Study Abroad in Berlin, Germany

Study Abroad in Berlin: Cultural Excursions

Included in your program fee is a range of activities which will take you outside Berlin and deepen your social, historical and cultural understanding of Germany. Students have the opportunity to be partnered with a German student, to practice their German and to get to know locals.

Week-Long European City Excursion

Included in program fee

Each semester includes a mandatory week-long excursion to different European destinations. All of these feature visits to multiple cities, museums, sites of political or historical importance. They are a great way to travel around Europe with fellow students and offer a broader understanding of Europe in general.

Fall 2019: Students will have a choice between three options: Warsaw and Gdansk, Belgium and the Netherlands, Vienna and Prague.

Warsaw and Gdansk: Concerts and palace visits in Warsaw, the opportunity to learn more about Solidarność/Solidarity, the Polish Labor Union and the democratic movement it spurred on in Gdansk.

Belgium and Netherlands: Visit Brussels and Ypres, learn about the European and Nato alliances, see Bruges and The Hague as well as Amsterdam and Rotterdam with various offers of museums, cathedrals and walking tours.

Vienna and Prague: Group visits to the Hofburg (main palace in Vienna), day trip to Bratislava (Slovakia), walking tours in both cities, in Prague also to the Jewish quarter, the castle complex overlooking the city and an evening boat tour including a Jazz concert.

Spring 2020 offers choices between Munich and Vienna, Nuremberg and Prague, Cologne and Strasbourg.

Munich and Vienna: Trip usually includes visit of Neuschwanstein palace and Hofburg (main palace in Vienna), day trip to Bratislava (Slovakia), walking tours.

Nuremberg and Prague: Visits to Germanic National Museum, to the court room for the Nuremberg trials, Nazi Party rally grounds in Nuremberg, in Prague there are group visits of the Jewish quarter, the castle complex overlooking the city and an evening boat tour including a Jazz concert.

Cologne and Strasbourg: Museum visits and walking tours, side trips to different towns in the area, gaining insight to the political institutions of the European Union. Zipping between Germany and France students discover this border region during the trip.

Includes all transportation, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, entrances to sites included on the itinerary, city tours with professional guides and accompanying FU Berlin representatives. Itineraries above are examples and subject to change.

Potsdam (day trip)

Included in program fee

Potsdam is one of Europe’s most impressive royal capitals and visitors are drawn to the many palaces, parks and landscaped gardens that led to the city being awarded UNESCO World Cultural Heritage status. Once a garrison town, Potsdam survived WWII relatively unscathed and was chosen by the Allies as the location for the 1945 Treaty of Potsdam which laid the ground work for the demilitarization, reparation and reconstruction of Germany after the war had ended. The city center itself has a vibrant mixture of restaurants, cafés and bars which together with the stunning architecture and green spaces make it well worth a visit.

Includes transportation, entrances as indicated on the itinerary and guided tour.

Dresden (day trip) – Fall 2019 only

Included in program fee

Dresden (which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site) is a well-known and picturesque city, situated near the Czech border in a valley on the River Elbe.

Famous sights in the old city include the opera house “Semperoper” and the reconstructed church “Frauenkirche”. With its numerous bars and cafés, the city attracts many students from all over Germany. Art and military history can be experienced at the Painting Gallery and the German Military History Museum respectively. In 2020, the Striezelmarkt will be taking place for the 585th time, making it one of the oldest German Christmas market. There are 10 other Christmas markets to discover in the city.

Includes transportation and entrance to museum of choice.

Quedlinburg (day trip) – Spring 2020 only

Included in program fee

Quedlinburg is a UNESCO world heritage site and features over 1400 half-timbered houses from the 1300s to the 1800s. Overlooking the town stands the Romanesque collegiate church of St Servatius, consecrated 1021. It is the burial ground of Germany’s first king, Henry I and his wife, Queen Mathilde.

Visit the town in the Harz region on a day trip from Berlin, take a walking tour and then explore the castle and collegiate church in the afternoon.

Includes transportation, entrances as indicated on the itinerary and guided tour.

Memorial Site Sachsenhausen (former concentration camp) (day trip)

Included in program fee

Constructed in 1936, Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp became a “model camp” in the concentration camp system. The SS administration center for all concentration camps was also located here. Until 1945, more than 200,000 people from all over Europe were imprisoned in Sachsenhausen; tens of thousands died from hunger, sickness, forced labor and abuse, or were victims of systematic extermination. More than 3,000 prisoners who remained in the camp were freed on the 22nd and 23rd of April, 1945 by Soviet and Polish soldiers. The camp was used from 1945 to 1950 as a Soviet Special Camp. 60,000 people were imprisoned in these barracks by the Soviet Secret Service; around 12,000 of them died of hunger and sickness. In 1961, the Sachsenhausen Memorial Site was opened. There is a permanent exhibition covering diverse aspects of the historical location: Jewish Prisoners, The Prisoners “Daily Life”, Medical Care and Crimes, Murder and Mass Murder, Inspectorate of Concentration Camps, Soviet Special Camp.

Chancellor’s Office (Bundeskanzleramt) (day trip)

Included in program fee

The German Chancellery encompasses the executive office of the Chancellor, the head of the German federal government. The primary function of the officials working there is to assist the Chancellor in coordinating the activities of the Federal Government. Bundeskanzleramt is also the name of the building that houses the personal offices of the Chancellor and the Chancellery staff.

