FemGeniuses in Berlin FAQs

Click any of the questions below to get answers about FG214/RM200/GR220 Hidden Spaces, Hidden Narratives: Intersectionality Studies in Berlin! Also, if you have suggestions for other questions that should be considered for inclusion, contact Professor Lewis at hlewis@coloradocollege.edu!

Image #6

The 2018 #FemGeniusesinBerlin with the Talking Feminisms (Reboot.FM) Team (Iris, Tatjana, and Mai)

Why did Professor Lewis choose to teach in Berlin?
How much experience does Professor Lewis have teaching abroad?
What is the course description?
What are the course objectives?
Where can I find the syllabus?
Do I need to buy any books? How much reading is there?
What are the assignments in the course?
Would you recommend reading blogs or listening to podcasts students submitted in the past before producing our own?
How long is the course?
What is the course like in terms of class sessions and activities?
Is there class on weekends?
How much is the program fee and what does it cover?
Can students apply for financial aid for tuition and/or the program fee?
Does the course carry any Critical Perspectives or other requirements?
How do I apply for the course?
When is the application due?
What are the most important aspects of the application?
Do I need any recommendations?
Are there interviews?
What do students say about the course?
What do people in Berlin say about the course?
Do I need a passport or visa to go to Germany if I’m a U.S. citizen?
Do I need any vaccinations to travel to Germany if I’m a U.S. citizen?
Are there any major health and/or safety concerns in Germany beyond what can usually be expected anywhere else, including the U.S.?
Is there a U.S. Embassy in Berlin?
What should I pack?
Is there a curfew during the course?
What is the legal drinking age in Germany?
What is there to do in Berlin other than the course?
Can I travel to other places outside Berlin or Germany during the course?
When should I book my flight to the departure city airport?
When should I book my flight home from the departure city airport?
What happens if my flight back to the departure city too late for me to get a flight home?
What happens if I don’t need Professor Lewis to book my flight to and/or from Berlin?

How will we get from the airport to the hostel and back?
Where do students live during the course? Could I choose to live somewhere else?
Where do Professor Lewis and the second responsible adult live?
Is there public transportation in Berlin? If so, is it sufficient?

Do I need a German phone? If so, will one be provided?
Do I need to bring any of my own money?

********************

Why did Professor Lewis choose to teach in Berlin?

Professor Lewis chose to teach in Berlin due the long-standing tradition of transnational collaboration between Black radical intellectuals in the U.S. (including W.E.B. Du Bois, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Angela Y. Davis, and Audre Lorde, among others) and Germany, especially Berlin. For more information, click here.

How much experience does Professor Lewis have teaching abroad?

Professor Lewis has taught the course 6 times between summer 2014 and summer 2018. She has been teaching the course each summer since 2014, and she also taught the course once during the academic year as part of the German Department’s semester-long Lüneburg Program.

What is the course description?

In “boundless and outrageous,” May Ayim writes, “i will be african / even if you want me to be german / and i will be german / even if my blackness does not suit you.” This passage communicates the complex ways in which the identities and subjectivities of marginalized people and communities in Germany are constructed. In this course, we examine how the identities of Black Germans, Jewish Germans, Turkish Germans, migrants, refugees, victims of Neo-Nazi terrorism, victims of police brutality, queer communities, and other marginalized people are constructed, particularly how these constructions are dependent on racism, heterosexism, colonialism, imperialism, and other forms of oppression. Additionally, we examine how these communities resist, reject, revise, and reproduce these narratives as they construct their own subjectivities. For more information about the course, please click here to view the course webinar (approximately 30 minutes).

What are the course objectives?

By the end of this course, students will learn the importance of the following objectives, as well as the skills required to perform them at an intermediate level: examining and responding to theoretical perspectives and methodologies concerned with marginalized Germans; examining the socialization of and normative assumptions about the identities of marginalized Germans based on various social, cultural, and political markers, as well as the implications; examining the ways in which marginalized Germans understand and resist, reject, revise, or reproduce norms as they construct their own subjectivities; and employing and synthesizing theoretical perspectives and methodologies concerned with marginalized Germans in all coursework. For more information about the course, please click here to view the course webinar (approximately 30 minutes).

Where can I find the syllabus?

Professor Lewis does not typically distribute the syllabus for any class until the first day of the course. However, in this case, admitted students will receive the syllabus during Block 6 or 7 the spring prior to the course.

Do I need to buy any books? How much reading is there?

All texts are available and organized weekly on Canvas. You do not need to print any texts if you will be bringing an electronic device that will allow you to access them whenever necessary. If there are any books that are required, they are purchased using program fee funds so that there are no additional costs. Additionally, students read an average of 100 pages of reading material each week. However, unlike in Professor Lewis’ on-campus courses, students do not submit discussion questions and take quizzes throughout the week. Instead, they submit questions and take quizzes on Mondays that cover the reading material that corresponds with course sessions for the entire week so that they can focus on being present and engaging with non-print texts that are relevant to the course.

