BRUCHSAL, Germany — International University is a small college in southwest Germany, but its students don’t have to speak German to understand the lectures or find their way around campus.

Everyone at the small college speaks English. In fact, it’s a prerequisite to enrolling in the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs.

The school east of Karlsruhe opened in 1998 with the aim of offering degree programs in English in a format found at American colleges.

“It is not much unlike an East Coast college in the United States,” said Dr. Jens Heise, the university’s marketing director. “That was the model they followed.”

Colleges such as International University make up a small but growing number of international schools that offer degree programs in English and are within a short drive of U.S. military bases in Europe.

Many have campus housing, giving college-age dependents of parents stationed in Europe a chance to study abroad and — in some cases — still get their laundry done at mom and dad’s on the weekend.

Schiller University is a private American university that has eight campuses in six countries. The school is based in Florida, but has campuses in such towns as Heidelberg, London, Paris and Madrid. The courses are in English and many of the professors are from the United States.

Thomas Leibrecht, whose father founded the university in Germany in 1964, said Schiller has always had a close relationship with U.S. servicemembers who want to get an undergraduate or graduate degree and with students who have parents stationed at U.S. bases in Europe.

The university’s campus in Germany is located in an art nouveau villa in a quiet residential area of Heidelberg. The campus — which includes a library, dormitories and classrooms — is listed as a historical monument.

At 7,400 euros (about $9,400) a semester, the school isn’t cheap. But students can transfer to any of the other campuses without losing any credits.

While the European-based schools are much smaller than state colleges in the United States, they offer Americans something U.S.-based campuses do not: a chance to take courses in English in the middle of a foreign country.

International University in Germany, or IU, is on a former German army base in an area best known for its asparagus production. The turn-of-the-century buildings were refurbished to accommodate classrooms and student housing. The school’s small library once was the barracks.

While the students come from countries across the globe, the lectures are in English and a good SAT score is required. Only a handful of the 130 students are American, but the school has what it calls a cheerleading squad and often hosts barbecues for students. With such a small number of students, classes are small and students get a lot of individual attention.

“It’s a very family-like atmosphere,” admission officer Antje Michalski said.

Brigitt Roveti, 18, of Baltimore, Md., said students get to know other students from other countries really well because of the size and the international enrollment.

Everyone knows one another’s name. “Even teachers you never had know you,” she said.

Schools such as Troy University offer students the chance to take off-base classes along with online courses.

The Alabama-based university offered classes at U.S. military installations until the mid-’90s. When it lost its contract, the institution set up shop off base in an office building in Heidelberg.

In addition to offering 17 degrees online, graduate students can get a master of business administration either online or by taking small classes. The university calls its classes “seminars” because they rarely have more than seven to 10 students.

Graduates students can take all or some of their classes online.

Thomas Queisser, director of Troy University’s Heidelberg site, said that although some people like the convenience of taking classes online, others want the face-to-face interaction with students and instructors they can only get in a classroom setting.

“We’re trying to fill a niche ... for Americans here,” he said.

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