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Germany/Austria Semester


This program is designed to give students in-depth contact with the German-speaking world. Students will spend significant time in cities in Germany and Austria, learning about the political and social changes that have occurred in these countries and Europe since the Second World War. With a focus on German language acquisition as well as exploration of immigration in Germany and Austria, students will have a chance to experience the important roles that these two countries have played in the development of today's Europe. The program allows students who have not previously studied German to begin their language study in Berlin.

The program begins in Berlin, the capital of Germany and one of the largest cities in Western Europe. Berlin is an incredibly exciting city that is one of the youngest and most vibrant metropolitan centers of the world. While in Berlin, students will study language at the Parlando Institute in Berlin as well as the Immigration course taught by Ferit Güven. Students will be able to take advantage of the rich cultural offerings as well as interact personally with Berliners and see the innumerable sites that make Germany an important factor in Europe and the world:

  • The Bundestag, home of the federal government;
  • Potsdam, site of the Potsdam Conference that divided Germany at the end of World War II;
  • The East Side Gallery, displaying the history and largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall; and
  • Weimar and Buchenwald concentration camp.

After Berlin, the group travels to Vienna, Austria. Currently home to one of the United Nations' four headquarters, the country's capital exists as a political, geographical and cultural gateway between Eastern and Western, historical and contemporary Europe. Home over the centuries to great artists and thinkers, among them Freud, Mozart and Gustav Klimt, Vienna provides a living glimpse into the layers of European culture and political evolution. In Vienna, the program works with the Austro-American Institute of Education. Students will complete coursework in Literature, Art, History and Politics with professors from Vienna and will take advantage of the historical and cultural sites of the city and surrounding areas:

  • The United Nations Office of Vienna;
  • The Austrian Parliament; and
  • The Integration Fund Office, home to an agency seeking to increase integration of Austria's millions of new residents.

Living Arrangements

Students will live, sometimes in pairs, with host families during their stay. Breakfast will be provided by the host, and students will receive a cash allotment for noon and evening meals.


Click here to apply online for the Germany/Austria Program.


Courses and Credits

Students will earn a total of 18 semester hour credits for the successful completion of the program. All students will be full-time participants in all of the courses that are offered and all students will receive grades for each course. Grades will be sent to the Earlham Registrar and will be included in the GPA.

In Germany, courses include:

  • German (6 credits): In Berlin, students will be able to receive language instruction at all levels and will be placed into courses according to their levels of proficiency.
  • The Question of Immigration in Germany and Austria (3 credits): Taught by Ferit Güven in Berlin and Vienna, this course will focus on the question of immigration in Germany and Austria from two different perspectives:  First, how are immigrants represented in German and Austrian societies? Representations of "otherness" in German literature, philosophy and art, specifically cinema, will be examined and analyzed. Second, how do immigrants in Germany and Austria themselves experience and articulate their cultural, social and political integration (or lack thereof) into society? This course satisfies the Perspectives on Diversity - International general education requirement.

In Austria, courses will be conducted in German and include:

  • Art History (3 credits): This course takes advantage of Vienna's incredible architectural and artistic treasures, from 12th century castles to landmarks of the art nouveau movement.
  • Politics and the Role of the EU in Western Europe (3 credits): A host of issues face Europe and Austria in the twenty-first century, including economic integration and unification, an increasingly multicultural European society and the role of the state in social welfare. This comparative course will examine such issues with a focus on Austria and Western Europe and the role of the European Union.
  • ONE of the following two courses, dependent upon language level:
    • Intermediate German (3 credits), OR
    • Austrian Literature (3 credits): This course focuses primarily on seminal works written in the twentieth and twenty-first century. These works are examined in the contexts of the powerful political and social changes taking place in Austria and in the rest of Europe from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy up to Austria's current role in the European Union. When possible, works currently being performed at Vienna's many fine theaters are included on the syllabus, giving students the opportunity to experience how these works are being presented on the theatrical stage and how they shape Austrian culture.
  • Independent Projects: Each student will develop an independent project in Vienna.

Cultural Excursions

Program excursions are an important part of the educational experience and are designed to complement the academic coursework. Excursions in Germany may include trips to Jena, Weimar, and Hamburg. During the stay in Austria, students may embark on a hiking excursion to the Alps and on a trip to Prague. There will be other shorter excursions in both Germany and Austria. Students are also able to travel during the Independent Travel Period.

Pre-Departure Course and Post-Return Course

Students accepted to the Germany/Austria Program are required to participate in Cross-Cultural Explorations - Pre (1 credit) prior to departure and Cross-Cultural Explorations - Post (1 credit) after they return. Pre-departure sessions are designed to prepare students for the cross-cultural experience and will include readings, activities, films, lectures, and discussions with former participants of the program. A weekend retreat is part of this course. Students and parents will receive a Handbook of important information prior to the program. Following return to campus, students will participate in a 7-week course that will guide them in processing, analyzing and building upon their off-campus experience. Credit for Cross-Cultural Explorations - Pre is dependent upon successful completion of the semester program. 

Academic Programs



The cost of the program will be the equivalent to one semester of on-campus charges: tuition, room and board, and fees. The program covers academic and educational costs, including field excursions and other group activities, as well as room and board during the academic portion of the program. Students on financial aid may apply their aid to one Earlham or Earlham-approved off-campus program during their college career.

Additional Costs

Each student will need to plan for additional money to cover round-trip airfare, passport and visa fees, books and personal expenses, and costs for the independent vacation travel period. A passport is required for travel to Germany and Austria.

Travel Arrangements

Students will be responsible for making their own travel plans both to and from the program, as well as during the independent travel period.


The program allows students who have not yet studied German to begin their study at the language institute in Berlin. Preference will be given to students who have had the Basic German Sequence (101, 102) or the equivalent. Undergraduate students in good academic standing may apply. Students on academic probation are not considered eligible to participate. A student's eligibility for this program could also be affected by being placed on disciplinary probation. Majors from all disciplines are welcome. Selection will be conducted by a student and faculty committee.



Students and faculty share stories and photos about the Germany and Austria experience.

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