Day-trip! Köln, here we come!

What better of a way to see Germany, than to have a road trip via train!?!

Cologne is Germany’s 4th largest city after Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.  Furthermore, it is the largest city both in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with a population of more than 10 million inhabitants. Cologne is a major cultural center of the Rhineland and has a vibrant arts scene. Cologne is home to more than 30 museums, including the Chocolate Museum, and hundreds of galleries, it is considered one of Europe’s centers for gay and lesbian life, and shopping is at every shopaholic’s finger tips.

Although we will visit a couple places together, you will have the rest of the day to adventure out into the city and discover what you like.  Places that we recommend seeing while visiting Cologne will be the city’s famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), the Brauerei Früh(we’ll see as a group), and The University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln), which is one of Europe’s oldest and largest universities.

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Recommended Cologne | Discover Germany

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Where’s the food!?!

Don’t worry! Frankfurt has a plethora of food options due to the city’s international nature.  I am personally a very food-oriented individual.  I spend the majority of my trips looking for hidden gems to eat at while exploring the unfamiliar streets.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke with one of SAA students who studied abroad in Frankfurt and she highly recommended two places, so I’d like to share my anticipation in trying some of the wonderful food that these restaurants have to offer.

Café Diesseits – Konrad-Broßwitz-Str. 5, 60487 Frankfurt

Café & Bar Celona – Holzgraben 31, 60313 Frankfurt

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Program Update:

The SAA Study Tour to Germany is beginning the application process now!  

Here is a brief overview of the process.

  1. Submit application materials by November 1, 2014.
    1. Program Application
    2. 300 Word Personal Statement
  2. If applicable, all accepted non-students need to apply as “Non-degree-seeking Special Students” through the admissions office (no fee; 1 day to process).
  3. If accepted, pay the required non-refundable deposits by the below dates.
    1. December 1, 2014- $50 Application Fee to the Office of International Ed (OIE)
    2. January 15, 2014- $250 Trip Deposit to OIE

Please contact me in the meantime with any questions.  Thanks!

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Live from Germany!

How much do you know about German musicians?  Check out some of Jörg’s picks!

This video is “Tage wie Diese” by Die Toten Hosen

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Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main

Thanks for joining us this week!

Today we are going to discover a bit about the second university we will be visiting – Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main (Frankfurt am Main University of Applied Sciences).

The Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main offers over 30 practice-oriented study programs among four colleges: Architecture, Civil Engineering, GeomaticsComputer Science and EngineeringBusiness and Law, and Health and Social Work.  A variety of programs and courses are offered in English to promote English language proficiency among German students and offer opportunities for exchange students to study at the Fachhochschule.  The university stresses its international orientation towards the global job market by offering a wide range of language courses and language learning levels in addition to but having partnerships with 60 universities worldwide. Most students graduate with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree that meets international standards.

The Fachhochschule currently has a student population of about 11,500.  In order to meet students’ needs, the university has 650 full-time and part-time teaching staff, equipped with the relevant professional experience, to guarantee that the students receive quality academic and practice-oriented training.  There are also 220 administrative staff who provide advisory and care services tailored to the needs of individual students.  Some examples of administrative staff responsibilities can be seen in the campus culture.  The campus strives to contribute to an excellent study atmosphere through its facilities and co-curricular activities such as, the student restaurant and cozy cafés. The wide range of sports available, mostly free of charge, is unique throughout Germany. The university theater group with its own theater facility has developed into a focal point for campus culture.  Remember, that student affairs is a field relatively new to Europe, or at least underused, but the Fachhochschule is an example of student affairs practice that is beginning to flourish among international universities.

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Education in Germany

So now that you’ve learned a bit about Frankfurt’s past, we are going to dive into its present… Higher education.

Germany is well-known for its higher education system.  With about 2 million students enrolled at German higher education institutions, Germany is recognized for its many universities that are ranked amongst the best universities in the world!  Some of these include the University of Bonn (which will we learn more about later), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Universität Heidelberg.

Germany has multiple higher education institution types like their American counterparts; however, the five institution types are not all the same to those in America.  The typical institution types you will find in Germany are Universität (University), Technische Universität (Technical University), Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences), Kunst-, Musik- und Filmhochschule (Art-Learning College), Berufsakademie (University of Cooperative Education), and Private Hochschulen (Private Colleges).

