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 Off Campus Study Opportunities

2015 Hope College

Vienna Summer School

For more information, please contact Dr. Stephen Hemenway
at 616/395-7616 or

Orientation Bulletin #1
Orientation Bulletin #2
Orientation Bulletin #3

59th Annual Program

    Program Objectives

In 2015, the Hope College Vienna Summer School celebrates its 59th year! This summer’s two sessions (May, June) offer college credits in numerous academic fields: German Language 1 and 2, Austrian Art and Architecture, Modern Austrian History, Empires of the World and Mind, Vienna’s Musical Traditions, Theology and Ethics (An Illustrated Guide), Economic/Business Issues in the European Union, a Senior Seminar (Vienna: Values in Transit), and Independent Studies. Field trips within Austria and excursions to neighboring countries add a significant dimension to the learning experience. The program, open to qualified applicants of any age who have completed at least one year of college before summer 2015, has a maximum of 54 students per session. Minimum grade point average for acceptance is usually around 2.80. A student on disciplinary probation will need clearance for eligibility.


Since the pioneer days of 1956 when the late Dr. Paul G. Fried (history professor and director of international education at Hope College) founded the Vienna Summer School, more than 3000 students from at least 200 colleges and universities have discovered how summer study in Vienna can provide them with a meaningful introduction to the rich heritage of European civilization. Dr. Stephen I. Hemenway, current director of the Vienna Summer School and professor of English at Hope, will lead the group in Vienna for his 40th consecutive year.


    Living in Vienna

Vienna Summer School combines serious academic study with the benefits of living in a culturally rich city. Students reside with Austrian families, usually in double rooms, where breakfast is provided and clothes are laundered; they receive monetary refunds for daily dinners and are urged to explore local restaurants. Past students have contributed 350 restaurant reviews to "Inexpensive Eating in Vienna," an online guide for all participants. Some use facilities at their homes to prepare light meals. Students receive monthly transportation passes valid on all trams, buses, subways, and trains in metropolitan Vienna.

    Cultural Activities


Vienna features everything from famous choirboys to fabled coffeehouses, from Sachertortes to the Spanish Riding School, from baroque churches to a modern United Nations complex. While in Vienna, German-language students improve fluency; art/architecture and theology students explore museums and churches; students in history and “Empires” courses visit Habsburg residences and World War sites; music students attend operas and concerts; economics students meet with business experts; senior seminar students question distinguished speakers daily. Many of these opportunities are available to all participants, and the cost of most field trips is included. Non-credit German-conversation classes meet a few afternoons each week. Beginners find these sessions beneficial, while those with German abilities gain more confidence.



For students participating in the full program or first session only, Dr. Hemenway has reserved group flights on Tuesday, May 5, from Chicago (with bus transfers from Holland) with arrival in Vienna on Wednesday, May 6. Students with other flight arrangements must arrive in Vienna no later than 9:00 a.m. on May 6 for bus rides to Mörbisch (a village near the Austro-Hungarian border) for orientation. For second session students, group flights from Chicago (with bus transfers from Holland) depart on Thursday, May 28, and arrive on Friday, May 29. All students must arrive in Vienna by 9:00 a.m. on May 29 for orientation. Return dates from Vienna (or other cities) are open, but flights from Vienna to Chicago have been reserved on Friday, May 29, and Saturday, June 20, for students leaving at the end of each session. Participants will receive complete flight information and options in December.

    Weekend Excursions


On weekends, Dr. Hemenway arranges and leads excursions to places outside of Vienna. Plans for first session include two-day weekends in Salzburg (Austria) and Prague (Czech Republic). Second session features a two-day weekend in Budapest (Hungary), an overnight hiking trip in the Austrian Alps, and a weekday in Bratislava (Slovakia). Since weekend trips are considered part of the academic program, costs of transportation, hotels, guides, admissions, breakfasts, and dinners are included in the overall price.

    Courses and Faculty

Students may enroll for either or both of the sessions. Each student selects one course per session for four hours of credit. Classes may be audited, but full tuition must be paid. Transcripts for non-Hope students are sent to home colleges for credit transfer. Enrollment for each course is usually a maximum of 15 and a minimum of 5 students. German-language courses are taught partly in German, but other classes are taught in English. Most courses fulfill “general education” requirements for Hope students. Classes convene at the Austro-American Institute of Education across the street from the Opera in central Vienna.

    Independent Study Projects


Independent Study Projects that make specific use of the Vienna locale are possible during first session, but second session is preferable. A project, worth four hours of credit, needs prior approval (with project goals and outline) from the appropriate department and Dr. Hemenway, who arranges meetings with Austrian resource persons and supervises the project. Former students have pursued independent studies in creative writing, political science, education, sociology, theater, film, music, religion, and German literature.

