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Freiburg Study Group

Director Spring 2016: Professor Alan Swensen, Associate Professor of German


The Freiburg Study Group is affiliated with the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg, Germany. It is designed to:
  1. Give students — who have previously studied German in the unavoidable artificiality of the classroom — the opportunity to develop and polish their skills through immersion in a German-speaking environment;
  1. Provide students with firsthand experience of German culture in all its variety; and
  1. Help students integrate their German-language skills into their broader intellectual life by providing them with an opportunity to pursue their major together with native German students in courses at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität.
The group will travel together with the director during the first weeks of the program and settle in Freiburg in early April. During this travel period students will begin their first two courses: the composition and culture courses. The semester at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität begins on April 18, 2016 and ends July 23, 2016.  In the week immediately preceding the start of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität’s semester, students participate in orientation activities. During the semester, students will complete the director’s two courses started during the travel segment and take two more courses from the regular offerings of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität.

This study group has not been designated to satisfy the Core Global Engagements requirement.  Students will need to meet the Global Engagement requirement by enrolling in a designated course offered on campus.
Wandern im Schwarzwald, Black Forest, Germany Unterricht im Freiburg Südtirol, Italy Museumsquartier, Wien Freiburg Study Group: Zürich Freiburg Study Group: Sils-Maria, Schweiz Freiburg Study Group: Die Schaubühne, Berlin Die Dreisam in Freiburg Der Kaiserstuhl, bei Freiburg Der Bundestag im Reichstagsgebäude, Berlin Das europäische Parlament, Strasbourg, France A scenic view of Berlin

Prerequisites and Selection Criteria

Satisfactory completion of German 351 or the permission of the director is required for participation in the Freiburg Study Group. Students will be selected based on their German-language preparation and their general intellectual and personal maturity.


GERM 341 Advanced Conversation and Composition (Professor Swensen)
This course addresses the needs of American students studying and living in a German environment. It focuses on the language skills needed for coping as a student at a German university. A first part is taught by the director while the group travels; a second part is taught in Freiburg by the director and tutors in accordance with the specific needs of the individual student.

GERM 457 German  Culture and Literature (Professor Swensen)
This course is designed to give students a sense of Germany that goes beyond the university setting. Students are presented with a survey of German culture that draws on their immediate experience abroad. In addition to a study trip to several areas of German-speaking Europe, the course includes museum visits, theater and opera performances, and concerts. As with German 341, this course has two components: the pre-semester weeks (in March), which are devoted to travel, and the semester at Freiburg, during which regular class sessions are held.

GERM 400, 403 Electives Abroad
Courses of the students' choice at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität. They may be chosen from any field, the only restrictions being the prerequisites for each specific course and in some science courses, the availability of lab space.

Living Arrangements

Students are housed in the dormitories of the University of Freiburg. The director will arrange for these accommodations. We make every effort to see that Colgate students are housed with Freiburg students and not with other study group members.

Extracurricular Opportunities

Students may participate in various university and community extracurricular activities such as sports, choruses, or orchestras, etc.

Educational Journeys

In the first weeks of the program students will travel with the director to several cities chosen to illustrate important aspects of the political, economic, and cultural development of German-speaking Europe. This travel is an essential part of German 457: German Culture and Literature.


Mid-March through July 2016. Students may remain in their dormitory rooms until July 31, 2016.

Travel Arrangements

Students do not travel as a group either to or from Europe. Students make their own travel arrangements and will meet in Germany at the beginning of the group activities, at a time and place arranged by the director.


Three orientation sessions in the fall prior to departure help to prepare students for their experience at a German university. Previous study group participants and one or more native German students in residence at Colgate will serve as resource persons for the new study group.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets on the Off-Campus Study website.

Calendar and Deadlines

All students interested in applying should plan on attending one of the informational sessions.  The deadline for applications to the spring 2016 Freiburg Study Group is Friday, November 7, 2014.  Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs website and are submitted online. Only finalists in the selection process will be interviewed. Interviews will take place before fall exams and will be arranged by e-mail. Student notification of selections will  take place in late December 2014.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through December 2016. All students participating on the Freiburg Study Group will be required to obtain a Schengen student visa. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with German government visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 Lathrop, and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop Hall, to learn as much as you can about the regulations. For some students there are significant visa requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

Freiburg Study Group Program Dates: mid–March through late-July, 2016

Informational Sessions

Thursday, October 16, 2014 from 4-5 p.m. in the German Center, 115-116 Lawrence Hall

Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 11 a.m. in 105 Lawrence.  Recently returned Freiburg Study Group participants will be present at this informational meeting.

More Information

For more information contact Professor Alan Swensen at or 315-228-7769, 116A Lawrence Hall.

Helpful Links

General Information

Field Trip Information

Course-related Materials