part of this course was an exchange with students from Sint Petersburg. I think it is amazing that Humboldt University offers and stimulates this kind of contacts. I had a very good time in Sint Petersburg and learned a lot there about the history, but also about present Russia from the contact with the Russian students. Besides the history programm I could also choose courses from a programm that was offered especially for international students, Berlin Perspectives. I am not that enthousiastic about the course that I took there, because I think the level of the course was not so high, compared to the other courses, and also the subject was not really in my interest afterwards. I think the contact with the teachers and professors was very good and accesible. I was told that if your home university requires grades and/ or more ECTS than the course offers, you could go to the teacher or professor and ask for what you could do to receive this. You could for example take part in an written or oral exam or write an essay. Compared to Utrecht University some organisational issues of the Humboldt University were not that good. For example the course guide was not clear in the beginning. Everything was in German, which made it difficult to understand a guide that I had never worked with before. It was also not clear to me which courses I was allowed to take. Also at Humboldt University it is normal to subscribe to a lot of courses that you think are interesting and after you have been to the first course, you decide if you want to take it or not. This was not explained well to me before I started the semester and I only discovered this because I heard it from other students. On one hand this makes the semester in the beginning a bit chaotic, but on the other hands it offers students the opportunity to find out if they are really interested in the courses they choose. academic quality of education activities I think I discussed most of this in the column above. The only thing I want to say is that I am critical about the guidance in the exams at the end of the period. Because I followed the Erasmus+ programm I was required to receive grades at the end of the period. For most of the courses I received ECTS, but without grades. To receive grades I had to write an essay for almost every course. I did not get any guidance in this from the teachers or professors. From Utrecht University I am used to get feedback on my essayproposals and after the essay is finished, so I actually learn something while I am writing it. The teachers at Humboldt University did not offer this. I also did not get any rules for annotation or writing style. For me it feld a bit useless to write this essays then. counselling & support at receiving university abroad I did not make a lot of use of counselling and support from the Humboldt University. The times I did came in contact with people who worked there, they were always very friendly and helpful. You can always send an if you have questions.

3 transfer of credits I can not say something about this subject yet, because I did not receive all my grades back and therefore they have not been transferred. welcome & orientation programme STUDENT LIFE The Humboldt University offers a very nice programme for international students. If you want you can take part in some events every week. I took part in some orientation days and trips in the beginning of the semester, they were nice and useful, also because you got to meet a lot of other international students who were in the same situation. I was already in Berlin before the semester started and knew some people who were studying there as well, so I did not make a lot of use of the programme that was offered for international students. I could definitely recommend to go to this events though, because I heard from people and also experienced it myself a bit that it is a very nice and easy way to meet people. accommodation Accomodation in Berlin is a problem I would say. I did not make use of the accomodation facilities that were offered by the Humboldt University, so I can not say something about that. I wanted to live in the centre and preferably with German students, to improve my German. In the first week that I arrived in Berlin I already found out that it was very hard to find a room, because there were so many people looking for a room, students as well as non-students. I think that because the demand was so big there are quite some landlords who make misuse of this, by for example asking more money for a place than it's worth. If you did not have this problem then there could be the problem of not getting chosen by the people who already live in the place where you want to live as well. I lived in four different places during the one semester that I was in Berlin and fortunately three of them were very nice. If you are looking for a place in Berlin you have to be prepared that it will take a lot of time to find something, but it is not impossible. leisure & culture Berlin is a city that has a very large offer of leisure and culture. It has such a rich history and therefore there are a lot of nice museums and cultural sites to visit, I will give some suggestions below. Furthermore you have a lot of other nice things like open air cinema's and festivals. I was in Berlin in the summer semester, so as the months passed, more things opened. For example a lot of clubs in Berlin have very big and nice gardens and they all open in spring and summer. The clubs and bars of Berlin are amazing, there are so many of both, that there is something for everyone, for example jazz, electronic, hiphop and mainstream. Around Berlin there are a lot of nice lakes, which are good sites to visit when the weather is good. Berlin is a very international city, you can see that for example in the many different kitchens Berlin has to offer. You can find so many different and good restaurants, which are also very good affordable if you are used to Dutch prices. You also see it in the people that you meet. I met so many people form different nationalities and this was a very nice and enriching experience. suggestions/tips In this part I will give suggestions that specially stood out for me and are not the most common ones that you will find in the guides. I do recommend to see most of the touristic spots of Berlin as well ofcourse, for example Reichstag, Holocaust monument, an old part of the wall and so on. Museums/ cultural sites: guided tour in the building of the closed airport of Tempelhofer Feld, visit to the old Stasi prison in Hohenschönhausen, visit to the spy station on Teufelsberg that was used by the Americans during the cold war, the modern museum Hamburger Bahnhof. Bars: Klunkerkranich, Mano café, Sameheads, Möbel Olfe and Roses (gaybars), Monarch. Clubs: Sisyphos, Salon zur Wilden Renate, About Blank, Berghain, Keller, Griesmuehle, KitKatClub, Schwuz.

