Language Camp in Germany

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  • Overview

    Learn German for 15 hours a week while you experience a city humming with creative energy at Greenheart Travel’s teen summer language camp in Berlin! Become immersed in the German language and live with a host family as you explore Berlin’s opera houses, theaters, and museums that attract art lovers from around the world in daily cultural activities and excursions.

    What do past participants say about the program?

    I had a lot of fun at my summer camp in Berlin. I feel like the experience has helped me become a more tolerant person; I adapt and appreciate what differences people have to offer. I’m more understanding of the fact that people are different and that I can’t change that. I’ve made a lot of friends from around the world. One of my roommates is from Spain, and another is from Russia. The daily excursions were very entertaining and I really enjoyed my time in Berlin.” – Aria Villnerve, Greenheart Travel alum and scholarship winner for summer camp in Berlin

  • Eligibility

    • Must be between 14 – 17 years old
    • Be in good mental* and physical health
    • Have a genuine interest in learning German and immersing yourself in the culture

    *What does it mean to be in good mental health?

    *Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all high school abroad applicants.

    Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness, specifically within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition. Each student will be addressed on a case by case basis and ultimately it is Greenheart Travel’s in-country partner who holds the right to accept or decline a student based on their individual policy.

    These include, but are not limited to:

    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Eating disorders
    • Chronic debilitating migraines
    • Bipolar Disorder

    All students who currently experience one or more of these conditions will be required to submit an addendum to the terms and conditions as well as a letter of support from their current mental health specialist. If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will still require a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc.) as part of the application process.  We encourage you to discuss your specific situation with us directly before securing these documents.

  • Program Dates

    Summer 2024 Dates

    Start Dates:

    • June 16, 2024
    • June 23, 2024
    • June 30, 2024 [Start Date for Absolute Beginners]
    • July 7, 2024
    • July 14, 2024
    • July 21, 2024

    Application Deadline: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis up to one month prior to your selected start date or until the program is at full capacity.

    Program Duration: Programs can be from 1 week to 6 weeks long. The program closes on July 27, 2024. Students should plan their program duration accordingly.

    Please Note: If you are a complete beginner, you must begin on June 30th.

  • Costs & Inclusions

    2024 Program Cost:

    • 1 week: $1,790
    • 2 weeks: $2,590
    • 3 weeks: $3,500
    • 4 weeks: $4,360
    • 5 weeks: $5,330
    • 6 weeks: $6,450

    Please note, all prices are listed in USD.

    Packaged into the Price:

    • 15 hours of language classes per week
    • Airport pickup and drop-off upon arrival and departure in Berlin
    • Host family accommodation (or residence hall upon request)
    • 3 meals per day
    • Comprehensive medical/accident insurance
    • Fully chaperoned cultural activities & excursions
    • Local transportation card
    • Half-day arrival orientation in Germany
    • On-site language level placement test
    • Comprehensive program handbook with cross-cultural communication training and German culture tips
    • Certificate of completion at the end of the program for use on college applications
    • Access to Greenheart Travel Facebook groups to connect with alumni and others on your start date ahead of your program.
    • Greenheart Atlas Program 

    Our Support and Services: 

    • Extensive pre-departure advice and support from  your US-based program manager! We will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Germany.
    • Support services from in-country staff upon arrival to Germany.
    • Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave.
    • 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.

    Additional Expenses to Budget for (Estimates):

    • Roundtrip flights to Germany
    • Spending money for souvenirs or snacks while in Germany

    Payment Details

    • $300 Application Fee due by the program deadline to formally apply
    • $300 Commitment payment due after acceptance within 14 days to save your spot on a certain start date
    • Remaining balance is due 8 weeks before departure to Germany

    Worried about the program fee?

    Our goal is to help make travel accessible to everyone and we are here to help when you are deciding if this experience is financially do-able. Each year we offer scholarships for high school study abroad students! We also have a guide to fundraising your program fee, and many high school students fundraise in their hometown ahead of their program.

    We also offer discounts for applying early (plus there are many other benefits to applying early!) for each start date and for US families that have hosted an exchange student with Greenheart Exchange.

    Please inquire here if you have questions about the program fee, scholarships, or fundraising for your program.

  • Your Day to Day

    Educational visits and excursions form an important part of the program. An exciting day by day program will be given to the participants upon arrival. There will be weekly visits to museums, as well as a bicycle ride around Berlin and a city walking tour. Students will also enjoy sports activities and various evening entertainment opportunities!

    Please note Participants are not allowed to go out at night outside the host family unless accompanied by a chaperone.

