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Study Abroad

BERLIN, Germany | SPRING 2021


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Berlin, with its cultural and cosmopolitan kaleidoscope, provides a vibrant background for any study abroad program. Few European cities have undergone such continual redefinition and change. Berlin’s restored identity as the nation’s capital has been the driving force in both design and cultural diversity. The political and cultural developments of the 19th and 20th centuries are visible throughout Berlin’s cityscape, reflecting both the history of architecture and various approaches to dealing with the consequences of war and destruction. Home to the designated UNESCO World Heritage site of Museum Island, of the world-famous Brandenburg Gate and the superb architecture of the impressive Reichstag building, Berlin has a magical appeal for all visitors. With approximately 3.5 million inhabitants, Berlin is the largest city in Germany and is constantly reinventing itself.


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, bicycles and skates, populating the many beer gardens.

To apply, please fill out and email this application to the Study Abroad office ( You will also need to turn in the following documents:

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A one page essay
  • Your unofficial Edmonds College transcript 

Our office will review your documents and let you know if you have been accepted to the program and how to proceed. Please note that students that have been sanctioned by the college are disqualified from applying to, or participating in an Edmonds College study abroad program.

Set up an appointment with us here if you have any questions!

Primary: Ben Kohn, Whatcom Community College

Ben Kohn’s scholarly training and personal enthusiasms have resulted in his applying an interdisciplinary approach to all of his courses. 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. His most recent research interests include human evolution and the origins of symbolic representation, German Expressionist everything, the art of propaganda, cultural notions of dissonance in music, global Street Art, and perfecting his version of Bienenstich cake. Ben has previously taught for WCCCSA in Florence, Italy, and Berlin, Germany.

Second Faculty (when enrollment reaches 22 participants):  Vero Barrera-Kolb, Seattle Central College

As a Latin American diaspora and partnered with an Austrian, traveling abroad has become an intimate part of her life. In her late teens Vero spent over two years traveling in the Southern cone and became intrigued with how gender production and presentation is shaped by the cultural, economic, and social context of place. The questions she asked then continue to shape her research, filmmaking, teaching, and activist life.

Vero earned her Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College where she found her passion for interdisciplinary studies and film-making. She received her MA in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College where she produced her first documentary film on Latin-x immigrants in higher education. She then earned a Masters in Communication from the University of Washington in the Native Voices Documentary Film Program and did Doctoral work in Feminist Studies in the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies Department. While pursuing her PhD she traveled to Chile to conduct research with human rights activists and produced a documentary film about memory, gender and human rights. She is currently a tenured instructor at Seattle Central College in the Humanities Department.

Students will take three classes for a total of 15 credits including a German Life and Culture class taught by local faculty.

German Life & Culture - 5 credits - Required for all students.

Taught by qualified local German adjunct lecturer, this course focuses on the historical, political, economic, and cultural aspects of contemporary Germany. Some beginner German language instruction is also included.

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 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 investigate several Electronica styles. 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!

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!

If 22 or more students enroll a second faculty will join the program and the following courses will be offered as well:

Intercultural Communications  – 5 credits

The history of Germany is troubled and can shape the relationship between communication and cultural practice in ways we are unable to see without some skill and analysis. Speaking to each other across cultural practice, shaped by social dynamics and histories is the focus of our class. Using an interdisciplinary lens, we will look at the social, cultural and economic issues that surround the intricate relationship between communication and cultural practice in order to see how race, class and gender interact with cultural forms of communication in the context of our changing world, particularly globalization, new technologies, and global economic crisis. We will use Berlin as a backdrop to explore the ways the histories of the Holocaust and its aftermath shape the ways we perceive the city and examine the cultural and social context of memory and reckoning of the German people.

Introduction to Women and Gender Studies – 5 credits

Does gender get presented and produced differently in Berlin, Germany than in the U.S.? Of course it does, but how do we interpret it and use it to analyze and reflect on our gender, sex, and sexuality? How we see and live our lives is fundamentally shaped and organized along gender lines. We are rarely made aware of that shaping and less so the way it arranges our daily lives. Yet, many of us begin our day by “doing gender” and move about our day repeating those gendered acts and practices; shaving your legs or your face, putting on cologne or perfume, eating nonfat foods or a protein shake, wearing skirts or pants, etc. This class will introduce you to gender, women and sexuality studies, an interdisciplinary academic field, and its respective theories, methods and frameworks. The way we analyze gender, women, and sexuality emerges from many disciplines working together that allows for a multidimensional view of human experience. We will start our work with the understanding that there is no genetic nor universal category of woman or man. Rather, that knowledge, history, policies, and norms are produced, shaped, mediated, and governed to construct gender in particular ways. We will also explore the ways gender and sexuality are tied up with and inseparable from other social locations, such as race, disability, age, ethnicity, citizenship, and class.

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 $495. 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.


On a space-available basis, students may purchase the optional transportation package consisting of round-trip airfare between Seattle and Berlin and round-trip airport transfers between the accommodations and airport in Berlin for an additional $TBC plus mandatory U.S. government and airline-imposed departure taxes, fees and fuel surcharges of $TBC (subject to change) for which students will be billed separately. A minimum of 10 students must purchase the flight for it to be offered.

Student housing in twin-bedded studios in an apartment style hotel. Centrally-located within Berlin, studios include shared kitchenette and living space, linen/towels and WiFi.

Based on an enrollment of 15 or more participants. the fee per person is $7,595.00

Berlin 2021 Budget Request Sheet

- Student housing in fully furnished studio apartments, with access to a shared, fully-equipped kitchen.
- On-site orientation with AIFS staff covering topics such as safety and security, a local area walking tour, and a welcome dinner.
- Travel pass for unlimited use of the Berlin public transportation system.
- German Life and Culture course.
- Half-day sightseeing tour of Berlin by private bus.
- Weekly program of cultural activities such as a boat cruise, opera tickets, a sporting event, museum visits, a street art workshop and walking tour.
- Guided tour of the Reichstag.
- Daytrip to Potsdam including round-trip transportation, a private bus for city sightseeing, entrances and guided tours of Cecilienhof Palace and to Sanssouci Palace.
- Half-day excursion to the Memorial and Museum of Sachsenhausen including round-trip transportation, entrance, and audio guides.
- Access to the AIFS Student Center and Student Services staff for information, personal advising/counseling and 24-hour emergency contact service.
- Student medical and program fee refund insurance policies.

-$250 refundable damage deposit
-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
-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
-Anything not specified as included in the program

For quarter-long WCCCSA programs, WCCCSA awards two $1,000 scholarships to selected program participants. Complete this application form and attach the requested documents, then turn in to Emily Schifferling at the front desk of Snohomish Hall, Room 301.

WCCCSA Scholarship Rules:

  1. You must have applied to a WCCCSA study abroad program and paid the deposit in order to be eligible to apply for this scholarship.
  2. You must write an essay on a topic chosen by the WCCCSA Scholarship Committee. You will find more information about the essay on the WCCCSA Scholarship Application Form. The essay must be typed and submitted by 5pm on or before the application deadline for the program.
  3. Scholarship recipients will be announced at the Pre-Departure Orientation.
  4. Each scholarship recipient must agree to help WCCCSA promote the study abroad program after they have completed their program. The assignment given to them will require no more than four hours of work and will be a project mutually agreed upon by both the award recipient and the WCCCSA campus representative.

Projects may include (but are not limited to):

  • tasks such as sharing of photos and personal reflections of your program
  • help with orientation of the next program
  • talking with classes on your campus to help promote the program
  • making a video to help promote study abroad
  • visiting other nearby campuses to talk about the program, etc.

Program Dates: March 26, 2021–June 4, 2021

Early Bird Application Deadline: October 30, 2020 (Receive $100 off the program fee!)

Balance of Program Fees Due: January 29, 2021

Application and Deposit Deadline: December 15, 2020 (for those wishing to purchase the group flight)

Application and Deposit Deadline: January 8, 2021 (for those wishing to make their own travel arrangements)

Tuition Due: Check academic calendar

For information on deadlines contact

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