Freie Universität Berlin - Semester or Year Abroad


GlobaLinks Learning Abroad offers summer programs in Germany through our partner International Studies Abroad.

Please click here to apply or learn more about the programs in Germany and all other study abroad program options.

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, formerly known as EuroLearn, has designed this program in Berlin with your individual student goals in mind. It is built around a unique Discovery Model which is delivered by some of the best staff in study abroad, both in the U.S. and overseas, in order to provide you with an individualized experience through discovery in 5 key areas: personal, academic, cultural, social, and career. Learn more about the Discovery Model.


Quick Links

General information applicable to all Semester and Year Abroad Programs:

Use the left-hand navigation for information specific to this program.

FU-BEST, the Berlin European Studies Program of the Freie Universität, offers students the opportunity to develop German language skills through intensive classes, enroll in non-language academic courses in both English and German, and fully immerse themselves in dynamic and multicultural Berlin.

Located in the heart of Europe, the metropolis of Berlin, with some 3.4 million inhabitants, offers students unrivaled educational, intellectual, cultural, and recreational opportunities. Either through the program or on their own, students will be able to become acquainted with many parts of Germany and Europe.

The program will enable students to enroll for one semester or academic year in stimulating courses taught by expert faculty. Students will find themselves making solid progress in their German language skills, from elementary through advanced. All students are enrolled in a minimum of 3-4 credits of German language learning.

A variety of non-language courses are taught in English or German by local faculty and include such topics as cultural studies, art history, literature, the European Union, German history, German and European politics, architecture, film studies, music history, management, marketing and philosophy. Local academic field trips are an integral part of many of the courses.

The majority of students will be study abroad or exchange students from North America. Additional opportunities for contact with German students and German society in general are made available during the semester.


Check out this video about the FU-BEST program:



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Berlin is a dynamic, multicultural, Central European metropolis with 3.4 million inhabitants. The city boasts a rich and dramatic past, spanning many centuries and the ups and downs of German history. Students enjoy a spectacular diversity of cultural offerings, featuring countless museums and world-renowned orchestras, opera houses, and theaters, in addition to ample recreational opportunities in parks, forests, and at the area’s many lakes. Berlin features a first-class public transportation network, plus convenient access to various destinations in Germany and throughout (Central) Europe.

The site of the FU-BEST Program is a large villa in the Freie Universität campus area, a gift from the American people to Germany during the Cold War years. It contains offices, classrooms, a kitchen, a lounge area, and a study/laptop-workspace area for program participants. The building features wireless internet access as well as a small computer lab. It is located close to other FU facilities, and offers easy access to public transportation. Students will have full access to its facilities and the opportunity to get to know and interact with its students. The university is located in a charming, southwest, quiet section of the city, yet within easy reach of the city's downtown areas.



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Academic Highlights

The Freie Universität

FU-BEST is offered by the Freie Universität Berlin, one of Germany’s premier institutions of higher education. Founded in 1948, it has an enrollment of circa 32,000 students. In 2007, after an intense, nation-wide competition organized by the German federal government and the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Freie Universität Berlin became one of only nine German universities to be awarded the status and predicate as “institution of excellence.” The FU is characterized by a strong international profile, featuring leadership in international education, a large percentage of foreign students, and numerous partnerships with foreign universities. The university is located in Berlin’s charming southwestern sector, yet with easy access to the city’s center.


FU-BEST Program

FU-BEST content courses resemble U.S.-style semester courses in terms of contact hours, workload, and design. Students will take 4-5 courses including 2 intensive language courses or 1 beginning language course for non-German majors/minors. Students can expect to take 12-17 U.S. semester credits per semester.


German Language Classes

Although the FU-BEST program does not have a German language prerequisite, each participant in the program is required to enroll in German on-site. Those who are German language majors/minors at their home universities (or intend to major/minor in German back home) must enroll in the double-course (6 - 8 U.S. semester credits) German language program, which involves 12 hours per week (Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. until noon) for 12 weeks. These students will normally complete 2 levels of German language training in the course of the semester.

In addition to the double-course intensive track, the FU-BEST program also offers a single-course (3 - 4 U.S. semester credits) track of “Experiential Beginning German” for Non-Majors/Non-Minors without any prior knowledge of German only, comprising 6 hours of instruction per week and a local field-trip featuring applied language learning every other week. Non-majors/non-minors may, however, also sign up for the double-course intensive track instead, if they wish.

English-taught Classes

A variety of non-language courses (all worth 3 U.S. semester credits) are taught in English or German by local faculty and include such topics as:


  • Cultural Studies
  • Art History
  • Literature
  • The European Union
  • German History
  • German & European politics
  • Architecture
  • Film Studies
  • Music History
  • Management               
  • Marketing
  • Philosophy


FU-BEST also offers at least one German-taught subject class per semester for students with language skills at the Upper Intermediate level or above.

Local academic field trips are an integral part of many of the courses. To view the full list of available classes please click HERE.


