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Study Abroad | Berlin

Germany | Freie Universität Berlin | Spring 2023
Three students in front of a mural in Berlin.
Group standing in front of building.


Spend a semester or academic year in the dynamic and artistic city of Berlin, Germany, with AIFS! Study a variety of academic program options at Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin). A leading research institution, FU Berlin attracts a student enrollment of almost 30,000. The campus is located in a charming, quiet section of the city that is conveniently close to Berlin’s lively downtown area.

What’s Included

The AIFS inclusive program fee includes all of the great features below in addition to many pre-departure, on-site and upon-return services to help students make the most of their time abroad.

Review Our Policies
  • Courses

    Wide variety of courses available; taught in English and German

  • Housing

    Homestay. Additional housing options are available

  • Meals

    Homestay students receive breakfast and dinner daily and a Mensa card to use in subsidized university cafeterias across Berlin

  • Excursions & Day Trips

    Day trips to Potsdam, to Quedlinburg or Dresden, a week-long excursion to a destination in Europe such as Vienna, Prague, Brussels, Strasbourg or Copenhagen (to be determined just prior to the start of the semester) and one overnight trip in Germany or Poland as well as trips in and around Berlin such as the former Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen

  • Cultural & Social Activities

    A wide range of AIFS-organized cultural activities and social events to enrich your experience

  • On-Site Resident Director

    to help with any questions or advice you may need throughout the program

  • Health & Safety

    24/7 emergency support and comprehensive insurance
  • Personal/Professional Development

    Access to the renowned Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment and alumni network
  • Green Initiative

Additional Options & Opportunities

  • AIFS Flight Package

    Round-trip flights from 25 U.S. gateways

    Airport transfers to and from campus

  • Excursions

    Hamburg (3 days)

  • Housing Supplement

    Student apartment including Mensa card allowance for lunches

Program Details: Study Abroad | Berlin Multi Discipline


January 31, 2023May 18, 2023



Application Deadlines

October 1, 2022

Inclusive Fees


Stay for a year to save on cost


Open to Sophomore, Junior, Senior College Students

Minimum of 3.0 GPA

Additional requirements may vary by course selection. See Academic section below.

Visa Requirements

A visa may be required for this program. Please contact your advisor or log into your portal for more information.

Areas of Interest

  • Anthropology
  • Architecture
  • Area Studies
  • Art
  • Art History
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Economics
  • Environmental Studies
  • Film Studies
  • German Language
  • History
  • International Business
  • International Relations
  • Law
  • Natural Resources & Conservation
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Science
  • Sociology
  • Theater Studies

Global Themes

  • Business, Innovation & Social Entrepreneurship
  • Global Peace, International Security & Human Rights
Learn More About Global Themes


AIFS Abroad offers a unique global educational experience for students on this program, with the following academic options available:

Freie Universität Berlin is a comprehensive, degree-granting university with 15 departments and a student enrollment of almost 30,000. As a leading research institution, it receives additional federal funding for its institutional future development strategy. 

  • Anthropology
  • Architecture
  • Area Studies
  • Art
  • Art History
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Economics
  • Environmental Studies
  • Film Studies
  • German Language
  • History
  • International Business
  • International Relations
  • Law
  • Natural Resources & Conservation
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Religious Studies
  • Social Science
  • Sociology
  • Theater Studies

European Studies Program (FU-BEST) 

The European Studies Program at FU Berlin is specifically designed to meet the academic needs of U.S. university students. The program meets the Forum on Education Abroad standards of excellence. 

This program is aimed at students wishing to learn more about the history and culture of Germany within the context of Europe and begin or enhance their German language skills. Courses are available in arts and humanities, business and economics, international relations, music and film, German language and more. Courses are taught mainly in English apart from German language and a few select classes in German and are scheduled Monday through Thursday. 

All students are required to take German language throughout the semester in order to fully immerse themselves in the university and wider Berlin community at all levels. Two program tracks are available: 

Experiential Beginning German is for students with no prior German knowledge who do not plan to major/minor in German. The Experiential Beginning German track is taught for 6 hours per week on Monday and Thursday for up to 4 recommended semester credits. The course includes regular field trips on six additional course days during which students will apply their language learning. 

Intensive German is for German language major/minor students or students who show knowledge of German beyond the absolute Beginner level. Students take two German language courses, typically progressing from one level to the next in a semester. Non-major/minor students can enroll in the Intensive German track at Beginner level if they wish to. The Intensive German track is taught for 3 hours per day Monday through Thursday for up to 8 recommended semester credits. 

If you are not sure which level to select check with your university’s German language teachers. 

Students above the absolute beginner level take an online placement test prior to arrival and have an on-site interview to determine the appropriate language level. Students on both programs then select electives for a recommended 3 credits each. The minimum and regular course load is 4 including German language. Students can also take a fifth course if required and with approval from their home institution. Up to 15 semester credits are available depending on which level of German you take. 

FU Berlin issues ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. The number of class hours and ECTS credits will be shown on the transcript to allow each student’s home institution the ultimate decision in the awarding of U.S. credit. Recommended U.S. semester credits shown in parentheses next to each course on the course description pages are based on 15 classroom hours per semester credit and are not a conversion of ECTS credits. Students should consult with their university advisors prior to participating in the program to have course credit pre-approved and ensure that they are taking the appropriate amount of credits.  

View All Courses For Multi Discipline
Students in front of a Freie Universität Berlin building.

Living Abroad


Living with a homestay family is the best way to immerse yourself in the language and culture of Berlin and many students who choose this option consider it to be the most rewarding aspect of their time abroad.

  • Single room
  • Daily breakfast and dinner
  • Shared bathroom
  • Access to kitchen
  • Bed linens and towels provided
  • Laundry

Optional Student Apartment

Apartments are located in a residential neighborhood and students should expect to travel on public transport to get to campus and downtown.

  • Single or double room
  • Shared kitchen and bathroom
  • Bed linens provided
  • Laundry facilities on-site


All students receive a Mensa card to use in subsidized university cafeterias across Berlin. For apartment students this is pre-loaded with a meal allowance for lunches.

Internet access is included in all AIFS housing in Berlin.


Public transportation makes it easy to get around Berlin, as it is well integrated, cheap, and efficient to use. Your daily commute will most likely be via the metro (U-Bahn), local train (S-Bahn), bus and/or on foot, so make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes.


Berlin has been at the heart not just of European politics and culture but also world affairs for several centuries. As a city reunified in 1989 it combines a tremendous variety of experiences from fine historical buildings to cutting edge modernism, to modern shopping in traditional markets.

AIFS in Berlin Resident Director, Academic Year and Semester Programs

Nele Thomsen headshot.

Guten Tag und Herzlich Willkommen. I would like to extend a warm welcome! Originally from Hamburg, I studied in Berlin and Potsdam and spent time abroad in England and Spain. Berlin has been my home for 20 years now. I love it and am sure you will too! Whatever your interest, Berlin offers a niche for everyone, from the clubber to the historian, from opera to street art. On your program you will glimpse historic German towns, sample local specialties and experience Berlin like a native. It will be my pleasure to help you during your time abroad.

The Resident Director provides academic advice, introduces you to the community and handles communication with the University.

In addition to excursions a cultural calendar of weekly activities and social events is included in your program fee. These activities will include both typical tourist sites and attractions and lesser known visits which take advantage of the expert knowledge of our local AIFS staff and give you a more authentic and insightful view of Berlin life. Typical activities, tours and visits include:

  • Berlin city tour
  • Boat trip
  • German cooking class
  • Visit to the outdoor museum “Topography of Terror”
  • Visits to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Museum Island in Berlin
  • Walking tours with various themes: Queer Berlin or Black History Berlin
  • Explore Berlin and its cuisine with group dinners at a variety of restaurants
  • Visit to the Reichstag, the German Parliament
  • Get creative during a graffiti workshop and tour and take your own piece of art home
  • Picnics and social events

Students also receive a Museum Pass which grants entrance to the collections of the State Museums Berlin.

As part of the FU-BEST academic program you are invited to participate in three visits to important historic sites. These take place on Friday. Participation in one of these visits is a mandatory part of the program:

  • The Chancellor’s Office (Bundeskanzleramt)
  • The site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Sachsenhausen
  • The former prison complex in Berlin – Hohenschönhausen of East Germany’s state security police (Stasi)

You may be asked to pay a small supplementary fee for some events.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the local community, learn new skills and build your confidence. More information on volunteer opportunities in Berlin will be available to you on-site.