4 CONCLUSIONS would you recommend this university/destination abroad to others? please explain I would definitely recommend the Humboldt University and Berlin to others. The courses at Humboldt University are very interesting. Because Berlin has such a big offer of leisure and culture it makes is difficult to focus on your study sometimes, but if you have a bit of discipline you will manage to have a good balance between studying and leisure. Berlin and the people who live there are very interesting and inspiring and it was an amazing and enriching experience to live there for a while. do you have any additional advice or comments? Report 1 exchange/placement application process preparation The application process was a bit difficult, I had to prepare a lot of things, but it wasn't all quite clear what I had to do exactly. Nevertheless, I want to say that you shouldn't be afraid of a long and difficult application process, because in the end it is totallt worth it. counselling/support at home university The international office was my support at Utrecht University. They helped really well with my learning agreement, but for most forms and letters (for example for 'Immatrikulation', languages course, housing, etc.) I needed the host university. academic preparation My German had to be good enough if I wanted to study in Berlin. I haven't, however, took a langue course in Utrecht, because it was possible to do that in Berlin, one month before the semester began. language preparation I took a langue intensive course at the Humboldt. The duration was the one month before the start of the semester, every day 4,5 hours. I really helped me learning the langue better, and it was real fun to do. I have met there other international students that are now very good friends of mine. finances I got an Erasmus grant. I also could get a compensasion from the Dutch government for not using my Dutch public transport ticket. Furthermore, my room rent in Berlin was much less than in Holland, so it wasn't really expensive to study abroad! study/placement abroad period study programme/work plan (concerning content and organisational issues) The study program in Berlin is not at all like my study program in Utrecht. So I really needed to get used to this new manner of teaching, etc. For example, you can get credits here for a subject, but never sitting exams. And often you can choose for which subject you want to sit exams, and for which not. Once all the organisational issues had become clear to me, it was very easy to deal with. And my subjects here were really interesting!

5 I most liked my courses on Harmony, Counterpoint and ear training. academic quality of education/placement activities Like I said, most of the courses I took were really interesting. The courses were much more detailed than in Utrecht, and the offer was much bigger. I could also choose a lot more subjects than in Utrecht. The teachers of my courses were really good. counselling/support at host institution/organisation Some of the support I got in Berlin was from the from the Humboldt University, and some of the information was provided by a special international person at Musicology. The support from the international office was really good, but the help from this international person at musicology not really. transfer of credits I could transfer all of my credits quite easily, not only from the Musicology courses, but also from the language intensive course. welcome/orientation programme student life There were quite al lot of welcome programs and a specials international club that organised something cool every 3 weeks. However, I already made friends, so I never went to this international club. The orientation program was really good, but everything was so different at Humboldt University that not everything was clear the first time they told it ;) When I needed help, however, there were always friendly people who were willing to tell everything once again. accommodation I got my accomodation quite easily. There was a possibility to tell the host university that I needed a room in Berlin, and then they found me one. It was a very little apartment in a big student flat. It was actually better than my room in Urecht (in Berlin I had my own kitchen and bathroom!) and the rent was much less. Only disadvantage was that it took 45 minutes to get to the university (with public transport, no one cycles here). But I had a public transport ticket for the whole semester and all my friends neither lived close to the university, so that wasn't really a problem. It's actually surprising how quick you get used to travelling every morning, and the underground can be quite cosy. ;) leisure/culture I really enjoyed my time in Berlin. It was really good to meet so much new people, and now I got friends from all over the world! I also joined the choir of Humboldt University, that was real fun. I liked all the cultural possibilities in Berlin; museums and concerts (both classical and pop) are really cool here and quite cheap. I always went dancing and drinking cocktails with friends at the weekend, Berlin's got many trendy bars and clubs. At the university they also offer student sports, so I took every week dancing lessons (modern dance), for only 15 euro for the whole semester! suggestions/tips I can really recommend the Humboldt Choir (Humboldts Philharmonischer Chor), you have however to do a very difficult audition. Furthermore the student sports (Hochschulsport) is really good and you can choose practically every sport you would like to try. For the study program I recommend to go in the first couple of weeks to much more courses than you are planning to actually attend, later you can choose which ones you liked the most, and then you're just only going there. conclusions

6 would you recommend this host organisation/destination to others? please explain I wouldt definitely recommend the Humboldt University and Berlin in general. The courses were really interesting and I learned a lot. The whole experience of studying abroad was wonderful. Furthermore Berlin is a great city, it has a great cultural life, the people are very nice and at least I think that the language is quite beautiful. The student life here isn't very expensive and there are incredibly many cool things to do. do you have any additional advice or comments? Just go and study abroad! It is a wonderful experience, and I personally love the city with its people that much, that I think I might even get a permanent job here when I finished my bachelor.

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