Quick Info

  • Berlin, Germany
  • Spring
  • : Panther Program
  • : Anthropology, Cultural Studies, German, History, History of Art and Architecture, Jewish Studies, Political Science, Russian and East European Studies, Sociology, Urban Studies, West European Studies
  • : January 29, 2018 - May 12, 2018
  • : In-State: $15,999; Out-of-State: $23,359
  • : Spring: October 18, 2017
  • : 2.75 GPA (2.5 for engineers), Pitt Students: Must have completed 24 credits on a Pitt campus, Clear Judicial Record, Open to Non-Pitt Students



Students will take the following four courses as part of the program.

All students are required to take a German Language Course on this program. You will take a placement test upon arrival to see which class you will take abroad. You will also take a placement test shortly after you get back so you can continue your German studies in the correct sequence. Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Courses available.

During the Second World War, Europe experienced unprecedented levels of violence and destruction. More people died than in any war before. Air raids and artillery fire leveled city after city. Millions of people lost their home through destruction and expulsion. If this wasn’t enough, war crimes – in particular the mass murder of Jews, Slavs, and Gypsies through Nazi Germany and her collaborators – reached such a scale that many lost their faith in humanity. Against this backdrop, the political stability, economic prosperity, and  (overall) peacefulness of Europe today is not what anyone could have expected in 1945, when the war had finally come to an end.

This course examines the striking political, economic, and cultural transformation of postwar Europe by comparing the evolving forms of postwar retribution, reconstruction, and reconciliation across the continent. Special attention will be paid to Central and Eastern Europe, the region most affected by the destructive forces unleashed during WWII. Students will explore the various strategies with which European societies – with significant engagement of the United States – have tried to come to terms with the horrors of war, genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Topics include the legal persecution of war crimes, the building of new societies committed to the protection of human rights and democratic rule, the reconstruction of bombed cities, and the attempts to overcome nationalism through supranational integration and forms of commemoration that can be shared across national boundaries to heal the wounds Europeans have inflicted upon each other. While Berlin is an excellent place to study these processes, field trips to various places in Central Europe that reflect Europe’s postwar transformation, among others the memorial and museum of Auschwitz concentration camp, will complement this course.

Berlin’s advancement from a sleepy town in Prussia’s sandy northeast to a vibrant metropolis was a breathtaking process of rapid urban growth and stunning modernization. Prussia's rise in the 19th century, as well as the formation of a unified Germany in 1871, propelled Berlin, which served as capital to both Prussia and Germany, into the league of the world’s leading cities. The German capital caught up with its more venerable European rivals, such as London, Paris, St.‑Petersburg and Vienna. Europe's largest industrial city, a hub of commerce and administration, and a place of an increasingly vibrant cultural life soon attracted some of the most creative minds of their time.

Berlin’s cultural blossoming was short, though. With the Nazis coming to power in Germany in 1933, Berlin's intellectual elite, many of them Jews, was driven into emigration, or died in Nazi concentration camps. Hitler’s dream of turning Berlin into the capital of world ended with the city's total destruction during World War II and its long-term occupation by foreign troops. Split into two halves during the Cold War, soon to be separated by a wall, Berlin served as showcase for the ideological confrontation between East and West. While this brought subsidies to the two city halves, allowing for a lavish cultural life, the once wealthy city was no longer able to pay its bills, and continued to shrink in population. For most people, Berlin was not the place to be!

This only changed with the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and German reunification in 1990. As the new old capital of a re-united Germany, Berlin underwent another breathtaking transformation, which turned the city again into a highly dynamic place with an appeal that reaches far beyond the borders of Germany. German and European history is nowhere else as palpable as it is in Berlin. No other urban landscape testifies as much as that of Berlin to the ups and downs of German and European history, and the attempts of German society to come to terms with its difficult past.

This course uses Berlin as an exemplary place to study German and European history from the early 19th century to the present. The course pays special attention to the meaning of Berlin’s ever changing cultural landscape. Apart from studying Berlin’s past through the historiographical literature, students will be trained to walk through a city with open eyes, understanding the meaning of urban planning, architecture, and monuments, and discovering the many layers different historical periods have left in Berlin over time.

