Courses

During the winter and summer semester, AYF students enroll in a combination of specially-designed program courses offered exclusively to program participants and a variety of courses at the university and other local educational institutions.

Prof. Sabine Mödersheim conducts academic advising in her office.As an AYF student, you will put together a course of study in individual academic advising sessions with the Academic Director. Setting up your personal course of study allows you to explore your interests and challenge yourself academically while maintaining a manageable course load.

Courses taken as part of AYF transfer back as credits to our American partner universities and can keep you on track to graduate in four years!

Earn U.S. Credit

All approved courses taken with AYF will transfer back to American partner schools as credits. AYF students enroll in a minimum of 12 credits per semester to maintain full-time status at their home university while in Freiburg. AYF students generally earn 27-30 credits during their year in Freiburg.

„It was great having classes here that counted back home! And I loved the broad selection of language courses – AYF, PH, SLI, Uni courses … so many options!” – Brendan Ryan

Language Courses

Exclusively for AYF students, intensive language courses at the Alpadia Language School in Freiburg use text and media on current events in Germany to help students improve their German language skills rapidly. The focus of the orientation course is intensive language acquisition and includes a broad cultural introduction to the region as well. These custom-designed small classes are led by experienced instructors and students receive 3 credits for each of these courses.

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Orientation Language Course (September)

The AYF language course held during Orientation is an intensive German composition and conversation course offered at the Alpadia Language School in Freiburg in groups based on proficiency level. A placement test is used to determine the appropriate level.

The course focuses equally on grammatical structures and practical application of functional vocabulary drawn from everyday life and a university setting. Classes meet five days a week for four units per day. Total number of teaching units in this class: 72 contact hours.

Advanced Language Course (October – December)

The so-called Aufbaukurse at Alpadia continue where the Orientation language courses left off. In ten weeks, from the middle of October until the third week of December, students continue to improve their German in these advanced composition and conversation courses.

Classes meet three days a week for two units per day. Total number of teaching units in this class: 60 contact hours.

By the end of December, AYF participants will have enjoyed more than 130 units of intensive German training offered by experienced and well-trained teachers.

 AYF Topics Courses

galleries 03 teaching 003AYF offers two to three specially-designed topics courses each semester. These courses provide a broad survey of literary or historical periods and are taught in German by experienced local instructors and the Academic Director. Usually, a program course on German history is taught each winter semester and a political science course (for example, on the European Union) is offered each summer semester. A course on Renewable Energy and Sustainability exploring the pioneering role of Germany in environmental research, policy and development uses the “Green City Freiburg” model as a case study. Additional courses on German literature or film are added as needed.

Winter Semester 2019-20

Germany and Freiburg Then and Now: Contemporary Issues and Legacies of the Past in Literature, Media and the Urban Environment (Prof. Peter M. McIsaac)

This course examines recent German literature and media as a way of illuminating topics foremost on the minds of German speakers today, legacies of the past that shape today’s German-speaking world, and their manifestation in and around Freiburg. Using recent writing, film, graphic novels and news media, the course will analyze issues such as:

  • developing issues in German and European politics
  • multiculturalism and the recent influx of refugees
  • ecological sustainability, renewable energy, pollution and recycling
  • Holocaust commemoration and the legacies of the Nazi past
  • the legacies of East and West in unified Germany
  • urban/rural divides
  • and soccer and German identity.

As much as possible, work on these topics will include on-site components that will illuminate the ways these issues manifest and affect life in and around Freiburg. Anticipated visits and interactions include:

  • ecologists involved in Freiburg’s Umweltpolitik
  • volunteers involved in integrating refugees
  • the memorial to the murdered Jews at the Wiwilibrücke, the Vordtriede-Haus and Freiburg’s “stumbling stones” (some of the earliest in Germany)
  • the Stadtmuseum’s examination of National Socialism at the university and the city
  • potentially a game of the SC Freiburg in the context of the cultural history of German soccer and recent debates about racism in the DFB.

Since students in the Freiburg program will come to the seminar with divergent linguistic skills, class assignments are designed to challenge each student at her/his individual level. To this end, the course combines conventional reading and writing assignments with experiential components as students engage directly with the sites and people they encounter. In consultation with the instructor, students will also develop small, individualized research projects relating to specific topics of their choice.

From Unification to Reunification: German History 1871 to 1990  (Clemens Huemerlehner)

The years between 1871 and 1990 can be seen as one single era of German history. The founding of the German Empire in 1871 and the events of the years 1989/90 signal two different processes of unification as well as the beginning and the end of this era. A closer look at the intervening years, however, reveals a time of political, economical, and cultural change marked by serious political crisis and social conflict.

