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Did you ever wonder how DNA is extracted or how a Rube Goldberg machine is set up? See behind the curtain of the wide range of topics on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics! Become part of a group of high school students from around the world and enjoy workshops, excursions and company visits on STEM topics in Bielefeld, Germany. Considered one of the economic and cultural centers in the West of Germany, Bielefeld is especially known for its mechanical engineering and home to some of Germany‘s most successful and globally renowned companies.

Highlights include a company visit at Dr. Oetker’s, a modern German food company, where you’ll receive a workshop on food engineering and technology in food production; a tour of the Museum of Technology, which presents a broad spectrum of old and new technology and demonstrates the various historical connections to culture and everyday life; a visit to the local chapter of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief; and an excursion to Autostadt Wolfsburg–the home of Volkswagen!

Additionally, there will be a structured ICL curriculum, which schedules daily reflections on living and learning in an intercultural group. The program offers a city trip to Berlin as well as free time activities like geocaching and other outdoor activities!

Eligibility Requirements

Most Global Prep programs accept participants between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. However, 13- and 14-year olds 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.

In addition, an interest in STEM topics and Intercultural Learning are recommended! The language spoken in the Intercultural STEM Summer Session is English, therefore good English communication skills (especially speaking abilities) are essential. You do not need to speak any German.

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare
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I. Starting Your Adventure

Your journey will begin in New York City, where you’ll fly to Frankfurt. You will be picked up and welcomed by AFS Volunteers, as well as accompanied back for departure. The group will take a train from Frankfurt to Bielefeld and back.

Once you arrive, you’ll be taken to an orientation for a DIVE Session, in which you’ll get to know the people and program of the Intercultural STEM Summer Session! Culture Dives teach useful concepts of culture and intercultural interaction, to create a common language and a frame of reference for reflection. These sessions will provide insights into cultural practices of all participants and encourage you to share your culture during the two-weeks. Hopefully they will also trigger your curiosity!

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II. Exploring Bielefeld and Berlin

Your first day will include a guided city tour of Bielefeld, known as a mechanical hub of Germany! This region has one of the highest economic growth rates in Germany. Textile and clothing manufacture, with mechanical engineering for these industries, has carried the town to economic success.

For the next few days, you’ll participate in student labs and Cultural Dives. Your first student lab will be to build a “Crazy Machine,” or a Rube Goldberg Machine, which is a machine purposefully created to conduct a simple task in an overly complicated way, at the student lab of the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld! Workshop features include finding solutions, working independently, communicating and presenting, and using tools.

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III. Deepening your understanding of STEM

You’ll get to visit Dr. Oetker’s and receive a workshop on food engineering, as well as an experiment with baking powder! Then, you’ll receive a guided tour at the Historical Museum focusing on industrialization and machine demonstration of a historical loom. At the end of the week, you’ll prepare for a Berlin guided tour, which includes a sightseeing tour by bus and ample time to explore the city. Students will also have a chance to visit the Berlin Museum of technology.

Once you’re back in Bielefeld, you’ll visit the local chapter of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief, where you’ll receive insight into the work of Technisches Hilfswerk (THW), get to know and try out the technical equipment, practice rescue measures, and attend a knot workshop. The following day, you’ll receive a factory tour at Volkswagen and a workshop on Motor Engine Technology. During your second week, expect to learn more about food engineering, Biotechnology—Investigating DNA, and geocaching. To finish off the week, you’ll embark on an excursion to MexLab for a Münster incl. Workshop on Wind Energy!

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Accommodations

During your two weeks in Germany, you’ll stay at a youth hostel with other teens from your group. 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).

Available Scholarships

What's Included

    • Round trip international airfare
    • 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 Intercultural STEM Summer Session in Germany!

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