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Green City: Sustainable Engineering and Full-Immersion German in Berlin
About this Program:
Green City is a joint foreign study program between the Department of German Studies and the Thayer School of Engineering that will be piloted in the spring 2022 (pending final approval). This program invites students to combine engineering coursework that focuses on "green" and sustainable engineering with a fast-track German course (GERM 2–3) that satisfies Dartmouth's foreign language requirement. It is also open to students who already have German language skills beyond the beginner's level. The program takes place in Berlin, Germany's self-proclaimed "capital of sustainability." It takes students to a full-immersion setting and cultural environment in which sustainability is a lived practice. The program structure is flexible, giving students options to customize their course choices in accordance with their D-plans.
Green and sustainable engineering is one of the most innovative and most pressing topics of our time. But how do you truly embrace sustainability? What does it mean to live sustainably on an every-day level? How might concepts of sustainability in action, and shared by many, alter the urban landscape of a city? Studying such questions from textbooks in a traditional classroom is one thing. Experiencing them in practice is another thing entirely and the most important learning objective of Green City.
Living with host families in Berlin, students will develop critical awareness of different sustainable lifestyles and come to critically reflect upon the ways in which they themselves interact with the environment. The program thus has three main goals: Green City not only seeks to impart concretely applicable skills in sustainable and environmental engineering as well as in the German language and culture to students; it also requires students to think about how their day-to-day experiences with sustainable living and their engineering knowledge are mediated by a foreign language and different cultural context. In this way, students will gain an expansive, historically rich, and culturally reflected understanding of sustainability that goes far beyond what can be learned in a traditional classroom.
In the engineering courses, students will acquire theoretical knowledge and applicable technological skills pertaining to sustainable design, environmental engineering, pollution prevention and remediation, alternative energy, greener engineering, and sustainable cities. As an example, among the objectives in ENGS 37 is for students to be able to design a filtration device that removes fine particles from a gas, while ENGS 45 includes the objective to teach students to document and quantify the several ways by which a large city depends upon and alters surrounding natural ecosystems.
In the German courses, students will acquire linguistic skills and intercultural competencies to communicate effectively in German, to analyze a wide range of literary and historical source materials, and to understand the historical and contemporary significance of Berlin as Germany's capital and cultural center. For instance, in GERM 2–3, students learn how to give reasons for their opinions and actions and how to describe events in the past, present, and future orally and in writing, whereas in GERM 40, students learn how to interpret different representations of Berlin in literature, architecture, and art as reflections of historical change.
Green City will bring engineering knowledge and German language and cultural skills into an ongoing dialogue. Engaging in this dialog, students will gain an increasingly complex understanding of sustainable living, sustainable urban design, and their own roles in—and impact on—the urban landscape through the contrastive foil of a different linguistic and cultural context.