This course will offer an introduction to German history from the German Kaiserreich and First World War, through the Third Reich and divided Germany to unification in 1990. Special attention will be paid to the Kaiserreich and Weimar Republic. A closer knowledge of these periods of German history will enable us to understand the development of the Nazi dictatorship and the West and East German paths to democracy and communism, respectively, after 1945.

Competence Workshop: Academic Reading, Writing, Presenting (Dr. Gerd Bräuer)

In this workshop we will practice the key competences reading, writing and presenting that are essential for successful study – not only at a German university.

Together we will examine all stages of the academic writing process from understanding the task at hand, researching and evaluating available material, until we are ready to present a written product. By continually reflecting on their experiences with established reading and writing strategies, participants develop their personal „tool box“ for the remainder of their college education.

Summer Semester 2020

The German “Energiewende”: Renewable Energy and Sustainability (Dr. Wulf Westermann)

Germany is a global front-runner in environmental policies and technology and the “Green City” Freiburg is one of the major pioneers in this development. How did Germany come to play this pioneering role and what can we learn from its example?

This course examines the roots and culture of German environmentalism as well as current environmental initiatives in Germany, including the newest innovations regarding green technology. We will explore new trends in German environmental approaches and examine the relationship between technology and climate, as well as environmentally responsible economics. One part of the course is a case study of Freiburg and students will research aspects of urban planning, renewable energy, waste managment, public transport, education, tourism, etc.

Internship Seminar (Prof. Peter McIsaac)

This seminar is the academic component of the AYF Internship Program. The seminar responds flexibly to the particular internship placements held by students during a given summer semester, integrating student experiences into class discussions and presentations.

Intercultural issues, business communication, and gender issues in the work place provide additional focal points for class discussions. The course will be led by the Academic Director and may invite guest speaker(s).

Competence Workshop: Academic Reading, Writing, Presenting (N.N.) – planned, tbc

In this workshop we will practice the key competences reading, writing and presenting that are essential for successful study – not only at a German university.

Together we will examine all stages of the academic writing process from understanding the task at hand, researching and evaluating available material, until we are ready to present a written product. By continually reflecting on their experiences with established reading and writing strategies, participants develop their personal „tool box“ for the remainder of their college education.

Winter Semester 2020-21

The German Language Past and Present (Prof. Sarah Fagan)

This course introduces students to the history of the German language, tracing the development of the language from prehistory through the present. We focus on the changes over time in the sounds of the language, the formation and meaning of words, and the structure of sentences, taking into account the social and historico-cultural context of these changes. We explore the role that historical sound changes play in delineating the modern German dialect areas and take advantage of our setting to investigate in particular the regional varieties of German in the Freiburg area.

The course also focuses on the relationship between English and German—the influence of English on German that is evident in the extensive vocabulary that has been borrowed from English as well as the genetic relationship that is visible in cognates like pound/Pfund, tongue/Zunge, and make/machen. No prior knowledge of linguistics is required.

From Unification to Reunification: German History 1871 to 1990 (N.N.) – planned, tbc

The years between 1871 and 1990 can be seen as one single era of German history. The founding of the German Empire in 1871 and the events of the years 1989/90 signal two different processes of unification as well as the beginning and the end of this era. A closer look at the intervening years, however, reveals a time of political, economical, and cultural change marked by serious political crisis and social conflict.

This course will offer an introduction to German history from the German Kaiserreich and First World War, through the Third Reich and divided Germany to unification in 1990. Special attention will be paid to the Kaiserreich and Weimar Republic. A closer knowledge of these periods of German history will enable us to understand the development of the Nazi dictatorship and the West and East German paths to democracy and communism, respectively, after 1945.

Competence Workshop: Academic Reading, Writing, Presenting (N.N.) – planned, tbc

In this workshop we will practice the key competences reading, writing and presenting that are essential for successful study – not only at a German university.

Together we will examine all stages of the academic writing process from understanding the task at hand, researching and evaluating available material, until we are ready to present a written product. By continually reflecting on their experiences with established reading and writing strategies, participants develop their personal „tool box“ for the remainder of their college education.

Summer Semester 2021

The European Union: History, Institutions, Policy Fields (N.N.) – planned, tbc

The seminar offers an introduction into the system of the European Union. Starting with a historical overview, the key developments that led to the union of the European states are discussed – from the European Coal and Steel Community to the European Community all the way to the Economic and Monetary Union of today and the situation after the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties and the eastern expansion of the European Union.

Following the historical overview, we will take a closer look at the institutional structure of the European Union. We will consider the most important bodies of the European Union such as the European Council, the Commission, and the European Parliament.

Finally, we will examine selected current policy fields of the European Union. Using case studies from the economic and monetary union as well as the common foreign and security politics, an understanding of the inner workings of the European Union and the problems it faces can reached.

The German “Energiewende”: Renewable Energy and Sustainability (N.N.) – planned t.b.c.

