Opportunities in German

Academic Opportunities

Off-Campus Study

Typically, students study abroad through IES (Institute for the International Education of Students). Most Grinnell German majors and many non-majors select from off-campus study programs at one of the following locations:

  • Berlin
  • Freiburg
  • Vienna

“Going abroad was an incredible opportunity to develop my German language skills further while interacting and befriending other German students. I found a lot of confidence in my language abilities, met people I might never have been able to meet otherwise and got to learn what it is like to live in another country for an extended period of time. My lust for continuing to travel, having new experiences, challenging myself and living in another country is now stronger than ever before.” — Sam Hengst ’18

“In studying in Berlin I got to know an academic culture different than our own and it has sparked my intellectual curiosity. I loved going to the theater and have developed a taste for Club Mate, the drink that seems to be replacing coffee in the Humboldt University. Berlin is a fascinating city and I left wanting to learn more about it - and go back!” – Luc Janssen ’18

“Living in Freiburg (the most environmentally-friendly, hippie, sunny, natural-food-loving, craft-beer-filled, historic, small and welcoming South Western German town) was literally the biggest highlight of my study broad. The fact that we got to travel to 10 different countries, meet politicians, business people, ambassadors, activists, visit organizations, think tanks, EU institutions, and dive into the dynamics of my beloved European Union politics was just the icing on the cake.” — Misha Gelnarova ’18

“I loved studying abroad in Vienna, because not only did I get to be surrounded by German while exploring one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, but being in Austria exposed me to a lot of new vocabulary and dialect differences that I never would have learned at Grinnell. It was also what helped me decide to add a double major in German.” — Carolyn Peckham ’17

Awards, Grants, Scholarships, and Fellowships

Boren Scholarships

Boren Scholarships provide up to $20,000 to U.S. undergraduate students to study abroad in areas of the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin American, and the Middle East.

Boren Scholarship

Boren Application

Fulbright Grants

In general, there are two types of Fulbright grants:

  • A Fulbright Full Grant, which funds one academic year of overseas study and/or research in one country
  • An English Teaching Assistantship (ETA), which funds one academic year of teaching English in one country

Additionally, Fulbright offers several specialized grants, including Travel-Only Grants (which are usually given to graduate students, and only for Italy, Germany, and Hungary), Fulbright/mtvU AwardsCritical Language Enhancement Awards, Fulbright Business Grants (Mexico, Spain, and the Netherlands), Fulbright Journalism Grants, and country-specific awards to Australia, Ireland (Irish Language), Italy (slow foods and Deaf studies), Mexico (graduate degree and public policy); and the Netherlands (water management).

Fulbright information

Fulbright application

Gates Cambridge Scholarships

Gates Cambridge Scholarships are highly competitive full-cost awards for full-time graduate study and research in any subject available at the University of Cambridge.

Gates Cambridge information

Gates Cambridge application

Gilman Scholarship

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies abroad.

Gilman information

Gilman application

Marshall Scholarships

Marshall Scholarships finance young Americans of high ability to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. Up to forty Scholars are selected each year to study at graduate level at an UK institution in any field of study.

Marshal information

Marshal application

Mitchell Scholarship

The Mitchell Scholarship Program, named to honor former US Senator George Mitchell's pivotal contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process, is designed to introduce and connect generations of future American leaders to the island of Ireland, while recognizing and fostering intellectual achievement, leadership, and a commitment to community and public service.

Up to twelve Mitchell Scholars between the ages of 18 and 30 are chosen annually for one year of postgraduate study in any discipline offered by institutions of higher learning in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Mitchell information

Mitchell application

Rhodes Scholarships

Rhodes Scholarships, the oldest international educational fellowships, were initiated after the death of Cecil Rhodes in 1902, and bring outstanding students from many countries around the world to the University of Oxford.

Rhodes information

Rhodes application

Activities and Organizations

Student Employment

Teaching Assistants

The department hires one or two students each spring semester to help teach German 102 lab sections. 

For more information, please contact the chair of the German department.


The Student Educational Policy Committee, or SEPC, is a student-faculty liaison group which provides faculty with student input on professors, candidates, curriculum, and other departmental issues. It also organizes social events within the department.

German Table - "Deutschtisch"

Students and faculty meet every Monday at noon in Rosenfield Center, Room 224A, for informal German conversation. Intermediate to advanced level students are encouraged to participate, but all students, regardless of their major or formal instruction in German, are invited to practice their Deutsch. Guten Appetit!

German House Events

German House is a residential arrangement where up to 7 students live together with the German Language Assistant in a German-speaking setting. Residents often plan special activities for all students in Grinnell, including Oktoberfest celebrations, a regular Kaffeestunde, and other social activities. German House is located at 1307 Park Street.

Film Series

The department houses an extensive and growing video and DVD collection of over 300 titles ranging from early cinema classics to contemporary blockbusters. Grinnell has several multimedia consultants on its staff who specifically aid foreign language faculty in integrating the latest media technologies into their teaching.

Students are encouraged to make the most of the department's fine collection of German-language film, and in recent semesters several majors have taken the initiative to organize a weekly film series. Usually screened with English subtitles, these films have been well-attended by majors, nonmajors and the wider campus community. Past series have included one on New German Cinema (Fassbinder, Herzog, Wenders) and one on film adaptations of literary masterpieces.


Each spring semester the department hosts a writer-in-residence from Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, who teaches a seven-week mini-course during the spring semester. Established in 1988, this course focuses on the current literary scene in Germany, and includes novelists, essayists, playwrights, and screen writers. Grinnell's German department is the only one of its size that offers such a program on an annual basis. Recent guests have included the Berlin writer Jens Sparschuh; Cologne-based screen writer and children's literature writer Mario Giordano; screen writers Oliver Schuette and Katharina Reschke, and novelist Thomas Pletzinger.

For more about this distinguished program and the many writers who have visited Grinnell, be sure to visit the Writer-in-Residence page.

Native-Speaker Language Assistant

Each year the department sponsors a different language assistant from Germany, usually from Freiburg or Berlin. The assistant is an older student who serves as an additional resource for students of German and organizes extracurricular activities that foster students' interest in German culture. In addition to living in German House, the language assistant conducts German 212 (conversational practice) for intermediate and advanced students in addition to a conversation section ("German Lab") complementing the introductory language sequence.

Speakers and Special Events

The department is pleased to sponsor or co-sponsor a wide variety of special events, including guest speakers, performances, and other activities related to German-speaking cultures. Previous speakers have included poets Christoph Meckel, Arno Reinfrank; novelist Barbara Frischmuth; modern Germanists Peter Uwe Hohendahl and Jost Hermand, novelist Thomas Pletzinger and Kristoff Magnusson, and Danish holocaust scholar Torben Jørgensen.

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