In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Program (FU-BEST) is offering nine new online courses during the upcoming spring semester. The thirteen-week session for international students involves both German language and culture courses and courses in specific subject areas, which students can take for internationally accepted ECTS credits. Courses are being offered in various disciplines, including art history, history, political science, media studies, cultural studies, and German. The selection of courses ranges from topics such as “To Hell and Back: Germany and Europe in the 19th & 20th Century” and “Artistic Diversity” to “Understanding Pop Culture.” Classes start on February 8 and end on May 14, 2021.
In order to compensate for the new limits placed on student mobility, the short-term study program at Freie Universität is offering an online course program for the first time. Following the success of its interdisciplinary lecture series during the 2020 fall term, FU-BEST decided to put together a larger selection of courses for international students in the 2021 spring term. Students can choose from five different subject courses taught in English that cover popular topics in European studies. In addition, they can sign up for one of the four German language courses ranging from beginner to advanced level. Students must register by December 13.
All courses in the program frame their content in the context of European relations and Germany’s role therein. They also emphasize Berlin as a cultural and historical site. Students can attend individual courses or take them in combination with each other in order to get the full online experience of a FU-BEST semester
Dr. Kristina Rödder, one of FU-BEST’s academic directors, says, “We want to give international students a sense of having a study abroad experience by providing a wide range of courses that utilize interactive formats and make direct connections with Berlin, Germany, and Europe. We are also using this time to build up our digital teaching skills and expand our potential for innovation.” Dr. Dirk Verheyen, the other academic director of FU-BEST, adds, “This selection of courses is an excellent representative sample of what the regular FU-BEST program has to offer. They allow students to develop their language skills in an academic context at their own level, while also presenting them with interdisciplinary perspectives that touch on broad issues related to European studies today.”
FU-BEST is an academic semester program at Freie Universität Berlin that is offered in the fall and in the spring. The program includes various courses, mainly in the social sciences and the humanities, which are primarily taught in English. In addition, the international students take classes in German as a foreign language. They can receive credits in their home countries for successfully completed courses.
The program follows the North American academic calendar, making it unique in Europe. The academic quality of FU-BEST was recognized again this year by the Forum on Education Abroad through its Quality Improvement Program (QUIP). FU-BEST’s digital lecture series also received recognition from the German government’s initiative “Germany, Land of Ideas: Beyond Crisis,” which was launched by the German federal government and German industry. FU-BEST has consistently grown since 2005, with roughly 340 students from North America participating in it each year. About 3,500 international students have enjoyed the benefits of this program since it was first founded.