Experiential Learning: Pre-Professional Training
Learn German, be an ambassador, acquire professional skills before graduation.
Carolina’s German program places importance not only on the study of the German language and Germany’s cultures in Chapel Hill. German majors and minors can also dedicate a portion of their study in Germany by studying abroad or being an intern at a German company in Germany.
Securing an Internship, Option 1: FU-BEST Internships
Carolina’s partner in Berlin, the Free University, offers an interdisciplinary exchange program called FU-BEST that is identical to Carolina’s fall and spring semesters and that offers both German language courses and English-language content courses in disciplines like literature, art, film, business, law, music, political science, philosophy and religious studies. FU-BEST also offers internships in the summer as an extension of its exchange program.
Past interns have been placed with businesses working in architecture, business analysis, marketing, finance and online marketing, just to name a few areas.
FU-BEST internships last eight weeks and include accompanying course work dedicated to such important topics as work life in Germany, communication and etiquette in the work place and cultural differences in business.
FU-BEST internships are ideal for students less advanced in their German language skills. Applicants need to have completed at least two semesters of university/college level studies at their home university/college and have a GPA of at least 3.0 (students whose GPA is below 3.0 are welcome to apply, but cannot be guaranteed admission until their overall qualifications are more closely reviewed). German language abilities beyond the Beginner level are recommended but not mandatory. For a FU-BEST internship, students must pay an application fee, tuition, a program fee and housing.
Students interested in applying to the FU-BEST internship program should first approach Study Abroad office, which oversees Carolina’s relationship with the Free University.
Securing an Internship, Option 2: German-American Exchange Internships
Some students with specific needs, lots of drive, and good trans-Atlantic connections have managed to secure an internship with a business in Germany entirely on their own.
Others have relied on GSLL’s relationship with the Atlanta-based German-American Exchange (GAE). The GAE strives to match advanced students of German with companies operating in Germany, assists successful applicants with securing work visas, and offers them excursions to Munich and/or Berlin. In order to apply with the GAE, you must have successfully completed:
- GERM 204 and possess a upper intermediate command of German (meaning be currently enrolled in GERM 301 or higher), and
- four semesters of university coursework within one single field (like German) or another major or minor.
You must also currently be:
- enrolled in a degree-seeking program at Carolina with a projected graduation date after the completion of your intended internship, and
- be willing to commit to a full three-month internship in Germany.
A complete GAE application is comprised of the following documents:
- a cover letter (who are you? what do you seek? can you work both independently and in a team? are you an excellent communicator? can you operate professionally in a business setting?);
- the GAE application form (available from Dr. Richard Langston: relangst (at) unc.edu);
- a one-page statement of purpose (why do you seek an internship? what strengths and abilities can you offer? how ideally would you like an internship to impact you and your education? — your statement should use 1.5 spacing and a 12pt Times New Roman);
- a professional resume;
- a statement of language proficiency (page three of the GAE application form, to be completed by a Carolina faculty member);
- two letters of recommendation;
- a scanned copy of Form I-20/F-1 visa (for international students only); and
- a scanned, color copy of the first two pages of your passport (must be valid at least 6 months after your intended internship ends).
- “Certificate of Enrollment” (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung) (available from Dr. Richard Langston: relangst (at) unc.edu). Your form must state that your internship is mandatory for your degree at Carolina. Your form must be signed, dated and stamped by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Registrar.
- application fee ($50) paid to “info@german- american-exchange.com” through PayPal.
Your application should be sent via email to GAE: info (at) german-american-exchange.com
Applying to GAE does not guarantee an internship. If a company does select your application, you will be required to pay an additional $150 processing fee also payable via PayPal. All applicants are highly encouraged to read carefully the detailed information contained in the GAE’s “Student Information Package” (available from Dr. Richard Langston: relangst (at) unc.edu). For more information about the required application documents, visit the German-American Exchange website.
In order to be considered for an internship in the summer, the GAE must receive your application by October 31. It must be authorize beforehand by Dr. Langston. In order to submit an application to the GAE, please be sure to contact Dr. Langston via email well before the deadline.
Experiential Education Connection in Germany: GERM 493
Students who complete an GAE internship or an internship with a German company they arrange themselves, may receive three Experiential Education credits by enrolling in GERM 493. This independent study course allows students to earn a maximum of three credit hours for a faculty-supervised internship directly related to the study of German literature or culture, or that uses the German language in the day-to-day conduct of business in a German-speaking environment. Enrollment in GERM 493 usually occurs in the fall semester following the successful completion of a summer internship involving no less than 100 hours. Successful completion of GERM 493 can also count towards the German and Central European majors.
Students interested in enrolling in GERM 493 must secure a faculty supervisor no later than end of the preceding spring semester and complete and submit an internship contract no later than the last of classes in the semester preceding the internship. For a detailed outline of the policies, requirements, and timetable for GERM 493, see the internship’s general guidelines.
For more information about GERM 493 and internship opportunities through FU-BEST and the German-American Exchange, please contact Dr. Richard Langston.