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Explore topics in contemporary journalism on a two-week adventure in the historic city of Cologne. As you soak up local food, art, and culture, you and your group of high-schoolers from Germany and the U.S. will investigate the world of international media. You’ll explore what goes on behind the scenes, and learn what makes a story “fake news.” In between your workshops and cultural activities, you’ll tour the highlights of Germany’s capital, Berlin. By the end of your transformative experience, you’ll have gained an international perspective on current events and how the media presents them to the public. This Global Prep program is funded by the Transatlantic Program of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, through funds from the European Recovery Program of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy.

Eligibility Requirements

Most Global Prep programs accept participants between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. However, 13 and 14 year old’s aren’t eligible to enroll for certain Global Prep destinations. If you wish to participate and will be 13 or 14 years old at the date of departure for the program, please contact AFS for more information about specific program eligibility. Please also keep in mind that due to regulations mandated by the airlines, 13 and 14 year old participants will be considered Unaccompanied Minors and additional charges will apply.

On this program you are likely to learn about these Sustainable Development Goals:

Sample Program Itinerary to Germany

The below itinerary serves as an outline for the program, and each Global Prep experience will vary based on group size and opportunity.

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Arriving in Germany

Your journey will begin in New York, where you’ll meet the other students in your group. You’ll travel together to Frankfurt, where you’ll be welcomed at the airport by AFS Staff or Volunteers. Soon you’ll head to Cologne, located on the Rhine River in the west of the country, which will be your home-base for the next two weeks. There you’ll discuss the objectives of your program as well as cultural tips for making the most of your experience in Germany. As you settle in, you’ll have some time to take in Cologne’s diverse museums, grand churches, and historic Roman ruins.

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Your classes and cultural activities

Your program will focus on the role that the media plays in all our lives, both online and off. Through workshops and excursions to German publishing houses, media companies, or TV stations, you’ll develop an in-depth knowledge of news production, media consumption, and the role of social media in keeping people informed. You’ll also study the contemporary climate of “fake news,” and learn how to determine if a story is backed up by research and reliable sources. You’ll have the chance to reflect on how the media affects your own life and share your ideas for how it will impact the future. To tie in your lessons with your international setting, you and your friends will take some time to explore your own cultural backgrounds and discuss the benefits of living and learning in an intercultural group.

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Your Accommodations

During your two weeks in Germany, you’ll stay at a youth hostel with teens from both the U.S. and Germany. You can expect to share a room with up to six students of the same gender. Camp counselors will be with the group the entire time. For your meals, you’ll have the chance to taste hearty German foods like schnitzel (pork, chicken, or veal that’s been flattened, battered, and fried) or rievkooche (potato pancakes often served with rye bread and salmon).

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Exploring the Area

Cologne, which is one of the most popular destinations in Germany, is known for its striking Gothic cathedral, chocolate museum, and scenic location on the Rhine River. During your Global Prep program, you and your friends will get to explore the city’s stunning art and architecture—some of which dates back to Roman times. Toward the end of your trip, you’ll visit Berlin, Germany’s cultural and political capital. (It’s also the city with the second-highest number of vegans in the world, so there will be lots new kinds of food for you to try!) As you explore Berlin, you’ll get to see iconic sites like the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall, as well as spot some modern street art and cutting-edge architecture.

Group Leaders

This Global Prep experience is led by in-country experts and volunteers, in addition to an AFS-USA staff group leader who will chaperone your group to and from your host country.

What's Included

  • Round trip international airfare chaperoned by an American staff member
  • Accommodations, meals, and transportation
  • Secondary Health Coverage Plan
  • Access to a 24/7 Emergency Duty Officer
  • Visa Support
  • Please review the Terms and Conditions for complete guidelines.
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Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Germany.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.

A new you awaits

Apply for Global Prep in Germany!

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