Learning Abroad for German Studies Majors

Any student of German studies will benefit from combining language study with first-hand experience of the complex workings of German-speaking cultures, past and present, within the context of global change. Study abroad deepens academic experience by creating opportunities to challenge theory and to engage practice. —Karen Remmler

The German Studies Department strongly encourages all of its majors and minors to take advantage of a learning opportunity abroad in a German-speaking country. Learning abroad will provide unique study and/or research opportunities that will greatly expand a student’s understanding of, and engagement with, the language and culture of the countries where German is spoken.

By immersing themselves in the culture and language, students will engage in cross-cultural learning and develop competencies necessary for international careers and true citizenship in a global world. Seniors with demonstrated achievement in language learning, cultural immersion, global perspective-taking, and cross-cultural learning may also qualify for the Global Competence Award.

Note that students planning to study abroad must normally elect at least one German studies course in each semester prior to their semester or year abroad.

Study Abroad

The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives Study Abroad website is also an excellent resource for programs, application procedures, deadlines, financial aid, and more. Laurel Fellowships (need-based financial aid) are readily available to qualified students.

Where to Study
The German Studies Department recommends Mount Holyoke’s exchange partner in Germany, the University of Leipzig.  

  • Universität Leipzig: Eligible students who qualify for need-based financial aid on the basis of the cost of the exchange are guaranteed Laurel Fellowships. The number of exchange places is limited (generally two to four students per year), but the College typically is able to nominate all qualified students.  Application for the exchange is open to qualified students regardless of their financial aid status. The exchange student pays a reduced tuition rate to MHC; no tuition is paid to Leipzig.  Mount Holyoke students may apply to study on exchange at the University of Leipzig for a full academic year or for the second semester.  At Leipzig's discretion, MHC may designate one exchange student to receive a stipend from the University to help cover living expenses.  Students selected for the exchange are also eligible for one of three Barrett Travel Awards ($1,000.00 each) to cover travel expenses and may also apply for an Evelyn Finkbeiner Fellowship Award for Study Abroad.  

Students may also choose to apply to one of the other approved programs in a German-speaking country.

For a list of where past and present majors have studied and a summary of the courses they have taken abroad, check this searchable database.  Note that this is not a definitive list of what is possible and should serve only as a useful guide and planning resource.

When to Study
Most students elect to study in a German-speaking country in their junior year.

The department strongly encourages all majors or potential majors to spend an entire year abroad. Some double majors may elect to spend only one semester abroad. However, since the fall semester in German-speaking countries often lasts until mid-February and therefore conflicts with the spring semester here, students who decide to study abroad for one semester ordinarily will need to do so in the spring.

Currently, the only approved program for direct enrollment in a German university for fall semester only is the University of Mannheim (through the University of Massachusetts Baden-Württemberg Exchange); students may also apply to approved IES programs for the fall semester, but will be limited to program courses (which end in December) and will not be able to enroll in university courses.

Credit Transfer
Please read the credit transfer page on the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives' website for general information about study abroad credit transfer. For the German major or minor, please note that courses taught in German, and whose topic has to do with German studies broadly defined, will generally be accepted for 200 or 300-level credit toward the German studies major or minor.

Students should keep in close touch with their advisor(s) before and during their time abroad, especially when they are in the process of selecting courses, to determine whether a particular course could potentially count towards the major or minor. Note that students can normally not count more than two courses taken abroad for 300-level credit towards the German studies major.

Students should consult the department's Study Abroad Credit Transfer Guidelines for more detailed information on credit transfer.

Summer Internships and Research Abroad

A summer internship or research project in a German-speaking country allows students to use the German language and to apply what they have learned to explore possible career paths. It is also a wonderful opportunity to engage with other German speakers in a different cultural context.

  • There are a number of important scholarship opportunities for students who would like to pursue a summer internship in a German-speaking country.
  • Funding is available through the Lynk Universal Application Form (UAF). For more details about internship opportunities and funding, please contact Kirk Lange, Director of International Experiential learning at the McCulloch Center.  

The DAAD RISE program offers funded summer research opportunities in Germany for students in the sciences. There is more information on our awards page. 

We highly support students who intend to pursue an internship related to their German Studies either in Germany or elsewhere. Students will work, e.g., for the Center of European Policy Analysis, a Washington, D.C. based political think tank; the chemistry department of the University of Aachen, Germany; the U.S. Embassy in Berlin; the State Department in Washington, D.C.; the Global Fund for Women in San Francisco; the U.S. Consulate in Leipzig; the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst; and the Jamyang Education Foundation for Buddhist Women in India.

  • Max Planck Institute
  • Technische Universität, Chemnitz, Germany
  • Flüchtingskirche Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Join the Intern Network to connect with current and former interns, and employers and talk to the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives and the Career Development Center about additional student evaluations of past international internships.

Next Steps

Students interested in exploring possibilities for learning abroad are encouraged to contact the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. April Stroud is the primary advisor for study abroad, and Kirk Lange can offer guidance on internships or research abroad. Students should also consult with their advisor about how they can best connect and integrate learning abroad with their work in the major.