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In Profile: Group Study Visit  

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Check out this interview with Professor Joan Snitzer to learn more about Barnard College’s experience with the Group Study Visit program!

How did you learn about the Group Study Visit program? 

A professional colleague working as a curator at a Berlin cultural institution recommended the DAAD and the Group Study program.  

How many groups of students have you taken to Germany so far? 

I have traveled to Berlin with my colleague Professor John Miller and a group of student majors in art and art history every Spring Break in March since 2005. 

How do you plan your Group Study Visits? (to whom have you reached out, what people/organizations have been great resources for you, etc.)  

Our groups of 15 to 22 students (variable by year) are all approaching graduation and seriously thinking about their futures, both professionally and personally. Most of them are planning lives and careers in and around the professions of arts and culture. A few others are looking toward the scientific fields such as technology and medicine. Berlin has so much to offer young students: rich in history, architecture, art, music, and performance, the city also cultivates world leaders in scientific research and technology. We reach out to museums, institutions, universities, and artists to put together an enriching itinerary that balances student interests and inspires postgraduate careers outside of the US and in Germany. 

Could you give a brief description of your latest Group Study Visit – the goals, the groups, and the meetings? 

A very full one week itinerary was planned in advance, which included private museum tours with Berlin curators, seminars with university professors and scholars researching contemporary art, film, and theory, studio visits with mid-career and internationally renowned artists, and office visits with publishing houses and entrepreneurs. We attended the Philharmonic in the famous Philharmonic Hall. Together the activities aimed to show students what Germany could offer in terms of a balance in life, work, and study. 

How do you think the students you take on the Group Study Visit benefit from this experience? How have you benefited from planning the Group Study Visit? 

The Group Study Visit is a life-changing experience for our students. In many cases, the trip is able to provide the first opportunity for students to travel outside of the US. All students take a newfound understanding of German life and culture back home with them. Each year, a couple of students end up returning to Germany after the Group Study Visit, finding employment or enrolling in an academic program introduced to them on the trip. I have benefited from planning the Group Study Visit in being able to reconnect with old friends in Berlin and making new professional connections over the years. I also really enjoy spending this special time with my students, as it allows for many one-on-one conversations that are not possible in a traditional academic environment and schedule. Through these conversations and experiences, I have developed lifelong bonds with former students. 

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