Duke in Berlin

SEMESTER & YEARLONG PROGRAMS

Study a mix of subjects at two German universities in Berlin

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No prior knowledge of German required

The Program

Duke in Berlin was founded at the Freie Universität Berlin (Free University Berlin) in 1988 a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall. All Duke in Berlin sessions—Fall, Spring, and Academic Year—are designed to accommodate all students, regardless of their prior study or knowledge of German. No prior knowledge of German is required to attend.

All three semesters are primarily based at the Free University. Students attend Duke University courses taught by German faculty and by the program’s resident director. Students with sufficient German may take courses at the two Berlin universities that Duke in Berlin works closely with (Free University and Technical University). Qualified engineering students may take courses at the Technical University in Berlin during the spring semester. The courses taught by Duke in Berlin faculty help students advance their language skills, deepen their understanding of German culture, and broaden their grasp of the social sciences, humanities, and technology in a German and European context.

The City

Berlin is the capital of Germany and is the largest city in the European Union. As one of the major metropolitan centers of the world, Berlin offers students a wealth of opportunities. Berlin boasts innumerable places to explore and sights to see: lively streets lined with restaurants offering foods from all corners of the world, quaint neighborhoods inviting you to take a relaxing stroll, 175 museums showcasing art and cultural exhibits from around the globe, a vibrant street art scene, three opera houses and two symphonies, scores of theaters and music venues featuring performances in both German and English, as well as an abundance of parks, forests, and lakes, allowing you to enjoy nature right outside your doorstep. Berlin is also a city of higher education with four universities and nearly 100,000 students, a fifth of them from abroad, and around 20,000 researchers and professors. Student life is lively, diverse, and intellectually stimulating. Spending time is Berlin is exciting on so many levels.

The Universities

The program offers courses at two universities: the fall and spring-summer program is based at the Free University in former West Berlin. Engineering courses may be taken at the Technical University in the spring. 

The Free University Berlin (FU) was founded in 1948 in former West Berlin by professors and students. Since 2007, the FU has been one of only 11 German universities selected as an Exzellenzuniversität, a university of excellence, and ranks 4th among German universities. 34,000 students are enrolled at the FU who can choose from 170 degree programs.

The Technical University Berlin (TU) traces its origin back to 1770. However, the university underwent numerous reconfigurations until arriving at its current status as Germany's first technical university in 1946. Just like the FU, the TU was also named an Exzellenzuniversität, ranking 7th among German universities. Today, the TU enrolls about 34,000 students. 

 

 

PROGRAM FAST FACTS

Location: Berlin, Germany

Term: Fall, Spring, or Academic Year

Dates: August 22, 2024 - December 8, 2024 (Fall); February 8, 2024 - July 31, 2024 (Spring); January 11, 2024 - July 31, 2024 (Spring Engineering/Beginner Track)

Application Deadline: March 1 (Fall and Academic Year); October 1 (Spring)

Academic Theme(s): German Language and Culture

Credit Type: Duke Credit (Fall) or Hybrid Credit (Spring or AY)

Eligibility: Applicants must be in good academic standing with a B average. Non-Duke students are welcome to apply.

Duke Affiliation: Duke Department of Germanic Languages & Literature

Housing: Homestays

GEO Advising: Request an appointment 

  • Students at the East Gallery, featuring part of the former Berlin Wall

  • The Berlin Cathedral

  • Students at the Berlin Cathedral

  • Potsdamer Platz

  • Students on top of the Reichstag

  • A view of Berlin from the Reichstag

Duke in Berlin Video by Rory Bradley

ACADEMICS

German Major and Minor: Most students who participate in a Duke in Berlin semester program are eligible to pursue a German major or minor. The German major requires 10 courses in German at or above the 200-level. The German minor requires five courses at or above the 200-level. All courses at the 200-level or above offered through Duke in Berlin count toward the major and minor.

  • FALL
  • SPRING
  • ENGINEERING

FALL

The fall program for students with beginning through advanced German offers a two-credit language and culture class taught in German (GERMAN 111A, GERMAN 112A, GERMAN 211A, GERMAN 212A, or GERMAN 312AS). Additionally, students take two of the three courses taught in English. Duke in Berlin offers a computer science class, an art history class, and a political science class. Students earn a full semester of Duke University academic credit

Prerequisites

Applicants must be in good academic standing with a B average. A letter of recommendation from a professor of German (if applicant has taken German) is required.

Special note to students with no prior German: For those students applying to the Fall program without any prior German (or without any German courses at Duke or their home institution), the required letter of recommendation may come from any instructor.

Courses & Credits

GERMAN 111A
Intensive First-Year German
(FL) 2.0 credits

Students will be exposed to the fields of reading, writing, listening, and speaking and will be trained so that they can take full advantage of being in Germany. After a short period, students will be able to communicate with native German speakers on a basic level. The course combines in one semester the work of German 101 and 102. Taught by program faculty.

GERMAN 112A
First-Year German II
(FL) 1.0 credit

Second-semester introductory language course. Practice in spoken and written German (speaking, listening, reading, writing); introduction to German culture and society through film, music, literature, and other authentic materials. Communicative approach to language study focuses on learning to use German in meaningful contexts across a variety of real-life situations and genres. Taught by program faculty.

GERMAN 211A 
Intermediate German I
(CZ, FL) 1.0 credit

Intermediate-level German course continuing instruction begun in German 102. Focus on developing German language abilities and expanding cultural knowledge through topic-oriented syllabus on cultures of the German-speaking world. Comprehensive review of grammar, vocabulary building, with continued practice in speaking, reading, listening, and writing. Literary and nonliterary texts from a variety of media provide basis for discussion and cultural awareness. Recommended prerequisite: German 101-102, 111, or equivalent. Taught by program faculty.

GERMAN 212A 
Intensive Intermediate German
(CZ, FL) 2.0 credits

Intensive grammar review and practice of spoken and written German. The course combines in one semester the work of German 203 and 204. Taught by program faculty. 

GERMAN 312AS 
Advanced Intensive German Language and Culture
(ALP, CCI, CZ, FL, W) 2.0 credits

Development of advanced proficiency with particular emphasis on speaking and writing. Through analysis of literary and nonliterary texts, excursions, museums, films, theater performances, students gain in-depth knowledge of various aspects of German culture and society. Advanced grammar review, vocabulary building, oral presentations, as well as a variety of writing assignments. This course fulfills major requirement for German 305S and German 306S. Taught by program faculty.

ARTHIST 296A / GERMAN 322A
Berlin: Architecture, Art, and the City, 1871 to the Present
(ALP, CCI, CZ) 1.0 credit

Development of urban Berlin, from the Gründerzeit (the Founding Years) of the 1870s to the present. Architecture of Imperial Berlin, the Weimar and Nazi periods, post-World War II and the reconstruction as a unified city, from late Historicism to Postmodernism. Taught by program faculty. 

POLSCI 288A / GERMAN 324A
The Ghost of Polarization Haunting Western Democracies: Why are our societies becoming ever more polarized, why is that a problem and how can we stop it?

(CZ, SS, CCI) 1.0 credit
Pre-requisites: None

This seminar aims for understanding the ongoing political developments in western democracies in the light of most recent research. Our prime topic will be the all-encompassing issue of societal polarization. In particular, the class will focus on how and which political processes benefit and hamper polarization. Most recent studies will reflect upon recent political developments in the France, Germany, the UK and the US. 

The seminar has five goals: For one, to understand the fundamental political processes currently at play in western democracies; secondly, to comprehend the key factor of polarization as source and driver of these developments in the light of recent literature; thirdly, to digest which forms of political communication hamper and benefit societal polarization; fourthly, to critically reflect the role of the academic system within these polarizing political debates; finally, to understand the link between polarization in western democracies and their chances to counter the authoritarian threat posed by China and Russia. Taught by program faculty.

COMPSCI 190A
Applied Conversational AI: Build Your Own Chatbot
(QS, STS) 1.0 credit
Pre-requisite: None

This course invites students to study conversational agents and build their own chatbot. You will learn about the history of chatbots, the different types, their status quo and applications, and the challenges associated with building a powerful conversation agent. At the end of the course, you will have a solid understanding of chatbot architecture and
components, as well as appreciate their conceptual dependency on Computer Science, Linguistics, Psychology, and Philosophy.

You will build your own chatbots using a framework created by Berlin-based startup RASA, and we will meet with members of Berlin’s thriving AI startup community. 

The 300-level course will include more advanced work, including a deeper dive into the architecture of a typical conversation agent where you will be asked to write and deploy your own tailormade components to boost your agents’ performance. Taught by program faculty.

