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Programs : Brochure

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Program Description:



  • 18 years of age or above
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
  • 2.5 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application review
  • Senior standing or above at the start of the program 
  • Applicants must be in the Department of Landscape Architecture and have received departmental approval to participate in this program

Program Description 

This program is facilitated by the Academy for international Education – Institute of Karlshochschule International University, or Akademie für internationale Bildung – Institut der Karlshochschule International University, (AiB) in Bonn, Germany. At the core of the semester is a design project in which students create a culturally sensitive, sustainable design for one or more sites in the city of Bonn or neighboring Cologne. Within that context, great emphasis is placed on embedding design work in the teaching and reflection of relevant local, German and European culture and (design) history, as well as German and European approaches to sustainability and social inclusivity in the landscape. This program offers Penn State Landscape Architecture students the opportunity to explore and study sustainable urban design and landscape architecture in Bonn, the modern and progressive environment of Germany’s former capital and NGO/United Nations hub. The program is enriched by several study tours in Germany and nearby countries as well as collaborative local and regional workshops. Students are encouraged to explore Europe on their own during weekends and the semester break. Collectively, these activities strengthen students’ design insights and skills and broaden their understanding of professional and cultural practices in socially diverse European contexts.

Special Projects & Highlights:
Photography Workshop
Under the guidance of their studio instructor and a photographer, students creatively engage with their design project by taking photos onsite that accentuate critical qualities of their space, and create an installation which they will then present to the community.

International Workshop
Students work with German (Architecture or Landscape Architecture) university students on design challenges in Bonn or Cologne. Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary and/or intercultural collaboration and communication of a variety of approaches to design.

Service-Learning & Community Involvement
Whenever possible, the design project is provided and supported by the City of Bonn’s Departments of Urban Planning and Open Spaces. Interaction with relevant local citizen groups, landscape architecture firms and other experts is built into the design process.

Community Service
Once every year, students are asked to engage with the local community on AIB’s “Community Service Day” by providing support along their expertise of landscaping/gardening/designing.

Study Tours
Several study tours allow students to explore European landscape architecture and urban design practices and representations of sustainable design practices.
Netherlands: multi-day study tour to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht and the coastline on sustainable contemporary urban design and coastal management.
Denmark: multi-day study tour exploring urban design, sustainable communities, and emerging design practices in the context of Danish history and contemporary culture.
Multiple Regional Study Tours, e.g. to: Major-specific or culture-focused study tours to Landschaftspark Nord, Zeche Zollverein, Düsseldorf, Aachen, the Ruhrgebiet, Cologne, etc., illustrating design practices and cultural/historic aspects of Germany and western Europe.


Fall: late August - mid December
Spring: mid January - early May

Refer to the program website for the specific dates, if available. 


The dynamic city of Bonn with its baroque buildings and century-old history is also a modern metropolis with a diverse international community. Bonn is also a college town, home to over 35,000 students from all over the world. Given the welcoming student atmosphere and the city’s international flair, it does not take long to feel right at home in Bonn and become acquainted with the city. AiB’s studios are perfectly situated: the historic core is less than 2 blocks away, the cherry-tree lined Altstadt neighborhood and its numerous cafés are just around the corner, and both the train station and the Rhine River promenade are within a short walk. Bonn is known for its very high quality of living and low crime rate: the richness of music, culture, science, business and nature as well as its location along the Rhine River make Bonn a hidden gem and a unique city in the heart of Europe. Bonn’s central location makes traveling especially convenient: an airport right outside of the city and two additional major airports within 2 hours, as well as Germany’s ultra-modern rail system, open doors to all of Europe.

Education Abroad in Countries with a Penn State Restricted Travel Designation

In order to comply with Penn State’s International Travel Policy, students interested in studying abroad in countries that Penn State has designated as “restricted” for travel, a petition for a waiver must be submitted. Once a petition is complete, and if the student is approved for study on the program in question, the student may be asked to meet with the Director of Education Abroad and the petition will be reviewed by the Penn State International Restricted Travel Committee (IRTC). The necessary petition will be included in the online application process for this program. To see if your program is taking place in a restricted travel country, please visit the Penn State Global website.


Available Fields of Study

Landscape Architecture

Course Listings

To find courses on the Dept LARCH: Bonn, AIB program, follow the instructions on the host program page.

To see what Penn State students have previously taken on this program, see the Historical Course List, which is meant to be a guide as to what courses might be available and how they might transfer to Penn State. Courses listed here may not be offered during the semester you attend the program and the credit amount or course title may have changed. 

Note: You are not limited to choosing classes on the program Historical Course List. You should consult the full list of courses on the host program page before choosing a program.

Course Selection

To find appropriate courses that will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
  • Research courses available on your program
  • Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements 
  • Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options
  • To register for courses on this program you will work with your host program
All students will enroll in the following 4 classes:
  • Independent International Studies Project (1 credit): Students develop a “Design Sketchbook” over the course of the semester, documenting design inspirations and introducing designs onsite during the program’s extended study tours.
  • Design Studio (5 credits): Students engage in analysis and design of one or more urban public spaces in Bonn or Cologne. Emphasis on culture-based and sustainable design as well as German/European urban context. (Interdisciplinary) workshops with German students. Cooperation with city administration. Guest lectures.
  • Seminar “Approaches to Sustainability in Germany” (3 credits): Study and on-site exploration of contemporary representations of sustainable landscape architecture, urban design and urban practices.
  • Seminar “German Language & Culture” (3 credits): Students learn basic, practical German language and gain insights into German culture, which supports them in their day-to-day life in Bonn.

