BCA Study Abroad: Marburg, Germany
98% Rating
(12 Reviews)

BCA Study Abroad: Marburg, Germany

The BCA Marburg program offers two amazing locations in one program. In Vienna, you’ll attend Internationales Kulturinstitut (IKI) Wien for eight weeks with students from all over the world focused on improving their German language skills. In Marburg, you’ll enroll at Philipps-Universität, an internationally renowned institution with a variety of course offerings across many departments, including life sciences, Middle East studies, psychology and geography.

Your BCA Marburg Resident Director will meet you in Vienna to orient you to the city, giving you the confidence you need to quickly connect to the many cultural events and activities available to you. When you arrive in Marburg, your RD will be there to welcome you and show you all the local landmarks and cultural hotspots. Together you will also visit other locations in the area. Excursions outside of the city vary by semester but in the past have included Bratislava, Salzburg and Strasbourg.

  • Spend the semester studying abroad in two countries! You will start out in Vienna, Austria, for an eight-week course focusing on improving your German language skills. Then transition to Marburg, Germany, and study at the alma mater of the Brothers Grim.
  • Apply to live in Marburg’s Schloss Castle, which rests atop a hill that overlooks the city, with a community of local students. Practice your German language as you share meals, games of billiards and celebrations.
  • Master translating from German to English in an optional BCA course and check out other BCA-exclusive courses.
  • Meet local students and community members by joining any of the student organizations or clubs at Philipps-Universität or volunteering at local social service agencies.
  • Customize the program to your needs by taking advantage of opportunities like the education internship, joining the Lahn Model UN program or taking courses at the Center for Conflict Studies.
Program Type
Subject Areas
Art History
Cultural Studies
European Studies
Liberal Arts
Peace Studies
Degree Level
Academic Year
Airport Transfers
Travel Insurance
Online Application
Starting Price
Price Details
-Tuition & Fees
-Airport Pick-Up
-Cultural Excursions
-Cultural and University Orientation
-On-Site Resident Director Support
-Official Overseas Transcript
-Academic Advising
-International Health and Evacuation Insurance
-BCA Study Abroad support services before, during, and after the program

Scholarships available-Visit the BCA Study Abroad website for more information and to apply for scholarships!
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Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

based on 12 reviews
  • Academics 9.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 12 of 12

Life Changing Experience

I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone. I did the program back in 2014. As the description says the program starts in Vienna, which still to this day is my favorite city in the world despite traveling to 20+ countries. In fact this part of the trip forever because I met my now fiance on the program in Vienna. However, enough personal the language courses in Vienna are enjoyable but not too much so that you can't enjoy all the city has to offer. IKI Language School in Vienna is a great start to the program. Then in Marburg I was fortunate enough to be selected to live in the castle as part of the Collegium Philippinium. During my time here I took classes both within the university and through BCA. I highly recommend Kris Riggs photography class, I still use these skills till today. All in all if your on the fence I'd recommend you go on this trip without a doubt it will give you a lifetime full of memories!

How can this program be improved?


Yes, I recommend
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The Best Decision I Have Ever Made

I can only recommend this program to anyone who is serious about learning German. My experience started in Vienna, where I took two months of intensive German classes five days a week in preparation for my academic year in Marburg, Germany. Although I wasn't able to apply much of the German I learned there at the time, I was quickly able to put everything from my Vienna lessons to good use after moving into the Schloss (a student-residence building on top of a hill in central Marburg, connected to a 13th century castle). The Schloss, in particular, is a fantastic place to learn German, as you are put into a close-quarters environment with native and international speakers of German, and to live there without speaking the language is impossible. This, coupled with the fact that the students living there are a tight-knit, active community that loves to include as many people from the building in their events as possible allows you to make friends very quickly and start building personal relationships within your first days of arriving. Living in the Schloss was the perfect housing option for me, personally, as I fear I would have been outgoing enough to start making friends speaking only German until months after my arrival, had I not been interacting with so many familiar faces on a daily basis. Additionally, as a part of BCA, you have access lunch in the Schloss every Monday through Friday prepared every day fresh by a private cook hassle-free. It is here that one can also truly be engulfed into the German culture and learn to use the language in more casual and comfortable settings than the formal German taught in the classroom. Beyond that, the on-site classes organized by BCA are engaging and challenging, but also American-friendly in a format that one does not often experience in Germany (meaning that your grade is not calculated solely by an exam, a paper, or presentation at the end of the semester, but rather gradually calculated over the course of the class and weekly homework assignments). With smaller class sizes than what you might expect in university course, the instructors are able to give more frequent feedback in a more flexible curriculum, ranging from the subjects of German literature, grammar and language, translation, and even on analogue photography. As far as fun and support go, to mention them explicitly, you cannot do better for yourself than what you will find in the Schloss. The super-friendly and welcoming environment is the ideal place to get you speaking the language as quickly as possible in a way that few other housing complexes can compare to. As an instructor of some of the BCA courses himself, Kristopher Riggs was also a key source of support and information for me during my time abroad, both in and outside of the classroom setting. His knowledge of the German language and culture proved invaluable to me, as he was consistently available to answer questions and able to do so in a way relatable to American students. On the topic of safety, I have never had any experience in Marburg that made me feel unsafe at any time of day - even when walking back home at 4 in the morning alone.