COMPSCI 390A
Applied Conversational AI: Build Your Own Chatbot
(QS, STS) 1.0 credit
Pre-requisite: COMPSCI 200 (Proficiency in Python programming required. Knowledge in Natural Language Processing is a plus but not required.)

This course invites students to study conversational agents and build their own chatbot. You will learn about the history of chatbots, the different types, their status quo and applications, and the challenges associated with building a powerful conversation agent. At the end of the course, you will have a solid understanding of chatbot architecture and
components, as well as appreciate their conceptual dependency on Computer Science, Linguistics, Psychology, and Philosophy.

You will build your own chatbots using a framework created by Berlin-based startup RASA, and we will meet with members of Berlin’s thriving AI startup community. 

The 300-level course will include more advanced work, including a deeper dive into the architecture of a typical conversation agent where you will be asked to write and deploy your own tailormade components to boost your agents’ performance. Taught by program faculty.

GERMAN 327SA / ECON 327A / ENVIRON 339A
Environmental Economics and Policy

(SS, EI, STS) 1.0 credit
Pre-requisite: Students enrolling in this course should have completed Econ 101 or Env 155

This course focuses on the relationship between economics and the environment, aiming to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand, analyze, and address pressing environmental challenges. The course will highlight the relationship between economic activity and its environmental impact through a European and German lens. Since many environmental issues are often the result of or stand in conflict with economic interests, this course also reflects on the ethical implications of human behaviors and their relationship to environmental policy.

*All courses subject to change.

SPRING

Duke Courses and German University Courses

Students will be enrolled by the Duke GEO into the Duke courses. In the Spring program you will be enrolled in up to three course credits for Duke credit.

Trinity students with no previous German knowledge arrive in January and are enrolled in GERMAN 111A, Intensive First-Year German, for 2 course credits. 

Pratt School of Engineering students are enrolled in GERMAN 213A, Intensive Intermediate German for Engineers, for 1 course credit.  

All students with previous German knowledge arrive in February and are enrolled in GERMAN 319AS, Advanced Intensive German, for 1 course credit.  

In addition, all students, regardless of their knowledge of German are enrolled in GERMAN 352AS, Berlin in Literature and Culture, for 1 course credit.  

All students may opt to enroll in either COMPSCI 190A/COMPSCI 390A, Applied Conversational AI: Build Your Own Chatbot, or in GERMAN 354SA, Contemporary Art in Berlin, for 1 course credit each. Both courses are taught in English. 

Students who begin the program in January will be registered for a total of 3 Duke course credits. Students who begin the program in February will be registered for a total of 2 course credits. Because full-time enrollment is at least 4 course credits you must ensure that you combine your Duke course enrollment with German university courses for a total of at least 4 course credits. University courses may be taken at the Freie Universität or the Technische Universität for transfer credit.  

In consultation with Resident Director Tin Wegel, you may elect to take a total of up to 6 combined courses credits, which means that you would choose additional university courses. 

All Duke courses earn Duke course credit, and grades from those courses are calculated into your GPA. All courses taken at German universities earn transfer credit only. 

If you have questions about courses prior to leaving the U.S., please contact the Academic Director at Duke. If you have questions or concerns about courses, professors, or the logistics of class assignments while in Berlin, please contact the Resident Director in Berlin. More information on courses can be found on the Duke in Berlin website: 

https://globaled.duke.edu/programs/berlin_semester 
 

NON-DUKE STUDENTS 
 

Please contact the study abroad office or academic advisor at your home institution to discuss the rules and regulations governing transfer credit from the Duke in Berlin program. At the end of your semester or academic year in Berlin, you will need to have a Duke transcript sent to the appropriate office at your home institution for the evaluation of transfer credit. Your final transcript will not be sent to your home institution automatically, so you must request it yourself from the Duke University Registrar. To request this and other transcripts, download the Transcript Request Form or use the online request from the Registrar’s website: https://registrar.duke.edu/  

A $120 one-time, lifetime transcript fee is included in your tuition and program fees for Duke in Berlin, so no fees are charged later for ordering transcripts. 
 

Transfer-Credit Courses at Freie Universität and Technische Universität 

For the courses that you will take at either Freie Universität or Technische Universität you will receive transfer credit. These courses require prior approval by Duke University. The Global Education Office maintains a GEO Approved Course Database where you can search whether the course in question has already been approved. For any course at the two universities which have not yet been approved and are not in the database you must request approval. Please consult this website https://courses.globaled.duke.edu/ for further information on the course approval process. 
 

Application Materials

The selection of students for the program is based on a transcript review, a letter of recommendation from a professor of German (if applicant has studied German), a second letter of recommendation from any faculty member, and a statement of purpose. Students with no previous German language instruction can provide recommendation letters from any two faculty members. A review of the student's application and consultation with the Academic Director and Resident Director will determine language course placement in Berlin.

Courses & Credits

GERMAN 111A
Intensive First-Year German
(FL) 2.0 credits

Students will be exposed to the fields of reading, writing, listening, and speaking and will be trained so that they can take full advantage of being in Germany. After a short period, students will be able to communicate with native German speakers on a basic level. The course combines in one semester the work of German 101 and 102. Taught by program faculty.

GERMAN 319AS 
Advanced Intensive German
(CCI, CZ, FL) 1.0 credit

For advanced students to solidify and strengthen all four language skills: comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Discussion of current events from a German cultural perspective based on various media. Equivalent of German 305S or 306S. Taught by program faculty. 

GERMAN 352AS 
Berlin in Literature and Culture
(ALP, CCI, FL) 1.0 credit

Examines at the works of modern German writers with a special focus on Berlin and the political-cultural heritage. Emphasis on the art and architecture of the city as well as the vibrant cultural scene. Taught by program faculty.

GERMAN 354SA / ARTHIST 212A
Contemporary Art in Berlin 
(ALP, CCI, FL) 1.0 credit

Overview of the main locations, events, and protagonists of the contemporary Berlin art scene. Examination of art and its omnipresence in the urban environment; includes explorations of street art, art in public spaces, museums, private collections, galleries, studios, and art academies. Taught by program faculty. 

NEW For Spring 2024! 

COMPSCI 190A
Applied Conversational AI: Build Your Own Chatbot
(QS, STS) 1.0 credit
Pre-requisite: None

This course invites students to study conversational agents and build their own chatbot. You will learn about the history of chatbots, the different types, their status quo and applications, and the challenges associated with building a powerful conversation agent. At the end of the course, you will have a solid understanding of chatbot architecture and
components, as well as appreciate their conceptual dependency on Computer Science, Linguistics, Psychology, and Philosophy.

You will build your own chatbots using a framework created by Berlin-based startup RASA, and we will meet with members of Berlin’s thriving AI startup community. 

The 300-level course will include more advanced work, including a deeper dive into the architecture of a typical conversation agent where you will be asked to write and deploy your own tailormade components to boost your agents’ performance. Taught by program faculty.

COMPSCI 390A
Applied Conversational AI: Build Your Own Chatbot
(QS, STS) 1.0 credit
Pre-requisite: COMPSCI 200 (Proficiency in Python programming required. Knowledge in Natural Language Processing is a plus but not required.)

This course invites students to study conversational agents and build their own chatbot. You will learn about the history of chatbots, the different types, their status quo and applications, and the challenges associated with building a powerful conversation agent. At the end of the course, you will have a solid understanding of chatbot architecture and
components, as well as appreciate their conceptual dependency on Computer Science, Linguistics, Psychology, and Philosophy.

You will build your own chatbots using a framework created by Berlin-based startup RASA, and we will meet with members of Berlin’s thriving AI startup community. 

The 300-level course will include more advanced work, including a deeper dive into the architecture of a typical conversation agent where you will be asked to write and deploy your own tailormade components to boost your agents’ performance. Taught by program faculty.

GERMAN 226SA or GERMAN ​​​​​​326SA
Practicum Seminar: German Business and Business Practices

(CCI, FL) 1.0 credit

 

*All courses subject to change.

 

ENGINEERING

Spring Engineering Track

The Spring Engineering track gives students in all engineering majors (biomedical, civil and environmental, electrical, and mechanical) an opportunity to develop advanced proficiency in German through intensive language study from January through March and to take engineering courses in their major at the Technical University (TU) from April through July.

GERMAN 213A (CZ, FL) Intensive Intermediate German for Engineers is a 4-week, 1 credit course taught by program faculty in January. During this session, students participate in excursions to science museums and cultural sites. Taught by program faculty.

After the conclusion of GERMAN 213A, students take GERMAN 319AS (Advanced Intensive German, see 'Spring' tab).  In this course students develop advanced proficiency in German. Engineering students who have had Intensive Intermediate German for Engineers, as well as the Advanced Intensive German course, will be well qualified to take up to two engineering courses in their field at the TU starting in mid-April.

