Program overview

Program Dates: Saturday, July 23 to Saturday, August 20, 2016 (4 weeks)

This will be the 15th year that the University of Toronto has offered a summer program in Berlin. Over 600 students have enthusiastically participated in the program since it began.


Each course is worth one full-year credit and is contingent on adequate enrolment. Students are not permitted to register for more than one course.

Classes take place Monday to Thursday.Mandatory field trips are an integral part of each course, and may occur outside of class time on afternoons or Fridays. (CSC396Y0 may have several classes in Toronto prior to the start of the program. Further information will be posted in January.)

Please note that because there is no local university hosting this program, students will not have access to school library, computer or sports facilities. However, there are many internet cafés and public libraries in Berlin, as well as WiFi available in the apartments.

CSC396Y0 Designing Systems for Real-World Problems

Human Centred Design results in robust solutions that successfully address real human problems. Summer Abroad provides students with an opportunity to explore new environments, which improves their ability to see their own world with increased sensitivity
and germinates new design ideas. In this course, students will identify a real-world problem and work in groups on projects addressing this problem. Students will explore their problem space and the people within that space, identify needs, constraints and requirements, and ultimately design solutions. Their designs will be iterated by gathering feedback and usability testing the early prototypes. The course projects will culminate with development of a technological solution that addresses the identified problem. Final project presentations will take place at the end of the course. Not eligible for CR/NCR.

Prerequisites:any Computer Science half course; BR=5
CSC396Y0 Preliminary Course outline

Field Trips: Students will travel to Wolfsburg Germany, where they will visit the Volkswagen Factory at Autostadt and the Science Museum the following day. There will also be a day trip to the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory in the Hasso Plattner Institute at Potsdam University and local visits to design and research labs, a tech incubator,
art studios and museums around Berlin. The cost of the trips is:

  • CAD$335, paid to U of T for onsite transportation, guides and some entrance fees.
  • CAD$60, paid onsite for some entrance fees and public transit.

Instructor:  Ilona Posner is a User Experience (UX) Consultant and educator. Starting in the field called Human Computer Interaction (CHI) more than 25 years ago, she has seen it evolve into Usability and then to User Experience. She is constantly striving to improve experiences with technology by focusing on human needs and business goals, while accommodating technological constraints. Crossing industry boundaries, she has consulted in large corporations and startups, in different verticals including technology, finance, telecom, healthcare, transportation, and education. In 2015 she took on a new challenge and started her first “real job” as Senior Manager of User Experience Research at Rogers Communications.

An experienced educator Ilona Posner has been teaching User Experience since 2000, through project based design courses, at University of Toronto, OCAD University, and the Media Lab at the Canadian Film Centre, to hundreds of students, in both the graduate and the undergraduate programmes, while also developing and delivering custom UX training courses for industry. Ilona holds a Masters Degree in Computer Science from the University of Toronto.

Ilona Posner has been volunteering with TorCHI the Toronto Chapter of the CHI professional interest group for over a decade and running international Student Design Competitions at both CHI and UPA (Usability Professionals Association) Conferences.

GER354Y0 Berlin between East and West

Both geographically and culturally, Berlin is a city situated between East and West. This division was most visible after World War II, when a wall literally split the city into two. Yet long before the Berlin Wall was erected, Berlin’s metropolitan character was shaped by migration from Eastern Europe. Since reunification, the presence of Berlin’s Turkish community, along with other migrant groups, has left a major imprint on the city. This course will explore the East-West duality that has defined Berlin since the late 19th century through literature, film and popular culture. The course is divided chronologically and thematically into three sections: 1) The Haul to the West, 2) A Tale of Two Cities and 3) Between Orient and Occident. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Prerequisites: none
Recommended Preparation:100-level HIS/ POL/GER course/International or European Studies
GER354Y0 Preliminary Course Outline

Field Trips: This course will incorporate visits to numerous neighbourhoods and museums in Berlin and an excursion to Leipzig. The cost of the trips is CAD$245, paid to U of T for return transportation, some entry fees and guided tours.

