Taking IES Abroad Trips

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Sylvia Waechter
April 29, 2024
A young woman and older woman talk in an opera house

Throughout your time abroad, there will be many opportunities to take field trips with IES Abroad for low or no cost. I would definitely recommend taking advantage of these trips as they are great opportunities to explore your host country without the pressure of planning trips yourself. Some of these trips will be offered before the program starts, but other experiences will be communicated to you during the program. Below, I share some of the field trips that I’ve participated in.


Hertha BSC Soccer Game

Cost: free!

Length: about 5 hours including travel time

You absolutely can’t spend time in Germany without seeing a professional soccer game. This field trip was in high demand, so I was on the waitlist for a little bit before getting a ticket on the day of the game. My roommate and I left about an hour and a half before the game started to take the hour train ride to get there. The historic Olympiastadion was an amazing place to watch a game and the fans were almost as fun to watch as the game itself. Wear blue, white, or black to support Herth, and don't forget to buy a Berliner Kindl beer for the authentic fan experience.


Night at the Opera

Cost: free!

Length: around 4 hours

If you’re a fan of music or theater, going to the opera is a great way to spend an evening. These tickets were offered for free through IES Abroad about a week before the performance. Definitely bring some dressier clothes if you’re planning on attending, the dress code isn’t super strict but you’ll want to wear something nicer than jeans or sneakers. The show can be almost four hours long, so I would recommend you get some dinner before it starts, although there will be snacks served there.



Cost: free!

Length: day trip

The Potsdam field trip was one that I signed up for pre-departure. This was a day-trip on a Friday, we left around 9 in the morning and got home around 6 or 7 in the evening. Potsdam is a great location for WWII history, as the location of the Potsdam Conference where the division of Germany was decided. As the former residence of the Prussian Royals, you’ll also find palaces and artwork here. If you miss the pre-departure sign-up, you may still be able to get a spot on the trip by reaching out before the trip starts, or just showing up day-of.



Cost: 30 euros

Length: day trip

Dresden was another field trip that I signed up for pre-departure, but like Potsdam, you can probably find last minute spots. Dresden has great architecture, art, and history from palaces to cold-war era mosaics. If you like renaissance art, I would recommend the Old Masters Picture Gallery which has several famous artworks. Dresden is also a location for chocolate lovers, with many different chocolate shops around the old-town area.


Group walks/hikes

Cost: free!

Length: 1-2 hours

Throughout the semester I also participated in various group hikes. These are completely free and usually led by an IES Abroad staff member or student. These are great opportunities to get to know the other participants in your program and the Berlin area. I would definitely recommend it if you have a free afternoon.

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Sylvia Waechter

Guten tag! My name is Sylvia, I'm an Urban Studies student at the University of Illinois - Chicago and I'll be studying in Berlin, Germany this semester! I'm a total public transportation nerd and love to write reviews of different transit systems that I ride on. Follow along as I explore Berlin, travel around Europe, and continue my education as an 'Urbanist in training'.

2024 Spring
Home University:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Urban Studies
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