Questions/Comments?Contact Us

46 posts categorized "Berlin Language"

Meet your Session 1 Program Leader: Erin Kellerhals


Hallo! My name is Erin Kellerhals and I have been working in university admissions at UC Berkeley for the past 7 years. I live in San Francisco, CA, and grew up in Texas and Seoul, South Korea. I am really excited about leading students in Germany--I was an exchange student in Bad Essen, Germany my senior year of high school and it changed my life! I went on to study German in undergrad and grad school and lived in Muenster for two years in between studies. I love German literature and am excited to share my experiences in Berlin.

Meet your Session 1 Program Leader: Susannah Martin

Hallo, guten Tag, moin!  Hello everyone!  I'm Susannah Martin, the Senior Program Leader for Session 1.  I'm sticking around for Session 2, too!  This is my third year working for CIEE in Berlin and I LOVE IT.  

I've been teaching German for a verrrry long time and have been moving back and forth from Germany to California (with two short stints in Switzerland).  My heart is and remains in Berlin and I hope someday to move there permanently.  I love, love, love Berlin and know it better than I know any city in the US.  I'm very excited about helping you to become a Berliner at heart, too!  

As for the rest of me, I am very active in NorCal Boxer Rescue and I'm vegan and committed to education and awareness about the plight of animals.  

The first picture is of me  at the East Side Gallery with the artist Günther Schaefer.  The second is me with Tony Alva skateboards  decks - no I don't skate but I am from California!  IMG_2231

I fell in love with the city of Berlin

By: Inger Smuts

Choosing to spend a month in Berlin was easily the best decision I've made during my high school years.

Inger Smuts1

Although I was worried to travel alone, I immediately felt at home at the CIEE institute and with my host family. The first few days were some of my favorites because I was able to bond with my fellow program participants and finally meet my amazing host family. By the end of the trip I had grown so close to my new friends and family that saying goodbye to Berlin was one of the most difficult goodbyes I've ever had to say. I miss Berlin everyday but I'm thrilled to have the chance to travel there again next summer with my family and reconnect with all the amazing people I met.

Inger Smuts3

One of my favorite experiences was getting to see the city through the eyes of locals by living with my host family. After eating dinner as a family we would often go to the park to play soccer, get ice cream, and then come home to root for Germany in the Euro Cup. It isn't easy to let a stranger into your home, and I am forever grateful to them for giving me one of the best experiences of my life.

Inger Smuts4

Another amazing experience was getting to know the fellow Americans in my program. It was amazing to adventure through Berlin together and better our German while learning a great deal from them about life in different states. Many of them have become very close friends of mine and we reminisce about our summer together often.

Inger Smuts2

Thinking back on my time abroad I know that I changed as a person immensely.

During my trip not only did my language abilities improve drastically, but I learned how to be more independent, how to manage my time, and I fell in love with the city of Berlin. Although I had traveled to Germany before, something about living in one city for a month allowed me to see a new perspective, feel at home, and give me a glimpse of the opportunities that could be coming my way in the future. Thanks to the summer I spent abroad I discovered my passion for the language and culture of Germany and will be pursuing a degree in German and education next year in college.

Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin

Guten Morgen!


Well here we are folks! It's the final countdown! The students have been taking the past few days to squeeze in a few more memories while in Berlin. Whether it be an "Escape the Room" challenge, playing ultimate frisbee in the Tiergarten or a visit to Ravensbrück, our students have taken this experience and are truly making it their own.


On Friday, students enjoyed their last class with Evita and Stefan (our German instructors) by eating a traditional German breakfast of Brötchen, Wurst, cheese among other delicious German foods.



While students were trying some new foods, we asked them to consider the question "What will you miss about Berlin?" Here are their answers...






































As we near the end of our program, this very famous quote "Ich hab noch einen Koffer in Berlin." from German film legend Marlene Dietrich seems to have particular importance to me and, I think, for the students as well. It means "I still have a suitcase in Berlin".  Some may return sooner than others, but I think that each of our students have connected with Berlin in their own unique way and they will all return to the multifaceted city that is Berlin in their own time.


Auf Wiedersehen!

Mike und Katie

Last Week in Berlin!

The last week is flying by here in Berlin!

On Monday, we visited the small village of Spandau and the Citadel there. We got a nice tour through the caves of the old military barracks and a nice view of the city, as well. Pardon our eyes in the group picture below. If you check out the sunshine we were looking at (in the second picture), you'll understand!


