Freiburg - Language & Area Studies


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

Earn U.S. Credits Virtually This Summer

Get ahead! Earn extra credit through a globally recognized U.S. education program this summer on our Virtual World DiscoverIES program.

Just picture it: one day you're exploring business ethics with a professor in London and the next it's Japanese pop culture from Tokyo, studying alongside classmates from the U.S.’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. This is what it's like to take a course or two (of your choosing!) from IES Abroad’s most popular centers around the world this summer.

Learn more about how you can discover the world through IES Abroad.


Why Freiburg?

Tucked at the foot of the Black Forest, Freiburg is the quintessential southern German town, with its winding streets and historic architecture. It is also home to the Albert- Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, consistently rated one of the top universities in Germany. We invite you to study abroad in Freiburg and to immerse yourself in student life and German language in this vibrant university town.

What You'll Study

Ideal for students interested in rapidly improving their German language skills, the Language & Area Studies Program offers you IES Abroad and university courses taught in German by distinguished local faculty. You can also participate in an internship, which includes time spent working at your placement and an academic seminar that helps you contextualize what you’re learning.

You can also enroll in courses at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg or other local academic institutions where you can experience the German education system firsthand. Study International Education at Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg or perform with ensembles at the Hochschule für Kunst, Design und Populäre Musik. And you can participate in our language partner program to practice your German. Maybe you’ll even make some German friends while you’re at it!

Daily Life

Freiburg will be your classroom. Imagine studying German vocabulary and then going out to a local market to practice the words you’ve just learned, or discussing German theater and then seeing a local production that evening. Wherever possible our courses take advantage of the city’s historic, artistic, and cultural sites, and several courses include hands-on, practical components.

We want you to feel at home in Freiburg, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer unique courses that explore German language, history, culture, and other topics, through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors and course options at prestigious local universities enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.

You enroll in 16-19 credits per semester. All courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified. Academic programming is scheduled five days a week. All courses are taught in German.

Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:

  • IES Abroad German language course (required, 4 credits each)
  • German-taught IES Abroad area studies courses (optional, 3 credits each)
  • German-taught courses at partner universities (optional, 3 credits each)
  • Internships (includes internship seminar followed by internship placement after the semester; optional, 3 credits)


This is a list of planned course offerings. After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.

  • Between Conformity and Provocation: German Art from 1933 to the Present
  • Modern German Literature: 1900-1945
  • The Medieval Mindset
  • Environmental Policies and Green Business in Freiburg
  • Germany as a Location for Business and Industry in the 21st Century
  • Education Internship And Seminar
  • Environmental Policies and Green Business in Freiburg
  • Cultural Geography and Natural History of the Freiburg Region
  • German Film from the Third Reich to the Present
  • Film Language and Film Making
  • Cultural Geography and Natural History of the Freiburg Region
  • German Language in Context: Independent Abroad
  • German Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad
  • German Language in Context: Competent Abroad
  • Past to Present: From the "Reichsgruendung" (1871) to the "Berliner Republik" (21st Century)
  • The Medieval Mindset
  • Germany as a Location for Business and Industry in the 21st Century
  • Germany And The European Integration Process
  • Modern German Literature: 1900-1945
  • German Literature from Wolfgang Borchert to Judith Hermann: A Creative Approach to Selected German, Austrian and Swiss Masterpieces of the Last 60 Years
  • Core Texts In 19Th And 20Th Century German Philosophy
  • Germany in the 21st Century: A Country Between Past, Present, and Future
  • Political Science Internship and Seminar
  • Germany And The European Integration Process
  • Health Psychology and Communication Skills

Partner Institution(s)

Information on partner universities and their course offerings is listed below. An extra fee applies to students participating in more than one course at the Art and Music schools.

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

The Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg takes great pride in its tradition. Founded in the 15th century, the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg is one of Germany’s highest-ranking universities.


The University is divided into 11 faculties, which together offer courses of study in 60 different fields.