Extended Classroom

FU-BEST employs the concept of the "extended classroom" to tie the academic work carried out in the FU-BEST building to the tremendous variety of historical, political, cultural, and societal sources and opportunities available in contemporary Berlin. Many content courses feature field-trips and assignments that take advantage of these sources and opportunities.

The "extended classroom" concept is also tied to the fact that FU-BEST content courses meet for 2.5 hours per week. Consequently, all students are required to complete 2 small "independent projects" encompassing 1-2 page reports on specific sites in the city (such as museums, memorial sites, etc.), as assigned by each course's teacher. The German language sections also feature regular field-trips in the city, in each case led by the teacher.


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Students will have the option of living with a host-family or in a single-occupancy, fully furnished studio apartment. 


Most students who wish to enhance their German proficiency select a homestay as their housing option. Living with a local family in a single room and eating breakfast and dinner with them can add immeasurably to the experience. Homestays are typically located about a 30 minutes from campus by bus or metro. More than apartment housing, a homestay almost guarantees linguistic and social immersion, providing students with unrivaled opportunities at improving their language and intercultural skills. Homestays provide the comforting presence of a family in the inevitable moments of homesickness without taking away from the independence and mobility that university students typically experience when living in dorms at their home universities.



The apartments utilized by the FU-BEST program are located about 30 minutes by bus and metro from where classes are held. This is not at all unusual, since German (and more generally, European) universities tend to be commuter-student institutions. The apartments are single-occupancy, each one with its own bathroom and fully equipped kitchen.



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University Services

At Freie Universität Berlin, GlobaLinks Learning Abroad students will have access to a number of services. They will receive discounted rates at campus dining halls and restaurants which serve a wide selection of inexpensive foods including salads, antipasti, bagels, cakes, rolls, fast-food style meals, and nutritious vegan/vegetarian and organic options.

FU-BEST students will be able to use the vast resources in all libraries of Freie Universität, some of them leading research institutions in their academic field in Germany and/or Europe.

The Freie Universität Berlin on-campus computing facilities are also available to students, providing free internet access as well as access to on-campus printing facilities.

Students will also have access to both the Counseling Center and the Disabled Student Services. The Counseling Center offers counseling and practical support in German and English to help students overcome personal problems in times of crisis and during exams. The Disabled Student Services offers special support, counseling, and practical help for disabled and chronically ill students.

Last, but not least, Freie Universität Berlin’s student IDs serve as public transportation passes for FU-BEST participants during their semester(s).

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Bridging Cultures Program

The GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program is our signature orientation program for all semester and year abroad students. The cost for this multi-day program is included in your program fees and covers several nights accommodation, most meals, local transportation, and excursions.

Typically 4-6 days in length, each orientation program includes:

Exciting excursions and activities

A chance to meet other students

Orientation sessions to help you adapt to your new country

Orientation sites vary based on the location of your program. Each site is selected based on the proximity to your host university as well as for the unique activities available within the area. Read more about the Bridging Cultures Program>

FU-BEST Orientation

In addition to the GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program, all students will participate in a university specific orientation. All international students at FU-BEST receive an extensive orientation at the start of each semester to ensure that each student is integrated into academic, cultural, and social life at FU-BEST and Berlin. The orientation includes informational sessions, important academic advice, registration guidance, social events and tours of the campus and the surrounding area.



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Scholarships Available

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad strives to offer the most reasonable abroad fees to Europe.  To further enhance the affordability of the semester/year study abroad programs, we encourage you to apply for scholarships through all available scholarship sources.  Learn more about our scholarship opportunities.

Get Involved Abroad

Extracurricular Activities

As a GlobaLinks Learning Abroad participant, you will be directly enrolled as a student in the university abroad. This allows you to take advantage of every opportunity to be culturally integrated in the campus environment and culture by participating in university activities with resident students.


Buddy Program

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 “buddy.” This is an opportunity for GlobaLinks Learning Abroad students to meet a German student each week to practice their respective languages, explore cultural differences, and to discover the best places and ways to socialize with German students. 


Social and Cultural Events

The FU-BEST program offers frequent Stammtisch gatherings (get-togethers) to help students explore new areas of the city. In addition, students are encouraged to participate in a variety of social and cultural events organized by the Freie Universität's International Club


Freie Universität offers a broad assortment of intramural sports activities for which GlobaLinks students would be eligible to register. However, keep in mind that the U.S.-style semester schedule used by FU-BEST does not mesh with the standard German semester calendar as used by the FU so sport options will be varied. The university does not have the kind of exercise/recreational sports facility common to most U.S. colleges and universities. 

Interested FU-BEST participants are directed to the possibility of signing up for monthly membership at a local chain of gyms at their own expense of approximately 20 Euros per month. There are also a number of public swimming pools in the city, both indoor and open-air. Runners will enjoy Berlin’s many parks and the forests located on its outskirts.

Community Involvement

Getting involved abroad can enable you to meet local students, make a meaningful connection with your campus and community, and enhance your study abroad experience. Your coordinator will connect you with local resources if you wish to volunteer for community projects through your host university. It is important for you to find the right combination of academic, cultural, and leisure activities in order to take full advantage of international learning and cultural immersion.