Our view from the top of the tower!


On Tuesday we visited the Berlin Wall memorial, dedicated to those who lost their lives trying to escape from East to West Berlin. It was so interesting to hear about the stories of those who risked their lives to cross, and why it was worth it to them. Here's a picture of the students peaking through to "No Man's Land" or "The Death Strip" where soldiers had a shoot to kill order for anyone trying to escape.


There is so much history to experience in Berlin - the good and the bad. Students have learned a lot in this month - both language and culture - and we are so proud!

Yesterday, students checked out the East Side Gallery, the longest stretch of the wall still standing which was turned into an art gallery in the 1990's. 

We are looking forward to a nice farewell dinner tomorrow and a weekend with the host families for our final days in Berlin!

Alles Gutes,


The Art of Berlin

We can’t believe that we only have a week left in the program! Our month in Berlin is certainly flying by! A common theme of this week has been art. Students have encountered it in many unique ways around the city.


Coming off of our street art tour around the city on Wednesday, students were treated to a photo workshop with a Berlin photographer. After learning some basics of photographic theory, students melded their newly gained knowledge with their passion for Berlin by setting off around the city to capture photos that showed “Berlin: A City in Motion”. Once students returned from their photo expedition, we all sat down and discussed the photos students had taken. Some of these photos may become featured art in the CIEE Study Center Lobby here in Berlin!


Photo by Mohammed Abduljabar



Photo by Kiely Green



Following the exploration into the visual arts of Berlin students took a bite out of a sweet and traditional German art form: CHOCOLATE!!! On Thursday, students took a trip to the Ritter Sport World and participated in a chocolate making seminar. In a hands on workshop, students learned about all of the steps it takes to make a Ritter Sport chocolate bar. Students were able to add their own ingredients, ultimately making for some delicious creations!














After all the running around we’ve done in the past three weeks we thought a relaxing, but cultural, excursion was in order. On Saturday, we all took a trip to a city park commonly referred to as Thai Park. Students had the opportunity to play frisbee, play cards, relax and just hang out with friends all while having the opportunity to try a multitude of Thai food right in the park!



It’s hard to believe we only have one week left, but Katie and I are excited to make the best of this last week in the city of Berlin!


Bis bald!

Mike and Katie

Das Beste aus Berlin

We can't believe the program is half-way over already! The third week kicked off with a trip to the Olympiastadion from the 1936 Olympics and tour of the current Hertha Berlin Soccer facilities. Our awesome tour guide, Michael, gave a great tour and covered everything from history to mega-star concerts.



On Tuesday, students got to see Berlin from 203 meters above ground, when they rode up to the top of the TV tower (built by the Soviets during the Cold War to display their technological advancement). 



Yesterday (Wednesday), students braved a Berlin summer rainstorm (read: torrential downpour) to discover Berlin graffiti and street art. Graffiti and street art hold an important part in Berlin history and culture. Once again, we had a very entertaining and relatable tour guide who made the experience interesting from start to (very wet) end!


Last, but certainly not least, we got the opportunity to celebrate Dasha's 16th birthday yesterday with traditional German cake! Happy Birthday Dasha!


Beste Grüße aus Berlin!


Ab nach Greifswald!

Greetings from sunny Berlin everyone! The weather has finally begun to warm up. Before I jump into the post I would like to take a moment to address the attacks in Munich that took place on Saturday. Although this is a frightening event Katie and I are committed to making this a positive and life changing experience for the students on this trip. In addition to Katie and myself, the entire CIEE team is dedicated to doing everything in our power to ensure  a safe environment for your students.

Following our fun excursion to Escape the Room on Wednesday we took a look at a darker part of Germany's history and culture. We traveled to Oranienburg, just outside of Berlin, to see the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and Memorial. Students, with great respect for the victims, went about the grounds of the camp and learn about the stories of prisoners and what they had to endure. Students were allowed to go at their own pace so that they could process the camp in their own way. Although it may not be the most pleasurable excursion that we have had, it's important for students to see the result when hate and fear run rampant.