    First Session Courses
First Session Orientation and Classes -6 May to 29 May

German I stresses basic skills necessary to communicate in German. Students earn credit for German 101, the first component of the Second Language general education requirement.  Prof. Karen Kalser, free-lance teacher and mother of four, has taught in the program since 1996.

Vienna's Musical Traditions focuses on Vienna's contributions to classical music and opera (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Bruckner, Strauss, Mahler). Students may earn credit for Music 295 or History 295 or fulfill the Arts I (Music 101) or Cultural Heritage II (History 131*) general education requirement. Dr. Wolfgang Reisinger, a Viennese native with PhD degrees in Music from the Universities of Vienna and Kansas, has served as director of the Vienna Church Music Conservatory and organ consultant for the Vienna Archdiocese. He composed music for Pope Benedict’s 2007 visit to Austria. Homework includes attendance at the world’s finest operas and concerts.

Modern Austrian History fulfills the Cultural Heritage II (History 131*) general education requirement or is an elective (History 295). The course focuses on Austria from the decline of the Habsburg Empire, through both World Wars, up to Austria’s entry into the European Union.  Walking tours, museums, and films make Austrian history come alive. Dr. Herberth Czermak (PhD from the University of New Hampshire, professor emeritus at the University of Vienna’s Institute for Translators, and teacher for many overseas programs) has taught for Hope since 1987.

Austrian Art and Architecture focuses on rich treasures of the Baroque and Rococo, for which Vienna is an ideal setting. Austrian artifacts from Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Biedermeier, and Modern periods are also examined. Many classes occur in museums, palaces, monasteries, and churches. Students may get credit for Art 295 or History 295 or fulfill the Arts I (Art 111) or Cultural Heritage II (History 131*) general education requirement. Dr. Beatrice Ottersböck, a Czech native and art historian with a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, has taught in numerous American programs since 1968.

Empires of the World, Empires of the Mind fulfills the Cultural Heritage II general education requirement (IDS 172). Incorporating literature, philosophy, and history from the 16th to 20th centuries, the course examines cultural/intellectual developments of Central Europe from the Holy Roman and Austro-Hungarian Empires to the dawn of modern Austria. Readings include fiction (Kafka), history (Morton), philosophy (Kant, Nietzsche), and cultural criticism (Freud). Dr. Janis Gibbs, PhD from the University of Virginia, specializes in the interplay of religious, social, and cultural factors in early modern German cities.

Theology and Ethics: An Illustrated Guide fulfills the Religion 200-level general education requirement (Religion 295).  It examines Christian beliefs about God, creation, evil, and salvation, and their implications for Christian ethics. Students read key Biblical texts and theological commentaries and take field trips to churches, museums, and performances to learn how the arts exemplify theological themes. Dr. David S. Cunningham (PhD from Duke University, Professor of Religion, director of Hope’s CrossRoads Project, and director of the Klooster Center for Excellence in Writing), focuses on the intersection of theology and the arts as one of his academic specialties.

*History 131 counts for CH II if a student has taken or will take IDS 171 or IDS 175 for CH I. Consult the Hope College Catalog and your advisor to assure that you are making the right choice.

    Second Session Courses

Second Session Orientation and Classes - 29 May to 20 June

German II, a continuation of German I with Prof. Kalser, develops further knowledge of German. Students earn credit for German 102, the second component of the Second Language general education requirement. German 101 or its equivalent is a prerequisite.

The Austrian Art and Architecture course is also offered during this session by Dr. Ottersböck (see description under First Session).

The Empires of the World, Empires of the Mind course is also offered during this session by Dr. Gibbs (see description under First Session).

Economic and Business Issues in the European Union fulfills the Social Science I (Block B) general education requirement as Economics 200 or 211 or a major elective requirement as Economics 395 or Management 395. This course delves into economic principles and policies of the European Union and examines the impact and implications of the EU and its single currency on businesses and people. Readings, speakers, and field trips explore these issues under the guidance of Prof. Brian Gibbs (Hope alumnus), associate dean at the European Business School in Wiesbaden and PhD candidate at Regensburg University.  With 25 years of experience in strategy and operations consulting to businesses worldwide, Gibbs has served many vital roles in the Vienna Summer School since 1985. 

Vienna: Values in Transit celebrates its 27th year as a Senior Seminar course (IDS 495).  Students question the philosophies and life choices articulated by daily speakers. Artists, business people, clergy, diplomats, politicians, teachers, and World War II veterans and victims share their life stories. Under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Hemenway (PhD from the University of Illinois), students interact with speakers and each other, read, write journals, and formulate personal views for a "Philosophy of Life" paper. Prerequisite: at least second-semester junior status.

