Language & Thinking Program

August 12-13, 2017 - Arrivals
August 14-30, 2017 - Language & Thinking Program
August 31-September 1, 2017 - 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 all students enrolled in Bard Annandale’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 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. 

The Language & Thinking Program

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 not only with 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 forty 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: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" and Sophocles's Antigone. Both texts are available online. Other readings will come from an anthology that will be distributed on the first day of the program. The 2017 Table of Contents is available for download here.

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 meet usually three times daily for ninety 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.

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. A description of some past Special Events can be found here.

The Program for Language and Thinking 2017 can be found here