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Frankfurt an der Oder, Berlin, Poznań, Germany, Poland

Program Description

This program is uniquely designed for incoming freshman and transfer students and focuses on the societal challenges related to migration in Germany and Poland. Students embark on an in-depth exploration of the history, culture, and support of refugees in the surrounding areas. Students engage in guest lectures, site visits and excursions, and interact with local and international students. Through these activities, students learn about the positive and negative implications of migration for Frankfurt an der Oder, the history and politics of eastern Germany, and the specific ways Frankfurt (Oder) and the surrounding regions supports refugees.

Students will also take a day trip to Nuezelle, Germany, will spend one night in Poznań, Poland, and will end the program with a two-three night stay in Berlin. Program highlights include a brewery tour and tasting, guided city tours and museum visits in Berlin and Poznań, and plenty of opportunities to engage with Viadrina students, both in and out of the classroom.

The program is made possible by JMU's partnership with the International Affairs Office at the European University Viadriana, whose faculty and student assistants help develop a program rich with high-quality academic experiences and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for authentic, meaningful cultural immersion.

UNST 190 often counts as a valuable elective towards students' degrees. While the course is primarily focused on the study of migration, time for personal reflection and preparation for students' first year at JMU is intentionally built into the ciriculum. In addition to Viadrina student assistants, a senior or graduating JMU student will join the program to provide peer-to-peer support and guidance specfic to navigating the first-year college experience.

Location Description

The majority of this program will take place in Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany at the European University Viadrina. The Viadrina is a university in the heart of Europe with a unique international and interdisciplinary character. Students and lecturers come from 80 different countries. The international aspects of law, economics and social and cultural sciences play a particularly important role in the undergraduate and graduate programs of the three Faculties.

The so-called “German gateway to the East," Frankfurt an der Oder is relatively small, with a population of approximately 74,000. Neighboring Slubice, with its 17,000 inhabitants, is just a short walk across the bridge away adding its own entertainment scene. There is a wealth of scenic and historic attractions around Frankfurt an der Oder.

The capital of Germany, Berlin, with all its theaters, bars and historic sites, is only 60 km away. It is known as a global city of culture, politics, media and science, but also a stroll in the famous quarters Neukölln and Kreuzberg is worth a trip.

The Viadrina is located right on the border of Germany and Poland, which requires students cross borders on a daily basis in their academic and private lives, creating an international atmosphere. At the same time, the German capital of Berlin is only one hour by train. Warsaw and Prague are about 5 hours away.


Erin Smith | | Center for Global Engagement


Students will stay in dormitories while taking classes in Frankfurt (Oder). The group will stay in a hostel or hotel when travelling to Berlin, and for other overnight excursions.

Some group meals will be included in the program. A stipend will be provided to off-set the cost of meals not provided by the program.

Additional Items to Consider

Must have a valid passport. If students do not have a passport at the time of application, they are strongly encouraged to apply for expedited processing.

Roundtrip airfare is NOT included in the program fee. Students will travel independently to Germany where they will meet the program directors. Students admitted to the program are given the opportunity to coordinate with one another during required program pre-departure meetings to book the same flights if they are concerned about flying alone. More details will be shared upon acceptance.

This program will run in conjunction with the Adult Degree Dukes program. While students in each group will reside separately, some coursework and activities will include both Adult Degree Program students and first-year, on-campus students. This blend of diverse student experiences creates an opportunity for learning across disciplines and generations. Previous cohorts of New Dukes have found the coupling of the two groups to be a rewarding experience; one which weaves a range of perspectives and life experiences into the learning environment.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must be deposited incoming first-year or new transfer students to JMU in fall of 2024.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Unofficial High School Transcript

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


UNST 190: The Exploration of Migration and Culture in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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