Individual study session during the Language and Thinking Program
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Language and Thinking Programm in German

Language and Thinking Program 

Arrivals may be affected by COVID-19. The College will be in contact to make arrangements.
  • August 9-10, 2020 – Orientation
  • August 11-26, 2020 – Language & Thinking Program
  • August 27-28, 2020 – Fall Semester Orientation

The Language and Thinking Program is the gateway to undergraduate education at Bard College Berlin. All BA students, Academy Year students, and students enrolled in Bard College’s Begin in Berlin program complete this introductory course during the three weeks prior to the official start of the fall semester. The Language and Thinking Program provides students with tools to write well at the university level, and to use writing as a resource throughout every stage of the learning process. The program seeks to unlock creativity, lift the pressures associated with academic work, and develop the skills needed for reading, understanding, and analyzing visual, literary, and philosophical material. The program also provides strategies for the later stages of the writing process, including revising, editing, and consulting with peers and instructors. 

Language and Thinking 2020

The theme of the Language and Thinking Program is “New Worlds/New Words.”

During the Language and Thinking Program, we’ll think about the words we speak and the places we inhabit, and how the two shape one another. We will think about what it means to be part of an international community, on campus and beyond, by exploring some of the cornerstones of social life: politics, art, and culture. We’ll hear many of the 40 or so languages spoken on campus, and we’ll see “new worlds” open up—in Berlin, online, and around the world in the stories and backgrounds of fellow classmates, and in the texts, films, and artworks we will engage with throughout the program.

Photo Gallery


In preparation for the program, incoming students are asked to read two works over the summer: Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and Sophocles’s Antigone. Both texts are readily available online. Students are welcome to read any English-language translation they can find of Antigone.
Other readings will come from an anthology that will be available in digital and print form. The anthology is very large, and students are asked to read only specific selections from the anthology for class each day. Below is a link to the Table of Contents of last year’s L&T anthology.

Instructors and Sessions

During the program students meet in small groups led by an instructor. Every group is different and incorporates specific readings from the anthology as well as other activities and excursions, but they all have the goal of introducing new ways of writing, thinking, and creating. One session might focus on creating a dialogue between two readings. In another session the goal might be to turn a philosophical essay into a play. Alternatively, a session might offer strategies for peer reviewing a short essay that another student wrote the previous night. 

Every session will include writing—a lot of writing! The program culminates in a final long essay, which is the first piece of work that forms part of the student’s academic record at Bard College Berlin. The program prepares students to write a college essay that is not only academic and rigorous but also creative and personally significant.

Completion of the program is a prerequisite for matriculation into the AY, Begin in Berlin, and BA programs.

Events and Excursions

The three weeks of the program will be filled with in-person and virtual excursions to museums and historic sites and with campus visits from noted artists, writers, and scholars.