As a fully-matriculated student at this university, you can enroll in courses in the following faculties:

  • Applied Sciences (including Computer Science)
  • Biology
  • Chemistry, Pharmacy, and Geological Sciences
  • Economics and Behavioral Sciences (including Sports)
  • Environment & Natural Resources
  • Law
  • Mathematics and Physics
  • Philology (including Classical Studies, Foreign Languages & Literature, Linguistics)
  • Philosophy (including Archaeology, Art History, Cultural Studies, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology)
  • Theology

Visit the University's website for current and past course offerings. Course offerings vary from semester to semester and exact course availability is determined shortly before the start of each semester.

Sprachlehrinstitut of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (SLI)

You may take additional language courses at the SprachLehrInstitut. Some courses require a small additional cost.

Location & Commute Time

The Albert-Ludwigs-Universität has one of the most beautiful campuses in Germany, located in the quaint, medieval city of Freiburg on the edge of the Black Forest. The University is divided into three main campuses:

  • University Center, which houses the main library and the Humanities and Social Sciences building
  • Institutes Quarter, where the sciences faculties are located
  • Applied Sciences campus, which is also home to the Computer Science Department and the Department for Microsystems Engineering, and close to the University Medical Center.

The University Center of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität is located in the old city center. The Institutes Quarter is just a short walk to the north of the old city center. The Applied Sciences campus, which lies on a former airfield, is about 1.5 miles from the IES Abroad Center and easily accessible by bicycle or public transit. While most university buildings are an easy walk from the IES Abroad Freiburg Center, the commute times to the University from student housing vary from about 10 to 30 minutes.

University Clubs & Events

IES Abroad Freiburg students are encouraged to participate in events and trips planned by the International Club at the University. Excursions are very affordable. Past excursions have included trips to Lake Constance, Geneva, and Bern, and a hike up the Kaiserstuhl with a wine tasting.

Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg

Founded in 1962, the Pädagogische Hochschule Freiburg is a well-known institute that specializes in training teachers. The Hochschule is also a respected research institution, with a unique focus on international training. In addition to courses in Pedagogy, such as Childhood Development, Mathematics and Computer Science Education, and Media Education, the Hochschule offers courses in Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Philosophy, Physics, Social Sciences, and Theology.


The Hochschule is organized into three faculties or departments.

  • Faculty I: Institutes for Child Development; Adult Education; Media and Education; and Philosophy.
  • Faculty II: Institutes for German Language and Literature; Foreign Languages; Arts; and Sport.
  • Faculty III: Institutes for Biology, Chemistry, Geography, and Physics; Protestant and Catholic Theology; Mathematics and Computer Science Education; Social Sciences; and Home Economics.

The Hochschule is particularly known for its offerings in Education. You receive approximately 2 to 4 credits upon the successful completion of each course.

Course offerings vary from semester to semester. Exact course availability is determined shortly before the start of each semester.

Location & Commute Time

The Hochschule is located in the southwestern area of the city, on the edge of the scenic Naturpark Südschwarzwald, the second-largest nature preserve in Germany. Located about three miles from the IES Abroad Center, the Hochschule is easily accessible by bicycle and public transportation. Commute times to the Hochschule from student housing range from 10 to 30 minutes.

Hochschule Events

The Hochschule offers numerous events and guest lectures each semester. Students taking courses at the Hochschule have access to the school’s library and other facilities.

Hochschule für Kunst, Design und Populäre Musik

The Hochschule für Kunst, Design und Populäre Musik offers classes in the field of fine arts, integrated design, and popular music.

Examples of courses offered in their respective fields are:

  • Fine Arts
  • Art Theory/Methodology
  • Artistic Practice
  • Art in Public Space
  • Color and Light
  • Integrated Design
  • 2D and 3D Space
  • Game Design
  • Emotional Design
  • Studio Technology
  • Text/Image Composition
  • Visual Concepts
  • Popular Music
  • Harmony
  • Ear Training
  • Composition
  • Music Production
  • Songwriting
  • Producing

Some music classes may require an audition prior to arrival.

The school also offers opportunities to perform with ensembles in various fields of music. Examples are:

  • Funky Jazz
  • Funky Marching Band
  • Buena Vista Latin Combo
  • Afro-Cuban Songs for Latin Ensemble
  • Klezmer Band
  • Location & Commute Time

The school is located less than two miles from the IES Abroad Center and is easily accessible by bicycle and by Freiburg’s public transportation system. Commute times range from 10 to 30 minutes from IES Abroad-located housing.