The course explores the political, cultural and economic relations between the United States and Germany since the end of the 19th century to the present with special emphasis on political and cultural aspects. Based upon an introduction into the major phases of German American relations since the formation of the American Republic the discussion will focus on the political and cultural influence and mutual impact that the USA has had on Germany and vice versa. In addition, the course will have a closer look at the foreign relations in the past century in an effort to explain the shifting perceptions and emerging contacts between the two countries from adversaries in World War I and II to allies after 1945. Topics of particular relevance to the course include: the German impact on 19th century America; the controversy over “Americanization” originating in the 1920s and continuing to the present; the cultural and sociocultural impact of the United States after World War II on popular culture; the German reactions to American interventions; the issue of rebalancing

the relationship between Germany and the United States at the end of the cold war; German responses to the “new world order” with the US as the only remaining world power; 9/11 and the war on terrorism; the German response to American “unilaterism”; American reactions to Germany’s ambitions in foreign policy.


On-Site Faculty And Staff

Gregor Thum, Associate Professor, teaches 19th- and 20th-century German and Central European history at the University of Pittsburgh. Orginally from Germany, he spent 15 years of his life in Berlin, first as a student at the Freie Universität Berlin and then as a lecturer at the nearby European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). During these years he witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the breathtaking transformation of Berlin, Germany, and Central and Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet empire. In his scholarly work, he studies the history of nationalism and forced migration in 20th-century Central Europe, Polish-German relations, European integration, and the symbolic meaning of architecture and urban planning in the ever changing urban landscape of Europe's cities.

For more information on Dr. Gregor Thum please see his Bio here: http://www.history.pitt.edu/faculty/Thumbiopage.php



Student homestays with local residents with access to kitchen facilities. Homestays will be equipped with access to the internet, which may be wired or wireless. Former participants of this program considered the homestays to be one of the perks of this program. There is no better way of getting to know a foreign culture than staying with the locals and enjoy their hospitality.

Pricing And Dates

Spring 2018

In-State Fee Out-of-State Fee
$15,999 $23,359
Arrive in Berlin Depart Berlin
January 29, 2018 May 12, 2018

*please note that the cost of the program will be finalized the first day of the Fall semester

Keep in mind that dates change.  You shouldn't book airfare until given confirmation from your program manager.

All students are required to attend the mandatory Pre-Departure Bash.  This afternoon long event will cover important topics relevant to study abroad like health, safety, security, and more.  Plus, it will give you the chance to meet other students studying abroad on your programs!  Alumni and staff will also be present to help you start thinking about your goals for the program.

The Pre-Departure Bash for this program will be on: Oct 15, 2017 from 2:00-5:00 in ROOM: O'Hara Student Center. Your program manager will follow up with more information once you begin your application!

Inclusions & Exclusions

As a part of your program fee, the following are included:


While your program fee will cover most of your expenses, keep in mind that you are also responsible for the following:

• Tuition for 12 credits

• Homestay accommodations with local residents.

• Public transportation pass for Berlin

• International medical insurance

• Guided trips around Berlin

• Tickets for various events in Berlin

• Week-long excursion to Poland (Wroclaw, Krakow, Auschwitz, Warsaw)

• Day trip to Potsdam

• Weekend excursion to Riga, Latvia


  • International airfare
  • Study Abroad Administrative Fee ($400)
  • Student Visa
  • Meals and Personal Expenses

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad.  Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

Special Information

Please note that the semester dates are slightly different then Pitt's academic calendar. The program dates are set to better align with the German academic calendar.

Ready to get started on your application?  

Program Staff

Tim Crawford

Walk-In Advising Hours: MWF 2-4 PM

Hi Everyone! I’m Tim, a Program Manager here in the Study Abroad Office. I’m proud to be from a small town in Central PA but now love calling Pittsburgh home. My study abroad experience includes a semester in France during my sophomore year, Spring Break in London during Grad School and Summer in Italy as a Program Assistant. My experiences opened my eyes to the rest of the world and I’d love to help you take advantage of the numerous study abroad opportunities here at Pitt. Outside of the office, I’m always looking for the next adventure whether it’s exploring a new city or new neighborhood in PGH. I fully embrace the yinzer way of life and plan my schedule accordingly around every Pens, Bucs and Stillers game. I’d love to talk to you more about any of our study abroad programs and answer any of your questions. Please reach me at TSC29@pitt.edu or 412-648-2156.