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 Off Campus Study Opportunities

2014 Hope College

Vienna Summer School

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

58th Annual Program

    Program Objectives

In 2014, the Hope College Vienna Summer School celebrates its 58th year! This summer’s two sessions offer college credits in numerous academic fields: German Language 1 and 2, Vienna’s Musical Traditions, Austrian Art and Architecture, Modern Austrian History, Empires of the World and Mind, Theology and Ethics (An Illustrated Guide), a Senior Seminar on “Vienna: Values in Transit,” and Independent Studies. Field trips within in Austria and excursions to neighboring countries add a significant dimension to the classes. The program, open to qualified applicants of any age who have completed at least one year of college before summer 2014, 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 39th 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. Students from previous summers have contributed 350 restaurant reviews to "Inexpensive Eating in Vienna," a guide provided to all participants. Some use kitchen facilities at their residences 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; 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 survival 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 6, from Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Chicago with arrival in Vienna on Wednesday, May 7.  Students with other flight arrangements must arrive in Vienna no later than noon on May 7 for bus rides to Mörbisch (a village near the Austro-Hungarian border) for orientation.  For second session students, group flights from Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Chicago depart on Wednesday, May 28, and arrive on Thursday, May 29.  All students must arrive in Vienna by noon on May 29 for orientation.  Return dates from Vienna (or other cities) are open, but flights from Vienna to Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Chicago have been reserved on Thursday, May 29, and Friday, 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 either session, but second session is preferable. A project, worth four hours of credit, is an alternative to listed courses. Prior approval (with project goals and outline) must be obtained from the appropriate department and from 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, Schönberg). 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 Ph.D. 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 sung during Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 visit to Austria. Student 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.  Museum visits, walking tours, and films make Austrian history come alive. Dr. Herberth Czermak (Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire, professor-emeritus at the University of Vienna’s Institute for Translators, and teacher for many American programs overseas) has taught in the Vienna Summer School 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 Ph.D. 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 the 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, Ph.D. 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, 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 (Ph.D. from Duke University, Professor of Religion, and Director of Hope’s CrossRoads Project), 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 - 28 May to 20 June

German II, a continuation of German I with Prof. Kalser, develops the acquisition of a communication 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).

Vienna: Values in Transit celebrates its 26th year as a Senior Seminar course (IDS 495).  Students in this values-oriented class listen to and question the philosophies and life choices articulated by daily speakers from Austria and other countries. Distinguished artists, business people, clergy, environmentalists, politicians, teachers, and World War II veterans and victims share their life stories. Under the guidance of Dr. Stephen Hemenway (Ph. D. from the University of Illinois), students interact with speakers and each other, write journals, and formulate personal views for a "Philosophy of Life" paper. Prerequisite: at least second-semester junior status.

    Scholarships and Financial Aid

Approximately $35,000 is available in scholarships for Vienna 2014. One blue scholarship application form suffices for a student applying for any of ten endowed funds: Jurries Family, Gibbs Family, Fried, Mitsos, Fritz, Hemenway, Snow, Cady-Blom, Doublestein, and Austrian Faculty Funds. Descriptions of and specific requirements for each scholarship are listed on the form. A student applying for any of the first six funds must have the scholarship application signed by someone in his/her Financial Aid Office to verify financial need. Each applicant must also submit a creative essay; see blue scholarship application for specific details.  Completed scholarship applications and essays are due at the International Education Office by Monday, November 25. Last year more than 20 students received partial awards ranging from $500 to $3500. 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: Pre-Thanksgiving applications are encouraged; some first session classes generate wait lists. Deadlines are listed in the Calendar for Summer 2014.

    Program Costs

1) Full Six-Week Session with Weekend Trips* = $6,900.  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 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* = $3,900. Included are tuition costs for four semester hours of academic credit, etc. (see everything listed in first sentence in #1) plus 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. (see everything listed in first sentence in #1) plus costs for weekend excursions.
4) Round Trip Flight Estimates:  6 May departure = $1,300; 28 May departure = $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 2013. They may be revised if economic or political conditions change significantly. 


Nov. 25

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

Dec. 6

Acceptance letters mailed; scholarship winners notified

Jan. 8 Deadline for scholarship winners to accept or reject offers and pay deposits
Jan. 13 Deadline for deposits for others accepted in December
Jan 20

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

Feb. 3

Deadline for group flight payment (seats may be reserved from Dec.6)

Mar. 31

Half of remaining balance is due in Business Office

Apr. 28 Balance of account must be paid in full at Business Office
May 6 First-session group flights from Grand Rapids, etc., to Vienna
May 7

Arrival in Vienna for orientation and first-session classes

May 28 Second-session group flights from Grand Rapids, etc., 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 8 for scholarship winners, January 13 for all others accepted in December (or later for January applicants); $200 is nonrefundable. Half of remaining balance is due by 31 March 2014; final half is due by 28 April 2014. 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. 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.


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