Academic Policies

  • You must enroll in a minimum number of 12 credits and a maximum number of 12 credits 
  • You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
  • World Campus courses should not be taken in addition to or as a substitute for courses offered abroad
  • You may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad
  • If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation 

Course Equivalency Process

In order for courses from abroad to appear on your Penn State transcript, each course must be given a course equivalency. Please visit the Academics section of the Penn State Global website for information on the course equivalency process.  

Courses can be submitted for course equivalency before, during, or after the education abroad program, however, you should begin this process as soon as possible as it can take on average 2-4 months or more for courses to receive a Penn State course number. In some cases, it can be difficult to obtain syllabi from abroad before the start of the term, but when possible, courses can be submitted for review before departure. Talk to your Education Abroad Adviser about requesting syllabi.

Grade and Credit Conversion Scale

Grades and credit conversions from your host institution cannot be changed. They will be converted to Penn State credits and grades based on the following scales:
Grade Conversion Scale
Host Institution Grade Penn State Grade
 A A
 A- A-
 B+ B+
 B B
 B- B-
 C+ C+
 C C
 D D
 F F
Credit Conversion Scale
Host Institution Credit Penn State Credit
 3 Credits  3 Credits

Housing and Meals


Housing is guaranteed and included in the program. Students can select one of the following options:

Traditional Homestay

"Welcome to our family – make yourself at home!“ – Kind words like these shape students’ experience when entering a family’s home in Bonn. Living with a host family is a very important part of cross-cultural learning. The immediate, first-hand experience of family life in a different culture enables students to develop an enriching perspective on German traditions, cuisine, life style and society. At the end of a program, about 90% of students rate their homestay as an excellent or good experience. Thanks to their close relationship, most of them say they would like to come back to Bonn or they would be very happy to welcome their German hosts some day in America.

Usually, a traditional homestay includes being picked up by the host family at AIB on arrival day, a room of your own, daily breakfast and dinner, options to join family in free time activities, possibility to do laundry, a front door key, and access to WiFi. Numerous families provide two rooms for twin accommodation. On request, each student can be placed in a pet-free household or a smoke-free home. Many host families willingly prepare meals according to the student’s food allergies or special dietary needs. A limited number of homes are handicap-accessible. The hosts provide the student with bed sheets and towels. Needless to say, it is expected that the student keeps the room tidy and airs it regularly. Overnight visitors are only permitted at the host’s approval. In modern times, the concept of a traditional family has changed worldwide. Some host families fall in to the classic family model of father and mother with children while others consist of a remarried parent/single parent with kids, a couple without children, or sometimes a single mother with adult children/grandchildren.

Independent Homestay

An independent homestay provides independence in a social environment. Meals with the family are not included with this housing option. Students will be provided with a stipend to cover two meals per day and will be responsible for preparing their own meals and cleaning the kitchen afterwards.

Independent homestay includes being picked up by the host family at AIB on arrival day, a room of your own, shared or own bathroom, shared or own kitchen, options to get help from loose contact with hosts, laundry facilities, a front door key, and access to WiFi. Some families provide two rooms for twin accommodation (same gender). On request, each student can be placed in a pet-free household or a smoke-free home. The hosts provide the student with bed sheets and towels. Student are expected to keep their rooms clean. Overnight visitors are only permitted at the host’s approval.


A unique experience is to study abroad and share an apartment with other young German and/or international students. In German, this concept of a shared apartment is called a „Studentenwohngemeinschaft“ or, more simply, a WG. In most WGs, there is a set of "rules“ regarding purchasing common goods, cooking, and cleaning of common rooms that all members should respect. The best candidates for such a room should be ready to integrate and adjust as well as be flexible, tolerant, respectful, and social.

Independent housing is not permitted on this program. There will be no exceptions.


2 meals per day are provided with the traditional homestay. A stipend to cover 2 meals per day is provided to students who select an independent homestay or apartment.

Costs and Funding

Program Costs

Fall Costs
Spring Costs

The cost of a program is based on Penn State tuition rates and partner institution fees. Due to the variety of locations and partner institutions, costs will vary depending on the program. Education Abroad works closely with our partners to ensure the most accurate cost estimates, however, fees can change quickly and without prior notice. Consult the cost sheets for your chosen program often and if you have any questions please contact your Education Abroad Adviser


The Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Penn State Global. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.

Student Aid

Penn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid

Withdrawal & Refund Policy 

Withdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies

After Commitment

Once a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred. 

Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. Additional fees from the partner institution will be assessed according to their withdrawal and refund policies at the date of the withdrawal notice.

After the Start of the Program 

If a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.

For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.

Life Abroad

General Information 

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.


Penn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Penn State Global Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.

Gender and LGBTQA

There are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.

Race, Ethnicity, and Faith

When choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.

Non-U.S. Citizens

It is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.

Next Steps

Steps to Study Abroad

The planning stages outlined on the Penn State Global website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Penn State Global website. 

How to Apply

Click the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!

Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Penn State Global website. 


You must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Penn State Global website.

Contact Education Abroad 

If you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email

Peer Advisers

Education Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website. 

Education Abroad Advisers 

Education Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Penn State Global website

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For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Penn State Global Events Calendar and follow us on social media!

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2024 09/10/2023
Rolling Admission 01/09/2024 05/01/2024
NOTE: Start date marks arrival in host country. End date marks departure from program housing.
Fall 2024 03/01/2024
03/12/2024 08/26/2024 12/17/2024
NOTE: Start date marks arrival in host country. End date marks departure from program housing.
Spring 2025 09/10/2024 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed