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Berlin Study Abroad:

May 14 – May 27, 2015
      
SUMMER 2015: Plans are firm for another two-week documentary journalism trip to Berlin, Germany’s capital. It's a cosmopolitan, historical city of more than 3.4 million people. Journalism professor John Freeman, who began his photography career there in high school, will lead the course (for the 11th time) to capture changes since the Wall fell 25 years ago.  The course is open to all majors with no prerequisites. Applications are handled through the UF International Center website. Participation will be limited to 15 students. Please come by and talk with Prof. Freeman in 3070 Weimer Hall before you finalize the application. Do not sign-up unless you seriously want to go and have your finances in order. Acceptance is first come, first served once you pay your $300 deposit and complete the application.


 *SEE THE 2014 GROUP THAT WENT*

COURSE FORMAT: The class will count as a 3-credit-hour professional elective and will be listed as a Summer A course. For undergraduates, it's JOU4930 and for grad students, MMC6905. Students will conduct interviews, write profiles and produce online slideshows or video during the two weeks. A website and picture book will be produced. Newsworthy topics will be determined before arriving in Berlin. The class meets once in April for an orientation and short history lesson.

PROGRAM FEES: $1,950 for undergraduates (graduate students: $2,198). The program fee covers three course credits, 13 nights of lodging and breakfasts at The Transit Loft Hotel, an unlimited city subway-bus-tram pass, a hardbound book of the class projects and feature photographs, a musical/acrobatic show, bike and walking tours plus five group meals, including the farewell dinner 680 feet above Berlin in the TV Tower's rotating restaurant. Airfare is not included because students may wish to travel independently in Europe before or after the program. Round-trip airfare out of Miami checked in Sept. 2014 showed $1,000, and about $1,200 to $1,400 from Orlando, Tampa and Gainesville.

 

See a "Fun Times" slideshow from previous trips (Flash required).

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Reviewing photos along the way.

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A UF group on tour at The Berlin Wall.

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Returning via M4 tram to the hotel area.

Got questions? See the FAQs below or
email Prof. Freeman: jfreeman@ jou.ufl.edu – or come see me in 3070 Weimer Hall.


SEE THE 2012 CLASS WEBSITE 

Watch a two-minute video made by the University of Florida that shows Professor Freeman talking about the background behind his Berlin Journalism course.

Hear students from the 2014 trip: video by teaching assistant Daron Dean.

Click to see a YouTube video showing some of the activities, mostly from the 2011 trip.

Watch the 2012 Trip Highlights video on YouTube.

 

Hotel Lobby and Sights

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Transit Loft-Hotel - Students are housed 3-5 to a room (single beds). The hotel provides private showers, a large breakfast with cold cuts and is close to a city tram stop and a variety of ethnic restaurants. The lobby/bar is open 24/7. Rooms are on the fifth floor. Internet has been spotty in the past, so plan on spending 35-euros ($50) on-site for a reliable Telekom connection.

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Two tours, including a five-hour, eight-mile bike excursion, will introduce students to Berlin during the first days of their two-week adventure documenting Germany's capital. German language proficiency is NOT a requirement for the course, listed as JOU4930. The farewell dinner is in "Sphere," a rotating restaurant high above Berlin in the soaring TV Tower (lower left).

 