Courses at the TU run from mid-April until the end of July, so students who begin in January will have had three months of intensive language study plus total immersion in the German language and culture before beginning the content courses. Students who participate in the January course and continue on through July can, as a result of the extended semester, earn up to 6 course credits.

To secure transfer credits for courses taught at the FU or TU, Duke students will have to observe transfer credit policies.

Some courses at the TU have been pre-approved by Duke University and recorded in the GEO Approved Course Database. Courses listed in the database do not have to be re-approved by a departmental DUS.

Activities

Cultural Events

During the fall and spring-summer programs, students are invited to attend a series of cultural events such as concerts, theaters, and operas at no additional charge. The group usually attends up to six such events.

Excursions 

One of the most popular aspects of Duke in Berlin is the series of day trips arranged each semester. These trips combine sightseeing and recreation with connections to the content in the courses taught in the program. Included at no extra cost during the day trips are transportation by train or bus, guided tours, museum visits, and lunch.

Extracurricular Activities

Access to a wide array of activities such as athletics, music, choir, orchestra, swimming, dance courses, basketball, volleyball, soccer, etc. is guaranteed to participating students at little or no extra cost. Also, students are invited to social events such as receptions at universities or dinners as well as informal gatherings like “Stammtisch” to promote cultural understanding.

Language Partner Program

“Tandem,” a German language partner program, assists students in finding one or more people with whom they can meet and practice their conversational German at no additional cost. Students find that such activities have a positive and influential impact on their language acquisition skills and provide a venue for meeting and getting to know Germans.

NON-ACADEMIC INTERNSHIPS

Berlin is a commercial and cultural hub of western Europe. A number of non-academic internship opportunities are available for those students with greater German proficiency and an interest in augmenting their academic work with practical professional experience. With the permission of the program administration, some positions exist for students with limited German language exposure. If you are interested in investigating internships or volunteer opportunities in Berlin, please talk with the Duke in Berlin on-site staff or contact Kayla Soltis-Katella at kayla.soltis-katella@duke.edu.

Housing

Students participating in the program will live with families during their stay in Berlin. The homestays are frequently cited as one of the highlights of the students' experience. In the housing questionnaire which is part of the application process, students are asked to specify the degree to which they would like to be integrated into a host family. Tin Wegel, together with the program assistant Lina-Sofie Raith, works with this information to find each student an accommodating living situation. If, for any reason, a student feels uncomfortable and finds that the match is not quite right, the resident director will work to facilitate communication, mediate, and, if necessary, find a new host for the student.

Duke in Berlin students are encouraged to think of themselves as residents of Berlin, not as tourists. To improve both their linguistic fluency and their cultural understanding, students are asked to immerse themselves in the city. The local hosts they are living with are part of this immersion, offering a springboard to navigate and appreciate Berlin's richness.

Students with further questions regarding homestays are encouraged to contact the Resident Director, Tin Wegel, who can provide more details regarding homestays.

DATES

Note about the German Academic Calendar: The calendars for the two Duke in Berlin semesters are distinctly different due to the German academic calendar. Please note the start and end dates carefully, and make sure you are particularly aware of the length of the Spring semester when considering this program. German universities are generally in session from mid-October until mid-February (Wintersemester) and mid-April until end of July (Sommersemester).

 

  • SPRING 2024
  • FALL 2024

SPRING 2024

Spring 2024: Engineering / Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Freie Universität / Technische Universität

Beginning German and Engineering Program January 2024 Calendar

January 11

Arrival in Berlin and move in with local hosts

January 12-13 Orientation
January 15

German 111 (Beginner instruction) and German 213 (Engineers) begin

Intermediate, Advanced, and Engineering Program Semester 2024 Calendar

February 8

Arrival in Berlin and move in with local hosts

February 9-10 Orientation
February 13

Intermediary and advanced German language courses begin

February 27 Optional Internship Course begins
March 8 No classes on Women's Day (Frauentag)
March 21 All courses except German 352 end
March 22-26 Excursion week 
in April Exact date to be announced: Direct Enrollment Registration at Free University(FU) and Technical University (TU). In-person placement test at the FUB for German Language Courses and Academic Orientation
April 15 Classes begin at FUB and TUB
April 23 German 352 continues
May 1 No classes on Labor Day (Tag der Arbeit)
May 9 No classes on Ascension Day (Christi Himmelfahrt)
May 20 No classes on Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag)
July 20 Classes end at FU, TU, and Duke in Berlin
July 31 Last day of Duke in Berlin and move-out date

All dates for additional excursions, museum visits, and other special events will be announced at the beginning of and throughout the program. Anyone wishing to plan travel in advance should email the Resident Director for Duke in Berlin, Tin Wegel, at christina.wegel@duke.edu.

Exams at the FU and the TU may be scheduled until late July. When making travel arrangements, please do not book your return flight for a date prior to Monday, July 31, 2024.

FALL 2024

Fall 2024 Schedule

August 22

Arrival and move-in with homestay providers

August 23-24 Orientation
August 27 Classes begin
August 30 Excursion 
September 6-8 Weekend excursion 
September 13 Excursion 
September 20 Excursion 
October 3-4 German Unity Day break
October 12-13 Weekend excursion
October 18 Excursion 
October 21-27 Fall break
November 1 Excursion 
November 8 Excursion 
November 15 Excursion 
November 28-29 Thanksgiving break
December 5 Last day of classes
December 6 Farewell reception
December 8 Last day of residency

ESTIMATED COSTS

Fall 2023 and Spring 2024

Estimates are based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change. Spring Engineering/Beginner program costs are in parenthesis.
 

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $31,725 ($36,625) $31,725 ($36,625)
Program Fee $1,300 $1,300
Transcript Fee N/A $120
Other Costs*

See programs' cost sheets

See programs' cost sheets

TOTAL (Estimated) $39,355($44,355) $39,475 ($44,475)

*A customizable program cost sheet that includes a breakdown of other costs is available on the programs' MyExperientialEd brochure page

Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.

Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information.

VISA & PASSPORT

VISA

No visa is required of U.S. citizens to participate in this program. Non-U.S. citizens should pay special attention to the visa requirements for their specific citizenship by contacting the country embassy to find out what the student visa process entails or if any visa restrictions are in effect.

PASSPORT

All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov.

PROGRAM FACULTY & STAFF

In Berlin

The Duke in Berlin on-site staff is available to students before the start of the program and during the entirety of the semester or year that students are in Berlin. The staff is available to students once they have arrived in Berlin and will participate in on-site orientation activities, introducing students to Berlin, the Free University campus and facilities that are available to students, cultural and other activities, and the public transportation system. Duke in Berlin staff are also available to students who are in need of support or have an academic or other issue. In addition, the staff can advise students on travel opportunities within Germany and counsel students on health, safety, and security concerns.

The resident director, Tin Wegel, earned her PhD at UCLA and was a faculty member in the Carolina-Duke Graduate Programing German Studies before returning to her native Germany. She has been at the helm of Duke in Berlin since summer 2021. Together with her Berlin-based staff, she and her team are the go-to source for all matters academic and personal while abroad. The DiB team also places students in homestays.

The program assistant, Lina-Sofie Raith, earned her master’s degree in German as a Foreign Language at Humboldt University in Berlin. She spent several years teaching German abroad, most recently at Duke University. Since 2018 she has been working for Duke in Berlin, organizing homestays and ensuring that the office runs smoothly.

At Duke

Tin Wegel

Resident Director, Duke in Berlin

Andrea Larson

Academic Director

Lina-Sofie Raith

Program Assistant, Duke in Berlin

Kayla Soltis-Katella

GEO Assistant Director

Douglas Huey

GEO Staff Assistant for Programs

ADMISSIONS

Deadline: March 1 (Fall semester/Academic Year); October 1 (Spring semester)

This program has a set application deadline. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.

This program has rolling admission. Applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis until the program fills; after that, qualified students are added to a waitlist and notified of openings. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.

Priority: Priority will be given to juniors and seniors having an overall GPA of 3.0.

Minimum GPA: The minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) required for Duke students wishing to study away during the semester is 2.7 (3.0 for Pratt students) on a scale of 4.0. 

Non-Duke students: Non-Duke students are welcome to apply for this program. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.

