Berlin is the capital of Germany and the country’s most populous city, with nearly 3.5 million people. As Germany itself was divided between East and West, Berlin was divided by the infamous “Wall” from 1961 until 1989. While the legacy of its unique history is ever-present, as seen in its architecture, monuments, and its people, Berlin has experienced a remarkable revival in the decades since reunification.
It is a vibrant, multicultural center, home to world-class museums (including those located on Museum Island in the Mitte District), major universities, and a multitude of parks, gardens, and recreational areas that make Berlin one of the most “livable” big cities in the world. It is an ideal location in which to learn about Germany’s history, culture, and its future as a key player in the European Union.
About the Program
Hobart and William Smith Colleges maintain an affiliation with IES Abroad (the Institute for the International Exchange of Students) to offer three program tracks in Berlin, based at the IES Abroad Berlin Center in collaboration with Humboldt University. Students will have the opportunity to enroll in the German Language and Area Studies track, the Metropolitan and Urban Studies track, or the Security Studies and International Affairs track, each of which facilitates student integration through homestay accommodations and offers full access to facilities and academic coursework at Humboldt University.
Students in the Metropolitan and Urban Studies track will select from a variety of courses taught in English (including urban studies, sociology, political science, gender studies, literature and film, and art history) and will take a German language course at their appropriate level. See Metropolitan and Urban Studies courses here. Students in the Security Studies and International Affairs track will select from a variety of courses taught in English (including history, international relations, political science, sociology, and urban studies) and will take a German language course at their appropriate level. See Security Studies courses here.
Those in the German Language and Area Studies track will take courses in German offered by local faculty through IES alongside language coursework at Humboldt. Students with advanced German proficiency may pursue additional academic options through local universities. See German Language and Area Studies courses here.
This program can accommodate a variety of students and is designed for those who are interested in learning more about Germany and in developing German language skills. The German Language and Area Studies track is intended for more advanced language students who will also be able to take courses in a range of fields (students with advanced language proficiency may choose to enroll in regular course offerings through Humboldt University, the Free University, or the Technical University). German Language and Area Studies track students may also apply to undertake a credit-bearing internship in the summer immediately following the spring semester for an additional fee; note that there are no internships during the program itself.
The Metropolitan and Urban Studies track is designed for those with limited previous German language study and focuses on Berlin as a case study to explore issues relevant to major urban areas. This track will be of interest to students in a variety of fields in the humanities and social sciences. The Security Studies and International Affairs track is designed for those with limited previous German language study and focuses on Germany's (and Berlin's) unique role in European security matters and global affairs. This track will be of interest to students in a variety of fields in the social sciences.
This is a highly selective program and only those applying for and receiving a Julius G. Blocker ’53 Fellowship will be considered for admission. Blocker Fellows receive funding to offset a variety of program costs (see the Money Matters section below for further information on the Fellowship and application details). The program is open to juniors and seniors (sophomores may be considered in exceptional cases) in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students enrolling in the Metropolitan and Urban Studies and Security Studies and International Affairs tracks must have completed at least one semester of college-level German prior to departure and must take a German language course in Berlin. Those enrolling in the German Language and Area Studies track must have completed a minimum of 4 semesters of college-level German prior to departure with an average grade of B or better. Students are expected to be enrolled in a German language course at their appropriate level in the semester before departure. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened.
Important note: students who enroll in the German Language and Area Studies track need to be aware that there are two types of courses available on this track - IES Abroad courses and German university courses - and the two course types have different finish dates. Fall students who choose IES Abroad courses only will start the program in late August and will finish in mid-December. Fall students do not have the option of choosing German university courses because these courses do not finish until mid-February, so they would not be back in time to start the spring semester at HWS.
Spring students in the German Language track will start the program in early February and will finish in late May if they choose only IES study Abroad courses, while those who choose German university courses will finish in mid/late-July. Note that due to the German academic calendar, seniors who enroll in the German Language and Area Studies track in the spring semester would not be finished in time for graduation on the HWS campus.
Students in the fall Metropolitan and Urban Studies and Security Studies and International Affairs tracks will start in late August and will finish in mid-December, while students in the spring Metropolitan and Urban Studies and Security Studies and International Affairs tracks will start in early February and finish in late May.
Students will reside in a homestay arranged by IES Abroad and will typically prepare their own meals at home or take meals in affordable student cafeterias.
Students in the German Language and Area Studies track will participate in a variety of excursions in and around Berlin as will visit nearby German cities such as Dresden and Hamburg. Those in the Metropolitan and Urban Studies and Security Studies and International Affairs tracks will participate in an extended study tour to Vienna, Austria (Fall semester) or Warsaw, Poland (Spring semester) and will visit Hamburg, Germany and a number of sites in and around Berlin.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees and a $600 administrative fee. This will cover tuition for a five-course semester, health insurance, program-related activities and excursions, and homestay accommodations (accommodation costs are covered by the Julius G. Blocker '53 Endowed Fund - see below). Blocker Fellows receive a stipend intended to offset the cost of meals, airfare, books and course materials, local transportation, and residence permit.
Additional expenses not covered include laundry, entertainment, and independent travel. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1500 for these additional expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on your specific situation.
Only those applying for and receiving a Julius G. Blocker ’53 Fellowship will be considered for admission. Further information about this funding opportunity is available HERE. You may complete the Blocker Fellowship application materials (including a Blocker-specific essay and related questions) as part of your online study abroad application, all of which must be submitted by the published application deadline.
HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be considered for admission to this program.
- This program is offered every semester.
- All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and typically will be in late September/early October (for Fall programs) and late February/early March (for Spring programs).
IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) published for this program. A new version, with updated information, will be made available each semester. Program participants will receive their updated handbook approximately 2-3 months prior to their program’s start date.
FALL HANDBOOK / SPRING HANDBOOK
Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until you have received final confirmation of the program start/finish dates for the specific semester you are attending. Dates included in versions of the program handbook intended for previous semesters do not necessarily apply to future programs.
NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.
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