Germany is a global front-runner in environmental policies and technology and the “Green City” Freiburg is one of the major pioneers in this development. How did Germany come to play this pioneering role and what can we learn from its example?

This course examines the roots and culture of German environmentalism as well as current environmental initiatives in Germany, including the newest innovations regarding green technology. We will explore new trends in German environmental approaches and examine the relationship between technology and climate, as well as environmentally responsible economics. One part of the course is a case study of Freiburg and students will research aspects of urban planning, renewable energy, waste managment, public transport, education, tourism, etc.

Internship Seminar (Prof. Sarah Fagan)

This seminar is the required academic component of the AYF Internship Program. The seminar responds flexibly to the particular internship placements held by students during a given summer semester, integrating student experiences into class discussions and presentations.

Intercultural issues, business communication, and gender issues in the work place provide additional focal points for class discussions. The course will be led by the Academic Director and may invite guest speaker(s).

SLI Courses ~ Sprachlehrinstitut

The Sprachlehrinstitut (Language Teaching Institute) at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität offers a broad range of language and culture courses in the target language, generally at the intermediate level. In addition to German, more than 20 other languages are offered. SLI German courses are frequented by international students from around the globe, and the Sprachlehrinstitut also offers German culture courses specifically designed for international students.

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Course offerings are listed in the SLI online course catalog every semester. However, while seminars in other departments often do not repeat (which is especially true in the humanities), the course lineup for SLI is quite stable. There is a very good chance, then, that SLI courses listed in the SLI Kurskatalog now will be offered again next year.

General information about SLI and its many other services and functions can be found on the Sprachlehrinstitut website.

Language and German culture course offerings (Landeskunde) well-suited to AYF students are listed in the section for Kurse für internationale Studierende aus Partnerprogrammen giving you a good idea of the kinds of courses that are typically offered.

PH Courses ~ Pädagogische Hochschule

AYF students are allowed to enroll in the local Pädagogische Hochschule (University of Education) as guests. The PH specializes in teacher training while offering academic courses in a variety of fields. Professors at the PH generally welcome AYF students into their classes. Many AYF students have found taking courses at the PH a very worthwhile part of their studies in Freiburg.

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As is customary in Germany, the University of Education (PH) issues course catalogs on a semester basis. The so-called Vorlesungsverzeichnis differs from a U.S.-style course catalog in important ways. It always only lists the lecture courses, seminars, exercises, lab and discussion sections offered during a given semester.

When consulting the Vorlesungsverzeichnis, please keep in mind that you will be able to get a good feel for what kinds of courses are offered in a particular department, say German – but the courses offered during future semesters will be announced closer to your time in Freiburg.

How to Search for PH Courses

The course catalog (Vorlesungsverzeichnis) of the University of Education is organized in accordance with degree programs and their respective exam requirements (Prüfungsordnungen) and is fairly complicated for those not actually studying at the PH toward a specific degree.

However, you can find some good quick-and-easy strategies for gaining an overview of available course offerings and finding out more about specific courses. If you would like to get a first impression of the PH offerings before arriving in Freiburg, please see the user guide for the course catalog of the Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg on our Guides & Information page.

University Courses ~ Albert-Ludwigs-Universität

Homer KG IIIAYF students are enrolled as full-time, non-degree seeking students at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. When choosing courses, you are not limited to a particular department or set of departments.  With very few exceptions (e.g. Medicine and Psychology), all fields of study are open to AYF students. From art history to zoology, you can choose courses from a wide range of humanities, social science and natural science departments and in formats ranging from large lecture courses to discussion-friendly seminars. The Academic Director will help you find courses that are right for you!

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The university’s course catalog (Vorlesungsverzeichnis) is primarily designed for local students with specific degree requirements. For international students not limited to a particular degree program it can be hard to navigate. Various search functions are available, and we will discuss the best strategies for finding individual courses during orientation.

Once you are in Freiburg, the Academic Director will provide you with a list of Recommended Courses. It offers a more manageable selection of courses culled from all the institutions where you may take courses: Uni, PH, SLI, and AYF courses can all be found in this one handy list. You are by no means limited to the courses on the Recommended Courses list, but it will give you a good starting point for further explorations.

How to Search for University Courses

If you would like to get a first impression of the Vorlesungsverzeichnis before arriving in Freiburg, please see the “User Guide – Course Catalog Uni Freiburg” on our Guides & Information page. It outlines some good quick-and-easy strategies for gaining an overview of available course offerings and finding out more about specific courses.

Direct Links to Freiburg Course Listings

Freiburg University Course Listings / Albert-Ludwigs-Universität

Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg Course Listings

AYF Internship Program

During the summer semester, you can participate in a credit-bearing internship and seminar. AYF students work part-time in a variety of local and regional institutions and businesses. A special Internship Seminar focusing on intercultural business communication complements and helps to contextualize the internship experience.

Read more on our Internship Program page.