Language Institute in Holzkirchen, Germany

Image of Holzkirchen
KU’s program in Holzkirchen was established in 1961 and offers students the opportunity to study German language and culture in a small Bavarian town south of Munich.
Location: Holzkirchen, Germany
Language of Instruction: German
Term: Summer
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Earn 9 credit hours for advanced German language and culture study.
  • Live with a local German host family.
  • Program includes a multi-day excursion with overnight stays in two different German cities plus many day trips, group excursions and cultural activities.
  • KU students are eligible for a scholarship up to $5,000 with the Krehbiel German Language Summer Institute Scholarship. See Further Reading below for more information.
  • 2024 program dates: June 2 (depart U.S.) - July 20, 2024.

Immerse yourself in German language and culture while experiencing a variety of Germany’s landscapes, cities, and points of interest.  The program begins with a tour of Germany by train, spending 9 days visiting cities and points of interest in other regions of Germany. Following the travel portion of the program, students will engage in the local culture of Holzkirchen by living with German host families, studying German language at the Volkshochschule, and participating in cultural events.  Multiple weekend excursions to nearby points of interest such as Berchtesgaden, Neuschwanstein, Chiemsee, and Munich are also included.

Holzkirchen, Germany

Holzkirchen (pop. 16,000) is located in the pre-Alpine plain 20 miles south of Munich. Commuter trains provide rapid transportation throughout the metropolitan area and enable access to the many cultural offerings of Munich. Situated near the Bavarian Alps and the border with Austria, there are numerous opportunities for exploration and recreational activities in the surrounding mountains and lakes. Holzkirchen has been welcoming KU students since 1961 and the program is conducted in cooperation with the Volkshochschule Holzkirchen-Otterfing and the Freunde der Universität Kansas in Holzkirchen.

Munich, Germany

Munich (pop. 1.5 million) is the capital city of the German state of Bavaria. It is the largest city in the region and a regional transportation and cultural hub. Situated near the Bavarian Alps and the border with Austria, there are numerous opportunities for exploration of the city and nearby recreational activities in the surrounding mountains and lakes.

Credit & Courses Offered

Each student enrolls in three 3-credit hour courses (GERM 333, GERM 350 and GERM 400) for a total of 9 KU credits. All courses are taught by the program director, Dr. Andrea Meyertholen, and take place at a local community college (Volkshochschule) in Holzkirchen. Excursions, guest speakers and special field-based seminars designed to acquaint students with the local community complement classroom-based instruction. The language of instruction in all classes is German. Outside of classes students are expected to use German for all everyday purposes including group activities, meals, and excursions.

Course Descriptions

  • GERM 333: German Conversation and Idioms (3 credit hours): This course will review basic skills for communicating in German during our study program so as to provide the linguistic tools necessary to communicate effectively and to gain a better understanding of life in Germany.Throughout the course, we will practice using German in everyday situations through role-playing, site visits, and classroom instruction that makes use of a variety of media that illuminate daily life in Germany. We moreover learn critical vocabulary for discussing contemporary topics, in addition to proper pronunciation and idiomatic usages.
  • GERM 350: Special Studies in German Language, History and Culture (3 credit hours): The central component of this course are the cultural excursions that will bring us to and into Bavaria's premiere attractions. As a result, this course will take place both in and outside of the classroom as we discuss and develop strategies for approaching and appreciating the Bavaria's multi-layered and contradictory cultural landscape. Course content will be integrated with excursions to museums and cultural sites in Nuremberg, Berlin, Munich and other locations.
  • GERM 400: Introduction to German Literary Masterpieces (3 credit hours): This course delves into the darker side of fairy tales as we re-discover their roots in the German folklore tradition. Doing so will also allow us to uncover the hidden cultural messages that shape our identity, behavior, gender roles, and desires. Along the way, we will seek answers to questions, such as: Why is the stepmother always evil? Why does the prince never have a name? Why do things always come in threes? The course will also teach us how to approach, read and analyze German literary fiction while learning important vocabulary and concepts to speak and write in German about literature.

Classes generally meet Tuesday through Friday mornings, with Mondays reserved for day-long group excursions. Lunch is provided at a local restaurant on instructional days.

Course offerings may be modified to accommodate the needs and numbers of the group, but the number of credit hours will not change.

During their stay in Holzkirchen, students will live with German host families. During weekend excursions and the travel portion of the program, students will stay in double occupancy hotel rooms. Breakfast is included with all overnight accommodations. On class days and on many excursions students eat meals together as a group. A meal stipend is provided for additional meals in the evening and on weekends.

A transportation pass is included for unlimited use of public transportation in Munich and train tickets for the travel portion of the program are included.

Summer 2024 Program Itinerary

  • Sunday, June 2 - Depart for Munich, Germany.
  • Monday, June 3 - Arrive in Munich and meet up with the group at a Munich hotel. Overnight stay in Munich.
  • Tuesday, June 4 - Orientation in Holzkirchen. Overnight stay in Munich.
  • Wednesday, June 5 - Thursday, June 13 - Tour of Germany by train. Highlights include:
    • City tours and world-famous history museums.
    • Visits to points of interest and places of historical significance.
  • Thursday, June 13 - Friday, July 19 - Study and live in Holzkirchen. Experience the surrounding area through multiple weekend excursions and day trips, including:
    • Visiting the fairytale castle Neuschwanstein.
    • Traveling to Salzburg, Austria.
    • Touring the Danube River.
    • Discovering the sights of the Berchtesgadener Land, including the Eagle's Nest and salt mines.
    • Exploring Munich, Germany's third largest city.
  • Saturday, July 20 - Program ends.

Program itinerary, travel, excursions, and other arrangements are subject to change or modification. 

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Considerations for Germany

Germany has laws in place to protect ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQIA+ individuals, the differently abled, and other groups. Same-sex marriage is available in Germany and most large city governments officially encourage and host LGBTQIA+ pride events.

Germany’s cities and public transportation are generally accessible to individuals with disabilities.  Older sections of the cities and smaller towns may be less accessible due to centuries-old architecture, cobblestone streets, and small indoor spaces. Germany offers services for people who are mobility, sight, or hearing impaired.

Source: U.S. Department of State country information pages and Diversity Abroad.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

Open to students from any accredited U.S. college or university who have completed four semesters of college-level German or the equivalent. Minimum 2.50 GPA and strong record of performance in German courses required. (Exceptions considered after submission of a petition.)

Program Director

Andrea Meyertholen,Associate Professor of German Studies

Dr. Meyertholen is Associate Professor of German at KU. She studied abroad in Würzburg and Berlin, interned in Munich, traveled extensively throughout German-speaking Europe, and has previously served as director of study abroad programs in Krefeld, Berlin and Eutin, Germany and in Graz, Austria. Dr. Meyertholen has led the KU German Language Institute in Holzkirchen since 2022.

Krehbiel German Language Summer Institute Scholarship

Fund created with the generous contribution of Carl Krehbiel to provide support for KU students attending the German Summer Language Institute programs in Holzkirchen and Eutin, Germany. Amounts between $4,000-$5,000. The scholarship application deadline is March 1. 
Krehbiel German Language Summer Institute Scholarship Application

For More Information, Contact:

Andrea Meyertholen
Department of Slavic, German and Eurasian Studies
Wescoe Hall
1445 Jayhawk Blvd, Room 2088

Jenna Hunter-Skidmore
KU Study Abroad & Global Engagement
108 Lippincott Hall
Phone: 785-864-3742