Study Abroad




Berlin is one of the most vibrant and exciting European capitals. The East and West sides of the city have retained their own identity since reunification and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Thanks to the rebuilding process Berlin has become a focus for modern architecture and remains a major center of art and international business. The city, with its many famous parks and lakes, becomes especially full of life in the spring and summer when the locals are out on foot, bicycle and skates.

Please print, fill out, sign, and bring completed forms to the Study Abroad Office (Snohomish Hall Room 301)

WCCCSA Preliminary Application

WCCCSA Scholarship Application

WCCCSA Berlin participants are all eligible to apply for the $1,000 WCCCSA scholarship. This scholarship is open to all students applying to the WCCCSA Berlin Spring 2020 program.

Primary: Ben Kohn, Whatcom Community College

Ben Kohn’s scholarly training and personal enthusiasm have resulted in his applying an interdisciplinary approach to all of his courses. You can expect a discussion of painting in his music class and a discussion of architecture in his film class! Ben pursued his graduate studies at the University of Washington in the field of Comparative Literature, with an emphasis in German, American, Russian, and Danish Literature, as well as literary and critical theory. He also studied the classical violin for over 20 years, receiving training at The Vancouver Academy of Music, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and Det Fynske Musikkonservatorium, Odense, Denmark. He is currently a professor in the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and the Department of World Languages at Whatcom Community College, where he teaches humanities, interdisciplinary studies, music, film studies, and German language courses. His most recent research interests include human evolution and the origins of symbolic representation, German Expressionist everything, the art of propaganda, bird song in science, literature and music, and perfecting his version of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. Ben has previously taught for WCCCSA in Florence, Italy, and Berlin, Germany. He is looking forward to building on his previous experience through new additions to an already dynamic program studying Berlin’s rich musical and cinematic traditions, as well as the city’s cutting edge contemporary scenes. As a student, Ben attended study abroad programs in Germany, Austria, France, and the former Soviet Union, so he recognizes that such cultural experiences offer the possibility of great intellectual and personal transformation. Ben’s explorations with his students will provide many opportunities for such transformations.

Second Faculty (when enrollment reaches 25 participants): Gregory S. Hinckley,  Seattle Central College

As a high school student, Gregory Hinckley spent a year as an exchange student in Bonn, Germany, an experience that laid the foundation for his deep appreciation of Germany, the power of cultural exchanges to change lives, and the discipline of sociology. Greg completed his studies in anthropology and sociology at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and since 1996 has taught as a full-time Sociology faculty member at Seattle Central College. Greg believes that studying different cultural beliefs, norms, expectations, and social systems provides opportunities to better understand one’s self and one’s place in the world. His student-centered pedagogy encourages a strong sense of personal responsibility and inspires students to be compassionate human beings and active agents of social change. He is excited about exploring the dynamic city of Berlin with students and searching for sociological insights about German society, ourselves, and changes we hope to bring about both globally and in our own societies.

Film 101: Introduction to Film (5-Credits)

Next to Hollywood, Germany has been home to one of the most influential and important film industries in the world. Indeed, during the 1920s and early 1930s, it was the undisputed center of cinematic creativity and quality. At the center of this center was Berlin, or more specifically, a studio on the outskirts of Berlin in Babelsberg. Babelsberg was a government-supported studio complex (which we will visit!) that was designed to advance German filmmaking before and during WWII and East German filmmaking after the war. While German filmmakers developed numerous technical innovations here, their most essential achievement was the development of cinema as an art, transcending its role as a provider of novelty and entertainment. As we will be examining film as art, we can easily use German films and film clips almost exclusively to illustrate in detail the technical elements of film (form, narrative structure, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing, sound), as well as investigate how films can make us see, then feel and think differently.

Additionally, films often reveal aspects of national or regional culture and can also reflect back to us certain situations around certain moments in time (Zeitgeist!). They most definitely present how filmmakers see their own culture and how they want us to see their own culture. Thus, they can provide us with great insight into the historical and contemporary culture of Germany and in particular the city of Berlin. The films that we will see in their entirety, and the films which you will be required to analyze in detail, will all be by German directors. They will cover several genres and will even include an East German Western infused by communist ideology. Guess who rides off into the sunset!

Music 105 – Music Appreciation (5-Credits)

Which composer got into a knife fight with a bassoonist because he played too many wrong notes? Which composer spent 3 ½ years on tour starting at the age of seven? Which composer’s final work was dictated to him by angelic-voiced spirits? Which composer considered his audience a congregation and started the practice of extinguishing the lights in theaters and concert halls? Which composer wrote songs extolling the virtues of gangsters (no, not Snoop Dogg!) that have been performed in both the most gilded opera houses and the sleaziest bars? These colorful characters were J.S. Bach, W.A. Mozart, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, and Kurt Weill – all of whom were German-speaking composers with close connections to Berlin!

This course will explore the extremely varied and rich history of Western art or composed music, popularly and somewhat inaccurately (our first discussion!) referred to as the “Western Classical Tradition.” Because we are lucky enough to be situated in Berlin, we will focus most intensely on the musical contributions of the composers and performers of this region. Actually, this would probably be the case if you were to take an introductory musicology course anywhere in the world, especially if you were discussing the music of the 19th, 20th or 21st centuries. What is even more exciting is that we will be in the most musically innovative, dynamic, and vibrant city on the face of the planet at the very moment it is exploding with all kinds of new sounds! As genre boundaries are constantly being blurred in this contemporary music, we will necessarily undertake some Jazz and World Music studies, as well as some informal investigations of House, Techno, and Trance sounds. I will arrange for the class to attend numerous concerts of music throughout the quarter. All of these concerts will be preceded by scholarly preparation and will require the writing of musical reviews after the performance. Therefore, while the course will be much more about music as a socio-cultural phenomenon throughout history than a course on music theory, you will be required to become familiar with some critical vocabulary and basic elements of this music for the purposes of analysis. But do not despair – Berlin offers the possibility of becoming profoundly educated in matters of music while at the same time having a lot of fun!