But more than anything, what I loved about this program is how much I confidence and knowledge I gained by being a part of it. When I arrived as a 19-year old sophomore in college, I didn't even realize how little I knew about the world and adult-hood. By the end of the program I had learned, of course, what one may expect (how to operate in another language, how to communicate past language barriers, basics of translation, culture, etc.) but also many very unexpected things (better ways to cook and clean, the basics of analogue photography and art, how to read maps and use public transportation effectively, how to learn a third language through a second language, how to explore my own interests and hobbies as a person, etc.). The main reason I give this program a 10/10 is not because I didn't struggle during my time abroad, but precisely because I struggled: and every struggle I faced, I was able to put the knowledge into good use and turn into future positive experiences. By the time the second semester started, I had already gone through so many unexpected situations and worked on my language skills so much, that I was able to put into use everything that I had learned and experience the intense integration I had been hoping to get out of the experience when I first signed up. Because of tireless help and support from my friends in the Schloss and from Kris, the resident director, I was not only able to meet and surpass my personal goals for my time in Germany, but also feel welcome and at home in a way I cannot say I feel even at my college in the US. If you are seriously looking to improve your German, have an integrative, unforgettable experience, and meet amazing people along the way, look no further than BCA's Marburg, Germany program from Kristopher Riggs. This program is truly something special.

Yes, I recommend
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Do this program

I can't say enough about this program. It had all of the elements i could have wanted. Director who was laid back, smart, and really cared. Awesome location, starting the first month in downtown Vienna living in a energetic international student house and taking an intensive German ramp-up course with random folks of all ages from all over the world. Then to Marburg where we took courses all in German, some just with our study abroad group, others with only German students. Nice mix-in of excursions and tours as part of the program, but plenty of free time for you to just experience things on your own. Ended up playing with the Marburg ultimate frisbee team. Met a lot of cool Germans who i still keep in touch with. Great sense of camaraderie amongst the BCA crew. Marburg is a pretty epic city. Would do it again and would recommend to everyone.

How can this program be improved?


Yes, I recommend

A Dream Come True

My family history and love for the German language made me want to visit Germany one day. I was able to live abroad for a semester in both Vienna and Marburg, which changed my life. I had never ventured from home more than a week at a time, so I was nervous. The structure of the program made me feel comfortable but also gave me lots of freedom and independence. I was able to ease into the language with the intensive language study in Austria first. There were so many people from all over the world with different backgrounds here. I learned from them inside and outside the classroom. Life in Marburg was more my speed since I was used to a smaller, university town myself. I continue to encourage anyone who has the chance to live abroad to do so. It made me more confident, advenurous, humble, and grow overall as a person. BCA was a great program to study with too. Don't miss out on an opportunity like this. Make your dream come true!

Yes, I recommend

Life in Germany

My interest in Germany began with reading the works of Herman Hesse, a German author (in English). Along with Hesse, Germany has produced countless brilliant thinkers and authors, and I thought it would be worthwhile to experience their ideas in their untranslated form. So I went to Germany with a great interest in learning the language to an advanced level. In Marburg, students have opportunity to live in the Schloss (meaning castle), so named because it sits in the middle of the city directly adjacent to a castle. Schloss is a student housing apartment almost entirely composed of German students. Thrown into the mix with locals I was learning the language quickly, and experiencing incredibly powerful immersion in German culture. The town has a ton of cafes, restaurants, and bars for students to frequent with friends, and there are lots of events that let students socialize. While I was there I spent a lot of time playing beach volleyball as a member of a school club, and made a lot of friends through winning and losing on the court together.

