The Dartmouth German Studies Department maintains two levels of academic program in Berlin. Many students take part in both. Each offers a total immersion in German language and culture and forms an important part of the curriculum. Students live with local families and take one course from the Dartmouth faculty member who accompanies each program, as well as two others from German instructors who are associated with various educational institutions in Berlin.
In a recent survey, the almost 22,000 Dartmouth alumni who had participated in the College's programs abroad described that experience as having "contributed greatly to their personal development," rating it above any other activity considered, including athletics, independent study, internships, or the performing arts.1 These programs are fully integrated into the curriculum, and a majority of Dartmouth undergraduates participate in at least one. Financial aid awards are adjusted to account for any differences in cost, including transportation.
Dartmouth's German Studies programs take place in Berlin, which the New York Times calls "the coolest city in Europe" (3/19/06). The Washington Post concurs: "It truly is the most exciting city in Europe at present" (4/12/2009). "With a gallery on every street and art on almost every wall, museums both traditional and eccentric, great opera and plenty of great food, the city has become a cultural capital not just of Europe, but of the world" (again the Times, 6/22/08). At the same time, Berlin is extraordinarily livable. As the Times Literary Supplement put it (3/8/02), Berlin is both "a quiet provincial city and at the same time a great metropolis, with enough street life, museums, galleries, opera houses, theatres, cinemas, bars, and cafés to last one a lifetime." And the New York Times (2/3/03) adds that "Berlin is not unlike a huge village. A third of the city is green. The public park of the Tiergarten is a large forest in the middle of town and to the west is the Grunewald, more than 12 square miles of woods traversed by hiking trails and bicycle paths and dotted by unpolluted lakes and streams. [...] Only two or three other cities in the world can offer up such a rich variety of artistic and cultural enterprises as Berlin, with three symphony orchestras, several chamber music ensembles, three opera houses, a ballet company, traditional theater companies (including the Berliner Ensemble), a host of experimental theater groups and an active cabaret scene. [...] Berlin's museums are among the most extraordinary anywhere." At the same time, there are three large universities, various academies of art and music, many movie houses, galleries, clubs, discos, and a spectacular zoo. Numerous restaurants and outdoor markets reflect the city's broad ethnic mix. All of these amenities are joined by a safe and convenient public transportation system.
But the city is also fascinating because of its central role in European history for over two centuries. Again quoting the Times (3/11/99): "No major European city displays its [...] history more visibly than Berlin." This past is to be found not just in the city's many museums and in the memories of its inhabitants, but also in its architecture: the palaces of the baroque, rococo and romantic periods, the monumental government buildings and workers' tenements of the Wilhelminian Empire, the modernist structures of the Weimar Republic, the massive ministries and Olympic Stadium of the Third Reich, ruins from World War II, the showcase developments - and the Wall - constructed during the Cold War. Today, Berlin is at a particularly exciting moment of transition, reclaiming its historical role as Germany's capital and as the political, cultural, and economic mediary between Eastern and Western Europe. Massive construction projects also reflect Berlin's vitality and offer "some of the most exciting new architecture in the world" (Boston Globe, 7/23/00). To see some of the older and newer buildings, go to Deutsche Architektur and click on "Berlin." Or explore various panoramas of Berlin.
1 conducted by COFHE (the Consortium on Financing Higher Education). See Dartmouth Life, April, 2002.
Last Updated: 11/29/12