The minute you step off the plane in Berlin, you’ll feel its energy. It’s a place of new ideas, where sustainable technology and modern design are a way of life, and art galleries can be found on nearly every corner. But don’t forget, this dynamic city is also a center of modern European history—it has no equal for leaving its imprint on the political, social, and cultural history of the 20th century. We invite you to study in Berlin and to explore one of the world’s most vibrant cities.
Specially-designed to improve your German language skills, the IES Abroad Berlin Language & Area Studies Program draws upon Berlin’s rich culture and traditions to connect your coursework with the living history of the city. IES Abroad courses are taught in German by local faculty, and a variety of academic options are available at local universities. You can also add international work experience to your résumé while earning credit by participating in an internship placement and accompanying academic seminar.
Berlin will be your classroom. Can you imagine learning about German politics and policymaking in class and then taking a quick walk to visit the German Parliament? Or discussing multiculturalism in Berlin and then touring one of the city’s bustling Turkish neighborhoods? This is study abroad. Wherever possible, our courses take advantage of the city’s many historical, artistic, and cultural sites, and several courses also include course-related excursions.
To enrich your academic experience, you also have the option to participate in field trips to cities such as Budapest, Dresden, Florence, Hamburg, Krakow, Siena, Venice, and Vienna.
We want you to feel at home in Berlin, so we will do everything we can to help you integrate into life in Berlin, from internships to cultural activities. You even have the opportunity to volunteer at local organizations or to improve your German language skills through a language partner program. Access to the facilities at Humboldt-Universität also allows you to integrate into German university life.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
If enrolled in only IES Courses
If enrolled in university courses. Date may vary due to course enrollment
If only enrolled in IES Abroad Courses.
If enrolled in university courses. Dates may vary due to course enrollment.
If participating in an internship.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible— which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer unique courses that explore German Language, History, Culture, and other topics through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors and course options at prestigious local universities enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.
You take 15-19 credit hours per semester. All courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified and are taught in German. You create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:
*Please note: The IES Abroad German language courses run during the fall term only. In the spring term, all students take their mandatory German language courses with international students at the language center at Humboldt University.
This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.
To learn more about IES Abroad’s innovative theoretical and pedagogical approaches to teaching language abroad, refer to the IES Abroad MAP for Language & Intercultural Communication.
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlinwww.hu-berlin.de
Founded in 1810 by the German statesman and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt, the then-named Universität Berlin pioneered the model of the liberal arts education and became known as the “mother of modern universities.” During 40 years of socialist rule following the Second World War, academic and political freedoms were heavily restricted; following German Reunification, the university underwent an intensive restructuring and has since regained its former preeminence.
The University’s courses are held in buildings of historic and architectural significance throughout the city. The Palais Unter den Linden, which is presently occupied by the renowned Museum für Naturkunde, was the former Prince of Prussia’s residence in the mid-18th century.
Below are some of the numerous disciplines in which IES Abroad students have enrolled in the recent past. Visit the Humboldt Universität's website for a list of current and past course offerings. Course offerings vary by semester and are not available until shortly before the start of each semester.
If you do not do well enough on the language entrance exam to take regular classes at Humboldt University, you can take courses at HU’s Sprachenzentrum (Foreign Language Institute) for your initial university experience, but are encouraged to take regular university courses with the support of a tutorial. The Sprachenzentrum offers courses in various aspects of German language and culture, as well as courses in many foreign languages. For specific course offerings, visit the Sprachenzentrum website.
Location & Commute Time
The university’s main campus is located on the main boulevard, Unter den Linden, in Mitte, Berlin’s central district. The IES Abroad Berlin Center, Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, German Opera and main shopping streets are all a short walk away. Most students take public transportation to travel to and from their classes. HU’s satellite campus for the natural sciences, where most of the university’s research labs are located, is in the neighborhood of Adlershof, about 45 minutes by train southeast of the main campus.
University Clubs & Events
The Humboldt-Universität was recently recognized by the German Foreign Office for offering the best support to international students of any university in the country. Its Cultural and Academic Orientation Program (KUSTOS), subsidized by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers orientation seminars and support to international students.
The university has an International Division devoted to providing assistance for international students at HU.
In addition, there is a student-run club for international students (Orbis Humboldtianus) on campus which offers student-to-student mentoring for exchange students, a Tandem Partner service, which matches students with language partners, and regular social and cultural events where international and German students can meet.
