AAU VIRTUAL SUMMER SCHOOLS 2020 - combining the best of virtual education and a real study abroad experience!

General Information


The AAU Virtual Summer Schools 2020 form a part of AAU's learning hub and add to our broad offer of Study Abroad and Special Programs. We are adapting to current global challenges and considering existing travel restrictions while catering to students' minds and hearts which are set on continuing to explore the world while deepening their academic and personal skills. Therefore every AAU Virtual Summer School offers students the following:

  • A two-week program featuring topics which – while taught virtually – could not be more hands-on and genuinely Prague-unique.
  • 3 U.S./6 ECTS transferable credits
  • Synchronous and asynchronous teaching methodology developed by AAU's Virtual Task Force underlining authenticity, simplicity and flexibility and taking into account world time zones.
  • Virtual tours, excursions, debates, interviews, movies and concerts while sharing a virtual classroom with peers from all over the world. 

Join us in Prague from home!

The Threshold of Leadership: Czech Dissidents and Heroes

Instructor: Dr. Joshua Hayden
Date: July 20–31, 2020





If you want to study the practice of courageous leadership there is no better place to go than Prague, Czech Republic. The people here have had to endure the direct turmoil of two of the 20th Century’s two most infamous tyrants: Hitler and Stalin. This was the capital of an empire, a democracy, under a totalitarian regime and back to democracy. In the midst of dark and challenging times, leaders in Prague have mobilized others to live by their principles, to live in truth even if it means risking their lives and families.
Leadership is a relational activity, not a position. It is complex and often messy. The best way to study leadership is to examine the lives of leaders: the decisions they made, the strategies they formed, the people they collaborated with, the times that shaped them. In this course we go in depth into the lives of five inspiring but imperfect leaders that shaped their times in Prague: Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (founder of Czechoslovakia), Františka Plamínková (women’s suffrage), Milada Horáková (political resistance), Jan Palach (symbolic radical protest), and Václav Havel (artist, dissident, President). We will “go” to places in Prague where they lead and will draw on classic leadership texts, biographies, writings, and art to draw implications for our own lives, our communities, and our world.


Core Topics

  1. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk: Leadership and Myth
  2. Františka Plamínková: Transformational Leadership Across Boundaries
  3. Milada Horáková: Leadership in the Crucible
  4. Jan Palach: The Leader as a Sacrifice
  5. Václav Havel: The Leader as Carbon

Course learning outcomes

At the end of this course students will be able to:
  1. Describe the historical context of each leader, including the social, political, economic and cultural environment and pressures that shaped the unique situations in which they exercised responsibility;
  2. Interpret leadership lessons through the reciprocal relationship between leaders and followers;
  3. Analyze the dynamics of social change by zooming in on the decisions, symbolic actions, perspectives, and tactics of leaders and collaborators within their context.
  4. Apply a robust and thoughtful understanding of leadership through the lives of leaders to current leadership issues;
  5. Discover our own values and principles through the human stories of these individuals;
  6. Compare and contrast Czech dissidents and heroes related to their contexts, aims, and outcomes;


About the lecturer


Josh Hayden earned his doctorate in higher education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University in the U.S. and has published and taught in the field of leadership students for the past ten years. His research interests are Václav Havel's moral leadership, leadership ethics and change, self-awareness, and adaptive leadership theory and practice. Josh led the Quality Enhancement Plan on Scholarship, Learning and Academic Mentoring at Cumberland University and built executive education leadership programs at Lipscomb University, both in Nashville, Tennessee. He has worked with community, educational and organizational leaders in Haiti, India, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Brazil. His wife and 4 children love the outdoors, the arts, sports, traveling, and he plays the banjo. 

The Power of Music: A Musical Tour of Prague Through History

Instructor: Dr. Mark Samples
Date: July 6–17, 2020





This course explores the rich musical heritage of Central Europe through the lens of one of its great musical cities: Prague. The course aims to enhance your understanding and appreciation of the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Bedřich Smetana, and Antonín Dvořák. Each composer had a distinct connection to the city: Mozart was its cherished genius, Beethoven an international star supported by the Czech Lobkowitz family, Smetana its most beloved national son, and Dvořák its great international export. Through an exploration of the lives and work of these composers, we will also come to understand something of the musical biography of Prague itself. The course will culminate in a close look at Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni, and Smetana’s symphonic poem Vltava (“The Moldau”), from Ma vlast. Students will review performances of these works, investigate their premieres and reception histories, and use knowledge learned in the course to form critical judgments about the compositions. No previous musical experience is required. 

