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Harvard Summer Program - European Responses to Global Challenges, Freiburg, Germany

Publish Date: Sep 24, 2015

Deadline: Jan 28, 2016

Event Dates: from Jun 13, 2016 12:00 to Aug 05, 2016 12:00

Based in the beautiful city of Freiburg, Germany, this program introduces you to European discussions on critical topics in history, politics, and science. Courses are offered at University College Freiburg, an English language liberal arts college at Albert-Ludwigs Universität, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious research universities. Centrally located at the crossroads of Germany, France, and Switzerland, Freiburg is the ideal place to discover Europe.

The program begins with a week-long orientation, crafted to introduce you to Freiburg and the region through activities and excursions. All students enroll in a course taught by Program Director Sven Beckert, featuring a three-day excursion to Poland. You also choose one of three courses which you take alongside local students. Courses feature excursions and draw on local resources.The program also offers introductory and intermediate/advanced German language instruction (though not for credit).

This program delivers an intellectually challenging, cohesive study abroad experience that immerses you in European history, policy, and cultures. You will gain a deep appreciation for the region and engage with a wide variety of pressing global issues, including inequality, privacy, sustainability, urbanization, migration, and historical memory. Exploring these issues on the ground, you will discover the ways Europeans have engaged with these issues and be encouraged to make connections and comparisons, achieving a more varied, nuanced understanding of others and yourself.

Course of study

European Responses to Global Challenges

Sven Beckert (4 credits) 

The course takes up the core question of the program: How do Europeans deal with some of the challenges that we all face in the twenty-first century? Structured in modules, the seminar explores three issues:  historical memory, migration and the city.

Topics covered include how Europeans have dealt with the memory of the catastrophes of the 20th century, especially World War Two and the Holocaust, how Europeans and Europe have responded to the massive migrations of the past decades and, last but not least, how Europeans have developed particular kinds of cities and innovate the urban form. In a world in which we all confront questions of historical memory, migration and urbanization, we will try to come to terms with some of the answers that Europeans have found to these problems. The course is firmly rooted in local resources and issues and features excursions in the Freiburg region (including France and Switzerland), as well as a longer excursion to Krakow, Poland and the Auschwitz concentration camp.


Sheila Jasanoff (4 credits) 

This course draws on histories and theories of technology and society to inform and deepen our understanding of environmental problems and policy options in technologically advanced societies. In the process, we consider examples of currently promising and/or controversial environmentally significant technologies, such as nuclear power, biotechnology, food production, hydrofracking, and geoengineering. In particular, the course explores the intersection of technology and society in Freiburg, a leader in sustainable urban development.

Additional courses to be announced. 


Sven Beckert, Laird Bell Professor of History, Harvard University and Visiting Professor, Harvard Business School

Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School


Before applying, review the Admission and Policies and FAQs pages.

You must be at least 18 years old and have completed at least one year of college or be a first-year student in good academic standing to apply.

The application materials, outlined below, are due January 28, 2016:

  • A completed online application (available in early December) that includes:
    • A $50 nonrefundable application fee
    • A detailed statement of interest in the program, discussing your motivations for participating in the program and how you believe the program will contribute to your intellectual and personal development. Please include information on relevant coursework and travel experience abroad, as well as languages spoken and levels of proficiency (previous travel abroad and foreign languages are not prerequisites). 
  • Transcripts (student record accepted for Harvard students)
    • One academic reference and one character reference. Please provide name, relationship to applicant, email address, and phone number. 

Program directors may request interviews. 

You will be notified of admission decisions by mid-February.


There is a nonrefundable $50 application fee. The program cost includes the following:

  • Tuition
  • Room and some meals
  • Excursions

In addition to the program fee, you are responsible for:

  • A health insurance fee (waived if you have US insurance that provides coverage outside the United States)
  • Transportation to and from Freiburg, Germany  
  • Independent excursions
  • The cost of passports and visas (if the latter is needed)
  • Any immunizations

How to pay and funding options

See Payment and Funding for payment deadlines, deposit amounts, and more information, including funding options for Harvard College students.


To be announced. 

Additional information

Contact summerabroad@dcemail.harvard.edu. 

Students with disabilities

Contact the disability services coordinator as soon as possible. See Students with Disabilities for more information.

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