Why study abroad in one location when you can experience the politics and culture of more than 15 European countries? The IES European Union Program allows you to live and learn about European politics, economics, business, and international relations like never before.
The centrally-located city of Freiburg, Germany, will be your home base. It’s here that you’ll take English-taught courses like Global Leadership, Political Science, and German. As part of the program’s required Integrative Seminar, you will travel for upwards of 20 days to gain exposure to the European Union and beyond. Not only will these course-related excursions give you better insight into the strengths and challenges of the European Union, they will also give you the experience you need to build your résumé and prepare you for an international career. As you visit each new country, you develop an understanding of the European Union, its history, and its institutions.
Europe will be your classroom. Imagine visiting the European Parliament and discussing current social and political issues with EU officials, or meeting with leaders of multinational corporations to learn about international trade.
You also engage in a Model European Union, where you assume the role of a head of state or a foreign minister of an EU country to analyze and debate issues of current concern in Europe, such as security and foreign affairs, EU enlargement, and the multi-annual financial framework. The Model EU concludes the Integrative Seminar and is the capstone of the program. In the spring semester, you can also add international work experience to your résumé by participating in a for-credit internship placement in Freiburg or Brussels and the accompanying internship seminar, which takes place after the program.
This program offers a large selection of courses, including German language, business and business ethics, economics, history, and political science. Information about the range of IES courses can be found at the IES website.
You will take 16 - 19 credits per semester; all courses are taught in English, except for one German language course in which all students must enroll. Field trips are essential components of this program.
Please note, this program is not recommended for Penn State students with a major or minor in German Language.
To view a list of other programs available in this region, visit our Education Abroad Regional Program Brochures.
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You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad. These courses will not be credited at Penn State.
To see what kind of credit students in past semesters have received for courses taken on this program, visit the IES Freiburg Course Equivalency List. Keep in mind you will need to complete the course equivalency process once you have been accepted to your program and after you have completed your registration abroad. To obtain specific instructions on this process visit our Course Equivalencies page. To learn how the courses on this program can work into your individual degree audit, meet with your academic adviser.
Successful applicants will satisfy the pre-requisites established by the program.
- Minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA
- Sophomore class standing or higher at time of study
Housing and Meals
Your housing will be arranged by IES. Students live in single or double room co-ed suities with German and international students. The suites have shared kitchens and baths. Students typically prepare their meals at home or can also choose to dine in affordable student cafeterias. Meals are not provided in the program fee.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the Fall Budget Sheet or the Spring Budget Sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.
The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit the Funding Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
IES Public School Grant
As a Penn State student you will automatically be awarded a $2,000 Public School Grant. IES has created this award to make their programs affordable to you. This award has already been calculated into the Budget Sheet.
For More Information
For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative.
To learn more about the specifics of each program, schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the Student Spotlights of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page.
You must complete the following materials in your application:
- Education Abroad Questionnaire
- One academic recommendation
- Signature Documents
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.
Please note that you will also be instructed to complete an application with the host provider as a part of your Penn State application either at time of application or upon acceptance.
Studying Abroad with a Disability
Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.
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