Online Summer Program: Berlin, Germany


A virtual program with two 4 week sessions offered this summer Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Take  2 virtual courses per session, taught by university faculty.

What’s Included

  • Up to 7 credits from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Take courses in a variety of subjects and disciplines from all 13 programs
  • A $500 scholarship/grant towards a traditional 2021 AIFS Study Abroad program
  • Courses in a variety of subjects and disciplines
  • City Spotlights of Paris, Rome, Berlin, London and Prague
  • AIFS Around the World cultural events including cooking classes, scavenger hunts and more
  • Career-focused workshops
  • Virtual hangouts with participants from around the country

Credits Available
Up to 7 credits 


You may choose courses from a variety of subjects and disciplines below and from all 13 Online Study Programs.


SOC 311 (3)
Nazi Germany - Rise and Fall

In two world wars Germany tried to dominate the globe and all major decisions were made in the capital Berlin. Why was Germany such an aggressive power until 1945? How did Hitler manage to gain and keep power? Why were many Germans Nazis and deeply racist? How was the life of ordinary people during the war? Why did the Nazis kill millions of Jews and other innocent people in concentration camps? What were the long term effects of World War II? What happened to the Nazis after the war? The course will provide answers to such questions via readings of texts from political science, sociology and history, while also taking the opportunity to explore the locations in which the events between 1933 and 1945 took place.

Undergraduate students (especially students of Political Science, Social Science, and History) can cover two eras of German history if they combine this course with the Summer Session 2 course on either “The Berlin Wall” or “The European Union”.

Virtual meetings TBD

REL 320 (3)
Jewish Narratives in Germany Exploring Memory Past and Present

In this course students will explore Jewish history in Germany – and its memorialization – from 1933 to the present. This will be accomplished through lectures, workshops, and site visits to museums in and around Berlin. In addition to the tragic history that has defined the 20th-century experience, students will have an opportunity to explore contemporary Jewish life and topics that continue to shape Berlin and Germany more widely. This course is anthropologically inflected and treats the museums and other urban spaces as field sites to be explored and analyzed critically. It is well-suited to students who are interested in religious studies, history, the social sciences, and/or more specific fields such as urban studies, ethics or museum studies.

Virtual meetings at 11am CEST (times may be adjusted depending on where students zoom in from)

GER 330 (4) B2 level German required
German in the City

In the middle of Germany yet still at home – in this special situation at the present time we are facing new challenges. Especially when it comes to a course that is called “German in the City”! How can we give you the experience of German language and culture in Berlin? No matter where you are? And no matter how far away you are from Berlin?

Therefore, we are working intensively and with a lot of creativity and passion on a solution. Just like in the ‘real’ “German in the City” course, we will use a lot of authentic materials, which we will make available to you through digital formats (such as Zoom, Screencast, video lectures, discussion forums…) in order to make you familiar with vocabulary, language structures and cultural discourses of life in Berlin. Here you will meet students from all over the world online. In different countries, on different continents and yet together you will practice your oral and written German, watch German films and plays together and take part in current social debates. Through a mixture of different sequences with synchronous teaching, instructions for your own research, short presentations and accompanied self-study, we offer you direct access to language, everyday life in Berlin, and key concepts of German culture, history and politics. Berlin is waiting – and we, your digital hosts, are looking forward to see you!


Stream A can be combined with one class from Stream B

German Language Courses

A placement exam upon acceptance to the program determines appropriate levels. Students taking German are advised to gain pre-approval from their home institution for several levels of German in order to ensure that they receive credit for the level that they test into. German language classes are taught for an equivalent to 45 contact hours for a recommended 3 semester credits and appear on a Humboldt-Universität transcript. Courses meet both online (zoom) as well as add individual study time and group projects. Each course is divided into grammar, conversation, vocabulary and culture.

Students without previous knowledge of German can participate in the course as well as students of German from elementary level (A1/ A2), intermediate level (B1/ B2) and advanced level (C1/C2).

Preliminary allocation to a certain language level is based on information provided during registration (language self-assessment, questionnaire) and a placement test, which is done online before the course starts or on the first day of the course in written or oral form.

German 101 (3)
Elementary German

Students with no previous German or with only one semester in college usually place into this level. Functional uses of the language as well as grammar, cultural themes, introductions, exchanging information, writing letters, the present tense, the noun and the cases, personal pronouns and possessive pronouns, sentence structure, questions, prepositions, list of irregular verbs, basic communication and listening comprehension.

German 102 (3)
Advanced Elementary German

For students with more than one semester of German at elementary level. Further development of functional uses of German language as outlined in German 101.

German 201 (3)
Lower Intermediate German

Students who have studied German throughout high school and continued with one semester in college, or students who have 2 to 4 semesters in college, usually place into this level. Practice of speaking, listening and reading comprehension, synonyms and paraphrases in context, verb, noun, adjective, flexion, prepositions, personal and possessive pronouns, main and subordinate clauses, auxiliary verbs, special focus on sentence construction and use of past tenses.

