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  • Locations: Berlin, Germany; Nuremberg, Germany
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: DPU applicants only
  • Click for Tuition + Program Fee: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Short-term Required GPA: 2.5
Living Arrangements: Hotel Language of Instruction: English
Liberal Studies Domain: A+L, EL Study Abroad Contact: Erica Rideaux
How COVID-19 could impact this program or your study abroad plans: Please see the Study Abroad COVID-19 page for more information.
Program Description:


The number of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war-torn regions surged around the world in 2015, but especially in Germany, making it the nation with the greatest number of asylum applications and approvals in the EU over the past several years. Germany’s 2015 open door policy was part of what Chancellor Angela Merkel called Germany’s larger “humanitarian task:” the project of reparation and global citizenship that Germany began in the postwar era, which links Germany’s complicated history in the 20th century to the global issues of the present day. This short-term study abroad program, “Berlin: Navigating the Refugee Experience,” will take students to Berlin for two weeks in Summer 2021 to consider these questions of identity, politics, and history, and to engage firsthand with individuals and institutions that support refugees and their integration to life in Germany. We’ll visit with human rights organizations operating on the ground with Berlin’s refugee population, meet and work alongside people who have to come to Germany as refugees, and learn how refugee and immigrant groups use the arts - theater, music, film, and writing - to communicate their experience.

Berlin is an exceptional place to consider these ideas: even in the super-diversity of today’s Germany, Berlin is astoundingly international, with 30% of its population (upwards of one million people) coming from immigrant backgrounds, and nearly 190 countries represented among its dwellers. Not only that, Berlin is a city that manages to be both widely global and quintessentially German: alongside its extraordinary diversity, Berlin is also the German capital and a compelling site of German memory, memorial and meaning. Berlin’s demographics make it well-suited, perhaps more than any other German city, for students to encounter the questions of culture, identity, history, and service generated by the influx of refugees throughout Europe that this program asks them to consider.

As we contemplate these questions, we’ll also learn about the turbulent history of Germany in the 20th century, and consider how its many cataclysms - namely, the fascist crimes of the Second World War and divided Germany in the postwar era - have shaped German identity and contributed to its humanitarian stance in the 21st century. Relatedly, we’ll also learn about the populist response that has emerged in German politics (largely represented in former East Germany) over the past several years. To give us a comparative and more comprehensive perspective on these ideas, we’ll incorporate a short trip to Nuremberg in our program, too, to discuss the development of German history in regard to ideas of citizenship and belonging. Taken together, these encounters will help students understand the ways that the past informs the present in Germany, consider how refugees integrate and create in Berlin, and interrogate the reality of U.S. refugee and immigrant policy in comparison to the German model. Click here for a video about the program. 


Anna Souchuk is an Associate Professor of German who works on contemporary Austrian writers. Led four iterations of the popular DePaul short term study abroad program to Vienna (2011-2016).

Shailja Sharma is a Professor of International Studies, specializing in the study of migration, citizenship and European twentieth century history.

All students will be enrolled in the following 2 courses:
Course GER 319: Multicultural Germany: Literature, Art, Film
Credits 4 credit hours
Term registered Spring 2021
Class meeting times TBA, LPC
Liberal Studies domain Arts & Literature
Taught by Anna Souchuk
Course description This course asks students to consider various literary/artistic media as ways of communicating and interpreting experiences relevant to migrants in Germany, particularly in Berlin. We’ll consider the refugee experience in Germany over the past several centuries, focusing on postwar-era “guest workers” and, most immediately, the influx of refugees to Germany from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq that spiked in 2015/16. By engaging with writings, artwork, films, and music created by members of these groups, students will be encouraged to think critically about representations of refugees and immigrants in media and discourse --to consider, for example, how even the contemporary labeling of refugees in Europe as a “crisis” generates a certain kind of response. The course will end with a look toward the future of multiculturalism in Germany and consider the possibility of a pan-European multicultural literature and film.
Course INT 498/398: Immigration, Memory, Integration in Germany
Credits 4 credit hours
Term registered Spring 2021
Class meeting times TBA, LPC
Liberal Studies domain Experiential Learning
Taught by Shailja Sharma
Course description This course is structured to prepare students for the “Berlin: Navigating the Refugee Experience” program by offering a historical and contemporary grounding in Germany’s history of nationalism and its policy on minorities and refugees. The course will also spend some time discussing the importance of historical memory in Germany. We’ll first study the process of nation formation in Germany in the 19th century, its role in the first and Second World Wars and its postwar reconstruction. We’ll also look at its divisions during the Cold War and how those impacted its policies on refugees and immigrants.

