Germany Erfahrung

Erfahrung in German is "experience." Apply Today to Experience Germany, up close and personal.

Few countries are as important and controversial as the Federal Republic of Germany.  It is a country that gave birth to the first system of social security and national health care.  Between the First and Second World War, Germany’s Weimar Republic was arguably the most democratic regime in the history of Europe.   Yet, after the fall of the short-lived Weimar Republic, Germany developed one of the most brutal and undemocratic regimes in the history of the world.  After the Second World War, West Germany became a model of a capitalist democracy while its eastern counterpart suffered under communist rule for nearly fifty years.  Following unification in 1989, Germany became an economic success story and a leader among countries promoting greater European unification.  At the same time Germany has come under attack for the country’s heavy-handedness and arrogance in handling the current economic and currency crisis.  So is Germany an exemplar of democratic stability or a country on the cusp of another crisis? How could a country that gave the world Weimar and Goethe also give us Auschwitz?  Where is Germany today and where will it be in the future?  These are the questions taken up in this course.  

Students will have an opportunity to examine these questions up close and personal by traveling to Germany and visiting the three locations that are the center of Germany’s past, present and future: Frankfurt (headquarters of the European Central Bank);   Erfurt/Weimar (birthplace of German democracy); and Berlin (capital of the united Germany).  We will use history and political science to examine the volatile political transformations in Germany from the founding of the first united Germany in 1871 to the Second World War to the Cold War to the present, and the contests between democracy, fascism, and communism.  

Applications for summer 2016 are due by December 15, 2015.


Kent State University students have an opportunity to experience first hand the political, economic and historic challenges that confront the largest economy in Europe by taking Study Abroad in Germany: Politics, History, Culture (POL 40995 and History 49195).  This is an experiential learning course that includes briefings with economists at the European Central Bank, state and federal lawmakers, as well as tours of historic and political sites such as Germany’s capital building, the Reichstag, and the city of Potsdam. 


This course takes place during the three-week summer intersession in May. Students can take the course and be back in Ohio in time for summer courses and/or work. In the past about half of the students opt to stay longer in Europe. You do have the option to return to Cleveland at a later date.


For questions or more information, contact Dr. Mark Cassell,