Is this program right for you?
This program is designed for students who want to gain a thorough understanding of contemporary Germany and Europe. The program provides a structured environment for AU students to study and explore Berlin alongside other U.S. study abroad students. Most AU students participate in the intensive language courses offered on the program where you can earn up to 6 credits of German in one semester at any level from beginning to advanced. This program is best suited for beginning or intermediate German students.
*Students are encouraged to apply early to maximize their course options- especially for the spring term.*
In Berlin, American University students study with the FU-BEST (Berlin European Studies) program at the Freie Universitaet (FU), our partner institution in the German capital. This program offers fascinating perspectives on Germany in a broader European context. Our program will enable you to enroll in stimulating courses taught by expert faculty.
While there is no prior German language training required for this program, all students will make solid progress in their German language skills, with language courses from elementary through advanced. Mandatory Group-based or individualized local field trips will be linked to many of the courses.
The majority of the courses, including lectures and readings are conducted in English; however students with the requisite language ability may choose to write their exams and papers in German. There are also two content courses taught in German that are available to students with the requisite language ability. Language courses are taught in German.
A preliminary schedule of the Spring 2018 semester can be found here.
Weekly schedules for the Fall 2017 semester can be found here.
View the Course Equivalency Database to find out which courses on this program have already been equated to AU courses. Please note that you are NOT limited to just these courses. Students will need to request equivalency for courses which have not been previously reviewed. Read more about the course equivalency process and how AU counts study abroad credits on our Courses and Credits page.
Most participants in the FU-BEST program in Berlin enroll in 6 credits of intensive German language study per semester, offered at all levels, from Elementary to Advanced.
Students who have no German language training prior to participating in the program can enroll in a special introductory course for 3 credits (instead of the intensive language courses). The German courses are already in the AU catalog. Here is a list of what your language courses will equate to.
||AU Course Equivalent
|Beginner 1 (A1.1/A1.2)
|Beginner 2 (A1.2/A2.1)
|Intermediate 1 (A2.2/B1.1)
|Intermediate 2 (B1.1/B1.2)
|Intermediate 3 (B2.1)
|Advanced 1 (B2.2)
|Advanced 2 (C1/C2)
Syllabi for the German courses can be found here
In addition to the German language course[s], students choose 2-4 additional courses for 3 credits each from the FU-BEST content courses offered in English. Current offerings include:
- Contemporary Germany in European Perspective
- Jewish Legacies in Central Europe
- The Human Condition and the Totalitarian Experience
- Integration, Conflict, and Security in Europe
- Europe in the Global Economy
- European Legal Traditions
- European Business Cultures
- Environmental Politics and Policy in Europe
- Perspectives on 20th Century Art in Central Europe
- Berlin: History, Memory, Literature
- History of Central European Classical Music
- Modern German History in European Context: A Thematic Approach
- Themes and Issues in Transatlantic Relations
- Islam and Europe: Historical and Contemporary Dimensions
- Architecture in Berlin from the 19th Century to Today
- The Promise of German Philosophy: Kant to Hegel (fall only)
- Tragedy and New Beginnings in German Philosophy (spring only)
- Contemporary German and European Cinema (spring only)
- German Cinema Before 1945 (fall only)
- Literatur and Film in Deutschland seit der Wende (taught in German; fall only)
- Theatermetropole Berlin: Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (taught in German, spring only)
Berlin is one of Europe's most dynamic, eclectic and innovative metropolitan areas. There is something for everyone in this city that has such a young vibe, but is moored in long, complicated history. Located in the heart of Europe, with some 3.4 million inhabitants, Berlin will offer you unrivaled educational, intellectual, cultural, and recreational opportunities. What is more, Berlin's rich museum landscape, its monuments and memorials, its concert halls and opera houses, its stage and movie theaters, and its range of recreational offerings will all be at your disposal. AU Abroad in Berlin students can choose from two housing options.
The homestay may entail a family with or without children living at home, or one or more adults as hosts. Students in homestays learn firsthand about German culture and enjoy increased exposure to the German language. Additionally, homestay students enjoy breakfasts and dinners with their family. You will have a chance to share more about yourself and what type of host family you prefer, during your pre-departure time.
A fully-furnished, single-occupancy studio apartment is also available to students. The outstanding public transportation system provides easy access to your classes and all facilities at the Freie Universität as well as a means of exploring the city. No meal plan is incorporated into the studio option. The apartments do not feature telephone or internet connection. If desired these features can be set up by the student upon arrival.
The FU-BEST program features an elaborate set of learning support and cultural experience activities. Some of these are mandatory, others are optional.
Each semester, all students not only participate in a week-long off-site excursion, but also visit four sites in and around Berlin on selected Fridays as integral and mandatory part of the overall academic program: the Reichstag building (including a session of the German parliament) and/or the Chancellor's Office (Bundeskanzleramt), the site of the former Nazi concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, the former prison complex in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen of East Germany's state security police (Stasi), and the royal palace Sanssouci as well as the 1945 allied conference site in nearby Potsdam.
One extended excursion to nearby cities in Germany and/or Central Europe will enhance your understanding of this fascintating and important region. This excursion is subject to variation across semesters, past destinations have included Nuremberg-Prague, Paris-Amsterdam, Breslau-Krakow-Auschwitz or Vienna-Budapest.
U.S., E.U. and Canadian citizens do NOT need to obtain a visa to participate in the FU-BEST program. Others are responsible for contacting the German Embassy or Consulate to ascertain if and how they should acquire the appropriate visa.