Memorial Berlin-Hohenschönhausen (day trip)

Included in program fee

Between 1951 and 1989, East Germany's Stasi (secret police) used this site in Hohenschönhausen as a pre-trial detention center/prison. Holding mainly political prisoners, it was infamous for its regime of physical and psychological torture meted out to inmates. Following the fall of the Communist regime and the disbanding of the Stasi, the prison was converted into a memorial museum. The prison was originally established in 1945 by the Soviet NKVD, the forerunner to the KGB, as an internment camp. This camp was closed in October 1946 but the basement of the central building was converted into cells and served as the main detention and interrogation center for dissidents and others considered undesirable by the regime. It was taken over by the East German Stasi in 1951. Following the construction of the Berlin Wall, many individuals whose escape attempts had failed were held here.

Weekend Excursion to the Baltic Sea (2 days) (Fall only)

Included in program fee

Stralsund is located right at the Baltic Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with historic Brick Gothic architecture, a medieval Hanseatic history and fascinating museums of marine life like the German Marine Museum and the OZEANEUM aquarium. First mentioned in 1234 Stralsund became part of the Hanseatic League and the town center features many well-preserved buildings from the 13th to the 18th Century like the impressive Gothic Town Hall or St. Mary’s Church as well as several monasteries. The island of Rügen offers a picturesque landscape of chalk cliffs, beech forests and sandy beaches. Students spend a weekend in Stralsund and Rügen, visiting the Oceanographic Museum and going on a walking tour of Stralsund and the chalk cliffs.

Includes travel, sightseeing walking tour, entrance as indicated in the itinerary and accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis.

Weekend Excursion to the Baltic Sea (2 days) (Spring only)

Included in program fee

Szczecin, Poland, is a harbor town to the very West of the country, just off the German border. During its history it changed languages and affiliation between German and Polish. Once an important Prussian trading town, it was heavily damaged during World War II, and many of the city’s buildings had to undergo reconstruction. One of them is the castle of the Pomeranian Dukes, which sits atop a hill overlooking the city and the Oder river and offers insight into the ruling family.

Students spend a weekend in Szczecin, taking a tour of the town and visiting a museum of their choice. The tower of the St James Cathedral is ideal for a view onto the city, and in old fortifications you can sip excellent hot chocolate.

Includes travel, sightseeing walking tour, entrance as indicated in the itinerary and accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis.

Day trip to Leipzig (Fall only)

Included in program fee

Leipzig is located just an hour south-west of Berlin and is often praised as the New-Berlin for the young, innovative ways of it's inhabitants. The city played a leading role both in Goethe's Faust as well as in the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, culminating in the German reunification. Sights include the Nikolaikirche, where protesters found a community and support, the Battle of Nations Monument (Völkerschlachtdenkmal) to commemorate the victory over Napoleon and the Thomaskirche, where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as a cantor for 30 years in the early 1700s.

Take a walking tour through the town center and visit the Forum of Contemporary History to better understand the GDR and thePeaceful Revolution.

Includes travel, sightseeing walking tour, entrance as indicated in the itinerary.

Weekend Excursion to Leipzig and Weimar or Hiking at Harz Mountains (2 days) (Spring only)

Included in program fee, students have the opportunity to choose between two options prior to arrival:

Weekend Excursion to Leipzig and Weimar

Leipzig is located just an hour south-west of Berlin and is often praised as the New-Berlin for the young, innovative ways of it's inhabitants. The city played a leading role both in Goethe's Faust as well as in the Peaceful Revolution of 1989, culminating in the German reunification. Sights include the Nikolaikirche, where protesters found a community and support, the Battle of Nations Monument (Völkerschlachtdenkmal) to commemorate the victory over Napoleon and the Thomaskirche, where Johann Sebastian Bach worked as a cantor for 30 years in the early 1700s.

Take a walking tour through the town center and visit the Forum of Contemporary History to better understand the GDR and the Peaceful Revolution on Saturday. The next morning, take a short train ride to Weimar, home of the Bauhaus, Weimar Republic, and to German poets Schiller and Goethe and musicians Liszt and Bach. After a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Duchess-Anna-Amalia-Library you are free to see the gardens, the house Goethe lived in until he died in 1832 or the palace and painting gallery.

Hiking at Harz Mountains

Are you ready for an active weekend outside of Berlin? In the middle of the country one can find one of the most famous hiking regions of Germany: the Harz Mountains. The magic of the Harz National Park lies hidden in the "Green heart of Germany". Rugged granite cliffs, mountain pines, misty moors and deep valleys with babbling brooks are some of the characteristics of the Harz Mountains. Wernigerode is the start and end point of our trip. The often called "Bunte Stadt am Harz", which means "the colorful town in the Harz foothills", lies in the northern part of the Harz Mountains. You will get to know the very special charms of this beautiful city: splendid timber-framed houses dating back to the 15th century can be found on many narrow cobble-stoned streets.

On day one, take the Harz narrow gauge train up to the Brocken, which will take you through the countryside and offer jaw-dropping vistas of the mountain peaks. Once on the top, we are going to enjoy our picnic lunch at 3744ft high before hiking downhill to reach our accommodation in one of the small towns. On day two, hike through the Harz region around Wernigerode.

Important notice: students wanting to partake in the hike should be bringing along sturdy, comfortable shoes.

Includes travel, sightseeing walking tour, entrance as indicated in the itinerary and accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis.

Optional Excursion to London, England (2 nights)

Included only for students on the AIFS Flight Package

Begin your semester with a 2-night visit to London en-route to Berlin. This will allow you to relax, recover from jet lag and get to know your fellow classmates while touring England’s capital.

Take a sightseeing tour with a professional guide who will point out some of London’s most famous landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London. Have time to explore the city on your own where you can take in the gorgeous parks and gardens, see a play in the West End or shop for Vintage clothes at Camden Market.

Includes accommodations, airport transfers, sightseeing tour and AIFS Tour Manager.

Dates and itineraries for all excursions are tentative and subject to change.