SOC 101 – Introduction to Sociology – Imagining Berlin (5-credits)

Why do you believe the things you do? To what extent does our culture determine who and what we are able to become? How does our exposure to institutions, such as media, shape how we understand our place in the social world? How does American society differ from German society? Do cities have a culture of their own? What can we learn about German culture from deep and wide-ranging exploration of Berlin, from the stretch of Berlin’s modern history to the graffiti that is currently displayed across its walls? The answers to these and related questions involves using our sociological imaginations—our understanding of the reciprocal relationship between self and society—to gather and synthesize data, draw conclusions, and, where possible, make generalizations about social patterns. In this interactive course, we will shop, eat, drink, visit flea markets, farmers markets, neighborhoods, museums, the Reichstag , and cultural events to better understand Berlin’s complex and ever-changing culture and thereby gain insights into the construction of our own cultural norms, values, beliefs, and way of life.

SOC 201 – Social Problems – Lessons from the most bombed city on earth (5-credits)

Have you ever wondered how people in other societies understand the social issues that are currently being debated in the United States, issues like immigration, gender, sexuality, race, social class, and religious freedom? What can we learn about social life by comparing ways in which societies define and approach social problems? Using the German capital, Berlin, as our cultural canvas, we will examine how major systems of power, such as racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism, are interrelated and result in numerous social problems. We will explore ways in which social problems are part of the organization of German society and systems and use our newly acquired knowledge to better understand and address our own society’s social issues. Our research-based, scientific perspective will rely extensively on the use of street ethnography, an approach that focuses on interacting with public exterior spaces, streets, parks, lakes, rivers, buildings, and such neighborhood spaces as cafes, grocery stores, and shops. Course material will consist of academic readings, contemporary readings drawn from German news outlets, lectures, films, neighborhood exploration, outings with ethnographic participants, interviews, photography, and student-led research projects.

The program includes cultural activities and several organized field trips which may include:

  • “Kaffee und Kuche” boat cruise along the River Spree
  • Guided tour of the East Side Gallery
  • Sporting event and brewery tour
  • Guided tour of the Reichstag
  • Guided day trip to Potsdam including a guided tour of Cecilienhof Palace and admission to Sansoucci Palace
  • Visit to and guided tour of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

An optional 3-day, 2-night excursion to Prague is available, including round-trip train tickets, accommodation in a centrally located hostel in multi-bedded rooms with daily breakfast, guided walking tour of Prague with entrance to Prague Castle, Jewish Quarter walking tour and traditional Czech group dinner for $445. A minimum of 10 students must participate for the excursion to be offered.

 Travel passes for use on the buses, trams, S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains in Zones A & B are included for the duration of the program.
Twin bed studios in a centrally-located apartment-style hotel. Each studio will have two single beds, a desk, an en-suite bathroom, a TV and a kitchenette. Bed linens, towels and wireless internet will be provided.

 $7,195 (may change for 2020 program)


  • Student housing in twin-bedded studios in a centrally–located apart-hotel on a bed and breakfast basis.
  • Travel pass for unlimited use on the buses, trams, S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains in zones A and B (and C as necessary)
  • Orientation program on-site in Berlin including an orientation meeting with AIFS staff, information packet, a guided half-day city tour and a welcome meal
  • Weekly program of free and subsidized cultural activities such as a “Kaffee und Kuchen” boat cruise along the River Spree opera tickets, a sporting event, museum visits, a street art workshop and walking tour
  • Guided tour of the Reichstag
  • Full-day guided excursion to Potsdam including entrance to the Cecilienhof Palace with guided tour on the theme of “The Potsdam Conference and the Berlin Wall,” and admission to Sansoucci Palace with guided tour
  • Half-day excursion to the Memorial and Museum of Sachsenhausen including entrance and private group tour
  • The services of the AIFS Program Coordinator for information, personal advising/counseling and 24-hour emergency contact service
  • $50 non-refundable application fee
  • Student medical and program fee refund insurance policies


  • $250 refundable damage deposit
  • Airfare
  • College tuition and fees at your home campus
  • Course books or materials (unless specified)
  • Passport and visa fees if applicable
  • Meals not mentioned above
  • Personal expenses
  • Passport and visa fees if applicable
  • Anything not specified as included in the program
  • Optional personal effects coverage and medical insurance upgrade
  • Optional three-day, two-night excursion to Prague
  • Local or independent travel while in Berlin
  • Personal expenses such as laundry

Program Dates:  Approximately March 22, 2020 – June 1, 2020

Early Bird Application Deadline: Approximately  October 27, 2019 (Receive $100 off the program fee!)

Application Deadline: Approximately  December 8, 2019 (for those wishing to purchase the group flight)

Application Deadline: Approximately  January 12, 2020 (for those wishing to make their own travel arrangements)

When: TBD
Where: TBD
Time: TBD
What to bring: TBD

To find out more, make an appointment with your study abroad advisor!