What are the assignments in the course?

The major assignment is at least one (usually no more than two) podcast(s) led and produced by one student and that features two other classmates. Click here to listen to them. In the past, students have also written 1,500-word blogs. Click here to read them. Additionally, for more information about the course, please click here to view the course webinar (approximately 30 minutes).

Would you recommend reading blogs or listening to podcasts students submitted in the past before producing our own?

Absolutely. Just note that you shouldn’t merely mimic what you read or hear, as you are not and will not be privy to the grade students received on these assignments. However, Professor Lewis is open to talking about the strengths and weaknesses of past assignments (without revealing grades) in order to help you with yours. Click here for access to the indices that will allow you read and/or listen to past projects.

How long is the course?

Monday through Friday for three weeks. Dates vary.

What is the course like in terms of class sessions and activities?

Course sessions vary from year-to-year, and Professor Lewis tries to incorporate at least one new activity per year. However, the general theme is that she and the students meet alone to discuss the course, upcoming activities, and reading materials each Monday. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students take a walking tour concerning a particular aspect of the course in the morning (such as German colonialism) and then visit a museum or archive (such as the RomaniPhen Archive) that addresses the same topic in the afternoon. On Wednesdays and Fridays, students meet with independent artists, activists, and/or scholars or visit with NGOs that work on topics related to the course (such as Queer@School). Students are also treated to a welcome and farewell pizza lunch cruise or dinner at the world-famous TV Tower or the Reichstag Building.

Is there class on weekends?

No. Your weekends are yours, and Professor Lewis expects you to be safe and responsible in Berlin without being hyper-surveilled by her the same way she does when you take her classes on-campus. If you do travel outside the city, including other cities in Germany, you must complete a “Non-Program Travel Waiver” form that acknowledges you are temporarily leaving the program and that you are releasing the college, its employees, and program staff from duty of care and any responsibilities normally assumed during the program.

How much is the program fee and what does it cover?

The $3,800 program fee includes airfare from the U.S. (typically the JFK airport in New York City) to Berlin, airport transfers, lodging, $800 ($40/day for 20 days) for meals and incidentals, local public transportation, mandatory activities, any required books (although most reading material is posted to Canvas), and an emergency fund. Additionally, this fee, like the fee for all off-campus courses, includes instructor and mandatory second adult expenses. Expenses that are not included are tuition, passport fees, and round trip airfare to and from the U.S. departure airport.

Can students apply for financial aid for tuition and/or the program fee?

Yes. Application deadlines vary from year to year depending on the academic calendar. Click here for more information.

Does the course carry any Critical Perspectives or other requirements?

Currently, the course fulfills both the Global Cultures and Social Inequality requirements. Additionally, it is a Community-Based Learning (CBL) course.

How do I apply for the course?

You must complete an online application that you can access by clicking here. Prior to that, you must attend an information session with Professor Lewis or view the course webinar, which you can access by clicking here.

When is the application due?

Application deadlines vary from year to year depending on the academic calendar and financial aid application deadline. For up-to-date information, click here to view the online application.

What are the most important aspects of the application?

The two brief 100 to 150-word essays are arguably the most important. The first prompt asks you to explain your reasons for wanting to take the course. The second asks you to explain any academic experiences you think have prepared you for the course without merely listing the courses you’ve taken in Feminist & Gender Studies; Race, Ethnicity, & Migration Studies; and/or German. The recommendations are also important. Two Colorado College professors must be willing to write you a recommendation for this course. However, if you have taken at least one course with Professor Lewis, you only need to secure one recommendation. If you have taken two courses with Professor Lewis, you do not need to secure any recommendations.

Do I need any recommendations?

Two Colorado College professors must be willing to write you a recommendation. However, if you have taken at least one course with Professor Lewis, you only need to secure one recommendation. Professor Lewis will send the professor(s) a link to an online form they need to complete. The recommendation form should only take 5-10 minutes to complete. If you have taken two courses with Professor Lewis, you do not need to secure any recommendations.

Are there interviews?

Yes, each applicant must also attend a 15-minute interview with Professor Lewis during which she will ask four questions, allowing you up to 3 minutes to answer each. Finally, you’ll have a few minutes to level any questions/concerns you may have. Applicants are not privy to the questions until the interview. After completing the application, click here to sign-up for an interview.

What do students say about the course?

Click here to read course evaluation comments and to view a testimony video (approximately 5 minutes) featuring former #FemGeniusesinBerlin.

What do people in Berlin say about the course?

Click here to read comments from our comrades in Berlin.

Do I need a passport or visa to go to Germany if I’m a U.S. citizen?

