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January Term: UVA in Berlin: Berlin and the Geography of Memory
Berlin, Germany (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: January
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Budget Sheets January
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
January 2016 01-OCT-2015
10-OCT-2015 29-DEC-2015 11-JAN-2016
NOTE: If accepted to this program, you must commit to or decline participation by October 15.

Indicates that deadline has passed
Fact Sheet:
Class Status:
1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Language Requirement:
Open to Non-UVa Students:
Housing: Hotel Language of Instruction: English
Credit Type:
Direct Credit
Program Type:
Faculty led
Tuition Payments Made To:
Education Abroad Advisor:
Abby Leake
Application Fee:
Subject Area:
Cultural Studies, German
Program Description:

In this January Term program, we will experience Berlin as a geographical and spatial prism of the long, troubled and exciting history of Germany. Instead of proceeding through this history and culture chronologically, we will allow specific urban sites and places to guide us through Germany's past, present and future. Our walking tours, readings and discussions will take us through the architectural, cultural, and urban history of Berlin and modern Europe. Loaded with our own maps, cultural histories plays and architectural guides, we won't just read about German cultural history, we'll walk through it and touch it. While learning about Frederick the Great of Prussia, we’ll visit his magnificent castle in the small town of Potsdam. After listening to the catchy songs of Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, we’ll tour the theater he founded and watch a performance. We’ll discuss the 1936 Olympics and the rise of Nazi Germany while taking a seat in the Olympiastadion and walking through the ruins of the SS and Gestapo Headquarters. Having watched the iconic photos taken during the Soviet take-over of Berlin, we’ll enjoy the view from the roof of the reconstructed Reichstag.


Jewish Museum

Students will also be given plenty of time to research their own projects in an experiential manner: students interested in Jewish-German culture can gather their own materials from Berlin's monuments and museums; students interested in Islam in contemporary Europe can visit the Islamic Cultural Center in Kreuzberg; students interested in life in the former East Germany can walk the working class neighborhoods of Prenzlauer Berg. This course will be an intense and rewarding experience of a singular urban metropolis, one marked with cultural and historical diversity at every corner.

Course Details
This January Term course in Berlin is open to all students and requires no previous knowledge of German language, literature or history. We will focus on Germany and Berlin in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Every day we will visit one or more sites central to Berlin's cultural history. Most evenings we will visit the theater, opera, art houses and other cultural happenings. Aside from two shorter trips to Potsdam and the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp, we will also make a full-day excursion to Dresden, a city that has its own history of dealing with history. Each student will design and carry out their own research project.


Berlin Cathedral

We will be staying at the Arte Luise Kunsthotel right in the middle of Berlin and only a 5-minute walk from the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and Berlin's art scene. Each room in this unique hotel was designed by a local artist ( Breakfast at the adjoining café is included.


Berlin and the Geography of Memory
(GETR 2770; 3 credits)

Course Information
Syllabus & Itinerary

2016 January Term: GETR 2770 syllabus & itinerary

There are no prerequisites for this program.


Students at Sanssouci Palace, 2014

Study Abroad Policies
Education Abroad Workshop
Students must view and complete the online Education Abroad Workshop prior to starting the U.Va. Study Abroad application. Please refer to the Education Abroad Workshop homepage for more information.

Passport and Visa Information
All participants will need a valid passport in order to participate in the program. Students must ensure that their passport is valid at least six months past the program return date. US passport holders will not need a visa to participate in this program. International students should meet with their International Student Advisor and Education Abroad Advisor in the International Studies Office as part of the application process.

Refund Policy
Withdrawal and Refund Policy

Please note
No refund or credit will be given to students who are suspended and/or dismissed from any UVa study abroad programs for conduct and/or academic violations reasons.

The program costs and payment schedule are listed under the "Budget Sheets" link at the top of this page. In addition to these, students are responsible for the following expenses:

  • International Airfare
  • Most meals
  • Personal travel
  • Personal expenses.

Program Director Mark Ilsemann,, will lead the program. Mr. Ilsemann, a native of Hamburg, has been teaching German at UVa for the past ten years. He fondly remembers living in Berlin in the 1990s, when the city was known as Europe's largest construction site. (Don't worry, a lot has changed since then.)


Humboldt University, Berlin

This program is currently not accepting applications.