1. The school F + U
1.1 The school is situated in the heart of the city center, so you can easily reach the closest subway stop, which is very advantageous from my point of view. In addition, I find it also useful that after classes you have the possibility to visit the historical or cultural places of the city within ten minutes distance.
1.2 Concerning the teaching, I can say that the three teachers we had were all motivated and competent. The motivation and dedication of my two teachers (morning and afternoon) was exemplary in my eyes.
1.3 The classroom equipment was also effective for teaching. Although the school is in the center, we were not disturbed by outside noise during the lessons: the windows are soundproofed.
1.4 Concerning the organization of the school, my assessment is somewhat ambivalent. During my first week, the teacher I actually would have had was sick. The administration had then decided to classify two groups with different levels of speech (B1 and B2) into one class. This was problematic on one hand regarding the number of students but also the differences in learning time and content. In fact, we were almost more than 15 students this week with a planned B1 level education, while students with B2 level were also there. Some students were less motivated, even if the teacher really tried to make the most of it, although he did not like the situation himself. Normally, the school should have look for a substitute teacher for the B2 group. The positive point is that I was able to talk with an administrative staff member and I received a coupon for another week. This gesture (even if it was only given to me and another person) shows that understanding was there.
1.5 I would like to make a further point regarding the organizational structure of the school, which is not my personal opinion, but a result of some conversations with my classmates. For students who visited the school for a long period of time, the courses have not always been adapted individually to their needs. The division into different course groups was primarily based on the number of students and not on the needs of the individual. For example, a student told me that he had already come to lesson 7 or 8 in the B2 course, but now he had a new teacher in another class and had to start with lesson 3 because there was no other B2 group which is also in lesson 7 or 8. This student told me that he would change school.
2. The host family
2.1 The place where the host family is located is a little further from the school outside the city. It takes about 45 minutes to get to school. First you have to take a bus and then the subway, which did not really make the way to the city center easy, espcially if someone wanted to go out in the evening. In addition, the neighborhood was not really appealing. It would, of course, be more interesting to live closer to the city center.
2.2 The welcome was ok. Nevertheless, I would recommend that students live in a residence. It is closer to the school and offers the opportunity to establish a wide range of contacts. In the classroom, practice exercises of the German language are already taking place, which can be further developed outside the school by meeting people in bars or anywhere else (this also opens the mind). In addition, I felt the price of the accommodation for 3 weeks too expensive (much higher than the price in a residence) considering that the food served there was rice (I ended up with constipation :-)) with different sauces every day.
3. The city
3.1 What to say about Berlin! It is obviously a beautiful city with charm :) I felt immediately that the energy here is positive and the atmosphere is relaxed despite the size of the city. You also notice that there is a lot of space and liveliness in Berlin. People are dynamic, but not stressed, and you wont get lost if you take the subway (it's a children's game!). Every station is simple and there aren‘t hundreds of different lines at one station. It is also nice to see that there is a good balance between green areas and urban cityscape. The size of Berlin did not hinder the existence of many parks, where you can recover from the city traffic whenever you wish.
3.2 Berlin is also very cultural and there is a lot for everybody's taste. There are just as many possibilities to visit museums as to dive into Berlin's nightlife and go to shows or concerts. It is very varied and rarely boring.
3.3 Berlin is a city characterized by the history of the Second World War and the Cold War with the Berlin Wall. The historical remains give the city a lot of character. It is perhaps also one of the reasons why Berlin is so "open-minded" as they learned from their past. As a matter of fact, the city is always growing, it is constantly being expanded and there are always new construction projects, etc.
3.4 The cost of living in Berlin is not very high, which also makes it possible to go to a good restaurant (of course for the Swiss, it's cheap ... ;-)) What you should not miss is the neighborhood Kreuzberg, Bergmannstrasse and surroundings: it is really ideal to go there to eat something or drink! The atmosphere there is quite creative.
3.5 During the time when I was in Berlin, it was even more beautiful and sunny than in other German cities (as I saw in TV weather)! That gave me to believe that here in Berlin always the sun shines. But what I heard, the winter here are still very hard !!!
Thanks again for the help to organize this trip and see you soon !!
*Translated from French.