This week has certainly gotten students familiar with the Deutsche Bahn, Germany's train network. On Friday, the Language and Culture students, along with the Global Entrepreneurship students, traveled to the small University and Hanseatic City of Greifswald. Greifswald is located about three hours north of Berlin on the Baltic Sea Coast. Students arrived Friday evening and received a tour of the coastal town and details about the history and architecture of the city. After dinner with the Global Entrepreneurship students, there was enough time for some sports! Students in both programs played volleyball, basketball, soccer and table tennis at the youth hostel and made some new friends from the other program here in Berlin!




On Saturday we set out for some relaxation by starting with a boat tour! Students and staff took a boat tour down the river. Students could sit back and enjoy all of the beautiful sights of Greifswald as they went down the river. Once we departed the boat it was time to head to the beach! Students enjoyed the down time to hang out with the friends from their own program as well as get to know the Global Entrepreneurship students a little better! The weather couldn't be more perfect and was a truly great day to catch some rays (with sunscreen of course)! After lunch we let the students explore the bay, get some ice cream, or return to the beach. After all this excitement some needed their Sunday with their host families to sleep in a little bit!



This week we have the TV Tower, Street Art Tour as well as other exciting activities planned. In the mean time, check out some of our students on the official CIEE Instagram!


Bis bald!

Mike and Katie



Stories, Spies, and Spiels: Week 2 in Berlin

The second week in Berlin has been a fun one already, and we're only halfway through! Before we talk about our excursions, we have to take a minute to say that we have been extremely impressed with our students this session. They are working hard all morning in language class and have still been bringing positivity and fun to the afternoon excursions (with very minimal yawns or complaining). We can't wait to see the progress they make with the language and culture over the course of the program!

On Monday we visited an Atomic shelter built in the 70's and the Story of Berlin Museum, which chronicles Berlin's history from the very beginning. One of my (Katie's) favorite museum exhibits is pictured below. Actual books were used to create this flooring as a memorial to the books burned at Humboldt University here in Berlin during the Nazi regime.


I must say, our students are also doing a great job staying focused through some very long tours! :)

On Tuesday we visited the Spy Museum, which was a new and very interesting one for all of us.


Yesterday (Wednesday) was one of our most 'fun' excursions yet. We went to "The Room" and attempted to unlock clues to escape from culturally authentic rooms. Each group entered a room with a different theme and goal for escape, either capturing a person, a treasure, or escaping from East to West Berlin. Our students loved this experience; Mike and I did, too! It was a lot of fun, culturally entertaining, and a great team builder!





Today we are changing the tone a bit and heading to the Sachsenhausen memorial - a former concentration camp, and tomorrow we head off on an overnight excursion to the coastal town of Greifswald. It has been a joy to watch students develop both their linguistic and cultural proficiency so far! W can't wait to see what happens next!

Alles Gute,

Katie und Mike

Discovering Berlin and the Palaces of Potsdam

Grüße aus Berlin!

    As we wrapped up our first week (It is going by so fast!), the students continued to become acquainted with the landscape of the metropolis of Berlin. Students not only took a walking tour of Berlin’s most well-known sights, but also took a look at the lesser known locations that have shaped Berlin’s history on Thursday. And they did it all by bike!


    After students began to find their bearings in Berlin, we challenged them with a scavenger hunt around the city! Students had to work in teams to figure out information about the city and collect photos of themselves doing it! All students made it through the challenge with teamwork and their new found knowledge of Berlin!


    Many of the students needed a break from the hustle and bustle of Berlin after their first week so we took a trip out to the small city of Potsdam to discover another part of Germany’s history. We were led by our tour guide, Sam, through the beautifully manicured gardens of the Sanssouci Park Complex explaining about the history and architecture of the Hapsburg family, the royal family of Prussia and later the German Empire. We worked our way through the park and were amazed at the beauty of the Neues Palais (New Palace), the Chinese Tea House, and the Charlottenhof Villa.


    Once we had worked our way though the park and had a picnic style lunch, it was finally our time to enter the world famous Sanssouci Palace. The palace, built by Friedrich the Great, is surrounded by beautiful gardens and receives many visitors each year. The students took in the grand sights of the palace, while being told about life in the court of Friedrich the Great. Their feet may hurt from all of the walking in Potsdam, but they can now say they’ve seen one of the most famous palaces in all of Germany!







Students have set off for their first host family day of the program. We can’t wait to hear what the students did with their host families when they come for class on Monday!







Liebe Grüße aus Berlin!

Mike und Katie