HEIDELBERG, Germany -- Installation Management Command Europe will transition Headstart into Culture College in all U.S. Army in Europe garrisons beginning Aug. 1.

The command is “amending the curriculum of the cultural adaptation program as part of its ongoing effort to eliminate redundant programs and improve efficiencies in all aspects of Army installation operations,” said Jane Helfrich, Army Community Service chief for IMCOM Europe.

Headstart has been a staple of in-processing in overseas theaters for the past 40 years. Traditionally Soldiers would spend up to two weeks studying the language and learning about the customs and traditions of their new host country.

Newcomer orientation has been part of the Army Community Service Relocation Readiness Program and will continue to operate under the umbrella of Culture College. Relocation Readiness Program managers in each of the garrisons are developing garrison specific programs that take advantage of the existing cultural adaptation programs for spouses and family members, said Helfrich.

Helfrich said the program is very important for Soldiers, civilian employees and family members, especially for those who have a very limited experience with a different language and culture.

The new program will focus more on cultural adaptation and less on language skills. Helfrich said the programs will offer elementary language skills that will be very limited in scope, but will include language skills necessary for shopping, eating in a restaurant and using public transportation.

Soldiers, civilians and family members interested in learning additional language skills can take advantage of numerous programs such as Rosetta Stone on Army Knowledge Online or friendship clubs where members can practice their language skills.

Length of programs will vary from garrison to garrison based on size of classes, potential field trips and the complexity of the community, but a typical program is expected to last from one to four days, said Helfrich.

Even though IMCOM Europe has issued specific guidance on how to implement Culture College to the Europe-based U.S. garrisons, the garrisons will have the latitude to develop programs that will best fit their customers and the region where they live, said Helfrich.

For more information about Culture College, contact your local Army Community Service Relocation Readiness Program manager.