Hessen International Winter Universities
Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts
Rheinstr. 23-25
65185  Wiesbaden
E-Mail: info[at]

General Information

Hessen? Hessen!

With six million inhabitants and about 21,000 square kilometers, Hessen is the fifth largest of the German federal states, situated right in the middle of Germany. Scenic landscapes, castles, medieval churches, picturesque half-timbered houses, impressive parks, as well as many sites of the German Fairy Tale Road shape the image of this state.

For quite some time, the amount of people from abroad who have settled here has been higher than average. Thus, a highly international atmosphere with a multicultural society is emerging.

Hessen has developed into Germany’s economic center and into one of the most dynamic regions of Europe. Hessen is an international financial and trading center with over 400 banks, the Stock Exchange, the German Federal Bank and the European Central Bank. It is the location of important industrial and technological sectors, a setting for many international fairs and art exhibitions (such as the documenta art exhibition in Kassel) and home of Frankfurt International Airport, the biggest in continental Europe.

Who can participate in the Hessen:IWU program?

The Hessen:IWU program is designed for students as well as for people working in the fields of Engineering, Business and Culture, who want to learn more about the German and European dimension of their respective subject and learn the German language or refresh their German by participating in an intensive language course. Depending on their language abilities, they can choose from different offers.

Study Program

Although all Hessen:IWUs have a common structure (study program, language courses, cultural program, credits), the content of the study program varies according to the profile of each university.


Hessen:IWU faculty consists of experts from the participating Hessen universities and their international partners with expertise in their respective fields. Therefore, we can guarantee the high quality of our study program in German as well as in English.

The German language courses will be taught by experienced teachers, who are specially qualified in teaching German as a foreign language.


Hessen:IWU classes will be taught in English and/or German.

Furthermore, the programs offer the opportunity of gaining German language skills in addition to the study program. Studying German in Germany and practicing these skills in everyday life is a very effective way to improve one's German. Hessen:IWUs offer German language classes at different levels. Participants will be assigned to the level that best fits your competence.

Hessen:IWU participants are usually very appreciative of the friendly and relaxed atmosphere in the language courses. Studying in small groups contributes to a very intensive setting for learning the foreign language.


The international nature of the programs is accentuated by awarding credits upon successful completion of the courses. The credits are based on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) which is applied by European institutions of higher education in order to facilitate the transfer of credits gained in certain study periods from one institution to another. Thus, after studying in Germany for four weeks, you have not only spent an exciting time in Germany, but have also earned credits that will transfer home and can contribute to your academic career at your home university.

Cultural Program and Leisure Time

Aside from the study program and language courses, there will be enough room for personal experiences, to get to know our state and, of course, to relax. All IWUs offer exciting excursions so that you will have the opportunity to see more of Hessen and Germany and to get to know the people, the cultural heritage and the beautiful landscape of this state.

In addition, going out in the evening to bars and cafés or going to the movies offers a good opportunity for practicing the language in an authentic setting! It is essential for the program that the participants come from various regions of the world. Through intercultural communication, all participants can learn a great deal about various cultures while improving their German language skills. 


You will find current information about the program fee and costs on the websites of the different programs. The program fee includes the basic offer of seminars in the study program, workshops, the German language course, excursions, accommodation (in some cases also meals), health insurance and study materials. Additional costs may arise through tickets for public transportation or a security deposit for keys. The local program coordinators will be happy to provide you with further information.

Personal aspect

At the IWU, you are more than just a number. A highly motivated team will take good care of you. Naturally you will be assisted with organizational questions as well as social matters. Reliable academic counseling during the IWU and advice about possible study opportunities in Hessen will also be available.

The intensive guidance ensures that your expectations will be met and that individual requests can be taken into consideration. The IWU team is accessible on a daily basis so that nobody will feel alone if there is a problem. 

Depending on the individual program, you will be accommodated in dormitories or host families that have been carefully selected by the IWU team.

How it all began and where we are now

The reason that the Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts established its short term programs was the continuously increasing number of Hessen students, who wanted to study abroad. Simultaneously, there were very few international students interested in studying in Hessen. After conducting research in order to find the reasons for this situation, it became obvious that attractive programs - namely short-term, intensive programs with academic relevance and the option of receiving credits - were missing. There had, of course, been traditional summer courses that concentrated on learning the German language and German studies. These programs still exist and are important - Hessen:IWUs, however, go far beyond this offer.

The Hessen:ISU - Network

Hessen:IWUs see themselves as academic and social networks. Aside from students, post-graduates, teachers, and researchers use the programs for exchanging ideas. In some cases, German and international faculty members even offer seminars together so that you can become acquainted with different viewpoints on certain issues.

Furthermore, the networking of the participating universities in Hessen plays a vital role, as only good cooperation can guarantee the success of this program.

Our program aims to motivate you to spend a longer period of time in Hessen and to perhaps continue your studies here or return to Hessen for your post-graduate studies. You can also decide to do an internship in one of the universities, various institutions, or in private enterprises after the end of the Hessen:ISU. In ideal cases, the program can even become an international internship or job market.

The Hessen:IWU Program has been initiated and is still supported by the Hessen State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts.