Berlin: Global City in the Center of Europe

IPD students at campus building

About This Program

  • Location: Berlin, Germany - Humboldt University
  • Term: Summer Quarter
  • Language of Instruction: English
  • Eligibility: Open to NU and non-NU students meeting NU's minimum application requirements

Summer 2015

  • Application deadline: March 1
  • IPD study abroad fellowship application deadline: March 1
  • Program dates: Sunday, June 14 (date of arrival in Berlin) - Sunday, August 16 (date of departure from Berlin)

Summer 2015: $12,775

Total fees charged by Northwestern: $8,675 includes: 

Estimated additional costs: $4,100 includes:

  • $1,600 international airfare to Berlin, Germany (students book their own airfare; rates vary)
  • $100 for books and supplies
  • $2,400 for discretionary expenses, including meals, personal travel/transportation, etc.

Students applying to this program are eligible for IPD study abroad scholarships, the Max Kade Travel Scholarship from the German Department, and may also be eligible for external funding opportunities


The Berlin: Global City in the Center of Europe program introduces students to contemporary German and European affairs with a particular focus on the city of Berlin, its history, culture, music, economics, and politics. The program is geared toward students who either have no background in the German language or have completed the German Department’s first-year sequence, but students with greater knowledge of German are also encouraged to participate.

The program is divided into two sections:

  • Session I: Students are introduced to contemporary German though an exploration of Berlin. Students take courses on German langauge, history, and culture, taught by faculty in the Department of German at Northwestern.
  • Session II: Students have access to a wide variety of courses on German and European affaires offered by the Humboldt Summer University.

In addition to classes taught by Northwestern and Humboldt University faculty, students take organized excursions to major historical and cultural sites in Berlin and other cities, including a three-day stay in Weimar during the intersession.

Host institution: The Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, founded in 1810, is one of Berlin’s oldest universities. Located in the center of Berlin, Humboldt offers over 240 degree programs spanning from the humanities to the social and natural sciences, many of which offer courses taught in English. Named after one of the great Enlightenment reformers in the field of higher education, Wilhelm von Humboldt, it is often considered the first modern research university, founded on the idea that advances in knowledge are the premise of effective teaching. The university is home to many of Germany’s greatest scholars, scientists, and thinkers, past and present, including the philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, the mathematician Karl Weierstrass, and the physicist Max Planck. Fifteen percent of the student body of Humboldt-Universität comes from abroad, with the university hosting about 1,500 international students each year.

Housing & meals: Accommodations and a few group meals are provided as part of the program package, but students are responsible for most of their own meals. Students are housed in two-room apartments at the Gästehaus Berlin Mitte, which include a living room, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a mini-kitchen for preparing meals.


Session I

During Session I, students must enroll in the courses listed below. Courses and grades appear on students' Northwestern transcripts and are figured into their Northwestern GPA.

German Language

While there is no language prerequisite to participate in the Berlin summer program, students are required to take German language training while in Berlin. Three levels are offered, depending on students' skill levels.

  • GERMAN 101-1-SA: Beginning German
  • GERMAN 102-1-SA: Intermediate German
  • GERMAN 205-SA: Focus Writing

Courses will be taught by faculty and graduate students in the Department of German.

GERMAN 222-SA: Introduction to German Culture, Politics and Economics

Few cities have been so thoroughly transformed in the 20th century as Berlin. In the 21st century, Berlin has emerged as a vibrant city that reveals many layers of historical complexity throughout its urban spaces. In this course, students will be exposed to the history and culture that define Berlin as well as the political and economic transformations that characterize Berlin as both an historical and modern city. Readings will be accompanied by excursions, thus combining textual analyses with hands-on experiences of spaces with historical and cultural significance. 

Session II

During Session II, students must enroll in a German language course plus one content course offered by the Humboldt Summer University. Students will receive a Humboldt University transcript, and course credit will be eligible for transfer back to Northwestern as long as students earn grades of C or better. Visit the Study Abroad Guide for more information about Credit Transfer and Grades, GPA, and Transcripts.

German Language: "Berlin in the Summer"

Beginning, intermediate, advanced levels are offered. Students will take a placement test administered by Humboldt to determine their course enrollment.

Choose one course (Visit the Humboldt Summer University website for updated course listings):

As an alternative during Session II, students may consider participating in the Leo Baeck Summer University (LBSU) in Jewish Studies at Humboldt. An additional application is required.



Students will have the opportunity to visit several of Berlin’s most famous sites. Possible visits include: Checkpoint Charlie, the Bundestag, the Reichstag, the Berliner Philharmonic, the Jewish museum, and Kreuzberg.


Located southwest of Berlin, Weimar is a city with a rich cultural heritage. It was the focal point of German Classicism, home of leading writers, philosophers, and musicians. It is recognized as the birthplace of Germany’s Weimar Republic as well as the internationally known movement and school for art and design, the Bauhaus.