Harvard Summer Program in Berlin, Germany, and Vienna, Austria

In light of the significant and prolonged uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard Summer School is suspending the operation of our 2021 summer study abroad programs. For further travel resources, please visit the Harvard Global Support Services website and Harvard’s coronavirus website which is frequently updated and contains the latest announcements, guidance and resources. Students interested in related coursework for summer 2021 are encouraged to consider enrolling in a course at Harvard Summer School. Updated Summer course catalog information will be available at the end January 2021.


Gain a critical overview of literature, music, and the arts from the 19th century to the present, while exploring the vibrant capitals of Austria and Germany. 

Join other advanced German-language students in strengthening your written and spoken skills while studying the cultural history of Vienna and Berlin. Your studies are complemented by frequent performances at the cities' concert halls, opera houses, and theaters, as well as a workshop with a professional theater company in Berlin. In addition, the program features multiple excursions, including a weekend hiking trip in the Alps and a visit to Prague.

Program Structure

This eight-week program comprises two courses: one advanced German-language course and one cultural history course, conducted in English. You will critically examine the arts from the nineteenth century to the present, as well as the import of Central Europe’s rich artistic legacy.


GERM S-43 Study Abroad in Vienna, Austria and Berlin, Germany: Advanced German Language and Arts (34708)

Lisa Parkes
John T. Hamilton
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

This course is designed to develop students' spoken and written language skills at the advanced level. By exploring the cities of Vienna and Berlin and their rich cultural history, students learn the language of urban life, art and architecture, literature, theater, and music. In doing so, students broaden and refine their grammar, vocabulary, and idiom, as well as analyze the stylistic features of various written and spoken genres. In particular, students develop their ability to describe their urban environment with precision, and to respond critically to the cultural events, performances, and artwork. Last, but not least, guided explorations of Vienna and Berlin ensure immersion in the spoken language, and are reinforced by in-class discussions, oral reports, storytelling, debates, and interviews.

GERM S-100 Study Abroad in Vienna, Austria and Berlin, Germany: Central European Cultural History (34706)

John T. Hamilton
4 credits
UN, GR Limited enrollment.

For centuries, Vienna and Berlin have been at the heart of European civilization and arts, thriving on a dynamic and frequently impassioned tension between the social conservatism of imperialism and the many cultural revolutions and violent upheavals that ultimately witnessed the decline of the aristocracy. This course offers a comprehensive examination of the cities' key roles in major literary, musical, and artistic movements across the centuries, viewed in relation to broader considerations of Central European history up to the present day, when Vienna and Berlin persist as vital centers for the arts as an energetic and energizing source for fresh advances in human expression. The broad variety of museums, galleries, concert halls, and theaters, together with a vibrant tradition of cabaret, popular theater, and the famed cafes, is a testament to the cities' commitment to fostering culture in all its kaleidoscopic wealth. Lectures are directly enriched by performances, field trips, excursions, and other special events.

Where You Live and Study

The program takes place in Vienna and Berlin, the two primary cultural capitals of Central Europe, with an extended stop-over in Prague. 


In Vienna, you stay in apartments in the elegant art-nouveau Hotel Carlton Opera. The hotel is located in the heart of Vienna’s lively Fourth District—directly adjacent to the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s famous open market and just a brief walk to all of the city’s major sites and shopping promenades.

Apartments have air-conditioning, free wi-fi, and kitchens so that you are able to prepare some of your own meals. Breakfast is included, and there are many restaurants and coffee houses nearby.

While in Berlin, you reside with local families in a homestay. 


Each program has unique requirements included in the online application. Beginning your application early is the best way to ensure that you have sufficient time to review and complete the application requirements by the deadline. 

You may apply to no more than two programs; if applying to two programs, you will be asked to rank your two applications in order of preference (first and second choice). Any applications submitted in excess of the maximum of two will be automatically withdrawn. You will be notified of your admissions status in each program by late February. 

A complete online application includes:

  • Basic personal information
  • A statement of interest
  • Your most recent transcript
  • Program-specific requirements (if applicable; may include letters of recommendation, audio or video submissions, etc.)

Interviews may be requested at the discretion of the program.

Harvard College students applying for funding from the Office of Career Services (OCS): Please note that the OCS funding application is separate. OCS funding awards are tied to a specific program, and cannot be transferred to another program.

If you have questions about the application, please contact the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Office by email at summerabroad@summer.harvard.edu, or by telephone at (617) 998-9602.

Cost & Expenses

The program fee includes:

  • Tuition
  • Accommodations
  • Scheduled program activities
  • Some meals (the program will provide further details)

You will also need to budget for a number of expenses not covered by the program fee. The amounts listed below for these out-of-pocket expenses are approximate, and you may incur additional expenses not noted here. Your actual expenses will depend on a number of factors, including personal spending habits and currency exchange rates. Note that for 2021, expense categories--especially airfare--may be subject to significant fluctuations.

  • International airfare ($1,300 - $1,600)
  • Ground transportation ($200)
  • Meals ($1,200)
  • Personal expenditures, communications, course materials, and miscellaneous ($400)

If you have specific questions about personal budgeting, please contact the program directly.

See Funding and Payment for information on how to submit payments and funding options.

Additional Information