Instructor: Erol Boran ( teaches courses on German literature, language and theater, and directs the German student theater, Theater DU. He received his PhD from the Ohio State University with a dissertation on the history of Turkish-German theater and political cabaret. Erol collaborates frequently with the Goethe Institut of Toronto and has taught internationally at the Freie Universität, the University of New Mexico and the Goethe Institut in Thessaloniki, Greece. He is currently writing his first German fantasy novel.

POL300Y0 Contested Boundaries: Immigration, Citizenship, and Multiculturalism in Germany and Europe

Immigration and the integration of newcomers are among the most politically contested issues in Europe today. Using primarily the German experience as a case study, this course examines the historical evolution and current policies and practices of immigration and integration to critically engage with questions of citizenship, belonging, diversity and multiculturalism in present-day Europe. Students will learn about the history of immigration to Western Europe after World War II; the political tension between cultural pluralism and national identity; policies and practices of immigrant integration, citizenship and
multiculturalism at the local, national and supra-national level; the rise of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee populism; and social movements resisting racism and social exclusion. Students will have multiple opportunities to critically engage with the political response to the current refugee crisis in Europe.

Prerequisites: 1.0 POL credit or relevant academic preparation; BR=3
POL300Y0 Preliminary course outline

Field Trips: Students will visit the German Historical Museum and Jewish Museum and have a guided tour of Kreutzberg (all in Berlin). There will also be a four-day trip to Brussels, Belgium, where students will attend talks at the European Commission and travel to Antwerp to visit local the mayor’s office. The cost of the trips is:

  • CAD$580, paid to U of T for roundtrip flight to Brussels, train fare from Brussels to Antwerp, three nights accommodation in Brussels, museum entrance fees and guided tours.
  • CAD$50, paid onsite for some public transit in Berlin and Brussels.

Instructor: Ahmed Allahwala is Associate Professor (Teaching Stream) and Associate Chair for City Studies in the Department of Human Geography at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). Originally from Germany, Dr. Allahwala holds an M.A. in Political Science, Media and Communication Studies, and Spanish from the Free University Berlin and a PhD in Political Science from York University in Toronto. As a critical policy analyst, Dr. Allahwala’s work focuses on urban social policy within the context of contemporary state and economic restructuring in North America and Western Europe. Dr. Allahwala has taught a wide variety of courses in Germany and Canada on topics including welfare state analysis, immigration and settlement, city politics, community-based research, and urban planning. His pedagogical innovations in experiential learning and community-university partnerships have been recognized both nationally and internationally. He was the recipient of the Government of Canada Award and a teaching fellow at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies in Berlin. In 2014, the student newspaper The Underground named Dr. Allahwala one of four “Professors of the Year” at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Information session

A detailed information session for the summer program in Berlin will be held on the UofT St. George campus in January. This session provides an excellent opportunity to hear from previous participants, see photos, and ask any questions that you may have.

Date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016 from 4:30 to 6:30pm

Location: Woodsworth College Residence, Waters Lounge, 321 Bloor St. West (SE corner of St. George and Bloor)


See information session listings for all UofT programs and campuses.

Program details

Saturday, July 23 to Saturday, August 20, 2016 (4 weeks)

This will be the 15th year that the University of Toronto has offered a summer program in Berlin. Over 600 students have enthusiastically participated in the program since it began.

Your classroom will be located in Gendarmenmarkt Square, the historic hub of Berlin, amidst famous landmarks such as the French Cathedral, the German Cathedral, and the State concert hall.

A generous range of scholarships are available to U of T students applying to this program, including several Joint Initiative in German and European Studies Scholarships valued at up to $5,000 and four Summer Abroad Bursaries of $3,000 each.  Further information is available in the Financial Aid section of the website.