Mandatory Trip

A one week trip that includes round-trip transportation, accommodations, daily breakfast, entrance fees, and professional guided tours with representative from Freie Universität Berlin.  

Students have a choice of two excursions, each of which travels to two European cities. See below. * More detailed information will be posted when available. 

Colorful buildings on a waterfront in Copenhagen.

Hamburg and Copenhagen

Harbor cities with modern architecture. Side trips include Bremen and Kronborg.
  • Germany/Denmark
  • Fall 2022
  • Included in Program Fee
Large buildings in the heart of Prague, Czech Republic.

Nuremberg and Prague

Medieval town centers with historical insight. City tours and trips to surrounding towns.
  • Germany/Czech Republic
  • Fall 2022, Spring 2023
  • Included in Program Fee
A rainbow over Brussels, Belgium.

Cologne and Brussels

Medieval churches, and day trips to Bonn and other surrounding towns.
  • Germany/Belgium
  • Fall 2022
  • Included in Program Fee
An aerial view of Munich, Germany.

Munich and Vienna

Visit to the Neuschwanstein Palace and Hofbur. Museum visits and walking tours.
  • Germany/Austria
  • Spring 2023
  • Included in Program Fee
Strasbourg, France.

Cologne and Strasbourg

Museum visits and walking tours. Side trips to surrounding towns.
  • Germany/France
  • Spring 2023
  • Included in Program Fee


This program offers a range of day trips and excursions that will take you outside Berlin and deepen your social, historical and cultural understanding of Germany. Previous excursions have included:

An aerial view of Potsdam, Germany.


Guided tour. Includes round-trip transportation and entrance fees. 

  • Germany
  • Germany
  • Included in Program Fee
A building in Dresden, Germany.

Dresden (Fall Only)

Visit famous sites including the Semperoper opera house and the reconstructed Frauenkirche church. Experience the Striezelmarkt Christmas Markets. Includes round-trip transportation and museum entrance fees. 

  • Germany
  • Day Trip
  • Included in Program Fee
A castle in Quedlinburg, Germany.

Quedlinburg (Spring Only)

Guided walking tour with free time to explore. Includes round-trip transportation, accommodations and castle/cathedral entrance fees.

  • Germany
  • Day Trip
  • Included in Program Fee
A beach at the Baltic Sea.

Baltic Sea (Fall Only)

Sightseeing and walking tours around Stralsund and Rügen. Includes round-trip transportation, accommodations, daily breakfast and entrance to the Oceanographic Museum. 

  • Germany
  • 2 Days
  • Included in Program Fee
Stettin, Poland.

Stettin (Spring Only)

Take a guided walking tour, visit the World War II underground bunker system, and spend free time exploring. Includes round-trip transportation, accommodations and daily breakfast. 

  • Poland
  • 2 Days
  • Included in Program Fee
A river with a bridge in Hamburg, Germany.


Take a guided boat tour and spend free time exploring. Includes round-trip transportation, accommodations, daily breakfast and museum entrance fee. 

  • Germany
  • 3 Days
  • $225
A group of happy students at a carnival.
A view of Prague.

Social identity & access

One of the best things you can do before departure is enter into the journey knowing that your time abroad will be unique to this experience. The resources, community, and support available to you when abroad will likely be different as well. In order to help you prepare for your experience, we have compiled many resources about social identity and access in specific locations abroad. Your program staff will also provide you with more details pre-departure and during orientation.

Learn more

Important Dates & Deadlines

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Dates & Deadlines


  • Early Application Deadline*
  • Application Deadline
    October 1, 2022
  • Deposit Deadline
    November 1, 2022
  • Scholarship Deadline
    October 1, 2022
  • Optional Departure Flight from US***
    January 29, 2023
  • Program Begins
    January 31, 2023
  • Program Ends
    May 18, 2023
  • Optional Return Flight to US***
    May 19, 2023
  • *** Included for students on AIFS flight package.

See what others are saying

Two students walking in a field.

Ready to Study Abroad in Berlin?

For more dates or questions, contact your program consultant:
(203) 399-5163 or email: