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IEX J-Term 2018: Germany: More than the Alps, Beer, and Castles
Berlin, Germany; Bremen, Germany; Grossefehn, Germany; Munich, Germany (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: January Interim
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Restrictions: Gustavus applicants only
Budget Sheets January Interim
Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Program Provider:
Gustavus Adolphus College
Program Term(s):
January Interim
Minimum GPA:
Program Description:
Germany ships

Germany is a culturally diverse country, but this diversity is often overlooked in favor of a more stereotypical view of Germans and German culture. German cultural identity has been shaped by the interplay of war, modernization, and tradition, culminating in dynamic and unique centers of commerce, religion, and society in the various regions. 

Through a week’s stay in three different areas of Germany, Ostfriesland in the northwest, Berlin in the east, and München in the south, students will increase their awareness of Germany’s diversity, challenging the stereotype of Germans and the German culture. Through interaction with local people, and visiting historical and cultural sites in these three geographic areas, students will learn about the political, economic, and social influences that shape Germany’s culture identity, and will attempt to answer the question “What is German?” 

Berlin wall

A Few Highlights.
  • Become acclimated to "all things German" with two day orientation in Bremen, including a visit to Bremerhaven’s Emigrant Museum 
  • Experience Ostfriesland with a week-long family stay, including an excursion to one of the Ostfriesisch islands in the North Sea, a visit to local school, trying out the traditional winter sport activities of Boßeln or Eisstockschießen 
  • Visit memorial sites for the Berlin Wall, the Stasi Prison in Berlin, and the Concentration Camp at Dachau
  • Tour the Reichstag, Germany’s Parliament Building
  • Explore diversity of Berlin with a tour of Kreuzberg district and visit to Villa Global at Schöneberg's Jugend Museum
  • Travel to the Bavarian Alps and tour of Neuschwanstein Castle
  • Experience life in the Middle Ages with walking tour of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
  • Discover what there is to see in Berlin and Munich through guided tours of those cities
Ostfriesland beach

  • small, rural area of far northwest Germany, along the North Sea
  • landscape features small villages, canals and dikes, windmills and wind farms
  • economy: farming, shipbuilding, fishing, wind energy, manufacturing (VW, cruise ships)
  • 3.5 million people, largest city of Germany, in eastern part of Germany
  • since reunification in 1990, once again the capital of Germany
  • once divided during the Cold War with the infamous Berlin Wall around West Berlin, very few large sections of the wall remain, but one can follow the paver "markers" along the route of the former wall
  • very diverse population - over 600,000 inhabitants are foreign nationals, with the largest concentration of Turks outside of Turkey
München (Munich)
  • 1.5 million people, 3rd largest city of Germany
  • capital of Bavaria, Germany's largest state, southeast corner of Germany; this is the area that most Americans think of when they consider "Germany" - the image that has become the stereotype
  • home to the world-famous Oktoberfest 
German town

Faculty Leader.
Pat BranstadPatricia Branstad -- Patricia Branstad has taught German for 30+ years - she has been at Gustavus since 2012. With a BA degree in German and in Sociology from Luther College (Decorah, IA), she earned a M.Ed from St. Scholastica (Duluth, MN) and a MA in German Language and Literature from Portland State University (OR). She did her graduate work on the cultural identity of the Ostfriesen, studying the economic, political, and social issues leading to Ostfriesen emigration to the United States and the strong identification with Ostfriesen heritage still evident in Ostfriesen immigrants and their descendants.  Branstad has attended several seminars for German instructors in Germany and Austria, and has taken more than two dozen trips to Germany, spending considerable time in all three course locations. Through the networking from her experiences in Germany, she used her personal contacts to develop this J-Term course as experiential learning through cultural immersion, leading the course for the first time in 2015; the 2018 J-Term will be the third time the well-received course has been offered. 

Academic Calendar.
Approximate dates for 2018 are as follows:
Two to three pre-departure meetings: TBA during fall semester 2017 (students who will be away this semester should contact Patricia Branstad)   
On-campus program: January 8 to 11, 2018
On-site program: January 12 to February 3, 2018

The accommodations for 2018 are still being finalized, but they will include shared rooms in hotels, hostels or guest houses, as well as a one-week home stay with a family in Ostfriesland. When possible, we will use accommodations with breakfast included. Students will generally have two meals per day included in the course fee.  

German graffiti

Program Costs
The program fee is $5475, which will include ground transportation to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), round-trip airfare from MSP to Germany, ground transportation within Germany, all lodging abroad, guides and entrance fees, and two meals per day.  Students should plan to cover one meal per day (often lunch) and any personal expenses.

All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply. 

Application Deadline
The last-chance application deadline is September 15, 2017. 

Entry visas
Currently, U.S citizens do not need an entry visa for Germany for stays of 90 days or less. All students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact Bryan Messerly to check in about possible additional visa needs. 


This program is currently not accepting applications.