The Hochschule für Kunst, Design und Populäre Musik hosts, sponsors, and advertises numerous concerts, festivals, exhibitions, and lectures each year.

Program Extension Options

Optional Post Program Module

After your program ends, you can spend three weeks furthering your academic experience in Freiburg by participating in an additional 3-credit module in the Department of Forestry and Ecology Management at the University of Freiburg. A separate cost applies and placements are limited. Information about specific post-program modules is available after you arrive in Freiburg.

Research Assistantships

You can apply for a research assistantship to work with a University faculty member on a research topic in the field of Environmental Studies. Assistantships are three to six weeks long and take place after the end of the term. All placements are supervised and offered as academic options earning IES Abroad credit. Students participating in the research assistantship cannot participate in the additional optional module. An additional cost applies. Research topic areas and placements may be limited.

Securing an assistantship is a competitive process and placements are not guaranteed. Placements depend on availability, on a student's background and skills, and on the quality of a student’s CV/résumé. Language requirements may apply. Final placements are determined by an on-site interview.

Examples of assistantships in various departments at the University of Freiburg include:

Department of Forest Biometry: Focusing on a Forest Resources Inventory, this placement introduces students to forest inventory methods, including the measurement of trees and forest stands. Students may survey with optical and laser instruments; measure Black Forest stands, tree diameters, tree heights, and tree volume; and conduct an analysis of the inventory data.

Department of Vegetation Science: Students may participate in the current work of various projects such as an overview of the current work in vegetation science, including aims, methods and expected results; development of questionnaires, consultation with Ph.D. students on data analysis and English language, and writing of short reports and literature summaries on selected topics in vegetation science; and participation in excursions in and around Freiburg.

Institute of Forest Growth: Students may choose a topic of research related to environmental effects on tree growth, including dendroecology, production ecology, and forest management. Students’ tasks may include fieldwork such as the collection of material and field data, and laboratory work such as the measurement of tree-ring parameters, cross-dating, and statistical data analysis.

Institute of Silviculture: Students may participate in year-ring analysis and near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) with the overall aim to find out if thinning can help to increase drought tolerance of crop trees in stands of Norway spruce (Picea abies). Or students may participate in a year-ring analysis of stem discs of spruce trees from a stem density trial in Southern Germany, including cross-dating and identifying drought events of existing year-ring scans using special software for dendroecological analysis. Additionally, students may collect NIRS of wood samples, including both preparation and analysis of wood samples from spruce stem discs.

Institute of Forest Zoology: Students may study the use of nitrogen in insect nutrition in a study that measures the digestive efficiency of herbivorous lepidopteran larvae.


Interning while you study in Freiburg gives you a rewarding job experience with a wealth of long-lasting career benefits. You will:

  • Gain a better understanding of the real-life, everyday culture of your host country
  • Add global work experience and skills to your résumé or your application for graduate school
  • Improve your confidence

All of our internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. During the semester, you participate in a 3-credit seminar to prepare you for the internship which begins after the program ends. There is no extra cost for this optional, post-program internship. Placements are limited and an advanced level of German language fluency is required.

Placement Examples

Past students have interned in the following fields. Don’t see your field listed here? Just talk to your IES Abroad Advisor—we are always seeking out new opportunities for our students.

  • Advocacy Groups, Non-Governmental Organizations, and Hospitals
  • Cultural Institutions
  • Education
  • Government & Politics

Field Trips & Events

Even though your adventure starts in Freiburg, our field trips take you outside the city to discover the culture and traditions of your host country and beyond. You share a portion of the cost with IES Abroad. Here are a few possible destinations.


5 days | Fall & Spring

Tour this dynamic city and its architecture, and visit museums and memorial sites, such as the Holocaust Memorial.

Padua and Venice

4 days | Fall & Spring

Visit the University of Padua in Freiburg’s sister city, where Galileo Galilei lectured and Nicolaus Copernicus studied. Tour the canals in Venice, see the sights.

Black Forest

1 day | Fall & Spring

A visit to this famous forest may include hiking, snowshoeing, swimming, wine tasting, or a visit to a monastery.

Swiss Alps

1 day | Fall & Spring

Hike through the beautiful mountains of Switzerland.

