IES Abroad Berlin – Metropolitan & Urban Studies

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When you study in Berlin, you have one of the world’s most modern and diverse cities at your fingertips.

Through comparative and interdisciplinary courses, you will study topics such as architecture, cultural identity, gender and sexual politics, multiculturalism, popular culture, and urban studies.

As you explore this thriving cultural metropolis, Berlin will quickly become your classroom. Imagine touring Berlin's neighborhoods and exploring the city's architecture as you learn about metropolitan development and urban planning, or attending and then discussing a local theater event as part of your pop culture class. Wherever possible, our courses take advantage of the city's many historical, artistic, and cultural sites, and several courses include a hands-on, practical component. Wilkommen in Berlin!


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As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers


9.88 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • Academics 8.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 8
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Yes, I recommend this program

Two Thumbs Up for Berlin

I was fortunate enough to complete my dream of traveling to Europe, specifically Berlin, Germany. Coming here to study for a semester was the best decision I have made in my entire life. I went to this country alone, not knowing anyone, but came out with friendships that will last a lifetime. I was able to live in a homestay, which made this journey a lot more fun. I was fortunate enough to already know German before coming, and I was able to continue learning with a German class at IES. I got to travel to so many different places within Berlin and check out all the historical aspects, the wall, and many museums. There is so much to do in Berlin that there was never a day that I was bored. The city is so easy to navigate and public transportation can get you basically anywhere. I can't wait to come back someday and visit my old stomping grounds.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Berlin offers me new perspectives

Berlin has a contemporary and relaxing atmosphere, but it also has important layers of history. Many of my classes here touched upon history through different lens. For example, in Metropolitan development class, we discussed how different political ideologies in East and West Berlin influenced urban planning and architectural designs. In Recycled City class, we talked about economic challenges after reunification and how neoliberal housing policy led to gentrification. The program here delves into underlying mechanism of how urban space is practiced and its physical manifestations. During my time in Berlin, I also got to meet new people from different cultural backgrounds. I attended dance classes in a contemporary dance studio and met a Korean girl who was studying theater in Sweden. While dining out, I got to learn stories of immigrants from China, Vietnam, and Turkey. Each individual carries his/her own bits of history and every conversation we share becomes a moment of cultural exchange. I really enjoy such moments.

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Yes, I recommend this program


Studying abroad in Berlin was incredible. Between having an excellent host-family, taking interesting classes, and exploring the city by myself or with friends I can confidently say my time was well spent. I learned about many aspects of the city, both in class and from first-hand experience, I met really wonderful people, traveled a to places such as Istanbul, St. Petersburg, and Copenhagen and I owe a good amount of that to IES for having such a great program. If you get a chance to go on this program I would absolutely take advantage of it. You'll learn about yourself, gain confidence in your abilities to live in a big city by yourself, and you'll make really wonderful friends as well.

What would you improve about this program?
Organization could be improved greatly at this program. Many times throughout the program it was frustrating to not know when your assignments were actually due, or what readings you were to complete before class, and things similar to that. We all got used to the system by the end because it was seemingly random and we were okay with rolling with things, but if organization could be improved that would make things much less frustrating for students.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I wish everyone could come here!

I had dreamt of going abroad to Germany for many years, and had very high expectations, IES Berlin's Metropolitan program managed to beat them! I can proudly say that my experiences in Berlin and in many other cities and countries around Europe in large part do to IES staff help. The school's location was unbeatable, my host in the country truly became my friend, and I had experiences that I could never forget.

My favorite memories are related to being able to take part in diplomatic and other amazing events and trips around Germany, thanks to an amazing set of professors who I will never forget.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, the only way I can see this program being improved is to have more people be a part of it!
Yes, I recommend this program

One big opportunity

Considering that Germany to me, as a Filipino who had never been there before, was almost a mystical, alien otherworld, I came into this program with fairly high expectations to say the least. And considering that, I thought that perhaps these high expectations would have bordered on the unreasonable and would end up not being met. And yet, as cliche as this may sound, it ended up not just meeting my expectations, but exceeding them. Throughout my time in Berlin and other places in Europe (Schengen visas are Godsends), I came to know a land with a rich history, remarkable culture, and beautiful atmosphere. And through IES, it seemed that every single week in this program brought something fun, something valuable, or something that was a mix of both. Whether it was in walking through the German Historical Museum and tracing the slow and steady rise of the Nazis, or in exploring the art and culture of Paris, reading literature that described life with the Berlin Wall, traveling to St. Petersburg to attend a ballet, or going to hear the German Chancellor speak, the opportunities this program brings are nearly endless. And this isn't even limited to the IES and its classes' sanctioned activities. The program also leaves space for independent enterprise. From exploring Prague while riding on a Segway, to hiking in the forests of Helsinki, to taking a boat tour through the fjords of Oslo, all of this and more can be done during the duration of this program. This is an opportunity and program like no other that is certain to showcase all that Berlin (and Europe) has to offer.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Berlin: Die Beste Stadt

My study abroad experience in Berlin, Germany was undoubtably the best four months of my life, to say the least. It not only completely changed my life in various ways, but also made me aware of ignorances I was unaware that I had. I also had the opportunity to improve my German language skills. The IES program and administration was a large part of that life changing experience, being extremely helpful and organized with whatever situation presented itself. The staff was always willing to answer questions, and also pushed us to go out and experience the city, even offering suggestions on what to do or where to go. Berlin has something for everyone, after all. The two group trips that we went on as a program were well planned out, and not only included historical and educational exposures to the cities, but also fun and cultural experiences that made the trips unforgettable. The classes were educational not only from the readings and lectures, but from the discussion that challenged all of us to consider historical and cultural factors that we don't get exposed to in the States. There is an incredible amount of history in Berlin, and to be educated on topics from a different lens was probably one of my favorite parts of the entire program. The professors were also extremely helpful and open to discuss almost any topic, and would even offer personal experiences when appropriate. I also learned more from living in Berlin and taking IES German classes than I ever would have taking a semester in the States. Emersion is definitely the best way to learn! You really can't prepare yourself for the study abroad experience, but having an amazing program like IES behind you to help you along the way definitely makes that uncertainty worth it. I could not be any more grateful for the large roll the program played in changing my life forever. I am already looking forward to going back to Berlin - die beste Stadt!!

What would you improve about this program?
There are no outstanding recommendations for improvement for this program.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Berlin 2015

IES provided me with an amazing opportunity to really discover what living abroad is like. Having a great homestay and really helpful staff created one of the greatest experiences of my life. Our program also included week long stays in both Saint Petersburg and Istanbul, 2 cities that are very different interesting and also places I normally wouldn't have visited on my own. Everyone at IES was ready to help whenever it was needed, whether it was a quick response to an email or an opinion from staff members at the center. Having homestays throughout the city encouraged all of us in the program to go out and explore new parts of the city, made even easier by Berlin's great public transportation. Berlin was the ideal place to study abroad in because it's cheap, filled with so much fascinating history, populated with very friendly people and full of really cool museums, bars and clubs. I wouldn't change my experience for anything and I highly recommend taking part in this program!

What would you improve about this program?
I would probably change the schedule of classes a little bit so we wouldn't have to end so late on some days. Other than that, no real complaints.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Study Abroad Berlin 2011

What has been the best part of your study abroad experience so far?

I would say it has been amazing to have the opportunity to be able to see and experience so many cultures and places firsthand.

What's your favorite class? Your favorite professor? Why?

My favorite class so far is Economics in a Global Market Economy. Although the title sounds daunting, and I myself am not great at economics, I decided to take the class because of my major: International Studies. The professor, Uli Bruckner, has tailored the class to each individual's needs and allows flexibility to explore all aspects of a market economy within the European Union. He also is extremely well connected within Europe and set up 'excursions' to places like the Ministry of Finance to talk about the Euro Crisis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to talk with the desk officer for Iraq, a chance to hear the General Secretary of the UN speak, plus much more. All of the professors are great and each class has interesting aspects and excursions; however, this one appealed to me the most given my major.

What's one of the most interesting things you have seen so far?

I don't think I can pick just one thing. Being able to compare different cities and countries is interesting in itself. The history that is in Berlin and other cities I have visited is just incredible. It is impossible to say which is more interesting: the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate, the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre. Everything is interesting in a new place!

The best thing about studying in Germany?

As a student, the first thing that comes to mind is low cost of living. In Berlin, it is beyond easy to get
around via public transport and most everything in the city (clothes, food, cultural events, etc.) are cheap, discounted, or even free for students. The country is also a place not only of grand history but also a leading competitor in the world today. Being able to see what this country has become after such a painful history is the best part about studying here.

What would you want to say to students who are thinking about studying abroad?

Go for it! You never know until you try. Putting yourself into a new (and maybe overwhelming situation) could benefit you in ways you could never imagine. It may even make you realize some abilities you have that you never knew you possessed. Aside from visiting interesting places, you will gain life experiences that cannot be taught in books. You will also meet people that will leave impressions inside of you forever; some good, some bad, but every experience is a learning experience that can be applied to everyday situations even back in the States. The world has so much to offer, it is up to YOU to take advantage of it!

Any thoughts on learning German?

Learning German for me can be somewhat entertaining at times. English has a large influence in Germany and there are a surprising amount of English words used daily (especially for store advertisements, etc.). One of my favorite German words, however, is Handschuh (pronounced hand-shoe. Handschuh is the word for 'glove' which always makes me laugh because it is so practical - a shoe for your hand. Much like Germans themselves, the words tend to be literal, practical, and precise. German is a little difficult to learn, but at the same time most of the words are actually really similar to English. Practice makes perfect, and although many people will speak English to you, use your German!