Where do the best lessons in life come from? From Experience!
Experience is what the Transatlantic Outreach Program is all about. Since 2002, TOP has sought to find the best and most qualified social studies educators and give them the opportunity to experience Modern Germany in the most dramatic way possible: in person.
From Berlin to Frankfurt, from Stuttgart to Munich, from Hamburg to Kiel, from Dresden to Schwerin, and from Weimar to Leipzig, each corner of Germany is sampled through sight, sound, touch, and taste!
Study Tour FAQ
1. Am I Eligible to Apply?
Eligible applicants include the following from the United States and Canada: Social Studies teachers (grades K-12), Social Studies methods professors, curriculum coordinators, principals/assistant principals and applicable States’ Department of Education employees.
2. How do I apply?
The 2015 Study Tour application form will be made available in fall 2014.
3. When is the application deadline? How long must I wait to be notified?
The application deadline is typically in early February. Notification letters will be mailed 6-8 weeks later.
4. How much does the study tour cost?
TOP pays for most expenses through the support of its partners. TOP pays for most domestic and international transportation fees, hotel accommodation fees, two meals per day while abroad (usually breakfast and dinner), and any mandatory study tour related fees, such as museum entry fees, etc.
- TOP pays neither for domestic nor for international airline baggage fees when incurred.
- TOP does not pay for passport/visa renewal fees.
- TOP does not pay for expenses incurred during free time.
- TOP does not pay for incidental hotel expenses, including but not limited to long-distance telephone service, Internet service (WiFi), Pay-Per-View, laundry service, mini bar, etc.
Each participant will be provided with her or his own hotel room.
A refundable deposit is required upon acceptance. Deposit refund depends on the successful completion of the items listed in question 8 of this FAQ.
5. When do the study tours take place?
The study tours are two weeks in length and take place during the summer months. The specific tour dates are listed at the top of the application form. Applicants are encouraged to select as many of the applicable dates as possible.
6. Is knowledge of the German language a requirement?
Since TOP caters to American and Canadian educators of Social Studies, knowledge of the German language is NOT a requirement.
German language educators wanting to travel to Germany are encouraged to contact their nearest Goethe-Institut for scholarship opportunities:
7. How can I improve my chances of being selected?
Your application can be enhanced with the inclusion of a completed TOP Lesson Evaluation Form (provided below) after teaching at least one lesson from either the Let's Explore Modern Germany or Germany In Focus instructional strategy guides.
We ask that applicants document the workshops they have led on the résumé (CV) portion of their application form. One way to gain workshop leadership experience is by leading a TOP workshop.
The application review committee reads applicants’ essays very carefully. It is recommended that someone proofread your essays before submission. It is also recommended that you reference current events and your students as motivators for traveling to Germany. Finally, successful applicants are specific with regards to describing the follow-through of post-tour responsibilities.
8. What is the catch?
This is a study tour. In fact, there is not much free time during the two weeks abroad. We ask that all participants come willing to engage, to learn, and to be able to absorb a lot of information during a fun, yet mentally and sometimes physically intense two weeks in Germany.
Upon returning from Germany, each participant is required to 1) write a “unit of learning” consisting of one or more lessons and 2) conduct one TOP workshop at the local, district, state, regional, or national level. The “unit” may consist of any “Germany-related” lessons of your choosing.
Those participants who conduct a workshop as part of their study tour application (refer to question #7) must still complete one workshop following their return from Germany.
9. Just how "physically intense" are the study tours?
While groups travel long distances by plane, train, or bus, participants must often walk distances of several miles per day; for example, from a train station to a hotel or between scheduled events. Punctuality is paramount, so walking rather briskly is sometimes necessary.
Participants must also be responsible for their luggage at all times. This can be especially challenging when embarking/disembarking trains. Elevators and escalators are also not omnipresent, so navigating stairways with luggage can be problematic for even the most experienced travelers. In addition to walking, groups may take one (optional) bicycle tour. Alternative arrangements will be made for participants with disabilities.
The fickle nature of summer weather in Germany can pose unique challenges.
10. What will the travel itinerary look like?
The emphasis will be on modern German issues, relating especially to the political system, economy, culture, education, environmental sustainability, and corporate responsibility. Additional themes of note include the legacy of the Holocaust, German unification, and European integration.