DATES & DEADLINES
COVID-19 Update: In the interest of student health and safety, this program will not be offered in Spring 2021. It has been postponed to Winter 2022.
- Application & Deposit Deadline: Friday, January 8, 2021
- Early Bird Deadline: Extended to Friday, November 27, 2020 (SAVE $100!)
- Group Flight Application & Deposit Deadline: Tuesday, December 15, 2020
- Balance of Program Fees Due: Friday, January 29, 2021
- Tuition: check your campus’s calendar
- Program Dates: March 26-June 4, 2021
Contact your WCCCSA Campus Coordinator for more information about spending the spring in Berlin.
- WCCCSA – Berlin brochure – Spring 2021
- WCCCSA Budget Request_Berlin 2021
- WCCCSA Scholarship Application
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Study in one of the most vibrant and exciting European capitals! Berlin’s East and West sides of the city have retained their own identity since reunification and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Berlin has become a focus for modern architecture and remains a major center of art and international business.
The city, with its many famous parks and lakes, becomes especially full of life in the spring and summer when the locals are out on foot, bicycles, and skates, and populating the many beer gardens.
Housing will be in single occupancy studios in a centrally-located apart-hotel in Berlin. Each studio will have a single bed, a desk, an en-suite bathroom, a TV, and access to a fully equipped shared kitchen. Bed linens, towels, and wireless internet will be provided.
All students will receive a travel pass good for unlimited use on the buses, trams, S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains in zones A & B in downtown Berlin.
CAMPUS & CLASSROOMS
Classes will be held in the centrally-located study center of the American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS).
FACULTY & COURSES
Students will take three classes for a total of 15 credits including a German Life & Culture class taught by local faculty. This course is mandatory for all students, and focuses on historical, political, economic, and cultural aspects of Berlin and Germany.
German Life & Culture (5 credits) is required for all students.
Primary Faculty – Ben Kohn, Whatcom Community College
Ben Kohn’s scholarly training and personal enthusiasms have resulted in his applying an interdisciplinary approach to all of his courses. So you can expect a discussion of painting in his music class and a discussion of architecture in his film class! Ben pursued his graduate studies at the University of Washington in the field of Comparative Literature, with an emphasis in German, American, Russian, and Danish Literature, as well as literary and critical theory. He also studied classical violin for over 20 years, receiving training at The Vancouver Academy of Music, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and Det Fynske Musikkonservatorium, Odense, Denmark. He is currently a professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Department of World Languages at Whatcom Community College, where he has taught courses in humanities, interdisciplinary studies, literature, music, film studies, and the German language. Ben has previously taught for WCCCSA in Florence, Italy, and Berlin, Germany. He is looking forward to building on his previous experience through new additions to an already dynamic program studying Berlin’s rich musical and cinematic traditions, as well as the city’s cutting edge contemporary scenes. As a student, Ben attended study abroad programs in Germany, Austria, France, and the former Soviet Union, so he recognizes that such cultural experiences offer the possibility of great intellectual and personal transformation. Ben’s explorations with his students will provide many opportunities for such transformations.
Music Appreciation (MUSC& 105) – 5 credits
Which composer got into a knife fight with a bassoonist because he played too many wrong notes? Which composer spent 3 ½ years on tour starting at the age of seven? Which composer’s final work was dictated to him by angelic-voiced spirits? Which composer considered his audience a congregation and started the practice of extinguishing the lights in theaters and concert halls? Which composer wrote songs extolling the virtues of gangsters (no, not Snoop Dogg!) that have been performed in both the most gilded opera houses and the sleaziest bars? These colorful characters were J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, and Kurt Weill – all of whom were German-speaking composers with close connections to Berlin!
