Antonia - Humboldt University of Berlin

B. International Relations
Semester 1, 2015

Academic experience

At Humboldt, I was able to study in their 'Berlin Perspectives' program. This is aimed at international students who are not confident in their German language skills. I also took classes with the language school and philosophy faculty. Although the semester ends after 12-13 weeks, I am still able to submit my final essays months later. The different time frame with essays and the contact with teaching staff is very different from UQ and resulted in a lot more self-directed learning.

Personal experience

Berlin is blessed with great connections by low-cost carriers that fly around Europe. I took the opportunity to travel to some different locations such as Turkey, Iceland, Bulgaria and Morocco for incredibly cheap fares. These carriers also fly to Western Europe destinations for a steal. I was able to be in London for ANZAC day, spend the weekend in Italy and enjoy the sun in the Greek Islands. With all the international students keen to meet new people and experience new cultures, I made some wonderful friends that I hope to keep in contact with. Berlin is full of expats so my German did not improve a great deal as everyone spoke English or was eager to improve their English.


I chose to live off campus, the HU campus is about an hour commute and the living costs are about the same to live closer to uni and the city. I enjoyed the convenience that was around, bakeries and grocery stores are prevalent and open until 10 pm. I lived in Friedrichshain where there is an endless supply of restaurants or its a short trip to the next Kreuzberg also filled with cheap eats. Many of my friends used house share agencies to get accommodation, it may be a touch more expensive but given the short period of time we are there, it was okay. It's best to find a place in a suburb you like asap and not waste too much time and energy stressing about finding the perfect home.

Professional development and employability

Studying abroad allowed me to learn and adapt to different systems and structures. I believe this is a valuable skill as it shows employers I can handle change and achieve results. 
The different academic structure helped me develop as a student, I now know what my comfort zone is and how to extend beyond it as the need arises. It also taught me how to access assistance when it is not right in front of me.


Hot air balloons in Turkey
Hot air balloons in Turkey

Hot air ballooning in Turkey was the highlight of my experience. The area surrounding Cappadocia where the balloons lift from was like nothing I had seen before, it was amazing. Visiting Turkey, in general, was a highlight as well, the country has a long history and its reflected in its people and sites.

Top tips

Find a country you are interested in and just go. 
Choosing a country you would not want to travel around by yourself is a great option as you are in an environment where others will want to join you on adventures and you have local contacts on the ground. 
Also plan ahead as much as possible, if you want to travel around the earlier you book the better.

Antonia - Humboldt University of Berlin