How do I get to Ohio University

The semester abroad in Athens

Preparation and study abroad

The semester abroad takes place in the third semester, but the different semester times between Germany and the USA must be taken into account: If the lecture period in the winter semester in Germany extends from October to February, the equivalent semester in Ohio extends from August to December. After the end of the second semester in Germany at the beginning of July, students in the double degree course have relatively little time before the semester abroad starts. This means that homework from the second semester must be completed promptly and preparations made for the semester abroad.

One of the most important preparations is the Enrollment at Ohio University already in the first semester, during which the certificates and evidence are checked at the OU. Students then not only receive admission, but also the important document "DS 2019". This process sometimes extends until March. With the help of "DS 2019", students can then obtain a Visa appointment at the American Embassy Arrange and take advantage of this in Berlin, because a J1 visa is required for studying abroad. Another important preparation is finding a suitable one accommodationwhich should be tackled by January at the latest. The course organizer Rosanna Planer supports the students in all of these processes.

At the beginning of August, the students fly to the USA and initially go through two central introductory weeks - one for international students and one for graduate students. Then the actual study begins.

The course usually lasts from mid-August to mid-December. The American study system is very different from the German one, and students must be prepared for this: They only take a handful of seminars during the semester, but these take place several times a week and are largely associated with regular assignments. This means that texts are read every hour in these seminars and short response papers are written, which are then discussed in class. The final paper, i.e. homework, is submitted in the last week of the lecture period, i.e. not written during the semester break. This initially means a higher workload in the current semester than is the case in Germany - with good organization and structural work, however, it also leads to an enormous increase in the written and oral expression in the English language with a simultaneous great increase in knowledge.

When the semester is over in mid-December, students usually return to Germany on time for Christmas. It is possible to stay longer in Athens, this must be organized with the course coordinator Rosanna Planer as soon as possible. Back in Germany, the students can first take a short break from their semester abroad before finalizing their master's thesis proposal in February, which they have already started to work on in Athens. There is also an online Ohio University seminar from February to early May, which must be taken in order to earn enough credits for the double degree. As a rule, the thesis proposal is defended before the committee in March, then the work is written and finally defended in July. The deadlines of the Thesis and Dissertation Services (TAD) of Ohio University must be adhered to.


In detail, the students at Ohio University take the following courses:

(1) Intro to Graduate Studies (1 crh)

This is an introduction to Ohio University Graduate Studies that must be taken by all new students. It offers the opportunity to get to know all fellow students and faculty members and to learn about their research projects and interests.

(2) Thesis Proposal (1 crh)

Here, we work together with the Thesis Adviser within the framework of individual appointments with the aim of defining a master's thesis topic at the end of the semester abroad and starting the preparation of the thesis proposal.

(3) Communication Law (3 crh)

In this lecture, students get to know the case law system of the USA in a vivid way, including topics such as copyright, gossip, privacy and more. The exam consists of four short multiple choice exams and a final paper.

(4) Writing and Reporting (3 crh)

In this practical course, students train their skills and abilities in journalistic writing and working.

(5) Seminar in Mass Communication Theory (4 crh)

Processes, structures, functions and practices of mass communication are treated and discussed here against the background of relevant communication and media science theories.

(6) Qualitative Research in Journalism (4 crh)

Qualitative research methods and their application in the research field of journalism are dealt with in this seminar, with the focus on semiotics, rhetoric, metaphors and discourse analysis.


Students in the double degree course in Global Mass Communication not only receive a scholarship from the DAAD to cover living costs in the USA, but also a Tuition Waiver for tuition fees at Ohio University. These would normally be € 8,000 - € 9,000, but our students are waived these fees thanks to the longstanding partnership between the two universities. In return, this means that students at Ohio University and especially at the Scripps School of Journalism make a contribution to the academic output in addition to their studies. This happens as part of a research internship: At the beginning of the semester, students indicate their research interests and are assigned to a professor at the Scripps School accordingly. During the entire semester, you will work around 10 hours a week with the professor on current research topics. This not only gives students an insight into current research, but also serves to make important contacts and gain experience.