All students are encouraged to participate in volunteer activities at or near their campus, where permitted under host-country immigration regulations. Service learning is an integral piece of a well-rounded education, and we support students’ efforts to integrate into the local culture through volunteer activities. Students are provided with information on volunteer opportunities on campus or within the community during the orientation and preparation process. 


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Special Programs and Excursions


Bridging Cultures Program

The GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Bridging Cultures Program is our signature orientation program for all semester and year abroad students. The cost for this multi-day program is included in your program fees and covers several nights accommodation, most meals, local transportation, and excursions.

Typically 4-6 days in length, each orientation program includes:

Exciting excursions and activities

A chance to meet other students

Orientation sessions to help you adapt to your new country

Orientation sites vary based on the location of your program. Each site is selected based on the proximity to your host university as well as for the unique activities available within the area. Read more about the Bridging Cultures Program>

Discovery Activities

Planned Excursions & Events

Our in-country resident staff arranges scheduled activities with students throughout the year. Activities are optional and designed to explore the five key areas of discovery: academic, social, personal, cultural, and professional. These are not just visits to tourist attractions. For example, these are activities such as networking opportunities, local festivals, gallery openings, and other similar events that you can’t find in a travel book. These activities will truly enhance your experience.

On-Going Activities

Your exploration of the culture, the academics, the people, and yourself is what will truly enhance your experience. Through the Discovery Model, our in-country staff will provide you with advice and recommendations for other types of activities you can undertake in order achieve your individual goals.


Week-Long Excursion

The FU-BEST program features an elaborate set of learning support and cultural experience activities. Some of these are mandatory, others are optional. One week-long excursion to Poland, Munich/Vienna, Dresden/Prague, Hamburg/Copenhagen or other destinations (varying from semester to semester) is included in the program fees


Four Sites In and Around Berlin

Each semester, all students also visit four sites in and around Berlin on selected Fridays.  All students will participate in at least two of these visits as integral and mandatory part of the overall academic 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)
  • The Prussian royal palace Sanssouci as well as the 1945 Allied conference site in nearby Potsdam


Other Trips and Travel Available

Beyond our included orientation and excursions, you will be able to pre-book a wide variety of day, weekend, and week-long tours at a discounted price through our travel partner, STA Travel. These trips provide the ultimate flexibility for you to travel where you want to go, when you want to go, and with whom you want to go. Most trips have open dates, so you can pre-book the trip(s) that interest you, yet choose your dates later on in your semester. This flexibility also means friends that you make from other countries/programs or even your friends and family who are visiting you abroad can also participate. Learn more>


Other Events and Museum Pass

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



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Course Catalog

To determine if the classes you need are available at this university, select Courses/Subjects to view the specific course options.


Tips: For advice on navigating the university’s course catalog, use the Selecting Courses link. You may also view the suggested grade and credit transfer information through the Grade Conversion.


If you have any questions about course availability, please contact  


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Photo Slideshow


Watch a short slideshow of photos of the Freie Universität campus and Berlin


Ask Our Alumni

Ever wonder what it's like to live in Europe? Are you having trouble finding the right university for you? Speak to students that were already there! They are truly experts on their universities and cities, and want to help you go abroad too.

Email with your name, email, and your specific program of interest and we'll email you with the contact details for one of our 20,000 alumni!

Please don't hesitate to contact us as well with any questions.





Freie Universität Berlin
All fees listed are for first term onlyYear Abroad Advice
Program FeesTBD
Housing with MealsApproximately $5,300 - $5,700
Housing without MealsApproximately $5,100 - $5,500
What's includedSee below

Fee Includes

Your Personalized Semester/Year Program Includes

  • Tuition and instruction
  • Host university activity and insurance fees
  • 24/7 support for students and parents at home and abroad
  • Pre-departure materials and travel gear
  • Comprehensive assistance
  • Personal program manager
  • Scholarship and financial aid assistance
  • Facilitation of course selection / credit transfer

Activity and Excursion Package

  • Multi-day on-site Bridging Cultures Program
  • Local Discovery Activities hosted by on-site Resident Coordinator
  • Welcome and farewell events
  • HTH Worldwide health insurance protection
  • Alumni opportunities, including professional ambassador program
  • International Student Identity Card
  • Exclusive Career-Building Alumni Institute (add-on option)


Additional Housing Fee

Housing amenities are generally:

  • Single room
  • Technology package available
  • Linen package available

An additional refundable housing deposit may be required for your housing selection. In self-catered housing(without meals), you will have access to a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals.

*All fees are subject to change.


Should you receive an offer, your offer letter will provide you with the most up to date university start dates. GlobaLinks Learning Abroad will attempt to provide you with the most up-to-date information as we receive it. Be sure to confirm dates before finalizing any travel plans. 

Entry Requirements

Applicants must have the required GPA and have completed at least the equivalent of one year of full-time study at the university/college level.

Required GPA: 3.00

GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Program Team

Program Manager
Program Manager