Columbia Leads Berlin University Groups

Columbia is leading a select group of American universities in a partnership with the Free University of Berlin to promote academic exchange between the United States and Germany at the undergraduate level.

The newly established Berlin Consortium for German Studies, which will begin its first semester next spring (1996), is a joint project of Columbia, Barnard, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Yale, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania. It is open to students of all majors with two years of college German at the six universities and to qualified students from other universities on a space-available basis. After a period of intensive language study, participants enroll directly in courses with German students at the Free University and study for one semester or for an entire academic year.

Twenty-three students, seven of them from Columbia and Barnard, have been accepted into the program for the spring semester. After a six-week language program beginning in February, they will start classes at the Free University in April, concluding their studies in mid-July.

The program, administered by Columbia, was established to give American undergraduates from leading colleges an opportunity to study firsthand the emerging impact of a united Germany, said Professor Mark Anderson, chairman of the department of Germanic languages at Columbia. He will serve as the first academic director of the Consortium during the 1996 spring semester. Under the agreement, the Consortium institutions will enroll a limited number of students from the Free University on their campuses.

American students may pursue studies in a wide range of disciplines offered at the Free University, including medicine, the natural and social sciences, the humanities, music and the arts. It is Columbia's first study abroad program in Germany. Columbia has administered a program at its Reid Hall campus in Paris, France, since 1964. Columbia students also may apply to spend a year abroad at the Kyoto Center in Japan and at Oxford or Cambridge in England.

"The Consortium offers students an intellectually challenging and diverse program of study meeting the highest academic standards of its member institutions," said Anderson. "Participants will attend regular courses at the Free University side by side with German students."

Frank Wolf, dean of the Division of Special Programs at Columbia and administrative director of the Consortium, said: "The enthusiasm generated by Professor Anderson's initiative in creating the program is palpable, both at Columbia and Barnard, and at other member institutions. I am delighted to play a part in the process of expanding international study opportunities for undergraduates."

Students in the full-year program may elect to participate in internships during vacation periods in private or public institutions. Students from Consortium institutions will pay tuition and fees to their home institution.

Founded in 1948, the Free University of Berlin is the largest university in Germany's capital city. It provides academic training for some 6,000 foreign students and has partnership agreements with nearly 150 foreign institutions.

Further information and applications for the Berlin Consortium Program may be obtained in Room 303, Lewisohn Hall; Tel.: 854-2559; Fax: 854-5861. The e-mail address is:

Columbia University Record -- December 8, 1995 -- Vol. 21, No. 12