    Here’s a sample of what your day will look like:

    9am: arrive at language school
    9am-12pm: language classes
    12pm-1pm: daily lunch (pack lunch provided by host family)
    1pm-4pm: cultural activity
    4pm-curfew: commute home, dinner and hanging out with with host family

  • Classes & School Info

    There are 3 different levels — Elementary, Intermediate, or Advanced. The levels are sub divided up into two sub levels depending on your linguistic skills. You will be given an admissions test on your first day of school to evaluate your skills and place you in the proper level. Please note there is only one date on which complete beginners can begin.

    German Courses

    • 15 morning classes a week (3 classes per day for 50 minutes each)
    • Classes are taught by native German teachers who specialize in teaching German as a foreign language
    • Lessons involve speaking, listening, reading, and writing in lively and informal small classes with 12-15 students
    • You should take a German/English dictionary, notebook and pencil for class but your school will provide all books and workbooks.
    • Students receive a Certificate of Completion at the end of the course

    School Location and Classrooms:

    The German language school is located not only in central Berlin but in the very heart of the capital. It offers modern facilities, internet access, study lounges, and places to relax.

  • Arrival and Departure

    All students fly on their own to Berlin. A representative from the language school will pick them up and take them to their host family.

    All classes start on Monday, but students should:

    • Arrive at the Berlin airport on your program start date (Sunday) between 9:00am and 6:00pm
    • Depart on the Saturday at the end of your program after 11:00am

    Arriving or departing outside these designated windows will incur additional fees.

  • Host Families

    Students live with host families in carefully selected private homes that can accommodate 2-4 students at a time. Students will share a room with one other student of the same gender. The host family will provide breakfast, lunch (pack lunch during the week) and dinner each day. All students in family-owned residences are supervised by local families and have a curfew.

    All residences are located 40-60 minutes’ distance from the language school (metro cards are included in the cost of the program). Prospective hosts undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In order to qualify, the residence owners must:

    • Successfully pass a criminal background check
    • Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staff
    • Agree to and pass a home inspection

    *If you would prefer to live in a dormitory which is closer to the language school, we do have options available for an additional fee. Please schedule a call for more information. 

  • FAQs

    I am a parent with questions, where do I go?

    Please head to our Parent Handbook page. You’re also welcome to set up a time to chat with us about your child’s program abroad here. We’re happy to chat with you about this big decision!

    I identify as LGBTQ+. How will I be supported?

    Greenheart Travel welcomes travelers identifying as LGTBQ+, and is committed to helping you find the best program for you. We can provide information on the cultural norms of our destination countries and are prepared to advise you on the best programs based on your needs and interests. 

    Please read more here.

    How much supervision is there?

    Students are supervised and chaperoned by school staff during the day and by the host families at night. The only time when the student may be unsupervised is when they ride the train or bus to school from their host families home.

    Should my child fly using an unaccompanied minor service?

    Greenheart Travel does not recommend this service because the “additional” services advertised by the airlines are already provided to all travelers and are not worth the money invested by you, the traveler. At any time, a student can ask an airline professional for help finding their gate or for connecting flight information, and paying for this add-on UM service is not necessary. We have sent hundreds of semester abroad students internationally, for whom we book their flights, and we never use unaccompanied minor services. If you would like the peace of mind a UM service provides, Greenheart Travel offers more self-empowering alternatives (such as reviewing airport maps, mapping connections, etc) that we believe teach teenagers relevant life skills about traveling independently. Please refer to our webinar about navigating international airports.

    How many other students will there be and where are they from?

    A majority of our students are American between 14-17 years old. However, there are students participating from around the world, so your child will have a cross-cultural setting both in the classroom and out. While the number of students does vary by start date, we like to keep small classes with no more than 15 students.

    Will it be required to speak German outside of the classroom?

    Language practice and immersion are the main priority of this program. While we do not require the students to sign a contract stating they will only speak in the local language, it is highly encouraged that they use their language skills when talking to friends, partaking in the daily excursions and at night in the residence hall or host family home. Program staff and chaperones primarily communicate and answer questions in the local language to encourage this immersion culture.

    How will this program improve my child’s German skills?

    In a traditional classroom, students may learn language skills; however, they are not forced to practice these skills in real world situations. Through language immersion, your child will both learn the practical language skills in a classroom while also being forced to use them with local, native speakers during the excursions and/or host family experience. Studies show that 4 weeks of a full language immersion experience can be equivalent to a yearlong college language course because of the intensity of use.

    Can high school credit be earned?

    Greenheart Travel cannot award high school credit. Please talk to your school about earning credit for your child’s time abroad. Refer to this blog post for tips on transferring credit.

    What are meals like?

    Three meals per day are included in the program. Students eat breakfast and dinner with their host families and bring a pack lunch provided by their host family to school Monday-Friday.

    What if my child has an allergy/specific dietary requirement?