The two types of institutions we will be visiting during the Study Abroad Program are universities  and universities of applied sciences.  Here is a bit about each type:


Research centres: the university is the traditional form of higher education institution. Germany’s 102 universities closely link research and teaching. Most universities offer the full range of subjects. However, a university with a strong technological orientation is known as Technische Universität (TU, technical university) or Technische Hochschule (TH, college of technology). Compared to universities of applied sciences, they place greater emphasis on basic research.


Practical training: Germany’s 170 Fachhochschulen (FH, universities of applied sciences) have a strong practical orientation and close ties with the world of work. The main emphases are technology, business, design and the social sector. However, you cannot study medicine or law or complete a doctorate at a university of applied sciences.


Let’s take a look at one of the universities we will be visiting in Frankfurt:

(Click on the picture to watch a video about Goethe Uni)

“Goethe University Frankfurt, positioned among the top international research universities, offers a wide variety of academic programmes, a diverse group of research institutes, and a focus on interdisciplinary approaches to solving complex problems. The university is named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Frankfurt-born polymath renowned for his exceptional contributions to literature, science, and philosophy.

Founded in 1914 with private funding and inspired by the legacy of the European Enlightenment, Goethe University stands out as a pioneering “citizens’ university”—and the history of the university is one of openness and public participation.

Today, Goethe University is one of the only universities in Germany that enjoys significant public funding alongside administrative autonomy and the ability to create a private endowment.

As a university with an endowment, a funding model rare in Germany’s system of higher education, GU enjoys considerable freedom from state control when it comes to the details of how a modern university should be run, including the appointing of professors. The endowment that is being built up will be invested specifically in promoting an excellent atmosphere in which to research, study, think, and create.

Situated in Germany’s most cosmopolitan and international city, the university attracts a diverse body of students and researchers from around the world. Students at Goethe benefit from studying and living in Frankfurt, the largest financial and trading centre in Europe—with plenty of opportunities to learn and practice speaking German. Today, Frankfurt is rated among the top 10 most liveable cities in the world (according to Mercer Human Resource Consulting).

Facts and Figures

  • 41,000 students ( winter semester 2011/12)
  • 6,500 international students
  • 558 professors
  • 58 endowed professorships and visiting professorships
  • Since 1914, 19 Nobel laureates have worked or studied at Goethe University
  • Endowment: €145.5 million (including firm pledges)
  • €136 million in third-party funding, plus €333 million from the state of Hessen
  • More than 8 million items in the university library”

Retrieved from

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Falling into Frankfurt…

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be learning a little bit more about Frankfurt and what its culture is like.  Today, I’m going to share some of the history, highlights of Frankfurt, and why it is a well-known city in Germany, Europe, and the world.


Population: 695,634 (5th largest city in Germany!)

Metropolitan Population: 5,600,000 (2nd largest metropolitan population in Germany!)

Location: State of Hesse

Diversity: Over 180 immigrant nationalities in Frankfurt, such as Turkey, Italy, Columbia, Serbia, Poland, Morocco, and yes, the United States 🙂

A Glimpse of Frankfurt’s Past and Present

Frankfurt has a rich history that dates back to the 1st century when it was part of the Roman Empire.  Back then Frankfurt was known as “Bonames,” however, after the Roman Empire fell, “Frankfurt am Main” became the new name and one of the most important cities in Europe.  Throughout the years Frankfurt has been a place for coronations, wars, neutrality, and political angst.  Yet, Frankfurt’s resilience after World War II brought the city to the forefront once again in the financial and public transportation arena.

Today Frankfurt is considered the largest transportation center and financial center in continental Europe.  The financial district includes the European Central Bank, the German Federal Bank, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and the Frankfurt Trade Fair, among others.  This financial influence can be seen by the towering skyscrapers that line the city’s horizon and intertwines the old city with the new.  It illustrates the strength that resides within the city’s age and foreshadows the the social innovation that will proudly bring Frankfurt further into the globalized world.

Enjoy a short slideshow of Frankfurt’s transformation (Years 1512 – 2011)!

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Let’s Begin the Journey!

Fast Facts in Germany:

Official Name: Federal Republic of Germany

Capital: Berlin

Official Language: German

Population: 81,799,600

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Join us for UW-La Crosse’s Student Affairs Administration Trip to Germany!

This website will keep you up to date on the study abroad happenings and you may just learn a bit about Germany in the process!  We will be posting about the universities in Germany, the culture, language, food, and more!

Tschüss (bye)!


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