How can this program be improved?

One challenge for me was the preceding two months spent in Vienna studying German exclusively. Classes are composed of a mix of individuals from all sorts of backgrounds, and of varying ages. Because classmates can be anywhere from 16 - 60 years old, it can be hard to find a core group of friends your age while there.

Yes, I recommend
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Do It!

I studied abroad during the Fall of 2009 as part of the first group to spend time in both Vienna and Marburg. The month I spent in Vienna was amazing. Taking intensive language classes allowed me to meet with other German-learners from all over the world and, naturally, helped boost my German skills. The guided tours allowed us to see a side of the city most do have the privilege of experiencing and, very importantly, counted as a history credit at my school back home.
Going to school and living in Marburg was a treat as well: the classes were interesting, the people welcoming, and the town charming. With help from one of my professors, I was able to volunteer and observe weekly at a German school which, as an education student, was an invaluable addition to my stay. I lived in the castle- yes that is a real thing- which comprised a dorm connected to a castle with an emphasis on communal living. We took house trips, hosted events, and had lunches together. Needless to say, this was a big boost to my German and I am still in touch with many of the friends I made there.
The opportunity to travel, to see different ways of life, to interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds was simply incredible. I have nothing but fond memories of my stay. It is big part of the reason why I find myself currently living and working in Vienna.

Yes, I recommend
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Tiffany's Abroad Experience

Currently, I work in high education. I speak about my experience abroad as often as I can. An initial fear I had entering the program and abroad experience was making friends and speaking the German language. Through BCA I traveled to multiple countries (Austria, Germany, Slovakia, and France), met and befriended many people, mastered the German language, and grew as a person. Kris Riggs, the director, provided a great balance of independence and support. He also challenged me to think beyond the stereotypes and seeks to understand the people, culture, and language more. If I had the opportunity to relive an experience. This abroad travel would be one of them! Danke Kris und danke BCA!

How can this program be improved?

Continue to have visits to the professor and director's home. This allowed me to see how Germans/Europeans live and it gave me a home away from home.

Yes, I recommend
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Even though the title of my review seems a bit cliche, my experience in Marburg spurred on my Wanderlust. When I first arrived in Germany, I was scared and anxious. My German was not especially strong, and I did not know what to expect. Kris supported us through the whole process. However, he also challenged us---challenged us to see the world in a new light---challenged us to integrate fully into the German culture---challenged us to keep improving our translation skills even when we hit various roadblocks. My original goal was to visit Marburg for one semester; nevertheless, I came back the following October. It was one of the best times of my life---from our excursions to our classes---I would not have asked for anything more. I loved the Marburg program so much that I actually had to take summer courses to make up credits for my own major. I highly recommend Marburg for anyone who has a love for the German language and culture.

Yes, I recommend

Exceptional opportunity

I feel I should start by explaining my lukewarm "fun" score on this; it's based only on the choices I myself made to immerse myself in academics. I loved the events (planned and unplanned) in which I participated with my fellow BCA-lers; these memorably included a performance of Bach's Johannespassion in Marburg's Elisabethkirche. The agreement of the BCA with the Philipps-Universität meant that I was able to take a full roster of specialized coursework, including "The Thirty Years' War in German Literature," history seminars on medieval Sicily and the Ottonian Empire, and a lecture series on medieval German literature by an internationally-recognized expert on the subject. All of this served as an excellent preparation for graduate school, and, I am convinced, helped me to a Fulbright Scholarship in 2013. When not in classes and libraries, I thoroughly enjoyed eating, studying, and going dancing with the German students from my residence hall... my Sprachtandem partner even arranged for us to go to the opera in Frankfurt! I echo the other reviewers in praising, too, the enthusiasm and genuine solicitude of the program director.

