Learning Abroad for German Studies Majors and Minors
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 crosscultural learning and develop competencies necessary for international careers and true citizenship in a global world.
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.
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.
Where to Study:
The German Studies Department recommends Mount Holyoke’s exchange partners in Germany, the Universities of Bonn, Leipzig, and Potsdam. Mount Holyoke may nominate students to study for a full academic year or spring semester at these universities:
- Universität Bonn: Students who wish to study for an entire year in Bonn are eligible for the special exchange fellowship. Priority for the fellowship is given to undergraduate students who receive financial aid from Mount Holyoke. To apply, students must complete the separate application for a Laurel Fellowship. The student selected as the recipient of the exchange fellowship pays no tuition and receives a stipend from the university to cover basic living expenses. The student selected for the exchange fellowship is also eligible for a Barrett Travel Award ($1,000.00) to cover travel expenses. Students interested in this exchange should read the extremely valuable informational pamphlet written by MHC students who spent the year in Bonn.
- Universität Leipzig: Students who wish to study for an entire year in Leipzig are eligible for the special exchange fellowship. Priority for the fellowship is given to undergraduate students who receive financial aid from Mount Holyoke. To apply, students must complete the separate application for a Laurel Fellowship. The student selected as the recipient of the exchange fellowship pays no tuition and receives a stipend from the university to cover basic living expenses. The student selected for the exchange fellowship is also eligible for a Barrett Travel Award ($1,000.00) to cover travel expenses. Students interested in this exchange should read the extremely valuable informational pamphlet written and revised by MHC students who spent the year in Leipzig.
- Universität Potsdam: Students interested in this exchange must apply for a Laurel Fellowship to cover basic living costs. Please speak to Joanne Picard, Dean of International Studies, in the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives, for more information about the Potsdam Exchange. Students interested in this exchange should read the extremely valuable informational pamphlet written by MHC students who spent the year in Potsdam.
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 German studies majors have studied and a summary of the courses that they took 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.
Please read the credit transfer page on the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives' web site 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 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. The department maintains a Web page with the most up-to-date internship and scholarship opportunities for students who would like to pursue a summer internship in a German-speaking country.
The DAAD RISE program offers funded summer research opportunities in Germany for students in the sciences.
Students have the option of developing their own summer internship or research project. Support for unpaid opportunities is available through the Universal Application Funding (UAF), which offers students access to funding from a variety of College fellowship sources to cover travel and living expenses for the duration of the project. Students with a family contribution of less than $5000 may also receive a $500 grant to apply towards their summer earnings contribution. Both the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives and the Career Development Center have student evaluations of past international internships on file.