DelVal students experience Berlin’s history and culture firsthand

Jul 16, 2013

DelVal group in Germany

The DelVal group in front of the Cecilienhof Palace. From left: Jordan Guber '15, Emily Cantlin '15, Maria Cramer '13, Samantha Scott '13, Jessica Hanner '15, Dr. David Snyder, and Dr. Jack Schmidt.

Delaware Valley College’s liberal arts department sent five students to Berlin for sixteen days this June as part of its summer study abroad program.

This summer, the program offered two courses, Introduction to Fine Arts, and U.S. Foreign Policy. Students had the option to take one or both and earn up to six credits.

Classes met individually at DelVal for two weeks prior to the trip. The two classes took part in joint tours and field trips to learn about the social, economic, political, and cultural heritage of Berlin. Students learned about Berlin’s key composers, artists, and architects and studied America’s complex relationship and foreign policy with Germany.

Participating this year were: Emily Cantlin ’15, an animal science major; Maria Cramer ’13, a horticulture major; Jordan Guber ’15, a food science major; Jessica Hanner ’15, conservation and wildlife management major; and Samantha Scott ’13, a business administration major. The group was accompanied by two DelVal faculty members who coordinate the program, Dr. David Snyder and Dr. Jack Schmidt.

“Students who see the work of artists and architects firsthand or who hear the work of the composer they’re studying performed live take a greater interest in the material,” said Dr. Snyder. “They bring a new level of enthusiasm to class in this setting and get more out of the experience. At DelVal, we want students to be exposed to the richness, diversity and complexity of human history so that they can be more aware of themselves and their roles in society.”

Students visited attractions including: the city where German composer Johann Sebastian Bach lived and two churches for which he worked, the world-famous Berlin Zoological Gardens, the German History Museum, the Jewish Museum, Berlin’s Holocaust memorial, a former concentration camp, the gardens and palaces of the Hohenzollern dynasty of Potsdam, and various art museums including the German National Museum of Art.

"Berlin became our classroom, it was really cool the way the course was set up,” said Guber. “Every day there was something relatable to one of the classes.”

Two of her favorite experiences from the trip were seeing an opera for the first time and seeing the Holocaust museum. She also enjoyed seeing the palaces of the people who once reigned over Berlin.

“The palaces were so immaculate,” said Guber.

She said she also enjoyed the chance to get to know her teachers on a more personal level.

Students are required to submit an application and a faculty recommendation to participate. Participants are selected based on academic achievement and personal qualities.

To learn more about the program contact Program Director Dr. Jack Schmidt at

The DelVal group tours the former air ministry
The DelVal groups tours the former Air Ministry, now the Finance Ministry.