Established in October 2007, Germany Close Up – North American Jews Meet Modern Germany is an initiative created to enrich transatlantic dialogue and provide Jewish-North American students and young professionals in their twenties and thirties with an opportunity to experience modern Germany up close and personally. A generous government scholarship (a part of the ERP Special Assets of the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Cliamte Action) covers more than two thirds of participation costs, which leaves a participation fee of $890* per person. At the same time, Germany Close Up is an independent body regarding the organization and content of its programs. The purpose of the program is to allow participants to gain their own perspective on Germany through individual experience.
Spend spring break in Germany learning about the country's past, whilst also being immersed in contemporary German society, culture, and politics.
The trips are designed to expose participants to a range of aspects that make up modern Germany, with both the past and present in focus. Every Germany Close Up trip includes a number of activities, tours, and meetings. All trips cover issues related to Germany’s reflection on its past and its efforts to deal with the memory of the Holocaust and the Nazi horror up to this very day. They also consider Germany’s transformation over the last decades into a modern, reunified, and democratic country in the heart of the European Union, home to the third-fastest growing Jewish community worldwide. Observing Shabbat and keeping a kosher diet are both possible on all Germany Close Up trips.
The seven day program between March 6 and 12 (arrival in Germany by March 5 and possible from March 3 to accommodate Shabbat) will expose participants to Berlin’s multicultural life, allow them to visit sites such as a former concentration camp, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and to experience other key historical sites and cultural venues. They will meet with German opinion-makers from the academic and political spheres, representatives of grass roots movements and the Jewish community, as well as German contemporaries. The role of Jewish voices in transatlantic relations will be explored as participants actively contribute to German-American dialogue.
The program will focus on the following topics:
- Berlin and united Germany
- The Holocaust and the Nazi Era (incl. a visit to a former Concentration Camp)
- Transatlantic/German-American relations (incl. a meeting with officials of the German Federal Foreign Office)
- Current German Politics
- Jewish Life in Berlin, past and present
- German-Israeli relations
- A visit to a city outside Berlin
* Penn Hillel students are eligible for a scholarship of $390 from Penn Hillel. Please reach out to Penn Hillel staff for further information.
This fee includes airfare, hotel accommodation in double rooms (3 star), most meals, and ground expenses.
Seven days. March 6 to 12, 2022.
online application form
500 word essay about your interest in the program
One letter of recommendation (Penn Hillel external)
December 15, 2022
Please apply via our application form and be prepared to attach the documents listed above as a single pdf file.