[Last updated on December 27, 2006]

Note: The Berlin tour will not be taking place in 2007 and 2008. It will be resumed in Spring 2009.

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Berlin Study Tour, Spring Break 2006
An Optional, Two Credit, Capstone Experience Added On to INR 4083
Tour Leader/Instructor: Professor Ido Oren

Tour Itinerary (posted 2/28/06)

About the Tour
Accommodations
Requirements
Photos of Sites We'll Visit
The Cost: What Does It Include? What Not?
Financial Aid
Useful Links
 

ABOUT THE TOUR

Professor Ido Oren will lead a study tour of Berlin during Spring Break, 2006 (from Sunday, March 12, to Saturday, March 18, 2006). The tour constitutes an optional capstone experience unit added-on to INR 4083: War and Peace in World Politics. Participation in the tour is open to (but not mandatory for) all students enrolled in INR 4083 in Spring 2006. Participating students will register (in addition to INR 4083) for POS 4956 and earn two credits for that course (on top of the three credits for 4083).

The objective of INR 4083 is to familiarize students with various perspectives on the origins of war. The course is oriented around the historical case of World War I, but we cover World War II and the Cold War at some length as well. Berlin has been a focal point in the events covered by the course. Prior to World War I, it was Germany’s leading industrial and commercial center, and it thus epitomized the rapid rise of Germany to a world power status. In July 1914, it was at the center of the diplomatic machinations of the crisis that resulted in the war’s outbreak. Two decades later, Berlin became the seat of the Nazi dictatorship; the “final solution” of the Jewish problem was planned in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. Large parts of the city were destroyed by allied aerial bombing during World War II, and in 1945 the Red Army suffered heavy casualties fighting its way into central Berlin. A few years later, Berlin became the epicenter of yet another conflict, which involved two “Berlin crises,” the famous Berlin airlift, and the infamous Berlin Wall.

Participation in the study trip to Berlin would greatly enhance the educational experience of students taking INR 4083. It would help vivify the events, names, and historical processes discussed in the course readings and in class. For example, the book we'll read just before Spring break, The Origins of Major Power War by Dale Copeland, describes how in February 1933, shortly after coming to power, Hitler "called his top generals together" and presented to them his plan for "the conquest of new living space in the east and its ruthless Germanization" (p. 125). The generals applauded Hitler enthusiastically. We will visit the very room in which this historic meeting took place. It is located in the massive Bendlerblock building, which currently houses the anti-Nazi Resistance Memorial Center as well as the German Defense Ministry. The Bendlerblock was built in 1913 as the headquarters of the Navy Department, headed by Admiral Tirpitz (we'll read about him too) and after World War I it became the headqurters of the General Staff of the German army. On the night of July 20, 1944, Col. Claus Von Stauffenberg was executed in the building's courtyard shortly after the failure of his attempt to assassinate Hitler.

The tour program will include the following sites and activities :

This list may be subject to (minor) changes.

Although the focus of the tour is on history, we will not overlook the very rich cutural, commercial, and street life of contemporary Berlin. We will inevitably experience street life on a daily basis as we walk around the city, use its excellent public transportation system, or take kaffee breaks. To sample Berlin Kultur, the tour will include an evening at the symphony or the opera, as noted above. Of course, you are more than welcome to use your free day (yes, there will be one) and free evenings to go shopping, strolling, clubbing, or exploring some of Berlin's many outstanding museums.
 
 

ACCOMMODATIONS

We will be staying at the Transit Loft, a youth-oriented hotel in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood of East Berlin. The hotel received very good reviews from participants in the 2005 tour. It is a basic but perfectly clean, safe, and friendly establishment, with a funky lobby area. Students will share rooms with 3-5 beds each, all equipped with private shower and toilet facilities. A rich buffet breakfast is included in the price. For more information (in English) and additional photos, check the hotel's web site at  http://www.transit-loft.de/index.html

                                                                                           The Transit Loft -- Lobby/Breakfast Area                   The Transit Loft -- a room
 
 

REQUIREMENTS

Tour participants will register (in addition to INR 4083) for POS 4956, Overseas Studies -- a two credit course (to be more precise: Professor Oren will register you in this section once you decide to join the tour). To get credit for the course, participants will be required to:


PHOTOS OF SOME OF THE SITES WE'LL VISIT
(Some of the photos were taken by participants in the 2005 Tour, as acknowledged in the captions)




Jodi and Ido Inside the Dome of the Reichstag                            Inside the Reichstag Dome (photo by Tony Justice, March 2005)


The Reichstag                                                                                                             The Bundestag chamber (photo by Lauren Genzler, March 2005)
 
 


     Bendlerblock Coutryard (site of Staufenberg's execution)    Snow in the Bendlerblock Courtyard (photo by Lauren Genzler, March 2005)


                      Topography of Terror Exhibit (site of former Gestapo Headquaters)


                                                                    Soviet Victory Memorial, Treptower Park
 


UF students in snowy Treptower Park, March 2005 (photo by Nicole Boyle)                                The Stasi (E. German Secret Police) Museum (photo by Lauren Genzler, March 2005)
 


Allied Museum                                                                                                                                    Allied Museum (photo by Lauren Genzler, March 2005)
 


A Mietskaserne (rental barracks) --  Pre-World War I Vintage Working Class Tenements
 


Philharmonic Hall
 


Prater: Berlin's oldest beer hall (photos by Lauren Genzler, March 2005)

        Unter den Linden -- Palast der (East German) Republik in the background                       The Palace Bridge, Unter den Linden (near the site of the royal palace, blown
                                                                                                                                                                 up by the East German government in 1950)
 


    Checkpoint Charlie


    A remnant of the Berlin Wall on Niederkirschnerstrasse                                        UF students  in front of another remnant of the Wall, Potsdamer Platz, March '05 (photo N. Boyle)
 


    The site of Hitler's bunker in the late 1940s (L) and in 2003 (R)
 


    Wannsee Conference House                                                                                          Wannsee Conference House -- the room in which the meeting was held
 


      Grunewald Train Station -- site of the deportation of Berlin jews


        Grunewald Train Station Memorial -- thousands of Berlin Jews were shipped to death camps from this platform
 
 

THE COST: WHAT DOES IT INCLUDE? WHAT NOT?

The fee for the program is $710.

The program fee includes: two credit tuition, all hotel accommodations with breakfast, a 7-day public transportation pass (valid for all of Berlin's underground trains, suburban trains, buses, and trams), all museum entrance fees and excursions, a cultural event (a concert or opera performance), and the UF International Center (UFIC) administrative fee.

Not included in the cost are: Roundtrip airfare to Berlin, meals other than breakfast, transportation from the airport to the hotel (you will probably be able to use your public transportation pass to travel from the hotel back to the airport at the end of the tour), and major medical health insurance while outside the United States (verification by UFIC of major medical health insurance that meets UF standards is required).

So, what will the trip to Berlin actually cost me, including everything? Because the trip takes place during the low season, you should be able to purchase a roundtrip airline ticket to Berlin for under $750. In early August, expedia.com was offering round trip fares to Berlin's Tegel airport (TXL) -- departing on 3/11/06 and returning on 3/18/06 -- for as low as $616 from Orlando, $704 from Jacksonville, and $747 from Gainesville. As for food, Berlin features thousands of culinary establishments at all price levels, from pricey temples of food, through cafés that offer affordable basic meals, to cheap snack bars (imbiss, in German) and very cheap food stands. If you are on a tight budget, you can count on eating perfectly filling meals for well under 10 euros at an imbiss (many of them specialize in Turkish food such as donner kebob) or buying a big fat frankfurter from a street vendor for 1-2 euros (and don't forget the rich, buffet-style breakfast that IS included in the price of the tour). If you budget $20 a day for food, you will surely not go hungry. Overall, you should be able to take part in the tour on a total budget of $1,750.

To check the current exchange rate of the dollar/euro, click on "currency converter" below (under "useful links").
 
 

FINANCIAL AID

The Berlin Study Tour is an "off-book" program, meaning that the University of Florida will waive the tuition for the course. Program participants who are eligible for Bright Futures' scholarships can apply two credit hours' worth of their scholarship toward the program's cost (translation: if you have a 100% Bright Futures' scholarship, the Berlin Tour will actually cost you around $500 instead of $710). Pre-paid tuition funds may also be used to pay for the program. Additionally, you may be able to increase the amount of your student loans to cover the cost of the tour.

To inquire about, or apply for, financial aid please contact Ms. Katrice Crawford at 392-1275, ext. 3321. Ms. Crawford is a finacial aid coordinator at UF's Student Financial Affairs office (located in Criser Hall) -- she specializes in financial aid for overseas studies programs.
 
 

USEFUL LINKS

Berlin Tourist Information (English)
Berlin Museums and Art Galleries
Economist.Com Berlin City Guide
Berlin Weather
Currency Converter
Berlin Philharmonic (English)