    Scholarships and Financial Aid

Approximately $40,000 is available in scholarships for Vienna 2015. One blue scholarship form suffices for a student applying for any of eleven endowed funds: Jurries Family, Gibbs Family, DeNooyer Family, Fried, Fritz, Mitsos, Hemenway, Snow, Cady-Blom, Doublestein, and Austrian Faculty Funds. Descriptions of and specific requirements for each award are listed on the form. A student applying for any of the first seven funds must have the scholarship application signed by someone in Financial Aid to verify need. Each applicant must submit a creative essay; see scholarship form for details. Completed scholarship applications and essays are due at the International Education Office by Monday, November 24. Last year more than 20 students received partial awards ranging from $500 to $5,000. Students may also check with financial aid officials about federal direct loans.


Application and scholarship forms are available from Ms. Kendra Williams at Fried International Center, 116 Martha Miller Center, 257 Columbia Ave., Hope College, Holland, MI 49423 (phone: 616/395-7605; email:, or from  Dr. Stephen Hemenway, English Department, Lubbers 310, Hope College, Holland, MI 49422-9000 (phone: 616/395-7616; email: Forms are also available in the Klooster Center for Excellence in Writing (Van Wylen Library) and the English Department Office (Lubbers 338). Early applications are encouraged; some first session classes generate wait lists. Deadlines are listed in Calendar for Summer 2015.

    Program Costs

1) Full Six-Week Session with Weekend Trips* = $7,000.  Included are tuition costs for eight semester hours of academic credit, German language instruction, housing, daily breakfasts and dinners (including weekends), tram-bus-subway passes in Vienna, cell phones, most field trips required for courses, and orientation/farewell festivities. Also included are transportation, hotels, guides, and admissions for orientation in Mörbisch and weekends in Salzburg and Prague (first session) and weekends in Budapest and Austrian Alps and day trip to Bratislava (second session). A student enrolled for both sessions saves $600

2) First Session Only with Weekend Trips* = $4,000. Included are tuition costs for four semester hours of academic credit, etc. (plus everything listed in first sentence in #1 and costs for out-of-town orientation and weekend excursions).

3) Second Session Only with Weekend Trips* = $3,600. Included are tuition costs for four semester hours of academic credit, etc. (plus everything listed in first sentence in #1 and costs for weekend excursions).

4) Round Trip Flight Estimates*:  5 May departure = $1,100-$1200; 28 May departure = $1,600-$1,700. This flight fee, paid directly to a travel agent, is not part of the Hope College costs. Return dates are negotiable individually.

*The above cost estimates are based on prices and exchange rates as projected in September 2014. They may be revised if economic or political conditions change significantly.


Nov. 24

Deadline for early admission  (with application form, transcript, reference letters) and/or for scholarships (also with blue form, essay)

Dec. 8

Acceptance letters mailed; scholarship winners notified

Jan. 6 Deadline for scholarship winners to accept or reject offers and pay deposits
Jan. 12 Deadline for deposits for others accepted in December
Jan. 19

Application deadline (with transcript, reference letters) for those applying for admission without scholarship (if places are still available)

Jan. 26

Probable deadline for group flight reservation and deposit

Feb. 23

Probable deadline for group flight payment

Mar. 27

Half of remaining balance is due in Business Office

Apr. 26 Balance of account must be paid in full at Business Office
May 5 First-session group flights from from Chicago to Vienna
May 6

Arrival in Vienna for orientation and first-session classes

May 28 Second-session group flightsChicago to Vienna
May 29

Return group flight from Vienna for students enrolled in first-session only

May 29

Arrival in Vienna for orientation and second-session classes

June 20 Return group flight from Vienna for students in both sessions or second-session only
    Deposit/Refund Policy & Notice of Nondiscriminaton

Upon written notification of your acceptance, a deposit of $300 (which will be applied to final balance) must be made by January 6 for scholarship winners, January 12 for all others accepted in December (or later for January applicants); $200 is nonrefundable. Half of remaining balance is due March 27; final half is due April 26. If you withdraw from the program before classes begin, the unexpended portion of the fee will be returned. After classes begin, refunds cannot be made except for grave reasons. For students who wish to travel with the group, a reservation and small deposit for the flights, paid directly to the travel agency, will be due around January 26. The exact date and the exact amount of the deposit will be available in December. The flight deposit is non-refundable.

Hope College admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, creed, or handicap to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at Hope College. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, creed, or handicap in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Photographic Credits: Barbara Forman, Joseph Grahek, Lisa Granger, Nicholas Hacker, Kaitlyn Mulder, Caroline Toren.


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