Excursions are a vital part of the learning experience, during which language is used practically to explore and understand different aspects of Germany and Europe. They are extensions of the classroom experience and reach beyond the city limits of Bremen. As in the classroom, students play a vital part in expressing their interests and contributing ideas to the planning of excursions. Sometimes the excursions have a theme or each day is dedicated to a certain topic; sometimes we will visit different cities with a focus on a common topic. We also often include activities that cannot be found in a travel guide, like discussions with high-ranking politicians or visits to places closed to the general public.
We differentiate between local trips and day-long excursions. Especially in the beginning, our local destinations are in and around Bremen. Day trips take us, for example, to the emigration museum in Bremerhaven or to Hamburg, where students can examine the similarities between two Hanseatic cities. In the fall, our full-year students visit Berlin for several days and explore what the capital has to offer. Besides learning about the German parliamentary system and seeing it in action, the modern history of Germany in the 20th century is a common theme for this excursion. In spring, we leave Germany for a week-long visit to Vienna, the capital of Austria. Comparative aspects, the history of the Hapsburg Empire, and the European dimension are reoccurring themes during this excursion. Other past destinations have included Brussels, Weimar, Leipzig, and Dresden. Due to a very generous donor of Dickinson College, full-year students also have the chance to visit Warsaw and Krakow during the spring semester break.
During group excursions, Dickinson-in-Bremen covers the costs of accommodation, food, entrance fees, and tours. Although each excursion is extensively planned in order to experience as much as possible at each location, students also have free time to explore their own unique interests and are encouraged to do so.