This unique program in the heart of Germany combines language learning, an internship, and courses at a world renowned university. Students participating during the spring semester arrive in January and complete an internship at a financial institution while simultaneously enrolled in an intensive German language course. Students then take classes in the business faculty or other departments during the regular semester.
Situated on the Main River, Frankfurt is one of the largest cities in German, with a metro population of nearly 6 million. The European Central Bank, German Federal Bank, many commercial banks, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange are headquartered in the city, which was formerly the head office of the U.S. Army in Germany. Frankfurt is more than 1200 years old, and is one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, with numerous cultural festivals, museums, attractions, and sights spread throughout.
Did you know…?
Nicknamed “Bankfurt”, Frankfurt is home to the headquarters of many German and European financial institutions, including the European Central Bank. It is also the home of the university’s namesake and legendary writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, whose house can be visited in the center of the city.
Zyklon B, the deadly cyanide gas used during Nazi Germany rule, was invented by IG Farben, a German chemical company, in what is now a building on the Goethe University campus.
Contrary to popular belief, the Frankfurter was not invented in Frankfurt. It was invented in Vienna, Austria, by a butcher who emigrated from Frankfurt when he was a child.
The program at Goethe University is for Wharton students only.
Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0
Language Prerequisite: Successful completion and at least a grade of “B” of at least 4 semesters of college-level German for academic year participants (or 5 semesters for spring participants) prior to departure.
Language of Instruction
A full course load at Goethe University consists of 30 ECTS credits per semester. Generally, this is between 4 and 5 classes. Though the program is conducted with the business faculty, Penn students can select courses in most other bachelor’s studies disciplines with significant pre-requisites and exchange advisor approval. Penn students must maintain a full course load while abroad and may only enroll in courses at the undergraduate level. Due to conflicts between the US and German academic calendars, students cannot participate in only fall semester study abroad.
As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. For more information on Penn Abroad’s academic policies, click here.
Students are required to take examinations, complete papers, and fulfill all other requirements of their courses. The faculty at the Goethe University grade exchange students as they do their German counterparts. Students should keep syllabi, bibliographies, notes, corrected papers, and examinations for submission to Penn.
Grades are reported to Penn on the Goethe University scale and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
Goethe University Grade
1.0 – 1.3
1.7 – 2.0
All Penn students are required to attend the orientation activities organized by Goethe University prior to the start of each semester. More information on orientation activities can be found will be provided upon acceptance into the program.
Penn students are enrolled in an intensive German course during their pre-semester internship period at the Goethe Institute. This is located in central Frankfurt, a few kilometers south of the university.
Students may be selected to complete an internship at one of the financial institutions in Frankfurt during the pre-semester period. This is organized by the Goethe University Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
Students are encouraged to participate in field trips and excursions offered by the International Office. Student clubs also offer opportunities to explore the city and region.
The Faculty of Economics and Business Administration offer an optional buddy program. In addition, the International Office also has opportunities for a buddy program.
Penn students studying at Goethe University have access to a wide range of student activities and associations. More information can be found on the Student Groups website.
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.
During the pre-session/internship phase of the program, students live with host families in the surrounding area. All host families have been carefully screened by the University staff and every effort is made to place each student with a compatible host family.
Following the home stay, students may choose to live in either dormitories or private housing. The dormitories are co-educational and offer single en suite rooms. Blankets, pillows, sheets, towels, dishes, and utensils are not provided and must be brought or purchased. Students can eat meals in university cafeterias and restaurants with other German students. There are shared kitchens located on each floor of the dormitory, where students can prepare their own meals. Dormitories offer an excellent opportunity to meet and intermingle with local students. Private housing can be arranged with other German students throughout the city and while dishes, utensils, and other appliances are not provided, most German roommates are happy to share their kitchen supplies with their overseas roommates.
Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare. Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. For more on Penn Abroad’s financial policies, click here.
Financial Aid and Study Abroad
In most cases, financial aid applies to Penn-approved programs. Student Financial Services reviews program budget sheets each semester to determine how to appropriately adjust your aid package. For more information on how Financial Aid will work during your semester abroad, click here.
DAAD/German Academic Exchange Service Prizes and Scholarships: Prizes for stays of two to three months in Germany in conjunction with independent senior thesis research, language or other summer course at a German university, internship/practicum at a German institution or company. Scholarships for undergraduate semester or academic year abroad (four to ten months at a German university). Interested students should contact the appropriate Global Programs Manager in the Penn Abroad office.
For information on the Penn Abroad application process, click here.
To open an application or learn more about the program, please click here to schedule an appointment with a Penn Abroad Global Programs Manager.