Living in Athens, Ohio

Athens is a small town made by Ohio University, however big, young and vibrant works. The campus stretches across the entire city center, while College Green connects the various institutes. The university also has a large sports center that students can use free of charge. Athens is located on the Hocking River, which stretches narrowly along the edge of the city and is ideal for jogging. In the city center, life pulsates on Court Street and Union Street: Here you will find numerous restaurants and shops, bars and pubs. In addition to chains such as Chipotle and burger shops, the Salaam and Casa Nueva restaurants are particularly popular with students for their local organic offerings.

The weekend is ideal for shopping for groceries, as the supermarkets are located a little outside the city center. There are Kroger, Walmart and other shops, but also Aldi. There is also the popular Farmer's Market, where local farmers sell their fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, bread and many other delicacies every Saturday. In Athens, great emphasis is placed on regional cultivation.

During the fall semester, find some Event highlights in Athens, which enable immersion in American culture: This includes, for example, Halloween with the famous Athens Block Party and a parade. In addition, the traditional Thanksgiving takes place in November, which Americans sometimes celebrate larger than Christmas. Here the students have a few days off and can at best experience the traditional festival with an American family. In addition to the classic turkey with stuffing and co. you can also enjoy pecan pie and other Thanksgiving traditions. In addition, the Homecoming Weekend takes place in Fall Semester, during which Alumni from Ohio University return to Athens and review their student days. There is also a large parade through the city and other events.

As a result, students can enjoy traditional and close-up experience of American culture. Even if the double degree does not leave much time for larger excursions, Athens offers ample opportunities in the College City Culture immerse yourself: football games, performances by the marching band, theater visits, parades, sporting events, concerts, trips to nearby wineries and farms, and walks in the area are just a few examples.


With the decision to spend a semester abroad, students consciously decide to immerse themselves in a foreign culture and to live in this culture for a certain period of time. It is important to be open to the foreign culture and not to underestimate how big the differences in lifestyles and attitudes can be. A culture shock is sometimes unavoidable and can have different degrees of severity. Basically, it is divided into the initial phase of euphoria, in which everything is new and exciting, which can be followed by a crisis with homesickness, disappointment, self-doubt and confusion. This phase is usually quickly replaced by getting closer to the new culture and finally by bicultural adaptation. The fifth phase can be the reverse culture shock when the students return to their home country.

In Athens, due to the cultural and social offerings, it is easy to cope with the negative sides of the culture shock productively. Sports, joint excursions, concerts and other active participation in the pulsating life of the city are the best medicine. Immersing and experiencing a new culture is a great opportunity to learn about yourself and the world.

Should students still not be well, there are free medical services for students in Athens. In addition, students are covered for all doctor visits in Athens through the DAAD health insurance, which they take out before the semester abroad.

A particularly active and independent attitude is expected from all students in the double degree course. It is particularly important to find out about conditions, dates, deadlines, requirements and costs early on and to take action. Since the students will have to do a lot with possible authorities, a certain amount of patience and perseverance are also required. There is a detailed information document for the double degree course. If this is read and followed regularly, the students are well prepared for the course and will master it successfully. Other important documents are the information paper for the master’s thesis and the study and examination regulations.


The Global Mass Communication master’s program is comparatively young. The small number of students makes it all the easier to network and benefit from the experiences of former students. There is a Facebook group for the course, and a newsletter is currently being planned. Every winter semester there is a large Skype session in which all current cohorts (in Leipzig: 1st FS Leipzig GMC students together with 3rd FS OU journalism students, in Athens: 3rd FS Leipzig GMC students together with 1. FS OU-Journalism students) are introduced to each other and can exchange contacts and experiences. In addition, the course coordinator Rosanna Planer is always available for questions about networking with previous cohorts.


For all questions about the semester abroad, the course coordinator Rosanna Planer is available at [email protected], by phone at 0341/9735724 or in a personal appointment.