    We can cater to vegetarian needs quite easily. Any other specific diets should be discussed with us to see if we can arrange to have your needs met. In some cases you may need to provide your own food.

    Do students need vaccines/shots?

    Greenheart Travel strongly recommends that all program participants be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before arriving to their destination country. If you will not be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the start of your program, please contact a Program Manager to confirm that your destination country will accept non-vaccinated participants.

    What happens if I get sick while abroad?

    You will be covered by mandatory health insurance as part of your program with Greenheart Travel. This is packaged into the program cost. You will receive a policy brochure and insurance card via email 1 week prior to your departure. Specific instructions and suggested doctors are included in the program handbook students receive via email upon acceptance.

    Can friends apply together?

    Absolutely! We are happy to accept friends and groups. However, keep in mind your primary purpose of attending this program is to immerse themselves in the language and culture – so make sure you and your friend commit to speaking German!

    Does Greenheart accept groups?

    Absolutely! If you are an educator who would like to organize a group trip, please inquire here to speak about dates, pricing, and special requests.

    After I complete my program, how can I continue studying German?

    A great next step is doing our High School Abroad program in Germany or Austria! You’ll go to a local high school for a trimester, semester, or academic year.

    Are flights included?

    Flights are not included in the program fee. Students are responsible for booking their round-trip airfare to Germany. We will collect your itinerary to organize your arrival and airport pickup.

    Can I speak to current students or alumni?

    Yes! Check out our blog or you can join our exclusive teen programs Facebook group to talk to current and past students.

    We also have a list of mentors (teens and parents) that are past participants open to chatting about their experience with potential new participants. Please inquire here if you want to be put in touch with a mentor.

  • Application Process

    Committing to a language camp program can feel a bit daunting, but we are here every step of the way to make the application process as simple as possible. Below are the steps you’ll need to take to be accepted on a Greenheart Travel program.

    Once you start your application, you have two weeks to finish.

    1. Ensure Your Eligibility: The eligibility requirements, such as age or language proficiency, may be required for certain destinations.

    2. Start Your Application HereYou will be sent more information as well as the link to our application portal to begin your formal application. You’ll be able to save your progress along the way.

    3. Sign the Terms & Conditions: After you complete the first part of your application, you (and your parent(s) if you’re under 18) will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program

    4. Submit your application fee: You will need to submit your $300 application fee at this point in the process. This is required in order to reserve your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee.

    5. In-Depth QuestionnaireThis is the most in-depth part of the application process as it helps us get to know you better. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself, why you want to go abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience. You will also need to upload your passport.

    6. Acceptance: Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 1-2 weeks to confirm your acceptance. If we find something in your application that we have concerns about, we will let you know immediately. 95% of applicants are accepted on the program they apply for.

    You’re Accepted – now what?

    Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. At this point you will be required to submit a second $300 commitment payment that also goes towards the total amount (it’s not extra). This is your commitment to your start date and once we receive it is when details will start to be booked on your behalf.

    You’ll then be able to download the program handbook from the portal, which talks more about your program, as well as supplemental information about dealing with culture shock and our insurance program. We will also schedule an online pre-departure orientation to answer any lingering questions you may have. You can expect to receive your host family placement 1-2 weeks prior to your start date.

  • Why Greenheart Travel?

    Greenheart Travel has been sending teens to Germany for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:

    • 33 years of experience with cultural exchange programs.
    • Friendly, responsive, and professional support from your program manager.
    • Connect with alumni and others on the program via our Greenheart Travel only Facebook forums, before you even leave!
    • We try and make our program fees as inclusive as we can. We include things like medical insurance so you don’t run into any hidden fees down the line.
    • Greenheart Atlas Program. The Greenheart Travel Atlas is a cultural training interactive guidebook alongside five videos where you will find three main topics covered: Personal/Professional Development, Cultural Understanding, & Environmental Awareness.
    • Our alumni recommend us! Reviews // Reviews
    • Hands-on support and personal attention every step of the way
    • 24/7 emergency phone number to reach a staff member at any time
    • Pre-departure “Culture Shock and Adjustment” Webinar before you leave
    • Discounts for future Greenheart Travel programs
    • We are a non-profit, mission-based organization
    • Continued support throughout your time abroad

    We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel students and alumni!

    Greenheart Global Impact Grants (GIGs)

    Greenheart GIG Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country after they return home. A GIG is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.

    Greenheart Alumni Program

    We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!

    Junior Greenheart Global Leaders Conference

    Each May Greenheart offers full-ride scholarships to around 10 teen alumni to attend our annual conference in Chicago. You can see more about what Jr. GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.

  • Schedule a Call

    Have questions and want to chat with a program advisor? Set up a time here:

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