Winter School

Each year the first-year students of the master’s degree program ‘Studies in European Societies’ go to Germany to participate in a Winter School dedicated to the economical, political and social institutes of German society.
The first part of the School traditionally takes place in Bielefeld – a city that is considered to be one of the most significant centers for sociology. Such distinguished scientists as Niklas Luhmann and Norbert Elias were working here. The office of the key partner of our program, the Centre for German and European Studies, is also located in Bielefeld. Here, intensive German language courses are provided for students as well as a rich program, which includes introduction to Bielefeld University campus  and visits to different local organizations. The latter iclude Dr. Oetker, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)v. Bodelschwinghsche Stiftungen BethelChamber of Commerce, etc.
The location of the second part of the School varies from year to year. For example, in 2014 and 2015 the students went to Berlin, to get acquainted with different aspects of the political, social, historical and cultural city life. Since 2016 the second part of the School is located at the European Academy in Otzenhausen, where students get a chance to discuss political, economic, cultural, and social transformations of modern Europe with leading scientists and world experts. Moreover, guided tours to the most important organizations of the European Union and the Council of Europe together with trips to Luxembourg and Strasbourg are also included in the program.


Elena Frenklakh: “I was impressed by the amplitude of the ‘Betel’ activity. It is wonderful that we had a chance to visit the foundation museum and to know more about its work. Two weeks allowed us the time to become immersed into the German language at the Berlity school and to get acquainted with the university life. I recall a greatly equipped library and an enormous dining room. The visits to different organizations gave me a chance not only to communicate with its employees, but also to receive information about possible internships in the future. I liked most of all the meeting with the DAAD representative Thomas Prahl. We had a very positive and explicit talk”.


Margarita Osipova: “The Winter School just changed my attitude towards Germany, it’s social and political life! Now, I a, sincerely missing that time, Germany and realize how much this School gave to me. Intensive German language courses at Bielefeld University in a short period of time significantly improved my knowledge and skills. Seminars and workshops at the European Academy in Otzenhausen are structured in a way that you study by analyzing, thinking, comparing – every class is like a brainstorm! Meeting the representatives of political parties and DAAD workers, visits to the the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, Schengen village, broadcasting company WDR, main office of Dr. Oetker company, and Bethel medical center allowed to dip in German life and get to know the structure of political, social, and media institutions in Germany. I got a unique experience, a huge charge of energy and motivation for further studies!”



Olga Eremeeva: “The Winter School is not only an immersion into the language environment with highly-qualified tachers, who knows how to make classes exciting and inspiring! It is also an acquitance with the educational system and studying process in Germany, meetings with politicians and social activists with the possibility to discuss relevant problems of Germany and Europe. In our busy schedule, there was a time for an extensive cultural program. The Winter School helped to see Germany from different perspectives and to make myself sure that the choice of the master’s program was absolutely right”.


Valeria Erashova: “We came back to St. Petersburg filled up with new ideas! The experience that we received in frames of the school, will be very useful for our work on Master’s theses”.



Alesya Savchenko: “Winter school in Bielefeld will be remembered only by positive emotions! Rich study programme allowed to widen our horizons by including in the global educational context. After the School, I entirely changed my opinion about the German language and, one could say, fell in love with it!

We had tours to such organizations as the Council of Europe and the European Stability Mechanism. In our spare time, we had the opportunity to travel around Germany and neighbor countries. We agreed that it’s very interesting and informative to combine academic and entertaining activities. The School also triggered our group cohesion!”

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