Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions About The German/American Journalists Exchange Program

November 30, -0001 12:00

1. How do I get an application form?/ How do I apply?

To apply for the program, you must submit the required paperwork. See our RIAS program page for details.

2. Do I have to speak German?

No. There is no language requirement for the program, and you will not be disqualified for lack of German language skills. As with any foreign travel, some knowledge of the local language will help you, especially when you are out by yourself. However, most Germans speak English. Also, all official program appointments will be held in English or with a German/English interpreter.

3. What are you looking for in my news director's recommendation letter?

First, we are looking for your news director's support of your participation in the program. Second, we are looking for your news director's assessment of your professional qualities as a journalist and your commitment to the profession. As you progress through the application process, we will talk to your news director about these issues in addition to reading his or her written recommendation. If you are a news director applying for the program, a letter of recommendation should come from your general manager.

4. When can I expect to hear something?

Final decisions are rendered approximately four weeks after the application deadline.

5. Can I shoot stories on the trip?

The two-week core program is tightly scheduled. Usually a half-day is set aside in Berlin for shooting stand-ups. However, the extension program exists to give journalists more time to pursue individual stories.

6. How many people go on the trip?

The program typically involves 12 participants who represent a range of experience levels, market sizes and geographic locations.

7. What expenses are paid?

The following expenses paid by the program: round trip airfare from your home city to Germany; transfers during the program (usually by bus or plane); and hotel overnight charges. Participants are responsible for having an updated and valid passport, and will also be responsible for any telephone, laundry, airport parking and transfers from home to airport in the U.S. Many meals during the program will be provided by RIAS.

8. I work in local news and have never done an international story -- am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Most participants work in local news. This program exists to introduce journalists to Germany first-hand, particularly if they do not have the opportunity in their own work to cover Germany and Europe. Many past participants have subsequently discovered connections from their communities to Germany that they never knew existed.

9. What if I want to stay in Europe after the program?

Many participants stay longer in Germany or travel to other countries in Europe at their own expense after the program. Although spouses and families are not permitted on the program, they can join participants after the program is over for personal travel. If you are chosen for the program, further logistical details on this option will be provided to you.

10. What happens if I change jobs, or something prevents me from participating after I have been accepted?

Each applicant selected to participate must complete an agreement. The agreement states you will provide a written report (500 words) on the program, and that you are obligated for expenses incurred by the program in the event of a cancellation. You should strive to apply at a time that works with your newsroom and your schedule. In the event you absolutely must withdraw, notify our program director, and options can be discussed.

For More Information

Applications for the German Study program, entries for the annual awards program and radio/television production grant proposals may be sent to:

Jon Ebinger
RTDNF/RIAS Application
529 14th Street, NW
Suite 1240
Washington, DC 20045


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