Core Topics

  1. Rights, Genius, Identity: Music in Prague During the Enlightenment and Romantic Eras
  2. “My Praguers Understand Me!”: Mozart’s Special Connection to Prague
  3. The Prague-Vienna Connection: Beethoven at 250
  4. Czech National Monuments: Smetana and Dvořák
  5. A Musical Evening in Prague: Don Giovanni and Vltava

Course learning outcomes

At the end of this course students will be able to:
  1. Recognize and discuss key historical, cultural, and musical events and figures of Enlightenment and Romantic Prague;
  2. Discuss the connections between music and the other arts (visual arts, architecture, literature, etc.);
  3. Define and utilize appropriate musical concepts and terms when discussing and writing about music;
  4. Analyze the characteristics of significant styles and genres employed by Mozart, Beethoven, Smetana, and Dvořák;
  5. Review and critique a performance of a musical work using musicological methods.


About the lecturer

Musicologist Mark C. Samples received his Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Oregon, where his dissertation, „A Package Deal: Branding, Technology, and Advertising in Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries,“ earned him the University Outstanding Scholar in Music award in 2011. 
Dr. Samples has taught courses in a wide range of academic music topics, from Western classical music to popular music, film music, jazz, and the music of the world. In each course, the goal of learning is to go beyond dates and facts to experience a deeper working knowledge of genres and histories, ultimately leading to a richer ability to make and listen to music. Dr. Samples also occasionally teaches courses on special topics, such as Romanticism, 20th-century music, and arts and entrepreneurship. 
Outside of the classroom, Dr. Samples creates arts entrepreneurship tools and training for student and professional musicians. His workshop, “Branding for Musicians,” helps musicians to understand their core identities and tell their stories so that they can get back to what they love: making music. He has given his workshops in numerous venues, including the Southern Methodist University Meadows School for the Arts, the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, and the national meeting of the Music Teachers National Association. 

The Jewish Summer Experience: an exploration of Jewish contributions to the foundations of European values through the lens of art, architecture, and film studies

Instructor: Joseph Weintraub, M.A.
Date: July 6–17, 2020




This course investigates the history and experiences of European Jewry in an enriching summer-course experience. We will compare the cultural heritage, religious life, political situation, identity formation and self-understanding of Jews in Europe starting in the 9th Century through today.  We will spend considerable time in the following time periods: before, during and after the breakdown of Austria-Hungary, the Second World War and the Communist Era. This history course will examine the experiences of Jews throughout Europe: from Spain to Germany in the West to Russia, Hungary and Ukraine in the East and everything in between. In this broad survey, we will pay specific attention to gender and class analysis in our approach to this material. In addition, together, we will explore the complicated history of anti-Semitism as it affected Jewish life in Central Europe as well as the numerous ways Jews flourished in Central Europe as they worked with other fringe ethnic groups.

Core Topics

  1. The Expansion and Compression of a Jewish Prague / Educational Excursion: Synagogues of Prague
  2. Rabbi Loew ben Bezalel: the Ghettos and the Golems / Educational Excursion: the Ancient Jewish Cemetery in Prague 
  3. The Green City of Pilsen: Art, War, and Architecture / Educational Excursion: The Great Synagogue of Pilsen
  4. Remembrance: the 20th Century of Persecution,  Survival, and Stories / Educational Excursion: Terezin Concentration Camp
  5. Jewish European Cinema and the Urgency for Expression / Educational Excursion: Barrandov Studios and Films Sites of Prague

Course learning outcomes

At the end of this course students will be able to:
  1. Outline and explain the history of Jews in Europe from their arrival to today;
  2. Analyze and access primary documentation about Jewish Life in Europe;
  3. Identify the main obstacles to and primary contributions of Jews in Europe through art, achritecture, music, and cinema;
  4. Name and describe major figures, events and movements;
  5. Creatively capture course content in an intellectual final project.


About the lecturer


Joseph Weintraub has been living in Prague for several years, teaching a variety of subjects from business to politics to humanities. His academic background is in Linguistics. He also works in the film industry as a Dialogue Coach, actor, and producer.


The AAU Virtual Summer Schools are offered to all college and university students, interested in a virtual study abroad program with academic credits and to everybody who just wants to gain some more personal knowledge.  No further admission requirements apply.


High School student who want to get a taste of AAU education are welcome to take the non-credit option of any summer school and then decide whether to convert it into a credit course when enrolling for a degree program at AAU later on.


Program fee 

800 USD for credit version (3 U.S. / 6 ECTS) / Summer School

400 USD for non-credit version / Summer School


Application procedure 

Please fill in the application form HERE

Upon submission of your program application, you will receive a participation confirmation and payment instructions.


Application deadline 

June 30, 2020


Refund policy 

The Program fee is not refundable, unless the program is cancelled by the university. 











Program Manager: Marie Burda
Email: marie.burda@aauni.edu