New German Course about COVID-19 Includes a Trip Abroad

Thanks to recent DAAD and Fulbright grants, the Department of World Languages and Cultures is offering a unique course this fall semester comparing the responses to the global pandemic in Germany and the US. There are only 10 spots available in this cross-cultural experience and there are a few requirements to be eligible for selection:
  1. Participants must be a student at Iowa State University who currently places at the 200-level German class level and above.

  2. Participants must currently posses a valid US passport and be able to provide proof of full COVID vaccination status to be able to travel to and from the EU.

  3. Participants that are not U.S. nationals or permanent residents need to ensure, before travel, that they will be permitted to return to the United States based on their visa status.
Class time and dates: Fridays, 1-3 (10 Sept. to 29 Oct.)
Germany trip: 9-17 Oct.
Application deadline: 9/1/21

The US–German Virtual Exchange+ trip offers a unique, high-impact experience for students. The program features a 2-creditcourse, GER 490, titled “(Not So) New Normals: Global Life and Local Thought in Pandemic Times” taught by  William Carter, associate professor of German. The course will address how the United States and Germany dealt with and continue to deal with COVID-19 and its aftermath. We will investigate governmental responses on the national and local level and reactions by citizens to mitigation measures. Topics in our comparative study of these countries and their cultures will include: (dis)belief in science, civic duty, (dis)trust of government, health care, privacy, protest, security, technology.

Ahead of the Germany trip, students will interact online with peers from the partner universities: Wayne State University (Detroit), Ruhr West University of Applied Sciences (Mülheim), Harz University of Applied Sciences (Wernigerode). During the in-country experience, students will arrive in Düsseldorf and depart from Berlin. They will spend 1.5 days at both Ruhr West and Harz Universities interacting with peers from Wayne State and the German universities. The final days will include travel to Berlin to see cultural sights before departure.

Travel, housing, and some meals will be fully funded by a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) Grant. After returning to ISU, the course will conclude with students reflecting on the trip and their virtual and in-person exchanges discussing how the global pandemic changed the way we live, our interactions with others, and our visions for the future.

For more information on how to apply, please contact William Carter at