BERLIN: Freie Universität Berlin

Berlin, Germany

Program Website Type:   |  Minimum GPA:
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  • Fall Semester - Late August - Mid December
  • Spring Semester - Early January - Mid April

Application Deadline

  • Fall Semester - March 15
  • Spring Semester - October 1


Study Abroad Coordinator: Emily Ferraro (

The FU-BEST (Berlin European Studies) Program seeks to educate responsible, global citizens by promoting intercultural sensitivity in a multi-faceted environment. The program aims to provide an intensive and diverse study abroad experience to its participants. Combining mandatory German language instruction and a varied menu of content courses taught in English and German, FU-BEST is intended to be an accessible opportunity to a wide range of potential participants. Using its concept of the “extended classroom”,  the program’s goal is to link high-quality academic instruction with a broader international experience, encompassing elements of culture, society, history, and politics, in Berlin, in Germany, and in (Central) Europe generally. Small classes and the availability of day-to-day guidance and support are designed to enable students to make the most of a unique educational opportunity.

This program offers an academic calendar consisting of two regular American-style Fall (September-December) and Spring (January-April) semesters, followed by the possibility of enrollment in the FU's Sommersemester (April-July) for students with German language skills at the upper-intermediate or advanced level.


Students are required to enroll in 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). Additionally, a menu of non-language courses (4 credit hours) taught mostly in English by expert faculty, 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 are offered.

Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Tentative Course List


View Evaluated Courses

If you are interested in enrolling in a course not in our database, please send this course for evaluation.

Policies and Process for Evaluations

Host University

  • One of Germany's premier institutions of higher education, Freie Universität Berlin was founded in 1948, with an enrollment of circa 32,000 students
  • 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.)
  • Located in Berlin's charming southwestern sector, yet with easy access to the city's center

In 2007, after an intense, nation-wide competition, the Freie Universität Berlin became one of only nine German universities to be awarded the status and predicate as "institution of excellence" in higher education by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In the “Excellence Initiative” competition, involving the DFG and the German federal government and entailing the prospect of extensive additional funding, the FU won the highest number of grants and was selected for its outstanding graduate programs, excellent research clusters, and successful internationalization strategy.

The site of the FU-BEST Program is a large villa in the FU campus area, a gift of 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, is located close to other FU facilities, and offers easy access to public transportation.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 2 completed terms at NU, one of which may be a summer term
  • GPA of at least 3.0
  • Transfer students and spring admits, please contact OISP for eligibility
  • Non-native-English-speakers may be requested to submit English test scores along with their application. For TOEFL, the score should be minimall

Application Procedure

    • Online OISP application

      Please submit the following directly to OISP:

      • FU-BEST application. Please do not submit an application form completed with pen or pencil. Complete the form online and then print it out.
    • Download and read the General Terms and Conditions of Business (AGB) for the FU-BEST program before completing and submitting your application. All participants must accept these General Terms.
    • Photocopy of your official primary insurance policy (NUSHP or, if you are a dependent on a parent's plan, a copy of your parent's policy), stating nature, duration and extent of coverage.
    • Official Transcript
    • Color Photocopy of Passport Photo and Signature Page
    • 2 Passport photos
    • If you are opting for a HOMESTAY, include a 1-2 page self-introductory personal statement along with the rest of your application.
Schedule Appointment →


Fall 2015 or Spring 2016: $22,660

Includes: Northeastern University (NU) tuition for 16 NU credits ($22,310), and International Security and Emergency Support ($350). Students are responsible for all other expenses, including housing and other non-academic costs for which they will be billed directly by the program provider or host institution. Students are also responsible for arranging and purchasing their own flights.


The FU-BEST program offers two housing options:

The housing option chosen by a participant is considered final and binding for the entire semester. No (partial or full) refund of fees used for homestay or apartment arranged by the program is possible after June 1 (in case of Fall semester) or November 15 (in case of Spring semester).

  • homestay (incl. breakfast and dinner);
  • Why a homestay? As far as study abroad housing is concerned, this is certainly one of the most frequently asked questions! Spending a semester or even a full academic year abroad is bound to be an adventurous journey into a new and unfamiliar cultural and social environment, with or without a homestay. Yet a homestay can add immeasurably to the experience. More than apartment housing, it almost guarantees linguistic and social immersion, providing you with unrivalled opportunities at improving your language and intercultural skills. It can also be comforting to be with a family when confronting the often inevitable moments of homesickness. When you are for some reason physically ill, a host-family can be an important care-giving environment.

    At the same time, of course, a homestay does somewhat reduce your range of freedom and independence, since you are expected to behave like a member of the family. Even if you can normally more or less come and go as you please, you do assume the responsibility of maintaining solid communication with your hosts about your presence at or absence from the home, especially when meals are involved. You would always have your own key and your own room. Bathroom (and other) facilities may or may not be shared with others in the home. Rarely would you have a private telephone line, so here, too, a considerate attitude vis-a-vis your hosts is important (especially including payment for any long-distance and overseas calls you make). Many host-families offer to undertake various activities with their guests, ranging from sightseeing to concert visits, although this is not a formal program expectation; it is always courteous and interesting to accept at least a few of such invitations, and in return, to offer your host-family a glimpse of your home country or region, for example by cooking some specialty from home!

    As with any housing option, in other words, there are pros and cons to weigh!

    Homestays: Rules, Regulations, Expectations (pdf)

    Please note you will need to supply a Personal Statement along with your application if you would like to live in a homestay.

  • fully furnished, single-occupancy studio apartment;

The apartments utilized by the FU-BEST program are located about 30-45 minutes by bus and metro from the program site. This is not at all unusual, since German (and more generally, European) universities tend to be commuter-student institutions. The apartments are single-occupancy studio apartments, each one with one living room/bedroom, a bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen. Pillows, blankets, and sheets are provided for the dual-use couch-beds; participants must bring their own towels, an alarm-clock, and other personal items. Each apartment also contains a TV-set and a coffee-maker. There is an on-site laundry room with washers and dryers; tokens are bought at the office of the manager (Hausmeister). Participants opting for apartment housing are required to submit credit card information as security deposit. The apartments do not feature telephone or internet connections; a cost-effective wireless internet connection can be purchased directly by each participant at his/her own expense at a nearby office/shop, using information provided by the program. Most participants buy a cell phone once they are in Berlin. The FU-BEST program assumes no responsibility for telephone or internet connections in the apartments.
Please note the following information concerning housing and keep it in mind when making your selection on the application form: Switching from a homestay to an apartment or from an apartment to a homestay would only be possible under rather exceptional circumstances, and after very close review of your situation. It is thus better not to count on this option. Switching from one homestay setting to another homestay may be somewhat more easily accomplished, but only when it is deemed absolutely necessary on-site.

Participants opting for apartment housing are required to submit credit card information as security deposit. The apartments do not feature telephone or internet connections; a cost-effective wireless internet connection can be purchased directly by each participant at his/her own expense at a nearby office/shop, using information provided by the program. Most participants buy a cell phone once they are in Berlin. The FU-BEST program assumes no responsibility for telephone or internet connections in the apartments.




  • 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"