This course will explore the extremely varied and rich history of Western composed music, popularly and somewhat inaccurately (our first discussion) referred to as the “Western Classical Tradition.” Because we are lucky enough to be situated in Berlin, we will focus most intensely on the musical contributions of the composers and performers of this region. Actually, this would probably be the case if you were to take an introductory musicology course anywhere in the world, especially if you were discussing the music of the 19th, 20th, or 21st centuries. What is even more exciting is that we will be in the most musically innovative, dynamic, and vibrant city on the face of the planet at the very moment it is exploding with all kinds of new sounds! As genre boundaries are constantly being blurred in this contemporary music, we will necessarily undertake some Jazz and World Music studies, as well as investigate several Electronica styles. I will arrange for the class to attend numerous concerts of music throughout the quarter. All of these concerts will be preceded by scholarly preparation and will require the writing of musical reviews after the performance. Therefore, while the course will be much more about music as a socio-cultural phenomenon throughout history than a course on music theory, you will be required to become familiar with some critical vocabulary and basic elements of this music for the purposes of analysis. But do not despair – Berlin offers the possibility of becoming profoundly educated in matters of music while at the same time having a lot of fun!
Introduction to Film (FILM 101 at Whatcom) – 5 credits
Next to Hollywood, Germany has been home to one of the most influential and important film industries in the world. Indeed, during the 1920s and early 1930s, it was the undisputed center of cinematic creativity and quality. At the center of this center was Berlin, or more specifically, a studio on the outskirts of Berlin in Babelsberg. Babelsberg was a government-supported studio complex (which we will visit!) that was designed to advance German filmmaking before and during WWII and East German filmmaking after the war. While German filmmakers developed numerous technical innovations here, their most essential achievement was the development of cinema as an art, transcending its role as a provider of novelty and entertainment. As we will be examining film as art, we can easily use German films and film clips almost exclusively to illustrate in detail the technical elements of film (form, narrative structure, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, sound), as well as investigate how films can make us see, then feel and think differently.
Additionally, films often reveal aspects of national or regional culture and can also reflect back to us certain situations around certain moments in time (Zeitgeist!). They most definitely present how filmmakers see their own culture and how they want us to see their own culture. Thus, they can provide us with great insight into the historical and contemporary culture of Germany and in particular the city of Berlin. The films that we will see in their entirety, and the films which you will be required to analyze in detail, will all be by German directors. They will cover several genres and will even include an East German Western infused by communist ideology. Guess who rides off into the sunset!
If 22 or more students enroll, a second faculty will join the program.
Secondary Faculty – Vero Barrera-Kolb, Seattle Central College
As a Latin American diaspora and partnered with an Austrian, traveling abroad has become an intimate part of her life. In her late teens Vero spent over two years traveling in the Southern cone and became intrigued with how gender production and presentation is shaped by the cultural, economic, and social context of place. The questions she asked then continue to shape her research, filmmaking, teaching, and activist life.
Vero earned her Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College where she found her passion for interdisciplinary studies and filmmaking. She received her MA in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College where she produced her first documentary film on Latin-x immigrants in higher education. She then earned a Masters in Communication from the University of Washington in the Native Voices Documentary Film Program and did Doctoral work in Feminist Studies in the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies Department. While pursuing her PhD she traveled to Chile to conduct research with human rights activists and produced a documentary film about memory, gender, and human rights. She is currently a tenured instructor at Seattle Central College in the Humanities Department.
Vero is deeply committed to interdisciplinary teaching and finds that learning is best when in community, relevant to students’ life, and grounded in place. Using Berlin as a backdrop to engaging with cultural practice/production, globalization, gender and human rights, her courses will explore how students can read place in order to engage and reflect more deeply with themselves and each other.
Intercultural Communications (HUM 105 at Seattle Central) – 5 credits
The history of Germany is troubled and can shape the relationship between communication and cultural practice in ways we are unable to see without some skill and analysis. Speaking to each other across cultural practice, shaped by social dynamics and histories is the focus of our class. Using an interdisciplinary lens, we will look at the social, cultural, and economic issues that surround the intricate relationship between communication and cultural practice in order to see how race, class, and gender interact with cultural forms of communication in the context of our changing world, particularly globalization, new technologies, and global economic crisis. We will use Berlin as a backdrop to explore the ways the histories of the Holocaust and its aftermath shape the ways we perceive the city and examine the cultural and social context of memory and reckoning of the German people.
