As if painted in watercolors, bright stone buidings ring a traditional cobblestone town square to make up the center of Landau's pedestrian mall. From here ancient streets radiate outward, lined with bakeries, coffeehouses, and stores selling everything from classical music to the latest fashions.

The town itself is surrounded on all sides by vineyards in a region of southwestern Germany known locally as the South German Wine Road. Tours take the curious out to see the fine points of winemaking on site. A few minutes beyond the vineyards steep forested hills rise up, with many an ancient castle in view, including the fortress Trifels, in which the English king Richard Lionheart was held for ransom at the end of the 12th century. The neighboring forests are the perfect place for excursions to hike, bike, and explore.

At the western edge of Germany, Landau is located less than a half hour's drive from France, where an American can now go for a meal or for shopping without even having to show a passport at the border.

LANDAU: A small university in Germany.

Germany has many world-famous universities, some centuries old. But most of the best known, such as Heidelberg, Freiburg, and Göttingen, have around 30,000 students.

Landau, on the other hand, has but 4,000, making it as close a match to the small liberal arts college as you're likely to find among the top tier of Germany's institutions of higher learning. Landau (properly, the Landau branch of the Universität Koblenz-Landau) is also one of Germany's youngest, having attained university status in 1990.

WHEN WOULD I GO?

The Landau exchange is designed for Coe students in their junior year. The German academic calendar is significantly different from those of American colleges. The first semester begins in October and ends in February. The second semester begins in April and ends in July. Coe students may study for one semester or both. If you choose to spend only one semester, the second semester will likely coordinate better. In the six weeks between the end of J-term and the beginning of Landau's semester you may want to travel in Germany or take an intensive language course at one of Germany's many language institutes.

WHAT WOULD I STUDY?

Landau's largest programs are in Teacher Education and Psychology, but you may take courses there in a wide range of subjects from German Literature to History to Biology to Business and beyond. The university offers a few courses in English but the great majority are in German, thus making proficiency in the language before you go absolutely essential.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

You will pay your normal tuition to Coe, housing to the University of Landau, and get meals on your own. Housing costs are about the same as here, food a little less. You are also responsible for purchasing books, health insurance, and travel.

HOW DO I APPLY?

Informational sessions are held early each fall. At your first opportunity, pay a visit to the program advisor. At the beginning of your sophomore year, pick up an application for off-campus study from the Off-Campus Study Advisor. Read the fine print carefully, as the application will in many cases be due more than a year before your departure.

To learn more:

Contact the program advisor for the Coe/Landau exchange:

John Chaimov

Assistant Professor of German

Hickok 203A

399-8594

jchaimov(at)coe(dot)edu