EDUCATION ABROAD PROGRAM (EAP) OPTIONS IN GERMANY
A letter from Scott McElhinney, our Advisor for the German Study Abroad Program
Why Study in Germany? To learn all about this great nation and its fascinating culture — its history, music, intellectuals, scientists, sports, politics, reunification, environmentalism, food, beer, wine, etc. And of course, its rich language and literature. While many Germans speak English, very few Americans know German well enough to carry on a conversation, let alone carry out serious academic pursuits. EAP gives you opportunities to do both. And what’s unique and helpful about studying abroad via EAP (UC’s very own program) is that all your Financial Aid goes with you, and your courses and grades transfer back automatically to your Cal transcript. Plus, Germany is one of the least expensive EAP programs in Western Europe and you can apply for scholarships to help you pay for it. So take a look at these brief descriptions of the various options in Germany and see which one fits your interests. Then go to the Berkeley Programs for Study Abroad website for all the details.
Don’t know a word of German? Studied 1-3 semesters of German already? Either way is OK! Just apply in early October for the Spring program in Language and Culture in Potsdam, a beautiful and historic city on the outskirts of Berlin. You’ll learn 1.5 to 2 semesters worth of German in just one semester, April through July. You’ll live in a single dorm room near the New Palace campus or in an apartment in the city. An excellent way to jump-start your German! A GPA of 2.5 will suffice; sophomores through grad students may participate..
Would you rather focus on courses taught in English about Berlin, Germany, and the European Union, plus take a German language course as well? Then consider the Berlin European Studies (BEST) program at Free University. No prior German is required (and no more than German 3 is allowed). A GPA of 2.85 is required; sophomores through seniors may participate. You can live in a homestay or in an apartment with other UC or American students.
So you’d like to do an old-fashioned Junior Year Abroad in Germany? No problem! Semesters are available, too, and senior year works for many student as well. You can study at Technical, Free, or Humboldt University in Berlin.
If you want to do this “immersion” option, you can either take up through German 4 by the end of the Spring Semester before you want to go on EAP for the year or Fall Semester or you can take up through German 2 or 3 by the end of the Spring Semester before you want to go and participate in the pre-Intensive Language Program (pre-ILP) in July in Berlin to learn the rest of second year German. Then you’ll be ready to enter the Intensive Language Program that all participants must take before starting regular courses alongside the German students beginning in October.
At first this might seem daunting, but gradually your German skills will improve sufficiently for you to do well in your classes. Every year, many UC students accomplish this and by the end of the year are quite proficient at a very high academic level. You can do it, too! This can serve you well if you go on to graduate school and want to do research in German-speaking areas, or if you want to do business of any kind in Germany or other parts of the world.
Spending a full year in Germany allows your German skills to develop to a very high degree, plus it enables you to get to know the country and culture more deeply. You’re more likely to make close friendships by staying for a year, as well.
If you can’t participate for an entire year, it’s still possible to do half a year of regular coursework. Fall Semester is problematic unless you are a graduating senior because it continues on until March, so other students would encounter the problem of missing Spring Semester back at Cal. The Advanced Spring Semester would be a better option for students who don’t want to miss two semesters here, but since there is no Intensive Language Program before this option (yet), you’d need to take through German 4 plus one upper division course taught in German. [EAP hopes to initiate an ILP for the Spring 2011 program so that only German 4 would be required before departure. Check the EAP website for updates.] The Spring Advanced (immersion) Program (April through July) has an early October application deadline.
All Fall and Year immersion options have an early January application deadline.
For all of these immersion options, Junior status and GPAs of 2.85 overall and in your German language courses are required.
You can live in a single dorm room with German floormates so you can practice the German you’ve worked so hard to learn and apartments are also readily available.
So no matter what your class level, language level, or major, you’ll find an EAP option that can help you to get first-hand experience in Germany. What are you waiting for? Just click onto the EAP website to see photos, read student comments, and to get additional information and an application. Go for it!
For all questions about UC’s Education Abroad Program, please contact the UC Berkeley Education Abroad Advisor, Scott McElhinney.