Freie Universität Berlin
Arriving in Berlin three months ago, I felt overwhelmed and quite frankly daunted by the prospect of spending a year in a city I had never even visited before. Simply navigating myself from the airport to my accommodation was a monumental task in itself, especially with my severely limited German language skills! Fortunately, my initial trepidation was short-lived, and Berlin has now come to feel like my second home, full of great friends and experiences.
Of course, the main reason I came to Berlin was to study. As part of the Erasmus+ programme, I was given the opportunity to spend my second year studying at Freie Universität Berlin, a well-respected institution that was established during the early Cold War period – a fascinating place for any history student to study at. The international nature of the university meant that the transition was much easier than I expected. It has a fantastic network of international study advisors, who have helped me with academic and personal queries (and thankfully all speak perfect English!). Although the academic routine is somewhat different to the UK, it has allowed me to develop lots of new skills. The flexibility and range of study options has also greatly broadened my history knowledge, and I have already studied topics ranging from environmental history to the history of feminism.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, my time in Berlin hasn’t been all studying. Although I didn’t know anyone in Berlin when I arrived, joining a number of international and social clubs has been a great way to make friends to explore the city with. From 80s nightclubs, flea markets, infamous kebab stalls, and of course museums, my time in Berlin has been varied. I recently read that Berlin has more museums than it does rainy days in a year (and it rains quite a lot), and it’s my aim to visit as many of these museums as possible…
Nicki Smith, currently studying in Berlin