Course-Related Trips

IES Abroad Freiburg organizes course-related trips in and around Freiburg that complement IES Abroad courses and contribute to your knowledge of German culture and society

Past activities have included:

  • Trips to museum exhibitions
  • Attendance at theater performances
  • Visits to important political, economic, environmental, and cultural organizations
  • Bike trips through local neighborhoods

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Freiburg is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it’s the orientation program that prepares you for what’s ahead, your housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the day trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.


The program begins with a three-day orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Freiburg staff, your fellow students, and the city of Freiburg.

Our Comprehensive Orientation & Re-Entry Experience (CORE™) begins right when you arrive and continues through the semester with activities focusing on academic and cultural adjustment. Detailed information about housing, public transportation, culture, health and safety, and other important topics are also covered.

Beginning during orientation, you prepare for the semester with two weeks of intensive German language instruction, followed by an optional five-day field trip to Berlin.


We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Freiburg, it will feel like home.

Shared University Apartment – You live in a single or double room in a coed suite with a shared kitchen and bath. Suites are shared with German and international students and have Internet access.

Single Studio Apartment – You will have your own studio apartment with a single bath and pantry kitchen. The Internet is also provided. The complex houses other German and international students. Spots are limited and may include additional fees.

Housing with Local Residents - A limited number of placements are available for living with local Freiburg residents. No meals are provided, but you have access to a kitchen. Internet access is provided.

Students usually prepare meals at home or dine in Freiburg’s affordable student cafeterias. Meals are not included in the program fee.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

Redefine the way you live and learn in Freiburg through our cultural events and activities, such as:

  • A tour of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg (spring)
  • Theater performances
  • Guest lectures
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • University Events and Cultural Activities

A number of events and activities are available to you at the Albert-Ludwigs- Universität Freiburg, such as sports teams, social clubs, and partially-subsidized trips to destinations in Germany, France, and Switzerland.

Language Partners

Our staff in Freiburg can assist you in finding a German-language “tandem” partner with whom you can practice German. In return, you can help your partner practice English. Having a language partner in Freiburg also gives you unique insight into local student life.


Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Spring 2020

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2020 $15,330 $3,810 $230 $19,370

Academic year

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Academic year $27,040 $7,460 $550 $35,050

Scholarships & Aid

Program-Specific Scholarships

Robert McNeill Need-Based International Business Scholarship

Up to $3,000; awarded to 2 students each year.

This scholarship is named in honor of Robert McNeill, a member of the IES Abroad Board of Directors for 25 years (6 years as Chairman). Open to students who have an interest in international business. Majors might include management, marketing, economics, finance, international relations, and social and behavioral sciences.

Dr. William Louis Gaines Need-Based History or International Relations Scholarship

Up to $1,875; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

This scholarship is named in honor of Dr. William Louis Gaines, President of IES Abroad from 1974-1992. Dr. Gaines was dedicated to strengthening IES Abroad's academic framework, broadening the scope of IES Abroad locations, and securing the financial foundation of the organization.

Open to students majoring in History or International Relations.

Adelyn Dougherty Leander Need-Based Urban Issues Scholarship

Up to $3,000; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

Open to students who have an interest in urban studies (a major in urban studies is not required).

Kathleen Kervin Diamond Endowed Scholarship

Up to $2,000 each; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

Kathleen Diamond is a consultant, entrepreneur, and business leader in the language services industry. In 1979, she founded Language Learning Enterprises, Inc. (LLE®), a full-service language company based in Washington, D.C. She is recognized as an early pioneer in Telephone Interpreting, launching LLE-LINK in the early 1990s. Over the next 20 years, under her leadership, the company grew into a dynamic, multimillion-dollar corporation, serving a wide range of clients, in both the private and public sectors, across the United States, and worldwide. In 2009, Ms.

Our Center

Located in the heart of Freiburg, the IES Abroad Center is within easy walking distance of Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, the Freiburg Theater, and the main shopping district.

Features include:

  • Classrooms
  • Student lounge
  • High-speed Internet and printer access
  • A small library of books and DVDs
  • Photocopier/Scanner
Last updated May 2020

About the School

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectation ... Read More

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 6,000 study abroad students every year. Read less
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