APPLY

Start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

Submit the following items using MyExperientialEd

  1. Online application
  2. Transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended. First-year students should wait for fall semester grades to be posted before submitting their transcript.
  3. Personal statement, one page minimum, explaining why you would like to participate on this program
  4. Academic recommendation
  5. Home university approval form (non-Duke students)
  6. Passport copy

 

STUDENT TESTIMONIALS

The best way to learn about our program is to hear what former Duke-in-Berlin participants have to say about it. Their stories give us a taste of the variety of cultural, academic, and social experiences that are open to students who participate in our programs.

Morgan Fletcher (Duke University Trinity College ’24)

I have no doubt that my semester spent abroad with Duke in Berlin in Fall 2022 will prove to be one of my greatest takeaways from Duke University. This study-abroad experience provided me room for personal growth, exploration, language learning, and cultural immersion. Going into the program, I had minimal travel experience and only two semesters of German at Duke under my belt. The culture shock and language barriers that I faced were overwhelming at first; however, the program staff offered unconditional support, guidance, and understanding which helped ease my transition into the city. Additionally, having a host mom for the duration of the semester was an extra layer of support and proved to be a gratifying aspect of the program. Living with a native speaker challenged me, improved my German at an exponential rate, and gave me a deeper understanding of what it means to live in Berlin. In Berlin, every day is a new adventure, and that is what I loved so dearly about the city. I was constantly surrounded by German and new challenges which facilitated my language learning as well as my confidence, independence, and love for stepping outside my comfort zone. Moreover, because of this program, I have a deeper appreciation of art and architecture. The program’s Art History course was one of the most interesting courses that I have taken at Duke because the material we were studying was at our fingertips. During the course, the other students and I explored different museums, art galleries, and buildings that we likely wouldn’t have visited if it weren’t for the guidance of our amazing professor. In addition, during the semester, the program did a wonderful job incorporating breaks for the other students and me to travel independently to explore different parts of Germany and Europe. Deciding to spend four months away from family as well as friends at Duke is a big decision to make; however, the experiences I endured with the professors and other students were bonding, and it felt like we were a small family by the end of the semester. I could not recommend studying abroad enough, and I specifically advocate for Duke in Berlin because the city is beautiful, exhilarating, and has so much to offer. By the end of my four months in Germany, Berlin genuinely felt like home, and I did not want to leave.

Oliver Gibson (Pratt ‘22)

I was fortunate to spend my sophomore spring semester of 2020 abroad in the Duke in Berlin Engineering program. What attracted me to the program was the immense opportunity to grow – to achieve a “flow state” of speaking, reading, and hearing German every day and being able to navigate the offerings of a historically rich city. I found a great community with the other students as we bonded over our leap of faith to live abroad for 7 months, all wanting to make the most of our time in Berlin in different ways. For me, it was about bringing my experience in a German household full circle and trying to envision a future career or life in Germany. One highlight of the Duke in Berlin program is the staff. They are engaging, supportive, and taught fantastic classes tailored to our language level that helped me prepare for my summer classes at TU Berlin. They also planned many excursions including a BMW motorcycle factory tour, a trip to Dresden for a Volkswagen electric vehicle factory tour, visits to art, science, and film museums, a night at the Berlin Philharmonic, a soccer game at the Olympiastadion, and much more. Unfortunately, my program ended early – but you can bet I’ll be back in Berlin as soon as possible.

STUDENT STORIES

Ruth Bieber-Stanley (Oberlin College '21)

I was lucky enough to participate in the Duke in Berlin program in Spring 2020. What initially drew me to Duke was the length and the breadth of the program. The mix of intensive language study, the host family experience, and direct enrollment at the Freie Universität in Berlin were all things I knew would create an immersive and rich experience. Though I was met with some culture shock upon moving to a massive international city, my host family and my fellow program mates anchored me. We became very close in a short period of time and I'm still friends with many of them today. The program also did an amazing job of involving us in the cultural life of the city, whether through a philharmonic concert, Stammtisch at a local bar, or the contemporary art course, which let us explore galleries and museums I might not have sought out otherwise. I was also pleasantly surprised at how much my German improved during my time in Berlin. It wasn't long before I was able to have interesting and involved conversations with my friends, teachers, and host family, and I felt prepared to undertake university study. Though my stay in Germany was sadly cut short by COVID-19, I was amazed at how quickly I was able to create a life for myself in Berlin, even in just six weeks. The longer I stayed the more Berlin felt like home, and I am so grateful for my time with this program. I was able to develop not only my language skills, but my independence and love for cultural exploration, lessons which in retrospect are equally as important as academic growth, if not more so. 

Anya Parks

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