Language and Thinking Programm in German

Language and Thinking Program 

  • August 12, 2018 – Arrivals
  • August 13–29, 2018 – Language and Thinking Program
  • August 30 – September 1, 2018 – Orientation (required of all L&T participants)

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 2018

The theme of the Language and Thinking Program is “Finding Your Way in the World.”

We will begin to find our way through the city of Berlin, becoming familiar with not only its streets but also its history and its place on the world stage. We will think about what it means to find one’s way in the world, as part of an international community on campus and beyond, by exploring some of the cornerstones of social life: politics, art, culture. We’ll hear many of the 40 or so languages spoken on campus, read texts and watch films that span the globe, and discover the ways that the liberal arts help us to understand ourselves, our communities, and our roles as global citizens.  


In preparation for the program, incoming students are asked to read two works over the summer. The first is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. There are several versions of the text, so it is important to get the right one. Students should read the original 1818 version, published by Penguin Classics. The ISBN is 978-0143131847. Anyone who has difficulties acquiring the right edition over the summer can find an online version of the 1818 text to read for free. However, a paper copy is necessary for class. The second assignment is Sophocles’s Antigone. Students are welcome to read any English-language translation they can find. A paper copy is necessary for class.

Other readings will come from an anthology that will be distributed on the first day of the program. The anthology is very large, and students are asked to read only specific selections from the anthology for class each day.

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 Berlin excursions, but they all have the goal of introducing new ways of writing, thinking, and creating. Groups usually meet three times daily for 90 minutes. 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 excursions to museums and historic sites and with campus visits from noted artists, writers, and scholars. 

Language and Thinking 2018 Program