Classes will be held on campus again for in-person coursework with special health regulations. Courses include a range of subjects taught in English, German language instruction, and a cultural program.
The European Studies Program at Freie Universität Berlin (FU-BEST) welcomed students from overseas to the university campus at the start of its new semester. The eighteen-week academic program offers participants 15 courses to choose from, including German language classes and various subjects from other fields, such as art history, German history, cultural studies, political science, social sciences, sustainable business, and German. The program runs through December 10 and is synchronized with the North American academic calendar.
For the 2021 fall term, Freie Universität’s intensive semester program, FU-BEST, will be offering a broad spectrum of on-site courses for international students in all disciplines. FU-BEST students can select from a variety of academic courses taught in English in addition to different levels of German language instruction. Students can choose between subject courses on European studies, sociology in Europe, German history, Berlin architecture, green business, music in the digital age, art and dictatorships, and film in Germany before 1945. Throughout the program, Berlin’s role as a cultural and historical site is featured prominently. Students can earn internationally recognized credits based on the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) for the coursework they complete.
The FU-BEST term starts before the regular German winter semester in order to coincide with the North American academic calendar. That makes it one of the first programs at Freie Universität that will resume on-site teaching this year. "FU-BEST is basically a pilot program this year thanks to how it has organized its fall term," says Dr. Herbert Grieshop, the director of the International Affairs Division at Freie Universität Berlin. "With our reputation as an international network university, we have a deep commitment to promoting exchange through international partnerships. To this end, FU-BEST is bringing international students back to campus this semester. Of course, they will need to adhere to special health precautions and regulations. The safety of our students and staff are of the utmost importance." The program is implementing the current measures prescribed by the Berlin Senate and Freie Universität, as well as several additional safety measures of its own.
Dr. Kristina Rödder and Dr. Dirk Verheyen, the academic directors of FU-BEST, worked with their team to ensure that the program can accommodate this unique situation. They have developed further measures to better protect program participants and employees. These measures bolster the other precautions already in place, such as the "three G" rule (participants must be vaccinated, have recovered from Covid, or have negative results from a recent Covid test), wearing a protective mask, small class sizes, and track and trace measures. All participants are insured through their enrollment in the program. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a tandem language program, in which they are paired with a German student.
FU-BEST, the academic semester program of Freie Universität Berlin, is offered in the fall and spring each year, both online and in person. The program includes various courses, mainly in the social sciences and the humanities, which are primarily taught in English. Students in the program also take German foreign language classes. FU-BEST students can receive credit points in their home countries for successfully completed courses.
The program follows the North American academic calendar, making it unique in Europe. The academic quality of FU-BEST was recognized again last year by the Forum on Education Abroad, based in the United States, through its Quality Improvement Program (QUIP). FU-BEST’s digital lecture series also received recognition from the German government’s initiative "Germany, Land of Ideas: Beyond Crisis," which was launched by the German federal government and German industry. FU-BEST has consistently grown since 2005, with roughly 340 students participating annually. About 3,500 international students have enjoyed the benefits of this program since it was first founded.