After that historical overview, we’ll focus more specifically on the contemporary period and German policies around migration, as well as towards refugees. In preparation for our on-site visit to Berlin, we’ll take a look at policies, the reception of refugees, discussions around integration, and specific initiatives that have facilitated refugee and migrant integration.
  Please note that although some courses are registered in a particular term, some coursework or final assignments may be due in a different term. E.g. Course registered in fall quarter, but coursework is due in winter quarter once the travel component of the program is complete.

Double occupancy for students at Motel One am Alexanderplatz.

During our time in Berlin, we will experience the following cultural opportunities, lectures, site visits, etc.:
  • Über den Tellerrand/“Better Plate”: Cooking class led by a cook who arrived in Berlin as a refugee and workshop with the Better Plate team about social gastronomy movements and using food as a form of social cohesion
  • Workshop and Q and A with Ali Fitzgerald, author and artist of the graphic novel "Drawn to Berlin," which we'll be reading as part of our program. Ms. Fitzgerald has agreed to meet us in Berlin while we're there to give us a talk on using art as a therapeutic way of supporting refugees and will also share some of her own experiences living in Berlin and working there as an artist
  • Querstadtein tour: See one of Berlin’s neighborhoods through the eyes of a refugee tour guide
  • Refugio Café language tables through Give Something Back to Berlin: opportunity to use either English or German as a way to communicate at biweekly integrative language tables for refugees and other Berlin newcomers
  • Visit to a refugee shelter in Berlin
  • Theatrical performance by the Exile ensemble at the Gorki Theater
  • Türkenmarkt and Mauerpark: visits to two large-scale, multicultural artisanal food and craft open air markets Meetings with and presentations from NGOs and think tanks working on the ground to support refugee communities (Expert Council of German Federations on Integration and Migration, Singa Deutschland, Caritas, Give Something Back to Berlin, Eed Be Eed Storytelling)
  • Understanding Germany and Europe in the 20th century through two installations: Topography of Terror (documents the systematic process of the Nazis’ rise to power, 1933-1945) and Tränenpalast (“Palace of Tears,” former border crossing point between East and West Berlin)
  • Comparative visit to Nuremberg to observe the history of Germany with regard to citizenship and belonging, through visits to the Palace of Justice and Nazi Documentation center

All students participating in study abroad will be charged both tuition (billed at the regular DePaul tuition rate, based on the number of credits enrolled) and a program fee. Please read the program fee details carefully to understand exactly what is included, as this can vary from program to program. If the program fee is posted, be sure to note whether the fee is current or from a previous year (past program fees may serve as a guide until the current program fee is available). If the current program fee has not yet been posted, please check back closer to the application deadline. Please also note the withdrawal policy.
*Please note that this program was previously run during the December term in past years, but will be running in Summer 2021. Refer to the Summer Budget Sheet at the top of the page for the correct budgeting information.

DePaul offers several types of scholarships for students studying abroad, and students should visit the scholarship page early in the application process for information on eligibility and deadlines.


DePaul Study Abroad is carefully monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, and this program is currently moving forward in the Summer 2021 term. If the program is canceled prior to departure, students will be refunded 100% of the program fee and withdrawn from any associated classes with no penalty or tuition charges. Study Abroad has also modified the standard Withdrawal Policy, and any students who commit to this program and decide to withdraw 90+ days prior to the program start date will not be charged any withdrawal fees. For more information, go to the DePaul Study Abroad COVID-19 Updates page.

If you are planning to study abroad and do not have a passport, apply for one immediately. Some programs require students to obtain student visas. In that case, contact the country's local consulate or embassy for up-to-date instructions. As of this publication, students traveling with US passports on theBerlin: Navigating The Refugee Experience program DO NOT need a visa. Please note that visa requirements can change quickly. Study Abroad will update this website to reflect changes as they become available.

DePaul University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, or handicap in admissions, employment, or the provision of services. Inquiries regarding this policy should be addressed to the Director of Human Resources, 1 East Jackson Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

Circumstances, such as an unexpected event abroad or a curriculum change, may require DePaul University to make changes to the program. DePaul University reserves the right to cancel or alter programs and courses without notice.

Dates / Deadlines:

Thank you for your interest in this program! We are not currently accepting applications. In general, applications open about 6 months before program application deadlines.

This program is currently not accepting applications.