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SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  1. Where do I sign up? Can non-UF students go? The formal application process is handled through UF’s International Center, at the Hub. The direct web link is hereFirst come, first served. The trip has been a sell-out the previous 10 years. Non-UF university students are eligible for the course but must submit the right application material, including transcripts. For details, contact UFIC Study Abroad Adviser Emily Grubbe -- egrubbe@ufic.ufl.edu at (352) 294-3335.
  2. What are the exact dates and times? Everyone should be at the hotel for a 5 p.m. meeting on Thursday, May 14. Most people will depart the USA on overnight flights Wednesday, May 13. The farewell group dinner is Tuesday, May 26, which is our last night at the hotel. You check-out on the morning of May 27 (Wednesday). – DO NOT BUY YOUR PLANE TICKET until all 15 participants have been confirmed as “accepted” for the course, just in case the course would be cancelled.
  3. What is not included in the program price? As mentioned, airfare is not included because some students will travel on frequent-flyer miles, or may choose to spend extra time in Europe after the course. Checking in September 2014, round-trip airfare from Miami was about $1,000. Any meals besides breakfast at the hotel and the five group meals are not included in the program fee. Extra tours, phone calls, souvenirs, taxis, extra Internet access, etc., are your responsibility.
  4. What is the course structure? We don't hold formal class meetings, but meet one-on-one and in small groups often. No scheduled course activities start before 11 a.m. each day. Everyone will photograph or report on a particular subject during the stay in Berlin. Days in May are long -- sun-up is about 4:30 a.m. and it sets at 9:45 p.m. Everyone turns 20-30 photographs and a 90-second audio track into a picture story to be presented as a slideshow. Also, you’ll write a 100-word story for publishing in the book of projects. Everyone submits 10 good random photographs and updates a blog on the trip. Click here to see the 2013 website of students’ projects. Material will be posted online from Berlin. Professor Freeman will provide individual coaching of your work and we will have several group sessions to talk about everyone’s progress in a supportive manner. The course will be listed as "off-book" for Summer A. Do not sign up for JOU4930 or MMC6905 online with ISIS. Official sign-up will happen through the department of journalism office, after your application is approved by Prof. Freeman and the UFIC.
  5. Is there any “free time?” Yes, we usually have one required group activity on many days, but many hours during the evening are free-time. Coursework is of course your first responsibility, not tourism. On the second weekend (May 24-25), nothing formal is scheduled. You’ll do best by remaining flexible and open to changes. All coursework is due before you depart Berlin.
  6. Do we meet as a class before the trip? Yes, once the group is finalized, Professor Freeman will set up one or two meetings at UF before the spring 2015 semester ends. We’ll discuss possible themes and topics and hear briefly about the history of Berlin. You’ll also discuss movies to watch. We won't meet formally after the trip, but you must maintain email contact.
  7. Is there photo equipment available? Yes. We will have an assortment of Nikon and Canon lenses available for the trip. Canon Digital Rebel T3i's are also available for check-out at no charge.
  8. Can students go on the trip if they haven't taken a photo class? Yes, you'll get a crash course in quality photojournalism to produce your  “words and pictures” packages.
  9. Do I need to know German? No, many of Berlin’s citizens are fluent in English.
  10. When is final payment due? Final payment of fees is due in early April.  However, all prospective travelers should complete applications with the $300 deposit according to UFIC guidelines within seven days of sign-up. The $300 is applied toward the program fee total; it is not extra.
  11. Where do I get a passport? First, apply now and beat the summer rush. It could take up to six weeks. Go to the University Station Post Office just north of University and off 17th Street. The web link for passports is: http://www.travel.state.gov/
  12. Any health concerns? Food and water are safe; Berlin is a major cosmopolitan city. One drawback compared to U.S. standards is that smokers seem to outnumber non-smokers.
  13. What's the hotel like? At Transit-Loft, rooms are clean but plain. There is no TV, room phone, hair dryer, gym, laundry or air conditioning. The weather is usually mild, though, 55 to 80 degrees in May. Your room has three to five single beds, and one bathroom with shower, sink and toilet.
  14. What about laptops and Internet access? The hotel's internet has been spotty, so you should plan on spending 35-euros ($50) on-site for a reliable Telekom connection during your stay. A laptop is needed for the trip, or at least a good friend with a laptop to complete the coursework.
  15. Cell phones -- U.S. AT&T and T-Mobile phones work great. Calls are usually $1.29/minute, though. For Verizon, Sprint, etc., check with your provider to see if your phone has the correct frequency for use in Germany. Some people buy a European cell phone on a prepaid plan. Some students use SKYPE to call others.
  16. How do I sign up again?! – Start here: “Berlin Journalism - Do not sign-up unless you seriously want to go and know you can afford the trip in May. Acceptance is first come, first serve once you pay your $300 deposit and complete the application.