Although the Freie Universität was founded only 50 years ago, as early as the beginning of the 20th century the neighborhood in which it is located, Dahlem, was home to several academic research institutes. Early researchers conducted ground-breaking research and won several Nobel Prizes.
The Freie Universität’s faculties and administrative offices are housed in many of the same buildings as the former institutes. With the addition of more contemporary, architecturally-significant buildings nearby, the campus resembles the structure of a university campus in the United States.
IES Abroad extends to its students the Freie Universität’s tradition of academic quality and research through the university’s broad curriculum.
Freie Universität offers IES Abroad students exciting opportunities in the faculties below.
The University is particularly known for its courses in Chemistry, Computer Sciences, Geosciences, Human Medicine, Language & Civilization Studies, Law, Mathematics, Pedagogy, Pharmacy, Political Sciences, and Social Sciences.
Note: Enrollment in partner university courses requires that you place into an advanced German language level during the program orientation.
Visit the Freie Universität website for a list of current course offerings.
Course offerings vary from semester to semester. Exact course availability is determined shortly before the start of each semester. For this reason, it is not possible for you to officially register until you arrive in Berlin.
Location & Commute Time
Located in the quiet, residential garden district of the southwestern neighborhood of Dahlem, the Freie Universität is a 50 to 60 minute commute by public transportation from the IES Abroad Berlin Center, or about seven miles.
University Clubs & Events
IES Abroad Berlin students taking courses at the Freie Universität have access to the university’s libraries, clubs, and events. The University frequently sponsors guest lecturers. The FU also has an International Club, which organizes over 30 events per semester for international and German students. The student government at the FU runs a center for LGBTQ students.
Founded in 1879 through the merging of several renowned research institutions, Berlin’s Technische Universität has a long history of innovation, but also periods of hardship. After World War II, the University opened a new Humanities faculty, intended to focus students and faculty on ethics and social responsibility. As the first technical university in Germany to encourage study of the Humanities, the University continues to emphasize the connection between society and technology. Additionally, TU is home to Berlin’s famous Center for Anti-Semitism Studies.
The TU is divided into seven faculties, each of which contains several institutes. Visit Technische Universität's website for a list of current course offerings (click on Vorlesungsverzeichnis).
Course offerings vary from semester to semester and are determined shortly before the start of each semester. For this reason, it is not possible for you to register until your arrive in Berlin.
Location & Commute Time
The Technische Universität’s main campus is in Charlottenburg, a lively, cosmopolitan borough in the former West Berlin. The campus is also close to the Tiergarten and main shopping boulevard of Kurfürstendamm. The Technische Universität's main campus is about three miles from the IES Abroad Center, or 10 minutes by train.
University Clubs & Events
The TU has an International Student Counseling Center, which offers administrative guidance to international students, as well as organizing a social events and excursions throughout the year. As part of a program for international students, the university offers a “subject mentoring service.", consisting of small, weekly seminars for international students, run by advanced TU students and covering topics such as paper-writing and background mathematics required for technical courses.
The Language and Culture Exchange (Sprach-und Kulturbörse, or SKB), through which language courses are available, also organizes regular cultural outings and social events for German and international students.
The SKB has a Tandem-partner service as well, through which students can find language partners.
There is also an organization of LGBTQ students and their allies on campus.
Courses may be available at the following universities.
Prerequisites and additional application materials may apply.
Interning abroad as part of your study abroad experience will help distinguish your application for graduate school or a job opportunity in today’s competitive market. It’s an exhilarating challenge, and we’re here to help guide you in securing your placement and succeeding in your internship.
Participating in an internship abroad helps you:
All of our internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. You participate in a seminar to complement the practical experience you gain during the internship.
All internships take place post-program except placements at schools and at some social organizations.
Past students have interned in the following fields. Don’t see your field listed here? Just talk to your IES Abroad Program Advisor—new internships are always being added.
In addition, internships may be available in Architecture, Computer Science, Engineering, Mass Media, and Medicine.
IES Abroad Berlin organizes course-related exursions that complement IES Abroad courses and contribute to a general knowledge of German culture and society.
Past activities have included:
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Berlin, it will feel like home.
IES Abroad Berlin housing gives you the unique experience of living with local residents throughout the city. Hosts may be single adults, single parents, families, or German university students. Most housing is in apartments.
Students typically prepare their own meals at home or dine in affordable student cafeterias or restaurants. Meals are not included in the program fee.
Part of making you feel at home in Berlin is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services. This is just one of the things we’re known for.
The program begins with a three-day orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Berlin staff, your fellow students, and the city of Berlin. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered.
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.
The three weeks following orientation are divided between intensive German language instruction and a series of lectures, tours, and excursions related to the history, art, and culture of Berlin.
Redefine the way you live and learn in Berlin through our cultural events, which include visits to:
Although your adventure begins in Berlin, our field trips take you to other great cities in Germany and beyond to provide contrast and context for what you are learning in Berlin. The day trip offered each semester is included in the program fee. Two additional partially-subsidized trips are also offered. Past destinations are listed below.
1 day | Fall & Spring
Visit the capital and crown jewel of the state of Brandenburg, and admire Sanssouci’s fabulous palaces and surrounding gardens.
Palaces, Polka, and Pierogi
7-day trip | Fall
Visit the cities of Vienna, Budapest, and Krakow on this week-long trip. Start the trip in Vienna, the capital of Austria, and visit grand imperial palaces, museums, and the Hofburg, where the Habsburg rulers lived, loved, and built their empire. Also, enjoy rustic Austrian cuisine at a farmer’s restaurant. The next stop is Budapest, one of the most beautiful cities in central Europe, which straddles the romantic Danube River, with the Buda Hills to the west and the start of the Great Plain to the east. Visit the Hungarian Parliament building in the country's capital and enjoy a traditional dance performance in a local winery. In Krakow, explore the treasure trove of Gothic and Renaissance architecture with the city's Jewish quarter and the Old Town. Then, travel outside the city to visit the UNESCO world heritage Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.
Spring in Tuscany: Venice, Florence and Siena
6 days | Spring
Take a walking tour of Venice's narrow streets and a boat tour on the Grand Canal. Then travel by train to Florence to visit the world-famous Uffizi Gallery, followed by a day trip to Siena, a city on UNESCO's World Heritage list.
2 days | Fall
Visit the Saxon capital which is called “the Florence of the North,” and see the Zwinger palace, the Baroque Königsstrasse, the Frauenkirche, and museums full of countless art treasures.
2 days | Spring
Explore the Northern port city of Germany, walk below the river Elbe trough the Elbe-tunnel, go shopping in Hamburg’s fancy shopping areas, and try the fish from the North Sea.
The IES Abroad Berlin Center is located in Mitte, the central district of Berlin, and is within easy walking distance of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Museum Island, Brandenburg Gate, the Berliner Dom, and other sights.
The two IES Abroad programs at the Berlin Center are conducted on separate floors of the building.
Barbara Gügold has been the Director of IES Abroad Berlin since 1992. She is a member of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin faculty where she teaches the methodology of foreign language teaching. She received her doctorate from Martin-Luther-Universität Halle in English Literature, and obtained a master’s degree in English and Russian from Leipzig Universität. She has worked in Sweden, Poland, Belgium, and the U.S. as a frequent guest lecturer. In her spare time she takes full advantage of the wealth of cultural opportunities in Berlin.
IES Abroad Staff
Katrin ArendtAssistant Director
Rolf-Dieter StaudtCoordinator of Student Services, Office Manager and Accountant
Britta TonakHousing and Special Programs Coordinator
Liane WyschkaAcademic and Cultural Advisor
Faculty (Summer and Semester Programs)Sabine BerkingCultural StudiesDoktor philosophiae, Kolumnistin der Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung Projektleiterin at Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin
Wolfgang BialasPolitical and Social ScienceDoktor philosophiae, University of Leipzig; Research Associate, Hannah-Arendt-Institute, Technical University Dresden
Ulrich BrücknerInternational Business
Doktor philosophiae, Gastprofessor, Political Science Department, Szczecin University, Poland
Berlin School of Economics
and Law Berlin
Reinhard IsenseePolitical Science, American
Privatdozent Dr. habilitates
Bernhard MaleckPolitical Science, History
Doktor habilitates philosophiae
Michael OpitzTheater, Media Studies
Times and Freitag;
Abteilung Kultur und Literatur
Carola Opitz-WiemersGerman and Feminist Literature
Deutschlandradio Berlin, Abteilung
Kultur und Literatur
Dorothea LöbbermannLiterature, Film StudiesDoktor philosophiae in American Literature, Humboldt Universität zu BerlinAdjunct Faculty, Humboldt Universtät zu Berlin