BCA Study Abroad: Marburg, Germany

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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.

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Questions & Answers


9.62 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 92.31%
  • 7-8 rating 7.69%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 9.2
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.1
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 13
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Yes, I recommend this program

Study Abroad for a Good Time ;)

I chose to study abroad for two reasons. First, I'm a German major and was looking to improve my written and oral skills. This program allowed me to live in both Austria and Germany so I was exposed to different dialects of the language. This experience ultimately allowed me to achieve my goal of improve my German as a whole. The second reason, aside from experiencing the vast complexities of the German language, was this program allowed me to live in both a large city, Vienna, and a small town, Marburg. As someone who has grown up and lived in small towns, it was nice to experience the familiarity of Marburg. Vienna brought it's own challenges and lessons as it was my first time getting to experience big city life. Overall, this program not only helped me grow in my academics, but as well as an individual.

What would you improve about this program?
N/A Best experience of life! Wouldn't change a damn thing.
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Yes, I recommend this program

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 this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.