Yes, I recommend
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Great Experience

I would write a novel about my experience in the Vienna/Marburg program, but there is simply not enough room to go through all the wonderful and life changing experiences I had while abroad. However, I will still share with you how impactful and great my trip really became. As apart of the BCA Marburg program, I got the opportunity to travel to some great places. Being able to go to two countries in one semester abroad was simply nothing short of amazing. I was exposed to culture, history, art, people, languages, food, and more. Perhaps the most impactful of those experiences were the interactions I had with people. Both in Vienna and Marburg I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and be immersed with Germans; the best of both worlds. These people shared their stories with me and likewise I shared my story with them over coffee and cake. These are the interactions and experiences I hold most dear to me when I think about my trip.

On a more of a academic note, the BCA Marburg program was nothing short of tough (in a good way) and meaningful. Kris Riggs and his colleagues in Vienna made my educational experience one to remember. The pushed me, challenged me, and ultimately inspired me to really go after what I wanted to accomplish. Perhaps a story I should tell you is about my experience with the PHT 160 course that Kris Riggs teaches. This is an introductory course in analogue photography. Prior to my trip, photography was not at all on my radar of interests! I thought to myself, "why would anyone want to take a photography class? We are just going to take pictures and stuff?" When I was in Vienna and this course was mentioned, I hesitated to have conversations about it. I will tell you, the PHT course really challenged me in the beginning to the point where I wanted to drop it. HOWEVER, at the end of that course I can tell you honestly it was one of the most gratifying and fun courses I have ever taken!! It exposed me to culture, photography, art, life, and myself. Developing film, analyzing it, and making it my own creation was a great experience. Kris worked with me and I also leaned on my fellow classmates to make it fun! I tell you this story because it points to the strong curriculum and what it will expose you to! It also points to the excellent guidance and knowledge of Kris Riggs. His experience and insight into all the BCA courses make the learning environment fun and really engaging. Don't forget the afternoon coffee in between course!!

I can say without a doubt in my mind and heart that the BCA Marburg program was a great, meaningful, and impact experience. The academic aspect is strong and credible, and the excursions are wonderful and eye opening. I learned more about myself than I did German, and I learned a lot of German! I think this really points to how well the BCA Marburg program is run and how it continues to bring students into a world that is full of life and great experiences waiting to happen! I would strongly recommend this program to anyone!


Yes, I recommend
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Exceptional Experience

It's almost been ten years, and yet not a week goes by that I don't think about my time abroad in the BCA Marburg program. Living abroad changes you: it forces you to become more independent and get out of your comfort zone, it gives you the privilege to immerse yourself in a culture different from your own, and there's no better way to become fluent in another language than to LIVE in that language. This program was the perfect combination of academics and travel - I was able to visit 6 other countries, deeply explore most of Germany and still feel pretty fulfilled within the classroom at Uni Marburg itself. I also have great respect for program director Kris Riggs - he was always there to help and really pushed us to totally immerse ourselves into/take ownership of the experience. I would highly recommend this program to anyone thinking of studying abroad in Germany.

Yes, I recommend
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A Rock-Solid Foundation for an International Education

I simply cannot say enough positive things about my experiences in this BCA program. I participated in the Spring 2008 section and, nearly a full decade later, I am still benefitting from the wealth of knowledge, insight, preparation, enduring friendships, and warm memories it provided me.

From the very moment I enrolled, the resident director and BCA staff made me feel welcome and valued. They were always there to offer help and guidance while simultaneously supporting my autonomy and helping me down the road to self-sufficiency and independence. Under the advisement of our director, I was able to enroll in extremely interesting and useful courses which applied directly to my major, and the German language classes offered enabled me to reach a new level of comfort with the language, which has in turn opened up all sorts of doors for me to connect with people from other cultures and develop myself professionally. The group travel experiences and social event opportunities offered by the BCA program helped me explore the German and Austrian cultures and form several lasting, extremely close friendships with other people in the program. After my BCA-Marburg experience, I felt so empowered, inspired and enchanted by Germany that I ultimately wound up returning -- I am currently living and working in my profession in Berlin, and it absolutely wouldn't have been possible without all that the BCA program gave me! Six out of five stars, would recommend in a heartbeat.

Yes, I recommend

About BCA Study Abroad

Established in 1962, BCA Study Abroad has been committed to helping students understand contemporary issues by offering challenging and rewarding study abroad programs. From its start, BCA has focused its educational mission on engaging students with...