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Berlin - Language & Area Studies Add to favorites
  • Berlin, Germany

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Berlin - Language & Area Studies

Why Berlin?

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.

What You'll Study

Specially designed to improve your German language skills, this 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 taking an academic internship seminar during the semester and staying on after the semester to work at your internship placement.

Berlin will be your classroom. Imagine learning about German politics and policy making 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. Wherever possible, our courses take advantage of the city’s many historical, artistic, and cultural sites, and several courses include course-related trips.

To enrich your academic experience, you can participate in field trips to destinations like Prague and Dresden, Hamburg and Lübeck, and Munich and Nuremberg.

Daily Life

We want you to feel at home in Berlin, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.

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$5 Million in Financial Aid

We firmly believe that financial limitations should not prevent a qualified student from participating in an IES Abroad Program. This is why we commit $5 million to our financial aid programs.


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 16-19 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:

  • IES Abroad German language course  (required, 4 credits)
  • German-taught IES Abroad area studies courses (3 credits)
  • Internships (includes internship seminar followed by internship placement after the semester, 3 credits)
  • German-taught courses at partner universities (3 credits)

*Please note: Fall-only students will take an IES Abroad-taught German language course. Academic year students will take their fall and spring German language courses at Humboldt University. Spring-only students will also take their German language course 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.

Art History
Course Name Term Language Credits
AH 332 - Early 20th Century German Art and Architecture: 1900-1933 Fall German 3
AH 334 - German Art and Architecture in the 20th Century: 1933 to the Present Spring German 3
Course Name Term Language Credits
AN/GE 313 - Between Life and Death: Bio-Politics and Migration in the 21st Century Fall German
Cultural Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
CU/SO 360 - Multicultural Berlin Spring German 3
SO/CU 350 - German Popular Culture Fall German 3
Course Name Term Language Credits
DR 444 - Theater in Berlin Fall, Spring German 3
Film Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
HS/FS 342 - From Lenin to Lola: Contemporary German Film Fall German 3
Course Name Term Language Credits
AN/GE 313 - Between Life and Death: Bio-Politics and Migration in the 21st Century Fall German
German Language
Course Name Term Language Credits
GR 351 - German Language In Context: Independent Abroad I Fall German 4
GR 401 - German Language In Context: Emerging Competent Abroad I Fall German 4
GR 451 - German Language In Context: Competent Abroad Fall German 4
GR/IB 333 - Let's Talk Business (Wirtschaftsdeutsch) Fall, Spring German 3
Gender Studies
Course Name Term Language Credits
SO/HS/GS 335B - The Politics of Gender Fall, Spring German 3
Course Name Term Language Credits
HS/FS 342 - From Lenin to Lola: Contemporary German Film Fall German 3
HS/PO 352 - German Political Thought Spring German 3
HS/PO 395 - The German Model of Social Market Economy Fall, Spring German 3
SO/HS/GS 335B - The Politics of Gender Fall, Spring German 3
International Business
Course Name Term Language Credits
GR/IB 333 - Let's Talk Business (Wirtschaftsdeutsch) Fall, Spring German 3
International Relations
Course Name Term Language Credits
IR/PO 361 - Germany and European Unification Spring German 3
PO/IR 425H - Honors Seminar in International Relations: Berlin Behind the Scenes: Institutions in the Political Center of Germany Fall German 3
Course Name Term Language Credits
LT 450 - Berlin in Literature - Literature in Berlin Fall German 3
LT 460 - German Literature from 1945 to the Present Spring German 3
Political Science
Course Name Term Language Credits
HS/PO 352 - German Political Thought Spring German 3
HS/PO 395 - The German Model of Social Market Economy Fall, Spring German 3
IR/PO 361 - Germany and European Unification Spring German 3
PO/IR 425H - Honors Seminar in International Relations: Berlin Behind the Scenes: Institutions in the Political Center of Germany Fall German 3
Course Name Term Language Credits
CU/SO 360 - Multicultural Berlin Spring German 3
SO/CU 350 - German Popular Culture Fall German 3
SO/HS/GS 335B - The Politics of Gender Fall, Spring German 3

Partner Institution(s)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
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.

