Apply now for the program starting in June 2020.

Brothers Grimm Summer School

Brothers Grimm Summer School

The Summer Course in the Heart of Europe

The Brothers Grimm Summer School as part of the International Summer University at Kassel is a unique short term education program specially dedicated to international students. Every year about 50 participants take seminar classes in specially created modules, focusing on the main issues of the current globalization trends. 

All seminars will be taught by faculty members from the respective disciplines of the University of Kassel or experts from relevant institutions. Each seminar consists of 20 contact hours and is worth 3 credit points. 

The German Fairy Tale: Looking-glass of Society


Kassel may be called the home of the German fairy tale – Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm lived and worked here, the famous brothers whose fairy tale collection „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“ is up to today the most important and influential fairy tale collection in the world. They continue to inspire modern media as eg. Disney films. 

This seminar is an introduction to the foundations of critical theory in Fairy Tale Studies (in the historical and social context of the early 19th century), as well as an investigation of the Brothers Grimm and their impact on the development of the genre. Students will discover the international aspect of these regionally collected fairy tales with an in-depth look at the contribution of Kassel’s Dorothea Viehmann. Kassel offers students a unique opportunity to follow the traces of the brothers Grimm in the place where they collected the fairy tales. In addition to attending lectures, students will explore Kassel’s museums, libraries, parks and historical sights. Finally, students will experience how Kassel’s brand new Grimm museum (Grimmwelt) developed and continues to develop its exhibition concept. The seminar also deals with aspects of translation into English. The course is a cooperation with the „Grimmwelt“and will take place partly there.


  • The students will be acquainted with recent theories of Fairy Tale Studies. 
  • They will apply different methods of text analysis.
  • They will find out regional and international aspects of the works of the Brothers Grimm.


Matrerials will be provided during the course.

DOWNLOAD: Complete Course Outline - The German Fairy Tale: Looking-glass of Society

German History and Politics of the 20th Century


In this course, students will analyze the specifically German elements of 20th Century History. How was it possible that a “Kulturnation”, a people who brought forth outstanding results in music, philosophy, literature, and science, initiated the worst known crime in history, the Holocaust? Was there an especially German approach to dealing with the challenges of modern and post-modern societies? How were questions of gender inequality and racial minorities answered in 20th Century Germany? How did German identity develop, change, invent, and re-invent itself from 1871 to present? How did defeat in two world wars, division of the country into two hostile blocs, successful reunification of the two Germanies, integration into the European Union, and the pressures of global capitalism lead to the German nation as we experience it today?


  • The course will use a mixture of lecture and seminar-style method. Students will read primary and secondary sources. The content will be usually presented via power point presentation and class discussion. The class will explore historical sites in Kassel and will visit the former Nazi concentration camp in Breitenau.
  • The participants will gain insight into the significance of cultural and historical events in German history.
  • They will be able to exhibit awareness of cultural and historical differences between the culture of German-speaking countries and the student’s native culture.


Materials will be provided during the course.

DOWNLOAD: Complete Course Outline - German History and Politics of the 20th Century

In addition to the two seminars, you will also take part in the German language course.

German Language Course

German as a Foreign Language (40 hours)
Studying German in Germany and practicing your skills in everyday situations is a very effective way to improve your German.

The Summer School offers German language courses at three different levels - depending on the number of participants and their German language skills. Students will be assigned to the level that best fits their competence.

Our language courses are designed to fit the criteria of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (European Language Portfolio). The ISU program offers courses at the following levels: A1 (beginners) and, depending on the level of the participants, A2, B1, B2 and C1. The description explains which language skills you will have AFTER the course [... more Information].

The applied teaching and learning methods are based on a progressive and innovative concept which includes, among others, team work, games, and CALL (computer-aided language learning), etc. Students will study in small groups and in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

Our experienced teachers are carefully selected. They are especially qualified for teaching German as a foreign language.


According to their personal interest students are able to gain useful insights in the chosen field of study and improve their intercultural communication skills in a highly international learning environment.

The university program is combined with excursions to companies, historic places/towns near Kassel and several leisure time activities. All included in the program fee. Kassel's location in central Germany makes other destinations in Germany and Europe easily reachable within a few hours. A excursion to Berlin is optional.

In addition, students will be accommodated at a host family for the time of their stay. Due to this structure the program guarantees a broad and realistic impression of German culture, historical heritage and daily life in modern society.

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