Germany Study Abroad Summer 2019
Image: After the guided tour of Tempelhofer Airport, Berlin
Trajectory of Democracy from 1919-2019 was the topic of a 12-day study abroad trip to Germany during summer 2019, which gave students an introduction to the 100 years of German history from 1919-2019 in the context of cultural, political, architectural, visual, literary, and artistic movements. Nine students and two professors from the German Section of the World Languages and Cultures Department examined the significance of democratic struggles, and the developments after 1919, 1945, and 1989 in German society by visiting sites in the capital city of Berlin, Potsdam, and Weimar.
Before departing to Germany, the students participated in learning activities at the University of Montana campus in Missoula to prepare them for the trip. The course, German Culture and Civilization, was worth three credits and was open to all students no matter their major, but it also counted as an elective toward a German major/minor or the European Studies minor. Neither German language nor German studies was a prerequisite, although the majority of students had finished courses in the 200 or 300 level of German prior to the trip.
The group stayed in Berlin for a week and enjoyed a day excursion to the city of Potsdam, including Potsdam University. The university’s international office hosted the group and gave them a tour of the campus and information about the university. From Berlin, the group went to Weimar for the remainder of the trip, learning about the Weimarer Republic and the Bauhaus movement and visiting the memorial site of the former concentration camp of Buchenwald.
Here are impressions from some of the participating students:
“There is something magical about seeing important historical German monuments in person. History comes alive at the Berlin Wall or Sanssouci Palace. Beyond the cultural aspects, which were life-changing, experiencing these moments with the study abroad students made this a once-in-a-life-time opportunity.”
“It was amazing to see how Germans blend together the old and the new. After visiting the University of Potsdam (UM’s partner University in Germany), I knew I wanted to study there as part of a semester-long study abroad program.”
“Studying abroad in Germany was an unforgettable experience. One thing that I am taking away from this study trip is a never-ending passion for German history. Being able to see the history of such a dynamic culture in person is unforgettable.”
“Having the opportunity to travel to a country where the specific language you study is spoken and used is invaluable. Being immersed in the locations and culture is extremely helpful to put into practice concepts learned in classroom settings. This practical application of language skills was the most challenging and rewarding aspect of our study abroad class. Being able to visit sites that were discussed in culture and history courses, puts them into a more tangible perspective. All together the experience was well worth it, and I plan to return to German-speaking countries for future studies.”
“This study abroad was a whirlwind of learning, which was only made better by not being in the classroom. By visiting museums, landmarks, and different sites and cities, we were able to clearly see the human element through history. It was an amazing trip and I came away understanding German culture and language more than ever before.”
“I had a great time on the trip to Germany. One of my favorite things about the trip was visiting the town of Potsdam. The town is full of museums and historical monuments. It feels almost impossible to walk around and not run into a historically significant building. The country is beautiful and full of wonder places to explore.”
“The Summer 2019 Study Abroad Program 100 Years of Democracy was an unforgettable experience. Before the trip even happened, Professors H. Arens and L. Ametsbichler and the University of Montana SELL Office were all very accommodating to me, as I am an MSU student. They made sure I had everything set up and ready to go, which was very nice. Going to Germany is hands-down the greatest experience of my life thus far. Seeing where history that I only previously read about actually took place was a surreal moment. The Berlin Wall Museum, the Weimar Republic Museum, and the Buchenwald Memorial were standouts for me. Seeing those places are experiences that I will never forget. The other great part about this trip was that we had time to explore parts of Berlin and Weimar on our own. Some of my favorite parts of the trip were places found off the beaten path. I would highly encourage the University to further fund this trip and would suggest it to anyone interested in studying abroad.”
Some of these photos (and more) are on the World Languages and Cultures at the University of Montana Facebook page.