Explore Germany and Beyond!
Beyond providing ample time for students to travel independently, the Duke in Berlin program sponsors a number of excursions during the year. These trips introduce students to new cultural landscapes and serve to contextualize much of the material being covered in their courses. Ultimately, these excursions are an opportunity for the group to travel together, explore Germany and share experiences.
Located just a few hours from Berlin, Dresden is a former residence of Saxon dukes, electoral princes, and kings and the city has long been a focal point of economic, architectural and cultural development. However, despite its historic opulence, the city became during the Second World War synonymous with apocalyptic destruction. Dresden was reduced to rubble by an allied fire-bombing campaign. Though the city still shows scars, much of its baroque architecture has been beautifully reconstructed. Students receive a guided tour of the historically opulent city and several of its renowned museums.
Prague (Czech Republic)
Prague has been the cultural, economic and political center of the Czech state for the last 1100 years. Considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, UNESCO recognizes Prague as a World Heritage Site. While in Prague, students tour the major cultural landmarks, survey the city’s art and architectural history, and sample Czech cuisine. The program provides students with ample free time to explore the hundreds of concert halls, cinemas, galleries, and music clubs that the city boasts.
Though enough time is provided for waffle-eating and beer-tasting, this excursion provides students with a better understanding to Europe’s political institutions and culture. While in Brussels, students visit NATO headquarters, the European Commission, the European Council, and related think tanks. During these visits, students engage in candid discussions of European and transatlantic policy with elected officials, civil servants, and scholars.
Though the focus of these excursions is political, time is taken to appreciate Brussels’ urban geography. Additionally, a short day-trip to picturesque Bruges provides students an escape from the smoke-filled backrooms of European politics. (NOTE: smoking is not actually prohibited in EU buildings.)
Weimar has been a center of German culture and politics since the 18th century. Even students with limited exposure to German literature or music will recognize the names of several former Weimar residents: Bach, Goethe, Herder, Liszt, Schiller, and Schopenhauer.
During their visit, students are guided through the city and the “-isms” that have at one time shaped its development (Classicism to Nazism to Socialism). Students also take a day-trip to nearby Erfurt, the former home of Martin Luther and Max Weber.