Resident Director

Congratulations on having chosen the best German language program for US students going abroad!  Now featuring two countries within one program, BCA Marburg is poised to offer its students the best of both worlds: pre-semester intensive language training in the Austrian capital city of Vienna, and the regular semester in the heart of Germany, in a progressive and at the same time charming university town called Marburg.

Vienna will provide you with an important look into this – in the US classroom all too often overlooked – modern society with a truly fascinating history.  Did you know, for example, that Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt and Amadeus Mozart called Vienna their home?  And that Vienna is also home to organizations such as the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, World Vision, Doctors without Borders, Greenpeace and the World Peace Council?  Your time in Vienna is short, and it will fly by, as there is always something to do in Vienna. Whether you prefer strolling and taking in the magnificent architecture along the Wienzeile or the First District, visiting some of the world’s best art museums and opera houses, or if you just prefer exploring life as a contemporary student, your options are virtually endless.

Once you complete your language training, we’ll proceed together to Marburg, the ideal place for you to come and immerse in the language and culture of central Germany. With a student population of 23,000 and on average around only 100 U.S. students here at the Philipps University per semester, this location and its – for many American visitors surprisingly friendly – population will help you get acclimated to German student life quickly.

I will set up the basics for you (housing, health insurance, admission, orientation, language training enrollment, residency permit, etc.) prior to your arrival so that you are able to delve into pursuing your academic and personal goals without any red tape. Regardless of whether you come from a metropolitan area or a small town, Marburg will be a relatively easy adjustment since it is mid-sized (with a population of around 80,000). I myself grew up in a small Midwestern town and did not start learning German until I entered college, so I know well what adjustments and difficulties you will be going through. And though many students have passed through my doors since I came here in 2001, it is still a wonderful and amazing thing for me to watch my students grow during their time in Marburg.

In addition to having access to some really neat classes (I often find myself wishing I could take some of the University courses myself!), you will have the opportunity to see lots of important historical places both in and outside of Marburg. And we go to places together both on and off the beaten path, from major/capital cities like Berlin to tiny townships like Stadtallendorf; we even head to Verdun, France, in the fall semester to visit the World War I battlefields there that will bring the senseless suffering brought about by war a little closer to home.

So pack those bags and get ready for the biggest journey of your life, a journey not only to German speaking Europe, but to who you are in the process of becoming.

Nutze den Tag! (That’s “carpe diem” in German.)

Kristopher Riggs
BCA Director – Marburg

krisriggs november 2007