German 203 (3)
Upper Intermediate German

Students with at least 6 semesters of college German, experience living in a German-speaking country or German study on a regular basis since elementary school usually place into this level. Practice of speaking techniques in everyday situations, listening and reading comprehension, short reports, arguing in discussions, analysis and production of texts, enlarging vocabulary, synonyms and paraphrasing.

German 301 (3)
Advanced German

Students who are nearly fluent usually place into this level. Concentration on refining and further developing communicative skills, review of indicative and subjunctive, expressions of doubt, probability, feelings and opinions. Reading of newspapers and modern literature texts.

Stream B

Cinema/Cultural studies 331 (3)
Berlin: A Cinematic Space In German Film

Since the invention of (German) cinema in the early 20th century, "Berlin" has been at the center of filmic imaginations. In Metropolis (1930) Fritz Lang depicts Berlin as a utopian and futuristic city. Der Himmel über Berlin (1988) by Wim Wenders imagines West Berlin as a 'city of angels', and in Lola rennt (Lola Lola, 1998), Tom Tykwer reconstructs a virtual Berlin that supplants 'real' Berlin maps. In our course, we will focus on different German films and filmmakers that cinematically reframe Berlin as a symbolic (e.g. M, Fritz Lang), political (e.g. The Lives of Others, Henckel-Donnersmark, 2006), traumatic (e.g. Look who's back!, David Wnendt, 2015) or Techno landscape (e.g. Berlin Calling, Hannes Stöhr, 2008). We will ask how Berlin is being visualized in German movies, what filming techniques (e.g. camera, lighting, cinematography, sound, set and costume design) are used in German cinema to 'paint' the city of Berlin on the movie screens. Furthermore, we will focus on questions of gender, genre and memory-construction that come into play within German cinematic culture, traditions and formats. Students interested in German film, theories of film and Berlin studies are very welcome to this class.

German Literature 321 (3)
Stadt und Land: Literaten in und um Berlin/City and Country: Literature in and around Berlin (taught in German)

Berlin is a vibrant city – and has always been. The City and its surroundings have always attracted and influenced artists. The “Golden Twenties and Thirties” of the 20th Century are legendary – not only the city provided inspiration and material for novels, music, theatre and fine arts, but also all the places of retreat that led from the external hectic pace to inner reflection. The course is concerned with several writers, whose lives and work are closely connected to Berlin and the escape to the idylls of small towns. How did this contrast impact their writing process? What can we learn by that for our own creative processes?

In this course we will be reading and writing, as well as discussing and examining the relation between texts, style and atmosphere.

Texts for preparation or for background knowledge can also be read in English or in any other language. Texts reviewed during this class are read and discussed in their original German and all course lecture and discussions will be taught in German. To take this course students must be fluent in German.

History/Politics/Sociology 312 (3)
The Berlin Wall and the Cold War Era

For almost 30 years, the Berlin Wall was a symbol of the division of the city of Berlin, of Germany and of Europe during the era of the Cold War between the two superpowers, the United States of America and the Soviet Union. Consequently, the fall of the Wall in 1989 was a hugely symbolic turning point in world history. But how can we explain the building of such a dividing monument? How can we account for its fall in 1989? And how does the Wall influence our lives today? The course will provide answers to such questions via readings of texts from political science, sociology and history, in order to further investigate the ground on which the events between 1961 and 1989 took place.

Politics/Sociology 309 (3)
The European Union - Between Supranational Integration and National Sovereignty

The course will reflect upon the history and the current challenges of the European Union as the most ambitious project of supranational integration to date. While the project of integration was initially based on the quest for peace, it became clear over the years that the economic benefits for members were becoming the main incentive for further integration. But today, facing a financial and institutional crisis, the European Union is beginning to question its roots and aims.

Thus, the course will explore the development of the EU as a political entity, will try to understand the reasons for the current crisis and, finally, will also try to look ahead - what is the future of European integration? In order to get a more plastic impression of the way the EU works, we will dedicate some sessions to a short simulation game on the ways decisions are taken within the EU. The course aims to offer a better understanding of how the European Union works and why the decision-making process is so difficult within this body.

Religion/Cultural Studies/Jewish Studies 308 (3)
Interreligious and Intercultural Tensions in Germany

This course follows the complex trajectories linking interreligious and intercultural narratives in Germany today. How does the culture of memory in Germany, with its Christian frame and Jewish focus converge and diverge with more recent narratives of migration that have made Islam a visible presence in Germany? This is the main question this course seeks to address.