  • Accounting
  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Classics
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Studies
  • Finance
  • Fine Arts
  • Foreign Languages
  • Gender Studies
  • Geography
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Music History
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Theater
  • Ubran Planning

HU Sprachenzentrum
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.

Freie Universität
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.

  • Biology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy
  • Economics
  • Geosciences
  • History and Cultural Studies
  • Law
  • Mathematics and Computer Science
  • Medicine
  • Pedagogy and Psychology
  • Philosophy and the Humanities
  • Physics
  • Political and Social Sciences
  • Veterinary Medicine

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.

Technische Universität
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).

  • Faculty I. Humanities: Philosophy, Theory, and History of Science; German Literature; History and Art History; Metropolitan Studies; Social Sciences and Political Education; Educational Science; Languages and Communication; Vocational Education; Gender Studies, Anti-Semitism Studies.
  • Faculty II. Mathematics and Natural Sciences: Chemistry, Mathematics, Solid-State Physics, Optical and Atomic Physics, Theoretical Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics.
  • Faculty III. “Process Sciences”: Biotechnology, Energy Technology, Food Science, Process and Chemical Engineering, Environmental Protection Technology, Material Science.
  • Faculty IV. Electrical Engineering: Energy and Automation Science, High Frequency and Semi-Conductor Systems Technology, Telecommunication Systems, Microelectronics, Software Engineering and Theoretical Computer Science, Economic Information Systems and Quantitative Methods.
  • Faculty V. Mechanical Engineering and Transport Systems: Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics; Psychology and Occupational Science; Land and Sea Traffic; Air and Space Travel; Construction, Micro- and Medicinal Technology; Industrial Engineering; Mechanics.
  • Faculty VI. “Planning—Building—Environment”: Applied Geosciences, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Geodesy, Landscape Architecture, Ecology, Sociology, City and Regional Planning.
  • Faculty VII. Economics and Management: Technology and Management, Business Management, Economics and Economics Law.

Note: Enrollment in partner university courses requires that you place into an advanced German language level during the program orientation.

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.

Additional Universities
Courses may be available at the following universities.

  • Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin
  • Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee
  • Universität der Künste

Prerequisites and additional application materials may apply.

Service Learning

When you volunteer in Berlin, you have the chance to make a difference in the local community while meeting new people and gaining a new perspective on the world. If you are passionate about volunteering abroad, just let the on-site staff know at the beginning of your term. Past volunteer opportunities in Berlin include:

  • Not-for-profit organizations
  • Schools
  • Social institutions


Interning while you study in Berlin gives you a rewarding job experience with a wealth of long-lasting career benefits. You will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the real-life, everyday culture of your host country
  • Add global work experience and skills to your résumé or your application for graduate school
  • Improve your confidence

All of our internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. Interns participate in a course on the social market economy that includes a special seminar linked to the internship, for an additional credit. In both fall and spring semesters, internships begin after the IES Abroad courses end. Spring internships end in August, and fall internships end in February. There is no extra cost for this optional, post-program internship.

Personalized Placements
Once you indicate your interest in an internship, we work with you to find the ideal internship placement that fulfills your academic and career goals. We’ve placed students with a wide variety of organizations and businesses. If we don’t currently work with a business or organization in your field of interest, we will search for a placement that’s right for you.

Placement Examples

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.

  • Architecture
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Government
  • Medicine
  • Mass Media
  • Social Organizations

In addition, internships may be available in Architecture, Computer Science, Engineering, Mass Media, and Medicine.

Field Trips & Events

Even though your adventure starts in Berlin, our field trips take you outside the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country and beyond. Field trips are offered at an extra cost. Here are a few possible destinations:

Prague & Dresden
4 days | Fall
Explore the winding medieval streets of Prague and see the famous sites such as St. Vitus Cathedral and the Charles Bridge. Then Venture to the “Florence of the North” and spend time in some of Dresden’s famous museums full of countless art treasures.

Hamburg & Lübeck
2 days | Fall
Experience these wonderful Hanseatic cities during the holiday season! Spend time at the charming Christmas markets or admiring the many iconic architectural sites.

