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 and STEM 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!
How to Apply
Information regarding future study tours will be released by October 1, 2016.
The Study Tour FAQ below may answer some of your initial questions about our study tour opportunities. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions.
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 state Department of Education employees. TOP also welcomes applications from STEM educators who have the ability to integrate topics about modern Germany into their curriculum. (Instructional coaches and librarians are not eligible for any study tours.)
2. How do I apply?
Follow the instructions above: download the application form and use the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader software to open and complete the form.
3. When is the application deadline? How long must I wait to be notified?
The 2016 application packets must be postmarked on or before January 25, 2016. Applications will not be accepted by email or fax. Notification letters will be mailed by April 1 at the latest.
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, two meals per day while abroad (usually breakfast and dinner), and any mandatory study tour related fees, such as museum entry 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 incidental hotel costs, including but not limited to long-distance telephone service, Internet service (wi-fi), laundry service, mini bar etc.
Each participant will have his or her own hotel room.
A refundable deposit is required upon acceptance. The deposit amount for 2016 participants is $350.00 USD.
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 available dates as possible.
6. Is knowledge of the German language a requirement?
Since TOP caters to American and Canadian educators of social studies and STEM, 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 by completing a TOP lesson evaluation or leading a TOP workshop. Be sure to submit a completed TOP Lesson Evaluation Form after teaching at least one lesson from either the Let’s Explore Modern Germany or Germany in Focus instructional strategy guides. If you are leading a workshop you must submit workshop evaluation and attendance forms. Our TOP Toolkit for Professional Development is a useful resource for planning and leading a workshop about TOP teaching materials and study tours.
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, every participant is required to 1) author ‘something new’ such as 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 by May 1, 2017. The ‘unit’ may consist of any ‘Germany-related’ lessons of your choosing.
9. Just how "physically intense" are the study tours?
While groups travel long distances by plane, train, or bus, participants must sometimes walk distances of several miles per day. Punctuality is paramount, so walking briskly is sometimes necessary. Alternative arrangements will be made for participants with disabilities.
Participants are also 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.
The nature of summer weather in Germany, from hot to cold temperatures to frequent rain can sometimes pose unique challenges to some travelers.
10. What will the travel itinerary look like?
The emphasis will be on contemporary German issues relating especially to the political system, economy, culture, education, and environmental sustainability. Additional themes of note include the legacy of the Holocaust, German unification, and European integration. These study tours are designed to provide a comprehensive perspective of modern Germany.