GERM 305 – Traces of Empire

Four credits
Four weeks in Graz and Vienna (Austria)
Professor Debra Prager

Traces of Empire is a German language immersion course based in Graz, Austria. Students will live with host families, build their German communication skills, learn about Austrian student and family life, and study the legacy of Austria's past as the powerful, multi-national Austro-Hungarian Empire. The course will examine the traces of that past and its impact on contemporary Austria's politics and its multi-ethnic, multi-cultural identity.

Why Graz?
You will feel at home in no time. With its manageable size (pop. 330,000), 8 colleges and universities, and stunning natural surroundings, Graz is the ideal city in which to immerse yourself in German language and Austrian culture and lifestyle. Graz is the capital of the federal state of Steiermark (Styria), a region known as Austria's "green heart" and Austria's second largest city. It is off the well-worn tourist track, which means that you will be speaking German outside of class, and by the end of the first week, easily able to get to the Uni and home again to your host family by bus and tram. By the time you leave, you will have discovered a favorite Studentenlokal, café, club, bakery, farmers' market, museum, park, and Gelato store. Graz is a stylish city with a Mediterranean feel that melds the contemporary with traditional: it was named a European Capital of Culture, appointed as a UNESCO City of Design, and its Renaissance Altstadt is a World Cultural Heritage Site for its historic city center.

The course begins in Vienna and from there we travel by train to Graz. Each student will live with an Austrian host family, where they can practice their German and discuss their day over breakfast and dinner. Morning classes are at the University of Graz; afternoons will be devoted to discussions, workshops, and excursions. We will explore the ways in which a powerful cultural conservativism still shapes modern Austrian identity and the multi-cultural present intersects with and diverges from the multi-national past. In keeping with the modern-meets-tradition theme, we will visit castles, raise the maypole in a Styrian village, and visit farms and vineyards where the focus is on both sustainability and international export. Students will also work with our Austrian TA to discover more about student life and Austrian politics and society. We return to Vienna for 5 days at the half-way point, where we will examine the political, cultural, and social "traces" of the multi-national and multicultural Habsburg empire; and close the course with a hike in the Alps and an overnight in an alpine lodge.

Excursions include 5 days in Vienna and a Wanderung in the Alps with an overnight in an alpine lodge.

Prerequisite: GERM 262 or equivalent.

Program fee (Paid to W&L): $3,854
Includes programming, room, and fees. Breakfast will be included every day, as well as most dinners.

Additional costs:  airfare, ground transportation (bus from Graz to Vienna; taxi from Vienna airport to hotel), books, some lunches, cell phone, spending money, homestay gift, COVID-19 testing, passport, and visa fees (if applicable).

For further details, please contact Professor Prager at (

Please click the "Start New Application" button to start an application. Please click the "Resume Application" button to access an application you've already started. Please do not open multiple applications for the same program. 


 Applications open October 6th, 2022