Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Off-Campus Programs

Let's go to Germany!

Pack your bags for an off-campus experience:

Make a checklist and go!

German Interim Abroad

"I really loved all three families we stayed with. They showed me a very different side of Germany and I feel I received a pretty accurate view of northern Germany. I am really grateful for the experience and I hope to keep in touch with my families and hopefully repay them for their kindness someday. What a trip!!!"

"I experienced life in West Germany and in the former East Germany. I learned a great deal about World War II, the Holocaust, the Nazis, the GDR, the Wall, and so much more. History came to life as I walked down the streets and looked at the statues and buildings familiar to me from my textbooks. I came to love the picture-perfect, classic German city and the way of life therein. My German skills have taken a leap and I am sure they will only improve more because I cannot wait to go back to such a wonderful country!"

A group picture on an interim in Germany

"Die Familie in Ostdeutschland war am nettesten. Sie haben mich wirklich in ihr Herz geschlossen und waren immer sehr freundlich zu mir. Wir haben alte Bilder angeschaut, und nur von ihnen habe ich Geschenke bekommen. Ich habe mich bei ihnen wirklich wohl gefühlt."

"When I read back through my journal, it is amazing to me all the things God taught me through the trip. I thought the main lesson I would learn was how to speak German better. While my German did improve, I think that ended up being one of the minor things I learned. God has really opened my eyes to the variety of cultures and different kinds of people he has created."

"Both of my host families were wonderful beyond imagination. God blessed me with being able to share a bit of their life this past month. Without them my trip would not have been as rich."

Germany interim: students cooking

"Die Familie in Ostdeutschland war am nettesten. Sie haben mich wirklich in ihr Herz geschlossen und waren immer sehr freundlich zu mir. Wir haben alte Bilder angeschaut, und nur von ihnen habe ich Geschenke bekommen. Ich habe mich bei ihnen wirklich wohl gefühlt."

"Gott hat uns in Deutschland nicht nur gute, sondern perfekte Gastfamilien geschenkt. Die Zeit, die ich in den Gastfamilien verbracht habe, hat mich sehr bereichert. Besonders die Familien in Husum und in Wittenberg haben soviel mit uns geteilt: ihre Wohnungen, ihre Sachen und die Mahlzeiten. Aber am bedeutungsvollsten war, dass diese Familien ihr Leben mit uns geteilt haben. Jede Familie war anders, aber bei jeder war es klar, daß Gott etwas sehr Schönes in ihrem Leben gemacht hat."

Interim in Germany

"I believe the struggles that the family in East Germany had been through as citizens of the GDR led them to be even more grounded in the strength and grace of our Lord, and it was that feeling that made me so at home with them.. Love, specifically Christ's love, binds us across cultures and all sorts of differences. That is the greatest lesson I experienced when looking at my stays in the German host families. Mein Herz wird diese Lehre nicht vergessen."

Vienna, Austria

Janaya Crevier, Wien, Österreich

My interest in studying German sparked when I first visited Austria for a month with my family. I was twelve years old. The only German phrase I knew was “Ich heiße Janaya.” This first exposure to the German language launched me into high school, when I spent four years studying seemingly endless verb charts, adjective endings, vocabulary lists, and of course, Kultur under the instruction of two excellent teachers, who remain some of the most influential people in my life and thought to this day.

By the time I was a high school senior, continuing school without continuing German just didn’t make sense to me. I had fallen in love with the language: the way it puts words together like puzzle pieces, the way each grammatical structure fits neatly into a larger whole, the way the words conceal unique insights into the values of a people. I had fallen in love with the culture: its rich history and its willingness to grapple with the ugly parts of that history, its directness in communication, its immense diversity across the varied geographies of German-speaking countries.

Calvin’s strong German department with its excellent study abroad offerings is the primary reason I chose to study here, and I have not been disappointed in the least. From the very start, I was welcomed and engaged in Calvin’s German program. I found myself regularly attending department events and developing friendships more than anywhere else on campus.  The unique joy that happens when strangers come together as friends to learn a new language was and is overflowing from my experiences with German at Calvin. In the department, I continually experience Christ’s love in my developing relationships with classmates and professors.

As I write this, I am sitting in a dorm room in Vienna, Austria, on a Calvin-partnered study abroad program. Here, I am able to develop new relationships, take classes at the Universität Wien, work at an internship, and deeply and richly experience Austrian culture first-hand—entirely in German. Each day, the opportunities offered by knowing German help me realize more and more that to learn any foreign language is to open up: to open up your mind to the intricacies of another grammar and thought structure; to open up your eyes to new possibilities in careers and experiences; to open up your ears to new sounds and stories.  To study another language is to love God more fully through learning to love your neighbor better.