This course can stand alone well, but can also be combined with the course offered in Summer Session 1: Jewish Narratives in Germany: Exploring Memory Past and Presen

Law 315 (3)
Introduction to International Economic Law

Multinational companies like Google or Apple self-evidently act on a global stage. But even small businesses participate in international trade today. The integration of national economies and the elimination of barriers of trade no longer allow a solely national view on this development. With the growing importance of international commerce, the need for an “International Economic Law” arises. Numerous regulations and agreements concern international trade and investment, but the legal framework of international economy remains indefinite. Common principles of International Economic Law will be examined by analyzing leading decisions by international courts. Therefore a substantial part of the course will be dedicated to discussion of cases and reading materials. (Only open to undergraduate law students and/or students with previous knowledge on the subject)

Religion/Ethics/Law 317 (3)
Refugee Protection and Forced Migration

This course examines the protection regime pertaining to refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and stateless persons. It gives special attention to the evolving set of legal norms, institutions, and procedures that have emerged from the international community’s resolve to protect refugees and other forced migrants.

The course adopts two complementary methodologies: seminars and case studies combined with presentations by the students. The seminars begin with an introduction to the international human rights and the asylum regimes, and with a review of the relevant concepts and definitions. It then continues with a historical perspective of the pre-United Nations initiatives to protect refugees and introduces the normative ethics and politics of refugee protection. That is followed by an analysis of both the legal and institutional pillars of the refugee regime, i.e. of the refugee definitions captured in various international instruments and of the protection granted by the UNHCR, respectively. The last subjects to be covered by the seminars are the normative and institutional arrangements put in place for the protection of IDPs and stateless persons.

The seminars are complemented by a ‘hands-on’ methodology, namely a major case study and presentations by the students both on the state of refugee protection in their countries of origin/residence and on current significant situations (i.a. Myanmar, Syria, Venezuela, European asylum crisis, Mediterranean situation).

Career Focused Workshops

Readying Your Resume, Cover Letters, and LinkedIn
Preparing your professional documents and online presence is an essential piece of your career search. This session will cover best practices for connecting the dots from your experiences on-campus and abroad to the job description as well as address common hurdles in composing cover letters. Participants will be invited to schedule a 1:1 review of their resume and LinkedIn profile with Angela Manginelli, AIFS Vice President, Director of Alumni & Inclusion Initiatives following the group session.

How to Ace the Interview
Interviews can be stressful, so it’s important to be prepared to put your best self forward in the process. This session will review what employers are looking for in new hires, interviewing etiquette, tips for structuring responses to common interview questions, and provide information on how to craft your personal elevator pitch. Attendees will have an opportunity to practice mock interviews with their peers during the session and will receive resources to continue preparing following the session.

Navigating the Transition from College Student to Career Professional
Unlike college, your career does not come with a syllabi and that transition can be challenging. This session will help students know how to successfully make the switch to post-graduate professional, including tips on working in a multicultural and multigenerational workforce. We will address how to consider multiple job offers, budgeting for life after college, and knowing how to advocate for yourself throughout your career.

Career Guidance for Working in Education Abroad
Interested in working in education abroad but don’t know how to get started? Join our panel of AIFS alumni and staff who will share their expertise on what it’s like to work in the field and tips for leveraging your cross-cultural experiences into a career. This session will include information on working in various roles at a university and an international education organization as an Admissions Officer, Field Staff member, Vice President, Director of Alumni & Inclusion Initiatives and many more. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask panelists questions and set up 1:1 informational interviews following the group session.

AIFS Around the World

Italian Excellence
Do you know that Italy is the country with the greatest number of Unesco Heritage sites?
Do you know that Italy the 4th world’s largest producer of jewelry?
Do you know that Italy has 140 wheat crop varieties, while the US has 6?
Do you know that the Italian automotive sector numbers 3200 companies with some of the best brands in the world?
Do you know that Italy is the undisputed world leader in the production of superyachts?
Learn about this and much more, while participating in interactive webinars.

Virtual Italian Buddy
If you are interested in learning Italian, do not just sit and study. Interact with an Italian student who can help you with your homework and tell you a lot about local amenities while regularly chatting with you.

Sweet Ideas from Italy
Learn how to prepare a Tiramisu or a Sorbetto, or maybe discover how to make the typical Florentine Cantuccini cookies. The secrets and recipes that we would like to share with our American friends are so many!

Spanish Cook-Off!!
You may think Spanish food is the same all over the country, but you would be wrong. AIFS has programs in six different locations in Spain - Salamanca, Madrid, Barcelona, Granada, Seville and Valencia – and each region has its own cuisine that they are rightly proud of.  Sit in with our wonderful Resident Directors as they discuss the merits of their regional dishes, it may get quite animated, and then tune in for some actual cooking demonstrations. Learn how to make an authentic tortilla from Gaye Michaels in Salamanca and pan con tomate from Inma in Barcelona, as well as more insights into life in each location. 

Italian Wine Tradition
Wine is a big tradition Italians have always been proud of. Meet Marco, AIFS Rome staff, to get introduced to the world of Italian wines. Classes are meant to introduce inexpert users to a correct and functional approach to the very complex culture of wine consumption. By tasting a different wine variety in each single class, topics such as wine tasting and food pairing methods, wines and grapes geography, table manners and drinking etiquette, and wine seen as cultural trait d’union between cuisine and local Italian traditions will be covered.

A Taste of Italian Cuisine
While home, how many of us have spent (at least!) some hours in the kitchen trying to duplicate some tasty special recipes? Join Luigi and Riccardo, our talented Roman chefs, to discover the secrets of Italian cuisine. Get the recipes, be ready with the ingredients required and have fun! You will learn how to cook two traditional Italian recipes while you practice from home. Buon appetite!

Parliamo Italiano?
Would you like to practice your Italian skills with a native? Book a conversation session with one of our fabulous Italian staff: meet Rosanna, Chicca and Marco in Rome for a fast and fun way to improve your language skills!

Prague: Interactive Cultural Quiz and Scavenger Hunt
Follow the clues and answer questions on the many cultural and historical sites in Prague. Our staff will introduce you to some fascinating historical figures, buildings and sites – the stories behind them and experiences you can enjoy in Prague. Play against fellow students and win a prize while learning about one of Central Europe’s most iconic cities.

London: History and Diversity
Home to over 9 million people, with over 300 different languages spoken per day, London is one of the most diverse cultural capitals of the world, renowned for its creative industries including fashion (London Fashion week alone generates over £100m of orders), art, theatre and media. It boasts of over 200 museums and galleries, including the world-renowned British Museum (home to the Rosetta stone) and the Tate Modern Art Gallery, along with the main residence of Her Majesty the Queen, Buckingham Palace, and picturesque parks such as Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Richmond Park. Yet, despite all this, tradition is not the driving force behind London’s creativity – rather it is the diversity of its people that fuels and shapes London’s formidable cultural landscape. London professor Nicole D’Adamo Moody will introduce you to London’s rich cultural past and present.

A Study Abroad Journey: AIFS Student to AIFS Coordinator
Meet Gina and Trung, Coordinators on our Florence, Italy program. But before that they were both AIFS students on our Florence program. Learn about what drew them to Florence, how the program influenced their academic choices and the path that led them to later come back to AIFS as part of our team. Who better to guide our students than staff who were previously in their shoes.

Practicing Advocacy in Daily Life
It used to be that advocacy work just involved protest signs, sit-ins and rallies. But we’re now living in a time where your voice can be just as powerful from home. From registering fellow students to vote to learning about how you can support local, national and international policies that matter to you, Advocacy 101 is the place to get a basic understanding of the legislative process and how best to move forward and be heard in the digital age. This non-partisan session will explore opportunities to take action for international education and global engagement, and you’ll learn how to work with and educate your elected officials and their offices.

Coronavirus Around the Globe - Lockdown Lowdown
How is the pandemic affecting people in different countries?  You can see reports on the news but the only way to really know what is going on is to talk to the people living there.  Some of our wonderful Resident Directors have come together to discuss how things are where they live, how it has impacted their lives, but also to discuss the positive things they have seen and heard during this crisis.  Please join Edu in Seville, Deniz in Budapest, Nele in Berlin and Miranda in Grenoble as they discuss the situation.  

City Spotlights

Paris Virtual Tour
Discover areas of Paris with our local staff member Jane.  Jane is our Assistant Resident Director and her specialty is arranging all of the cultural activities for our students and accompanying them on the excursions to they get the most out of them.  Join her as she explores some of Paris’ classic districts and she shares her knowledge as only a local can.

Berlin Virtual Tour
Nele is our Resident Director in Berlin, and when she is not assisting our Berlin students with all elements of the program she is also a registered tour guide. Join Nele as she takes us on a tour of her favorite sites in Berlin.

Prague Virtual Tour
Join our Prague staff as they guide you around the beautiful city of Prague, the tour will include sites such as Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, the Old Town and a particular focus on the Jewish history with a tour of the Jewish Quarter. Join Renata, Jenny and Zdenek, our wonderful Prague staff, as they lead you on a tour of this beautiful city.

From Rome with (Remote) Love
Meet Christiaan and Lavinia, our professional and super friendly certified tour guides, as they virtually walk you through the wonderful streets of our beautiful Rome. Two appointments for two highlights of the Eternal City: Bernini vs. Borromini, or how the magic role of water, and the new impact of contemporary street art on the walls. Roman art has something for everyone!

AIFS Study Abroad in Berlin, Germany AIFS Study Abroad in Berlin, Germany AIFS Study Abroad AIFS Study Abroad in Germany