Join us in Berlin for an insider’s experience of Germany on this Pre-College summer program for high school students. Broaden your horizons with in-depth, field-based seminars as you become part of an inspiring and supportive community of instructors and students from around the world. Choose two seminars and dive into your subject matter through engaging discussions, site visits, and hands-on projects that immerse you in German life.
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Dates: July 1, 2020 – July 21, 2020
Eligibility: Completing grades 9 – 12
Duration: 21 days
- Learn about Berlin’s Jewish history at the famous Holocaust Memorial
- Explore the royal gardens of Frederick the Great’s summer palace
- Photograph the winding cobblestone streets of Potsdam’s Dutch Quarter
- Travel to Dresden to see how the city was reborn after the fall of the wall
Departure • Travel Day • Meet your fellow high school student travelers and a Pre-College representative at JFK Airport in New York, and fly together to Berlin, Germany. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.
Our Berlin Campus • Berlin is considered the melting pot of Germany, known for its vibrant art scene, diverse culinary offerings, and varied architecture. It is also home to important historic sites and powerful memorials, reminders of the country’s turbulent history, including remnants of the Berlin Wall and memorials for victims of the World Wars and the Holocaust. From our centrally located residence, explore modern and historical Berlin, and learn the story of a city that has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Seminars •Choose two seminars—a major and a minor—and explore Berlin through the lens of your chosen subjects. Begin with classroom discussions that frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits, meetings with local experts, and field trips. Berlin’s rich historical, architectural, and cultural background makes it the perfect setting for our field-based seminars. Capped at ten students, our dynamic seminars are designed to encourage hands-on, place-based, collaborative learning.
Dive into the history of Germany and the European Union in seminars focused on World War II and International Relations. Discuss current immigration policy with German citizens, as well as recently resettled refugees, to get a more nuanced perspective on this complex issue. Practice your German language skills in a cooking course as you also learn about German culinary traditions, and witness firsthand the architectural contrasts between old East and West Germany. Visit Berlin’s spectacular Museuminsel to explore history, art, and science through the carefully curated exhibits.
At the end of your program, showcase your work in a final project, installation, gallery, or performance. Display your travel photography in a pop-up gallery, present your findings from your History of WWII seminar, or deliver a short talk in the German language.
Afternoon & Evening Activities • Explore subjects outside of your seminars, relax, and have fun participating in enriching afternoon activities. Bike the path of the Berlin Wall, immerse your senses in the Turkish market at Maybachufer, then delve into automotive history at a classic car museum. Go hiking in Grunewald, take in street art and art exhibits, and sample the city’s currywurst offerings. Cap each evening with a full group meeting to reflect on the day.
Excursions • Take an overnight excursion to Dresden, a city subject to one of the worst bombings on German soil during WWII. The bombing, which was the inspiration for Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five, destroyed the city center, much of which was left unrepaired until after reunification in 1989. Photograph the gardens at Der Zwinger, the steeples of the Frauenkirche cathedral, and the view of the Hofkirche at sunset. Grab a picnic lunch at one of the many food carts found along the Elbe River and stroll the winding streets of the historic city center. From Dresden take a day trip to the Sachische Schweiz, a national park in the Elbe Valley. Hike the ancient rocky staircases to the peak for stunning views of the Elbe River and villages below. Enjoy a well-earned heisse schokolade before descending.
Return • Travel Day • Fly from Berlin, Germany to New York with your group and a Pre-College representative, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.
This description represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.
This was our daughter’s best social and academic experience ever.— Carlos Martnez & Barbara Oliva-Martínez, Mexico City, Mexico
A Day in the Life: Berlin
Due to the dynamic nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Berlin.
9 AM • Enjoy breakfast in the residence with your group
10 AM • Meet with your major seminar in the classroom to identify topics for the day
11 AM • Head into the field—on architectural site visits, for instance, or interviewing locals about immigration
2 PM • Break for lunch on the town with friends and your instructor
4 PM • Bicycle around the city with a guide to see Checkpoint Charlie and other historic landmarks
7 PM • Convene for Community Meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule
8 PM • Eat dinner out in small groups, and go to a theatre performance in the city
Choose a major and a minor seminar and get an in-depth understanding of Berlin and the surrounding area. Majors meet most days and minors meet twice a week. Capped at ten students, seminars are serious but fun, encouraging immersive, place-based learning. Frame your seminar concepts and identify key issues in the classroom. Take the learning beyond the classroom with site visits in and around Berlin that add context and depth to the course material. Cap off your studies with a final project or installation to share your work.
MAJOR SEMINARS (click on seminar to read the full description)
MINOR SEMINARS (click on seminar to read the full description)
What to Expect
Seminars • Seminars are interactive and collaborative, and use the streets of Berlin and Dresden as their classroom. You can expect to meet with local and regional experts, artists, entrepreneurs, and guest speakers during the program. Each seminar works toward a final project—a short film, a business proposal, a performance piece, a gallery opening, or a dramatic reading, to give a few examples—which you present to fellow participants on the final night of the program. Parents and families are welcome to attend this final presentation!
Afternoons & Evenings • Each day brings new adventures and a variety of activities from which to choose. Instructors lead activities and often bring in guest instructors or local experts and students are encouraged to suggest activities and excursions they would be excited to join.
Physical Activity • This is a physically active summer program. You can expect to spend most of each day outside and on the move with your seminar group, and to walk, swim, or play pick-up soccer or basketball. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.
Accommodations • Our accommodations in Berlin are dormitory-style, with all students in single rooms with private ensuite bathrooms. We have access to common space and classrooms for community meetings and seminars. Leaders reside on the same hall with the students throughout the program.
Meals • We begin each day together with breakfast at our residence. For lunches, seminar groups may eat together or we break into small groups of three or more students to eat at a restaurant of their choice. Please note that lunches are not included in the tuition. We eat dinners at restaurants in small groups of staff and students to discover Berlin’s culinary scene.
I remember that we went to an art store to get supplies for our class, one day we did a stop motion film, and we even went to a coffee shop so we could get coffee and work on our projects. I LOVED the leaders. I would recommend this to anyone.— Molly H., T.C. Roberson High School, Arden, NC