Immerse Yourself in a Dynamic World City

  • Berlin is a central hub of Europe, lying on the north-south axis between Copenhagen and Vienna. Cities such as Dresden, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Brussels, Prague and Warsaw are all within easy reach of Berlin.
  • Berlin is known for its numerous festivals, shows, fairs and exhibits, as well as its rich food, music and arts scenes. The city boasts three opera houses, eight symphony orchestras and numerous cinemas (including open-air sites).
  • Almost one-quarter of Berlin’s urban surface consists of lake and forest, as well as extensive parklands, bike trails and the Spree and Havel waterways.

Accommodation and meals

Students are housed in Apartments at Brandenburger Tor, located in the central cultural hub of Berlin, between the Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz. The apartments are conveniently located close to the public transport system (U-Bahn, S-Bahn) and are within walking distance of the classrooms at Gendarmenmarkt Square.Each unit houses three students in two bedrooms (one single and one double), who share a small kitchen and bathroom. There is WiFi internet access in the apartments and they are
located close to a number of restaurants, cafes, markets and shops.

There is no meal plan. Students should budget approximately CAD$650 for a combination of self-prepared and purchased meals.

Students are required to submit a damage deposit. This will be returned on completion of the program provided the rooms are left clean and undamaged and keys have been returned.

Double room accommodation: CAD$1700
Single room accommodation: CAD$2220
Information on Accommodation and Meals
Residence Information Sheet

Group flight

There is no group flight for this program; students must make their own travel arrangements. Students who choose to arrive earlier or leave later than the program dates will be responsible for arranging their own accommodation for the extra day(s).

Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO)

All students admitted to the Summer Abroad program are required to successfully complete an online PDO, which will provide information and advice on international health and safety issues. Students are also strongly encouraged to attend the in-person Germany PDO on May 4 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Entry requirements

All students are responsible for making sure that their necessary travel documents are in order. Information on entry requirements is available from the German Consulate.

As of the time of publication (December 2015), Canadian citizens only need a passport valid for six months beyond their return date to enter Germany as a visitor. Citizens of other countries may have additional requirements.

NOTE: International students who need to apply for a short-stay visa should apply for it in Toronto.  Students can request a letter of support to assist with their visa application by emailing AFTER all of their program fees have been paid to the Summer Abroad office.


The deadlines for fees payable to the University of Toronto are as follows:

  • Application fee: due February 15, 2016
  • Deposit of $1,000 due two weeks after admission notification
  • All remaining fee: due April 21, 2016

Cost of Studying in Germany

Amount Details
Application Fee $200 Paid at time of application
Course Fee
Domestic Students $2,850 Includes $1,000 deposit
International Students $4,005 Includes $1,000 deposit
U of T Incidental Fees $163 Estimate based on 2015 part-time summer fees
Field Trip Fees
CSC396Y $395
GER354Y $245
POL300Y $630
Accommodation $1,700 Based on shared accommodation in the university-arranged apartment. A single room is $2,220.
Airfare $1,575 Estimate – cost will depend on departure location and purchase date
Meals $650 Estimate – paid on site for purchased and self-prepared meals
Local Transportation $160 Estimate – cost of monthly public transit pass. Paid on site.
Textbooks $50 Estimate – purchase in Toronto prior to departure
Medical Travel Insurance variable Students must provide proof of medical travel insurance
Miscellaneous Expenses variable All students should budget for miscellaneous expense (e.g. travel, gifts, etc.)
Approximate TOTAL Program Cost INCLUDING field trips
Domestic Students $7,593 – $7,978 This figure does not include mandatory medical travel insurance
International Students $8,748 – $9,133 This figure does not include mandatory medical travel insurance

Financial Assistance

The following assistance is available for eligible students in this program. For additional awards and further details please see the Financial Aid section of the Summer Abroad website.

The following assistance is available for eligible students in this program.
• Summer Abroad Bursary (four awards at $3000 each)
• Joint Initiative in German and European Studies Scholarships (several awards, variable amounts up to $5000)