Thursday, July 10, 2014

What do you need to do to go on a Transatlantic Outreach Program Study Tour?

I had applied at least three times and placed on a wait list twice.  The first feedback letter I got was a complete rejection, the second time around I got wait listed and asked to reapply the next year and to conduct a workshop, and this year I was wait listed again with the letter stating there were over 500 people who applied and I may request to have my existing application continued into next year.  Then in April, I got the phone call asking if I was still interested in the study tour.  I immediately said yes.  I must have been at the top of the wait list this year.

But what should applicants do to apply?  First off, go to this website and it has all the materials you need.  Look through the pages and the links to the left.  This page has the FAQs for the study tour.  You should get interested in Germany as a topic and as you become more comfortable with the topic, lead a workshop.  Goethe Institut has materials that you can acquire free of charge and distribute to your Social Studies colleagues in a workshop that should be about 2 hours in length.  You can work with your department or work with your district curriculum director if you want to present it at a larger scale.  You will document the date, time, and those in attendance at your workshop as well as a workshop evaluation form and you will mail the documentation to the Goethe Institut in Washington, D.C.  The materials are available for elementary/middle audiences as well as secondary audiences.  The materials can be used in part of a lesson you can teach in your classroom.  There is a form for lesson evaluation that you can send as well.

Another thing that TOP looks in for applicants is what would you do with the experiences on the study tour once you are back in your school.  You will write an essay stating this and how you will integrate Germany in your curriculum.

Other points that will be applied to your application is a letter of reference from an alumnus of a TOP study tour.  You are free to contact me when the time comes and I will write a letter of reference for you.  Also, they see if teachers have prior international travel experience.  In my group, almost everyone had international travel experience.  They want to work with people who are comfortable with traveling and not to slow the group down.

There are a couple of requirements that you must fulfill for the Goethe Institut.  This includes holding a two-hour workshop about the trip and Germany for your colleagues at the local, state, or national level within a year and to write a lesson plan by the first half of September.  Participants had to pay a $350 deposit prior to the tour.  To get it refunded, we have to fulfill these two requirements.  Also, if we fulfill the requirements, you may reapply for a tour in four years.

The application will be available in Fall 2014 for the summer of 2015.  There will be the option of 3 or 4 dates for you to note priority to take the tour.

There were almost 110 teachers selected this year in groups of about 15.  Each of the groups will have their own itinerary and no two groups will have the same experiences.

The underwriters for this study tour include the Federal Foreign Office, Deutsche Bank, Robert Bosch Stiftung, and Siemens.

If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact me at or call Goethe Institut in Washington, D.C. at 202-289-1200.

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