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GERMANY - Freie University of Berlin European Studies Program

If you want to get a sense of the reunified Germany and the challenges of the post-Cold War era in a fast-changing Europe, there is really almost no better place to come to than Berlin. Located in the heart of Europe, this metropolis with some 3.4 million inhabitants will offer you unrivaled educational, intellectual, cultural, and recreational opportunities. Either through the program or on your own, you will be able to become acquainted with many parts of Germany and Europe. What is more, Berlin’s rich museum landscape, its monuments and memorials, its concert halls and opera houses, its stage and movie theaters, its pubs and clubs, and its range of recreational offerings will all be at your disposal.

The program will enable you to enroll in stimulating courses taught by expert faculty. You will find yourself making solid progress in your German language skills, from elementary through advanced, by way of mandatory participation in intensive language training. Group-based or individualized local field-trips will be linked to many of the courses.

Freie Universität Berlin, a German leader in international education, will be your host. You will have full access to its facilities and will have the opportunity to get to know and interact with its students. The university is located in a charming, quiet section of the city, yet within easy reach of the city’s downtown areas. You will have the option of living with a host-family or in a single-occupancy, fully furnished studio apartment.

We look forward to welcoming you to Berlin!


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. (Transfer students may participate after the first semester on campus).  
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 preferred. Lower GPAs may be considered with strong references.


  • A dynamic, multicultural, Central European metropolis with 3.4 million inhabitants
  • A rich and dramatic past, spanning many centuries and the ups and downs of German history
  • A spectacular diversity of cultural offerings, featuring countless museums and world-renowned orchestras, opera houses, and theaters
  • Ample recreational opportunity in parks, forests, and at the area’s many lakes
  • A first-class public transportation network, plus convenient access to various destinations in Germany and throughout (Central) Europe
  • A vibrant night-life, producing a “city that never sleeps”

To learn more about the visa process for this country, please visit the Embassy of Germany Website


Freie Universität Berlin is one of Germany’s premier institutions of higher education, founded in 1948, with an enrollment of circa 32,000 students. It has a strong international profile, featuring leadership in international education, a large percentage of foreign students, and numerous partnerships with foreign universities (especially in the U.S.).

Freie Universität Berlin is ranked nationally and internationally among the top research universities in Germany. In 2007, after an intense, nation-wide competition, Freie Universität Berlin became one of nine German universities to be awarded an Elite status by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Mandatory enrollment in the German language, offered at all levels, during the Fall and Spring semesters (6-8 credit hours for intensive instruction at all levels and 3-4 credit hours for non-intensive instruction at the beginner level). The FU-BEST program does not require knowledge of German prior to enrollment.

A menu of non-language courses (3 credit hours) taught mostly in English by expert faculty, are available, covering such topics and disciplines as cultural studies, art history, comparative literature, the European Union, German history, German and European politics, sociology/psychology, film studies, legal studies, architecture, environmental studies, transatlantic relations, business, music history, and philosophy.  Many courses offer local field trips.

During the course of each semester, there is a field trip that goes to different significant cities. This travel program changes each term.

Per letter from FUBEST, 30 workload hours goes into each ECTS credit.

To earn 4 Lake Forest credits, students must take 22.5 ECTS.

To earn 3 Lake Forest credits, students must take 17 ECTS.

The number of credits listed here is estimated, and GEO will work with you, your advisor, and the registrar to ensure you are earning enough credits to keep you on track for graduation.

  Internship Opportunities

FU-BEST partners with Cultural Vistas gGmbH, an American organization which arranges internships for foreign students in Germany, to facilitate internship opportunities in Berlin for German-speaking FU-BEST students enrolled in the Spring semester. The internship allows students to enrich their academic experience in Berlin by immersing themselves in a German workplace and gaining valuable intercultural experience along with skills for their careers.

Internships last approximately 8 weeks after the end of the semester (May-June) and are full-time (between 30-40 hours per week). Online applications must be submitted by early February. Applicants need to have language abilities at the Intermediate 3 (B3) level or above by the time the internship commences, be enrolled at their home universities/college before, during and after their internship, and have completed at least two semesters of university/college level studies at their home university/college.

Internships are sought with organizations and companies that match each student’s professional and academic background, previous work experience, and career goals. Each internship placement is arranged on an individual basis by Cultural Vistas for an administrative fee which also covers on-site advising, an orientation seminar and material, and quality monitoring of the internships. FU-BEST advises and, where possible, assists participants with regard to their housing during the internship period.

For more information, please click here.

Student Life

The FU-BEST program features an elaborate set of learning support and cultural experience activities. Some of these are required, others are optional.

Each semester, all students not only participate in a week-long off-site excursion, but are also invited to visit three important historic sites in and around Berlin on selected Fridays: the Chancellor’s Office (Bundeskanzleramt), the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, and/or the former prison complex in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen of East Germany’s state security police (Stasi). Participation in at least one such Friday trip is an integral part of the overall academic program and a prerequisite to receiving full participation credit in all of a student’s subject courses.

In order to enhance participants’ German language ability and their interaction with German society, the program not only recommends the selection of a homestay as far as housing is concerned, but also offers the option of a one-on-one “FU Buddy” (see flyer posted on this page), frequent Stammtisch gatherings (see flyer posted on this page), and participation in the events organized by Freie Universität Berlin’s International Club.

In addition, all participants are invited to select two events from a concert, opera, and soccer program, with the tickets made available through the program, in addition to numerous suggestions made by the program staff regarding other cultural opportunities in the city. Program participants also receive a pass for use in all museums associated with the Foundation for State Museums in Berlin (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin).

Housing and Meals

The FU-BEST program offers two housing options:

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for the FU-BEST program includes orientation, on-site director, most college and library fees, housing, several excursions, a museum pass, a monthly transportation pass, certain social events, and insurance.  Meals are only included in the homestay option.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost for Southern Hemisphere programs, as that starts a new academic year.


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2019. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Deposits to other programs, if required, are paid by the student to the host program, and will appear as a credit on your study abroad term bill from the College.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office