You need a passport, and it must be valid for six months beyond planned date of departure. In other words, if you are departing on June 30, your passport must be valid through December 30 or later. You do not need a visa if you are staying for less than 90 days. Click here for more information. Also, if you are not a U.S. citizen, please consult the Center for Global Education & Field Study by clicking here.

Do I need any vaccinations to travel to Germany if I’m a U.S. citizen?

No. Click here for more information. Also, if you are not a U.S. citizen, please consult the Center for Global Education & Field Study by clicking here.

Are there any major health and/or safety concerns in Germany beyond what can usually be expected anywhere else, including the U.S.?

Not usually. Click here for more information. Regarding your Colorado College-provided health insurance during study abroad trips, please consult the Center for Global Education & Field Study by clicking here.

Is there a U.S. Embassy in Berlin?

Yes. Click here for more information about the U.S. and other embassies in Berlin.

What should I pack?

Click here for a list of packing suggestions.

Is there a curfew during the course?

No, but you do not want to be late to any mandatory course sessions.

What is the legal drinking age in Germany?

The legal drinking age in Germany is 18 years old. However, please note that the Colorado College Student Honor and Community Standards apply to you, whether you are on or off-campus and whether you’re enrolled in a course or not, from the time you are admitted until the time you graduate. Click here for more information.

What is there to do in Berlin other than the course?

Click here for a list of things to do in Berlin.

Can I travel to other places within and/or outside Berlin or Germany during the course?

Yes. In these cases, you must complete a “Non-Program Travel Waiver” form that acknowledges you are temporarily leaving the program and that you are releasing the college, its employees, and program staff from duty of care and any responsibilities normally assumed during the program.

When should I book my flight to the departure city airport?

You should not book your flights until the college has confirmed that the course has secured enough enrollment to be taught. That date varies from year-to-year, but it usually happens in the middle of February near the end of Block 5 or beginning of Block 6. In any case, do not book your flight to the departure city (if you need one) until Professor Lewis has booked your flight from the departure city to Berlin and emailed you confirmation. Flights from the departure city leave on the Saturday prior to the first day of the course no earlier than 6 pm. Once you receive your flight confirmation from Professor Lewis, book your flight to land in the departure city no less than 90-minutes prior to time your flight departs from Berlin.

When should I book my flight home from the departure city airport?

You should not book your flights until the college has confirmed that the course has secured enough enrollment to be taught. That date varies from year-to-year, but it usually happens in the middle of February near the end of Block 5 or beginning of Block 6. In any case, do not book your flight from the departure city airport (if you need one) until Professor Lewis has booked your flight from Berlin back to the departure city and emailed you confirmation. Flights usually leave Berlin on the Sunday after the last day of the course. Since those flights usually arrive back at the departure city late in the evening, students typically book flights to leave Monday.

What happens if my flight back to the departure city too late for me to get a flight home?

If you need a hotel for Sunday night, please inform Professor Lewis so that she can work with you to book that at little to no cost to you.

What happens if I don’t need Professor Lewis to book my flight to and/or from Berlin?

The program fee is not a la carte. If you book your own flight for dates earlier and/or later than the course, no amount of that flight will be refunded to you.

When we arrive in Berlin, how will we get from the airport to the hostel? 

Professor Lewis books all students a car or van through Blacklane Limousine to transport them from the airport to the hostel and back at the conclusion of the course. Both of these trips are covered in the program fee, and you will receive confirmation via email upon booking. Please note that if you arrive in Berlin prior to the course or stay after the course concludes, you are responsible for booking and paying for your own airport transfers.

Where do students live during the course? Can I live somewhere else?

Students will either live at the One80 Hostel or the Heart of Gold Hostel, both located in the borough of Mitte, the city center. You are not permitted to live somewhere else.

Where do Professor Lewis and the second responsible adult live?

Professor Lewis and the second responsible adult usually live in the borough of Kreuzberg, no more than 25-35 minutes from students.

Is there public transportation in Berlin? If so, is it sufficient?

Yes, and your program fee covers the ticket you will need to ride all forms of public transportation (bus, train, and tram) for the duration of the course. This ticket is valid throughout the A and B districts of Berlin, the only districts you’re required to be in for the course. If you travel in the C district or beyond, you will need to purchase your own ticket. Public transportation in Berlin is very sufficient, and you will receive more information about that in Block 6 or 7 prior to the course. For more information, click here.

Do I need a German phone? If so, will one be provided?

Professor Lewis no longer provides German phones for students, so it may be wise to consult with your cell phone carrier about an international phone and data plan. Please also note that the class is expected to participate in a WhatsApp group for communication purposes.

Do I need to bring any of my own money?

Probably not. Your program fee includes $800 for meals and incidentals, which is approximately $265 per week or $40 per day including weekends.

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