Berlin: Genius, Innovation, & Creativity

Germany, Berlin

On Campus: CD Mod; March 15-May 5, 2023, Day & Time: MWF 3:00-3:55 p.m.

Off Campus: Tentative May 22-June 4, 2023

Program Highlights

  • Taught in English
  • Course open to all students regardless of major & fulfills the Integrations Curriculum designations: HE, GL, Benedictine Raven and EX.
  • Visit the vibrant and dynamic capital of Germany! Berlin is the largest city in the largest economy in Europe, home to more artists per capita than any other European city, and Germany’s technology start-up hub.
  • Meet with contemporary entrepreneurs, artists, and thinkers and learn first-hand at world class museums.  
  • Develop cross-cultural skills to be more effective when collaborating with people from various cultures.

Explore complete Germany Embedded Program details on the CSBSJU-Global Portal.

Course & Program Information

Course Name: Berlin: Genius, Innovation, and Creativity

Course Number: GERM 357K

Credit Number: 4 credits

Common Curriculum: Humanities (HM) 

Integrations Curriculum:  Human Experience (HE), Experiential Engagement (EX), Global Engagement (GL), Benedictine Raven (BN) 

Course Description:
This course combines classroom learning at CSB+SJU and ends with an experiential component abroad. The glittering skylines of American metropolises like Chicago, your university’s charter that promotes teaching and new research, the early innovations of Hollywood animation, and the theory of relativity all stem from innovative architects (Walter Gropius), education reformers (Wilhelm von Humboldt), filmmakers (Lotte Reininger), and scientists (Albert Einstein) who innovated in one city: Berlin, Germany. The metropolis of northern Germany’s university alone hosted Hannah Arendt, Georg Hegel, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Max Weber. Add in the surrounding Wittenberg of Luther, Faust, and Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Immanuel Kant’s Königsberg and the forces of idealist philosophy, modern sociology, the work ethic at the heart of the spirit of capitalism as well as its critique too stem from this remarkable place. In short, much of one’s educational, economic, and political world today has been influenced by thinkers who have called northern Germany home. Today, Berlin is the largest city in the largest economy in Europe, home to more artists per capita than any other European city, and serves as Germany’s technology start-up hub. This course studies the essence of genius, innovation, and creativity practiced and theorized by the proper names listed above and its effect on our lives today. We will also study how the innovative freedom that Arendt associates with the human condition’s capacity for action found its absolute reduction by the national socialists’ terror. Counts as: Human Experience, Experiential Engagement, Global Engagement, and Benedictine Raven in the Integrations Curriculum. No prerequisite. Taught in English.

Program Information:

CSB+SJU has a long history with Germany and a lively current relationship with the German-speaking world. The nuns that founded the College of Saint Benedict hail from southern Germany and many of our current students and recent alumni study, intern, and work in Austria or Germany. The CD mod on-campus portion of this course will focus on the theories of genius, creativity, and innovation stemming from the German intellectual tradition and culminating in Humboldt University Berlin professor Dr. Andreas Rechwitz’s current thesis that contemporary society’s demand and desire to be creative jumped from artistic subcultures to a now universal model for culture. On site, we will work from the heart of Berlin, called Mitte, just steps away from the Museum Island, the Humboldt University, and government district. Through guided tours, guest lectures, museum visits, cultural outings, and a business visit, we will directly engage with the vibrancy of contemporary Berlin. A day trip to Potsdam, home to the enlightened king Friedrich the Second’s palace of Sanssouci and the Einstein Tower, will connect us with Berlin’s rich past. Throughout, students will be encouraged to interact with locals and experts to practice crucial cross-cultural skills.

Program Cost & Financial Considerations

Students on an embedded program will pay an education program fee in addition to the cost of attendance for the semester. Program fee information is available on our cost website under short-term programs. Learn more  can find more information about what is included and not included on the program on theCSBSJU-Global Portal. 

Students should plan early for a successful study abroad experience. Financial aid and scholarships may be available to help with program costs, but must be searched out well in advance.   


Students will stay in IES Abroad approved shared hostel accommodation with two to four students per room. Internet is included.

Program Director Information

The program director and instructor for this course is Dr. Kurt Hollender. Kurt is a Visiting Assistant Professor of German at CSB+SJU and holds a Ph.D in German from New York University. His research focuses on German literature and culture around 1800 and he has lectured in the German departments of the University of Göttingen in Germany and the University of Zurich in Switzerland. As the American Association of Teachers of German Program Coordinator for Professional Opportunities, Kurt compiled and oversees that largest database of German and humanities internship, scholarship, and career opportunities in the U.S. On campus, he thrives at working with students on achieving these opportunities. Kurt has directed an embedded Germany study abroad program for New York University and has twice lived in Berlin and attended the Freie University Berlin.

Contact: [email protected]

The assistant director, Dr. Brooke Kreitinger. Brooke graduated from the College of Saint Benedict where she majored in German and French and received her Ph.D. in German at Georgetown University. Brooke’s research focuses on contemporary transnational German literature and film, migration and refugee narratives and language pedagogy. Through the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Dr. Kreitinger has taken students abroad to southern Germany. Brooke has lived in Berlin and conducted research there.