Germany Close Up

COJECO partners with Germany Close Up to bring Russian-speaking Jews ages 25 to 42 (exception for 2022) from all over North America on an 8 day educational program to Germany. Subsidized by the German government’s Transatlantic Program, Russian-speaking Jewish young adults have the opportunity to explore the past and present of Jewish life in Germany, and experience modern Germany first hand.

Program Dates: September 14 - September 21, 2022 Register by 6/18/2022 Application requirements below.

Program Mission and Background

The purpose of the program is to allow participants to gain their own perspective on Germany through a shared Jewish experience with fellow Russian-speaking Jews. (For program details and application please scroll down). Established in October 2007, Germany Close Up American Jews Meet Modern Germany is an initiative created to enrich transatlantic dialogue and provide Jewish-North American students and young professionals in their twenties and thirties with an opportunity to experience modern Germany up close and personally. A generous government scholarship (a part of the ERP Special Assets of the German Ministry for Economics and Technology) covers more than two thirds of participation costs, which leaves a participation fee of $890 per person. At the same time, Germany Close Up is an independent body working in partnership with COJECO on the organization and content of this program tailored for North American Russian-speaking Jewish participants.

FOCUS

The trips are designed to expose participants to a range of aspects that make up modern Germany, with both the past and present in focus. Every Germany Close Up trip includes a number of activities, tours, and meetings. All trips cover issues related to Germany's reflection on its past and its efforts to deal with the memory of the Holocaust and the Nazi horror up to this very day. They also consider Germany's transformation over the last decades into a modern, reunified, and democratic country in the heart of the European Union, home to the third-fastest growing Jewish community worldwide. Observing Shabbat and keeping a kosher diet are both possible on all Germany Close Up trips.

The 8-day program exposes participants to Berlin's multicultural life, allows them to visit sites such as a former concentration camp, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Jewish Museum in Berlin, and to experience other key historical sites and cultural venues. They will meet with German opinion-makers from the academic and political spheres, representatives of grass roots movements and the Jewish community, as well as German contemporaries. The role of Jewish voices in transatlantic relations will be explored as participants actively contribute to German-American dialogue.

THE PROGRAM WILL FOCUS ON THE FOLLOWING TOPICS:

  • Berlin and united Germany
  • Jewish Life in Berlin, past and present
  • The Holocaust and the Nazi Era (incl. a visit to a former Concentration Camp)
  • Transatlantic/German-American relations (incl. a meeting with officials of the German Federal Foreign Office)
  • Current German Politics
  • European Jewish Heritage
  • German-Israeli relations

PARTICIPATION FEE

The participation fee for this program is $890. This fee will be paid indirectly as a flight contribution. After being interviewed and accepted into the program, participants are expected to book their roundtrip airline ticket to Berlin with economy class and to provide proof of purchase to Germany Close Up. In most cases this expense will cover the $890 fee. If your air fare is lower than $890, the remainder is due to COJECO before the program begins. If your air fare is more than $890, you may be eligible for a flight reimbursement for the difference between $890 and your actual flight costs. Please note that only economy class tickets will be considered, no miles or points can be used towards tickets purchase. Reimbursements have a maximum cap:

  • For participants departing from the New York or Washington D.C. greater metropolitan areas the maximum reimbursement is $60.
  • For participants departing from anywhere else in the United States or Canada the maximum reimbursement is $210.

Please note that reimbursement will take place up to two months after the program’s conclusion.

Once you have been interviewed and accepted into the program, we encourage you to begin researching flights ASAP due to the maximum reimbursement levels and the rising cost of airfares as the trip dates near.

OTHER EXPENSES

Germany Close Up covers the following expenses in Germany: hotel accommodation in double rooms, most meals, transportation within Germany, admission fees and event tickets. The scholarship does not include tipping. Please keep in mind that you will need to pay around $75 extra for tips. Your participation in the program will require a $400 deposit you receive upon your return from the experience.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:

Please combine all of the below into ONE WORD DOCUMENT

  • A cover letter stating your interest in the program that also includes: your official First and Last Name (as it appears in your passport), DOB, Citizenship, email and phone#
  • 500 word essay about your interest in the program
  • A resume
  • One letter of recommendation

All materials to be emailed as one word document to alinab@cojeco.org by June 18, 2022
All eligible applicants will be interviewed to determine program acceptance. Interviews scheduled on rolling basis.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
  1. 1. Why do I have to pay a participation fee?

    Germany Close Up is largely funded by a grant from the German government’s Transatlantic Program, which draws on funds from the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. This grant covers around two thirds of the overall costs of each trip. The additional third of the program’s cost is covered by the participation fee.

