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  • Locations: Freiburg, Germany; Melsungen, Germany
  • Program Terms: Summer-Embedded
  • Restrictions: PSU applicants only
Program Description:

Program Overview     

The International Field Experience course encourages students primarily enrolled in the field of Education (e.g., Elementary, Secondary, Special Education) to consider the foundations, methods, and purpose of education in the U.S. by visiting German classrooms as a context for comparison. The intent of the field experience is to build a deeper understanding of the student's philosophy of education by using the U.S. and German foundations as building blocks to frame their personal pedagogical beliefs for classroom practices. Students are asked to reflect on their personal pedagogical foundations, beliefs, and origins as they explore the cultural underpinnings as roots for each country's educational practices. Such reflection is critical as future teachers develop their personal philosophies of teaching and the reasoning behind their perspectives. School visits include various grade levels (e.g., Kindergarten, elementary, secondary) across two geographic locations for students to gain a greater understanding of the German classroom culture and education system. Visiting multiple sites offers students an opportunity to compare and contrast differences in cultural practices, which stimulates perspective into the student's personal beliefs regarding the purpose of education. The trip typically spans 18-21 days. One week is spent in central Germany and one week is dedicated to schools in southern Germany, in the Freiburg area. While in German classrooms, Penn State students are encouraged to interact with teachers, children, and administrators, and often times participate by coteaching or tutoring in the classrooms. While in the Freiburg area, students sit in on classes at the Freiburg University of Education in the afternoon after visiting schools in the morning. Penn State students interact with their university peers while in Freiburg and discuss educational practices, instructional methods, and classroom environments by comparing practices in each country. Students are required to journal and reflect on similarities and differences in instructional practices, culture, classroom climate and environment while traveling and write a paper upon return.

Program Quicklinks     

Housing and Meals
Program Costs
Financial Aid & Scholarships
More Information
How to Apply
Other Useful Links



Any pre-requisite courses are established by the faculty leader or department hosting the course.  The following have been listed as pre-requisites for consideration to enroll in this course and travel on the embedded education abroad program:
  • A pre-trip spring semester successful completion of EDUC 297
  • This course is available for students with degree areas within the field of Education at all Penn State campus locations.
  • Admission in the course and permission to travel with the group are at the discretion of the faculty leader and/or academic department hosting the course.  Academic standing and disciplinary or conduct issues may impact eligibility.

Housing and Meals

During the embedded travel component, housing will consist of hotel/hostel accommodations.

Program Costs

Students pay regular Penn State tuition (either in-state or out-of-state) for the credits associated with the embedded course.  Travel costs, lodging, meals, excursions, and other fees are determined by the program budget which is set by the program leader.  Please consult the program leader for additional information.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Global Programs administers a scholarship that is specifically designated to support students studying abroad on embedded courses.  The scholarship is competitive, and the deadlines to apply are strictly enforced.  Please review the Embedded Programs Scholarship eligibility, deadlines, and application process.

For More Information

For more information about this course, please contact the program leader: Jayne Leh by emailing

How to Apply

 The process for enrolling in an embedded course varies according to the instructor and/or department.  The program leader has indicated that in order to enroll in the course and travel component, students must submit the following: 1. The application form found at: 2. An essay describing their reason for applying (responses are blindly scored using a rubric). 3. The names of 2 references which are interviewed over Winter Break using standardized questions and rated regarding the strength of the applicants reference responses. 4. 1 Letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to the student's ability to work in a group (previous travel or travel outside of the U.S. is not necessary). Strength of the author's ability to recommend the student is scored. 5. GPA is not used to preclude a student from participating, however a GPA greater than 2.8 is highly recommended. 6. Faculty approval required. German language skills are not required.

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.




Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer-Embedded 2020 08/21/2019
Rolling Admission 05/12/2020 05/30/2020
NOTE: The application deadline date is NOT as it appears above. Please contact the program leader (Jayne Leh) by emailing ( if you are interested in applying for this embedded program.

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed