Dickinson's Study Abroad Program in Germany
For more than 25 years Dickinson has had a successful Study Abroad program in the city of Bremen located in Northern Germany.
The Dickinson-in-Bremen program is a language-based, full-immersion program. Participants are fully enrolled at the host university and can become active members of the local and student community. Dickinson students have numerous opportunities to get involved inside and outside of the classroom, play on sports teams, sing in choirs, or join bands. Bremen students are generally friendly towards foreigners and the program’s community of friends will help newcomers with adjustment. Daily life in the city of Bremen, combined with academic excursions to other regions, gives students plenty of chances to experience German culture.
Bremen is a multifaceted Hanseatic city with half a million inhabitants, and is beautifully located on the river Weser in Northern Germany. Signs of its 1,200-year-old history are visible in the cathedral, the Schnoor, a residential quarter dating back to medieval times, and the historic market square where the Town Hall and Roland statue have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A bronze statue of the Bremen Town Musicians honors the famous fairy tale by the Grimm Brothers.
Culturally, Bremen offers a variety of events throughout the year. From Germany’s oldest civic fair, the Bremer Freimarkt, to the traditional Christmas Market, Bremen never runs out of events. Museums like the Bremer Kunsthalle, as well as theaters, restaurants (especially at the Weser promenade Schlachte), bars, and the alternative quarter Viertel allow for a wide range of activities. With Werder Bremen, the city hosts one of the most likeable and most successful German soccer clubs.
The University of Bremen
Dickinson's host institution in Germany, the University of Bremen, is a mid-sized university with 17,000 students, offering 100 different degree programs organized in 30 academic disciplines. These cover a wide spectrum of subjects in the humanities and social sciences as well as in the natural and engineering sciences. Among many other fields, the university is especially recognized for its Social Sciences, Political Studies, European Studies, Geosciences, Ocean and Climate Research, Materials Science, Health Science, and Logistics programs.
The University of Bremen was founded in 1971 and soon earned the label “Bremen Model” for its innovative principles, some of which have now become standard features of modern universities. These include: interdisciplinarity, research-based learning in projects, and social commitment. With more than 400 international cooperations and currently about 260 university partnerships worldwide, the Uni Bremen continues to expand its global orientation and advance its ongoing internationalization process.
For many years now, the University of Bremen has been in the top league of German research universities and has performed extremely well in the first two rounds of the “Excellence Initiative” supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research and the federal states. It has recently entered the exclusive club of only seven German universities to be considered for the third and most prestigious funding line for institutional strategies. Furthermore, the University was quick to introduce the new structure of Bachelor and Master Studies and has been awarded the title “Bologna University” by the Standing Conference of the Länder Ministers of Education.
Academics – Elective Courses
Students may choose to spend either a full academic year (recommended) or the spring semester in Bremen. All participants begin by taking part in a pre-semester orientation and completing a minimum four-week, one-credit, intensive language course (spring semester participants do so in Bremen, full-year participants may choose the course location from a selection of German cities). During the regular academic year, students take classes in any department or field within the bounds of their program of study. Full-year students usually earn nine credits, spring-semester students five credits.
German 340, the mandatory Comparative Cultures course taught by the Academic Director during the fall semester, is a “Dickinson course” and will be calculated into the GPA. It follows the history of German-American relations and cultural exchange over the course of more than 300 years.
Students are encouraged to pursue an internship during their time here. The academic director assists in finding appropriate opportunities, although placements are not guaranteed. Recently, students have interned at the Bremen Information Center for Human Rights and Development (BIZME), Center for Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation (Uni Bremen), Bremen City Theatre, Adult Education Center, Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS).
Moreover, through our program’s contacts with the Bremen United States Center and the Chamber of Commerce, internships with local big businesses may also be possible: Bremen is a city of aerospace and space technology, hosting companies like Airbus, OHB AG, and EADS. Bremen is also home to a number of other international corporations, such as Mercedes-Benz, Kraft Foods, Kellogg’s, Jacobs Coffee, and Beck’s beer. Other firms have branches here, e.g. Siemens (including Siemens Windpower), Commerzbank, and DLR.
Sustainability is another of Bremen’s strengths. Not only is the university itself striving for sustainable and ecologically compatible development on its campus, but what is more: it offers ample opportunities to study sustainability-related issues cross-disciplinarily. Some of the many institutes of the University of Bremen include: the Research Center for Sustainability (ARTEC), Institute for Ecology (ECO), Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM), Center for Environmental Research and Sustainable Technology (UFT), and the university’s Environmental Management System (UMS). Furthermore, many companies and institutions in the region work in the field and may offer options for cooperation or internships.
Since the Bremen program is flexible, excursions can be arranged according to the student's fields of study. Over the last years, we’ve had 2‒3 multi-day excursions per year with destinations such as Vienna, Berlin, Weimar, Dresden, and Brussels. Each trip seeks to balance fun activities with educational content, e.g. on the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburg Empire, the Cold War/GDR, the Weimar Classic, fascism, art, and music. We have even enjoyed behind-the-scenes talks with leading politicians and experts. Additional day trips are made to Hamburg, Lübeck, or Bremerhaven.
Students will be accommodated in dormitory-style housing (single and double apartments) near the university. Private room rentals in Bremen are possible under special conditions and upon the student’s own initiative.
For more information on how to apply for the Dickinson-in-Bremen program, please visit the website of Dickinson's Center for Global Study and Engagement.
photo: Eigene Arbeit/ownwork