    Germany Close Up is designed as an educational program, which aims to provide participants with a worthwhile learning experience. The funding provided by the German government is therefore effectively considered to be a scholarship, enabling participants to take part in the program.

  2. 2. Why do I have to buy my own flight ticket?

    Instead of asking you to pay the participation fee directly, we ask you to pay for your own flight ticket. After the end of the trip we reimburse you for your flight costs and subtract the participation fee from that amount.

    It also means that you can select flight times to fit with your own schedule and travel plans.

  3. 3. Why can I not use air miles or credit card points to pay for my flight?

    Strictly speaking, you may use air miles or credit card points to pay for your flight if you wish. We do, however, advise against it. When we account whether the participation fee has been fully covered by the cost of your flight, we can only take into consideration actual costs incurred. This means that if you pay nothing or very little for your flight, you are expected to pay us the difference between this cost and the participation fee. The money you save on your flight ticket by using miles or points, therefore, you will most likely end up having to pay to us as your participation fee.

  4. 4. What information does my flight proof need to contain?

    We will ask you to send your flight proof before the start of the program. This is mostly to ensure that we know your correct arrival date and time, and can plan your hotel accommodation accordingly.

    After the trip, we use these proofs to calculate your reimbursement and as proof that you have paid your participation fee. It is therefore essential that the proof you send us outlines not only your route and dates of travel, but also the amount you paid for your flight. As these proofs are used to account for our program expenses, it is also essential that your proof be an official document, such as an e-ticket or travel agent receipt. Your proof should also show your name, so that we can link it to your person.

  5. 5. When and how will I be reimbursed?

    Reimbursement takes place up to two months after the end of the trip. We ask all participants to complete two evaluation forms. The first of these is completed on the last day of the program. The second form will be sent to you via email approximately two weeks after the program has concluded. Once all of the trip participants have submitted both evaluation forms, COJECO will send reimbursements to participants as individual checks.

  6. 6. Will I be reimbursed for my flight if I stay longer than the dates of the program or if I make a stopover in another European city?

    If you plan to travel in Europe before or after your program, please contact us. We can advise you on how to plan your trip so that you are still eligible for your reimbursement.

    If you arrive in Europe up to one month prior to the program or stay on for up to one month afterwards, your flight ticket will still be eligible for reimbursement, as long as the stopover points are regular stopover points on the route between the United States and Berlin (e.g. London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels). If you plan to visit other European cities, please check with our office before booking your flight. Please also keep in mind that we can only reimburse you up the flight cost limit designated for your region in the United States. All additional costs that you incur by booking your flight through different cities are your own personal responsibility.

  7. 7. If I book a flight from the United States to a city outside of Berlin and then take the train from there to Berlin, will my train ride also be reimbursed?

    Yes, but only within the limit of the flight costs for your region in the US.

  8. 8. Can I come on a Germany Close Up trip if I keep kosher and shomer Shabbat?

    It is possible on all our trips to keep kosher and shomer Shabbat. If we schedule a lunch or dinner with the group in a non-kosher restaurant, a kosher caterer will provide you with kosher food.

    For our shomer Shabbat participants we schedule an optional program on Saturdays and provide at least one programming option within walking distance from the hotel. There are also several synagogues of different denominations within walking distance. All food on this day is preordered and not paid for on Shabbat. The hotel has regular keys for the room doors and can accommodate participants who do not use electricity.

  9. 9. Which hotel will I be staying at?

    For most of our trips we use a hotel that is located in central Berlin, Hotel Augustinenhof.

  10. 10. Do I have to pay for the hotel myself if I arrive early or depart late?

    In general, Germany Close Up only covers accommodation costs during the official program. To accommodate your travel plans, however, we will also cover the cost of a single night of accommodation before the official start of the program. If you arrive earlier than one day before the start of the program, you will be expected to cover your accommodation costs yourself. If you stay on after the official program departure day you will also be expected to cover these accommodation costs yourself.

  11. 11. Can I stay in a single room?

    Germany Close Up provides accommodation in double rooms. If you wish to stay in a single room please check with our office in advance. We make our group bookings well in advance and cannot guarantee that additional rooms will be available at short notice. Especially during the summer months the hotel tends to be fully booked. If a single room is available for you, we ask that you pay the difference between a single and a double room. Currently, this difference is €41/night. We request that you pay this difference on the first night of the program to one of your group guides, who will issue you with a receipt. Please make sure you have enough euros with you upon your arrival in Berlin to cover this expense.

  12. 12. Who are the group guides?

    Each group is accompanied by two Germany Close Up guides and two COJECO staff for the entire duration of the program. Your guides will lead certain portions of the program, they will help answer any questions you might have, and also to help you find the way to all of your meetings and program points.

For more information

or if you have any questions, please e-mail
us at:

alinab@cojeco.org