Munich & Nuremburg
4 days | Spring
Come on an adventure to these stunningly beautiful Bavarian cities. Discover the centuries of culture and history, including their roles before, during, and after World War II, that each holds.

2 days | Spring
See the breathtaking historic sites of this Saxon capital with its culture and nightlife. You’ll visit the Zwinger palace, the massive Procession of Princes, the Frauenkirche, and museums full of countless art treasures.

IES Abroad field trip destinations, activities, and lengths of stay may vary according to term and availability.

Course-Related Trips

IES Abroad Berlin organizes course-related trips that complement IES Abroad courses, and contribute to your general knowledge of German culture and society. Past activities have included:

  • Guided tours of Berlin’s multicultural neighborhoods
  • Meetings with Berlin-based ambassadors of foreign countries
  • Trips to historical sites and political institutions
  • Visits to museums and attendance at theater performances

Daily Life

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 and walking tours that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.


The program begins with an orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Berlin staff, your fellow students, and the city of Berlin.

Our Comprehensive Orientation & Re-Entry Experience (CORE™) begins right when you arrive and continues through the semester with activities focusing on academic and cultural adjustment. Detailed information about housing, public transportation, culture, health and safety, and other important topics are also covered.

Following orientation, you divide your time between intensive German language instruction and a series of lectures, tours, and trips related to the history, art, and culture of Berlin.


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 or families. Most housing is in apartments.

Students typically prepare their own meals in their housing or dine in Mensas (affordable student cafeterias) or restaurants. Meals are not included in the program cost.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

Redefine the way you live and learn in Berlin through our cultural events, which may include visits to:

  • Concert halls and opera houses
  • German history museum
  • Jewish Museum
  • German Parliament

Get to Know Your New City

Relax in Parks & Green Space

Although the city is known for its vibrant arts and culture, Berlin has more than 2,500 parks and gardens to stroll, cycle, swim, picnic, or just unwind in.

Visit Neighborhoods

From the fantastic art and fabulous nightlight of Kreuzberg to the trendy shopping of Charlottenberg to the hub of sites, attractions, and cafes that make up Mitte, the city's neighborhoods give Berlin its unique character.

Explore Museums

Whether you are into art and design, ancient or modern history, or even currywurst, Berlin is a city full of excellent museums.

Observe the Architecture

Though it was nearly destroyed during World War II, Berlin has rebuilt, with restored historic buildings juxtaposed with some of the world's most breathtaking modern structures.

Check Out the East Side Gallery

The longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall is now an outdoor art exhibition, featuring the work of more than 100 artists.

Program Cost

Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Term: Fall 2019
Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Fall 2019
Academic Year
Term: Spring 2019
Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2019 $14,995 $2,920 $230 $18,145

Use our budget worksheet to calculate your costs

$5 Million in Financial Aid

We firmly believe that financial limitations should not prevent a qualified student from participating in an IES Abroad Program. This is why we commit $5 million to our financial aid programs.

Our Center

The IES Abroad Berlin Center is located in Mitte, the historical center of Berlin with its vibrant cafés, restaurants, and galleries. It is within short walking distance from Humboldt University, the world-famous Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, and the governmental district.
Features at the Center include:

  • Classrooms, student lounges, and study spaces
  • Small library
  • Outdoor terrace
  • WiFi and printer access

Our Staff

Barbara Finke

Center Director

Barbara holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. degree in political science from the University of Mannheim in Germany. She also studied for a year at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore with a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD. Barbara conducted her Ph.D. research on the legitimacy of non-governmental organizations in global governance with a case study on women’s NGOs in the United Nations system. She has taught and published on civil society in global and European politics and on international relations theory. From 2007 to 2017, Barbara was Program Head at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, a distinguished international graduate school that focuses on public policy and international affairs.

IES Abroad Staff

Dr. Barbara Finke Center Director

Dr. Sabine Berking

Academic Program Coordinator
Nadine Birner Internship and Core Coordinator
Gosia Piechowiak

Student Affairs Coordinator

John Schulze Assistant Director
Rolf Staudt Head of Administration
Britta Tonak Head of Customized Programs and Student Affairs
Ella Winter Student Affairs Coordinator