Since 1951, Bethel College and the Bergische-Universität-Gesamthochschule-Wuppertal in Germany have maintained a student exchange program that permits two students from each of the institutions to spend an academic year at the other institution. It is one of the oldest exchange programs between an American college and a German university.
When begun in 1951, the program was affiliated with the Pädagogische-Hochschule in Wuppertal, which later became the Bergische-Universität. More than 150 students have gained firsthand experience in a different culture, built lifelong friendships and developed language proficiency, as they completed academic work at a foreign university.
The exchange program is administered by Merle Schlabaugh, Bethel adjunct professor of German, and Bettina Hofmann, a member of the English faculty in Wuppertal. Anyone desiring more information on the program should contact Professor Schlabaugh.
Friends of Bethel in Germany (Förderverein der Freunde des Bethel Colleges)
In recent years, German participants in the program and Bethel alumni in Germany founded the Förderverein der Freunde des Bethel Colleges (Friends of Bethel in Germany), to fellowship and especially support Bethel students studying in Wuppertal.
Anniversary celebrations have taken place in 1966, 1976 and 2001 to commemorate the program. Special 15th-, 25th- and 50th-anniversary documents record these observances and the history of the program.