Introduction to Women and Gender Studies (WMN 200 at Seattle Central) – 5 credits
Does gender get presented and produced differently in Berlin, Germany than in the U.S.? Of course it does, but how do we interpret it and use it to analyze and reflect on our gender, sex, and sexuality? How we see and live our lives is fundamentally shaped and organized along gender lines. We are rarely made aware of that shaping and less so the way it arranges our daily lives. Yet, many of us begin our day by “doing gender” and move about our day repeating those gendered acts and practices; shaving your legs or your face, putting on cologne or perfume, eating nonfat foods or a protein shake, wearing skirts or pants, etc. This class will introduce you to gender, women, and sexuality studies, an interdisciplinary academic field, and its respective theories, methods, and frameworks. The way we analyze gender, women, and sexuality emerges from many disciplines working together that allows for a multidimensional view of human experience. We will start our work with the understanding that there is no genetic nor universal category of woman or man. Rather, that knowledge, history, policies, and norms are produced, shaped, mediated, and governed to construct gender in particular ways. We will also explore the ways gender and sexuality are tied up with and inseparable from other social locations, such as race, disability, age, ethnicity, citizenship, and class.
Program of free and subsidized cultural activities could include the following:
- Orientation session, half-day guided sightseeing tour of Berlin by private bus, and welcome dinner
- Weekly program of free and subsidized cultural activities such as a boat cruise, opera tickets, sporting events, museum visits, and a street art workshop and walking tour
- Guided tour of the Reichstag
- Guided day-trip to Potsdam including a guided tour of Cecilienhof Palace and admission to Sansoucci Palace
- Visit to and guided tour of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
UPDATED An optional three-day, two-night excursion to the Baltic Sea is available, including round-trip train tickets, accommodation in a centrally located hostel in multi-bedded rooms with daily breakfast and dinner, and guided walking tours and museum entrances in Stralsund and Rügen for $395. A minimum of 10 students must participate for the excursion to be offered.
INCLUDED IN THE COST
- Housing in single occupancy studios in a centrally–located apart-hotel
- Travel pass for unlimited use on the buses, trams, S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains in zones A and B (and C as necessary)
- Orientation program on-site in Berlin including an orientation meeting with AIFS staff, information packet, a guided half-day city tour, and welcome meal
- Weekly program of free and subsidized cultural activities such as a “Kaffee und Kuchen” boat cruise along the River Spree, opera tickets, a sporting event, museum visits, a street art workshop and walking tour
- Guided tour of the Reichstag
- Full-day guided excursion to Potsdam including entrance to the Cecilienhof Palace with guided tour on the theme of “The Potsdam Conference and the Berlin Wall,” and admission to Sansoucci Palace with guided tour
- Half-day excursion to the Memorial and Museum of Sachsenhausen including entrance and private group tour
- Services of the AIFS Program Coordinator for information, personal advising/counseling, and 24-hour emergency contact service
- Access to the AIFS Student Center
- Medical and program fee refund insurance policies
NOT INCLUDED IN THE COST
- College tuition and fees at your home campus
- Course books or materials (unless specified)
- Passport and visa fees, if applicable
- Meals not mentioned above
- Personal expenses
- Optional personal effects coverage and medical insurance upgrade
- Optional three-day, two-night excursion to the Baltic Sea
- Local or independent travel while in Berlin
- Personal expenses such as laundry
- Anything not specified as included in the program
WCCCSA Berlin participants are all eligible to apply for one of two $1,000 WCCCSA scholarships.
- Date: TBD
- Time: 10am-3pm
- Location: TBD
What to bring:
You should also invite parents, guardians, or whomever you feel should attend with you. Coffee will be provided in the morning and lunch will be included. The faculty will be available to discuss their courses and expectations.