Pitt in Berlin

Pitt in Berlin offers you the opportunity to take courses and participate in an experiential learning opportunity. Your lecturers will be faculty from universities throughout the city along with Pitt faculty based at the CIEE Berlin Center. You will earn 12 credits for participation on this program.

This semester program is split between two academic blocks. The first block you will immerse yourself in German culture, Berlin history, and German language.  In the second block you will choose between either 2 additional content courses OR a content course + internship or service-learning placement for credit.  Learn the city as you commute from your residence hall to your optional, part-time internship or service-learning placement.

Pitt collaborates with CIEE for Pitt in Berlin. The CIEE Berlin Center will host your classes, provide support staff, and serve as your home base for the program. We can’t wait to have you join us.

 

Co-Curricular & Cultural Activities:

  • City Tour: Guided walking or bus tour and historic overview of Berlin. Highlights some of the city's most famous landmarks and historic sites, including the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
  • Study Tours:
    • Prague (Feb 28 – Mar 1) – Includes transportation, accommodations, dinner, admission fees, and site visits
    • Nuremberg (Apr 17 – 19) – Includes transportation, accommodations, dinner, admission fees, and site visits
What You'll Accomplish
As an engaged and active participant in this program, you will have the opportunity to develop:
  • introductory or continued German language skills
  • deeper understanding of modern German culture
  • comprehension of the role that Germany plays in Europe and in the world

Studying in Berlin not only means discovering Germany’s capital but also one of the most fascinating and cosmopolitan cities in Europe today.  Built and rebuilt again and again, Berlin is a city of contrasts, of painful historical memories—but also of future-oriented optimism and innovation. At one corner, you’ll see famous historical landmarks, around the next corner soaring modern architecture with cutting-edge sustainable technology. Berlin is a leading center of research and teaching in Europe today, home to one of the most innovative music, art, and fashion scenes in the world, is known for its countless art galleries, cafés, and ethnic food restaurants, as well as the beautiful parks and lakes where Berliners relax from the hustle and bustle of a place that never sleeps. Come and study abroad in Berlin, and experience the energy, versatility, and excitement of this European metropolis.

Where You'll Live

You will live in a residence hall with a mix of US students and local German resident assistants. You will live in double or triple rooms with en-suite bathrooms and shower facilities. Lounges and kitchens allow you to meet other students over meals, cultural activities, study groups, and special events. Your housing is comprised of shared spaces to enjoy but also take care of while there.  Larger common areas are on the ground floor and inner courtyards offer comfortable spaces for you to study and relax. Cash car washing and drying machines are also available in the residence.

What You'll Study

You will enroll in the following two courses for the first half of the term in Berlin for a total of 6 credits. Your Pitt faculty member will be teaching the required Berlin course and local faculty will be teaching the language courses.

  • GER 1529 - Berlin: A Divided City
  • GER 1907 - German Language Abroad: Pitt in Berlin

Students with no prior German will all be placed into Beginning German. Students that have taken German previously, will take a language placement test upon arrival and will be placed into the appropriate language level once in Berlin.  You will then work with the German department upon return from Berlin to see which level of German you will place into to continue here at Pitt the following fall.

The second half of the term, you can pick from any two of the remaning Pitt approved courses to enroll in for an additional 6 credits. Please note, if you select the 6-week service-learning or internship option that counts as one of the two courses. You also cannot combine both service-learning and internship as the hours will not align. Of the approved list below, there are two upper level courses that will be taught in German for intermediate and advanced students, Green Germany and German Cinema. The rest of the content courses are taught in English.

If you are seeking to count these courses towards a major, minor or certificate requirement, please meet with your respective advisor to discuss the program and what the courses will fulfill for you. Information about how the courses on this program count towards general education requirements for different schools and campuses can be found here.

International Internship - Semester (ARTSC1899)

This is a part-time internship (20 hours per week). In addition, you will attend weekly discussion-led sessions that include educational support and mentoring in a classroom environment, develop personal and professional skills, and learn to contextualize your internship experience socially and culturally. You will receive 3 credits for this course.

 

Contemporary German Women Writers and Berlin (ENGLIT0610)

This course aims to explore the literary tradition of German women writers, focusing on primary texts by 21st-century / contemporary women writers, while at the same time helping students acquire a broad knowledge of modern German culture, society and the gender politics which create the frame of reference for our understanding of the literary texts. Because many of the contemporary women writers are from Berlin, write or live in Berlin, class discussions will also illuminate the city's role in fictional writing.

Environmental Engineering (ENGRXXXX)

This introductory course to environmental engineering emphasizes the protection of air, water, and land resources through engineered solutions that impact human society via energy, water, climate and nutrient cycles. Topics covered include water quality engineering, solid waste management, fate and transport of contaminants in the environment, and energy production. The course emphasizes material and energy balance, and life-cycle thinking as conceptual tools.

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems (GEOL1308)

This interdisciplinary course examines the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of agriculture, and relevant emerging challenges involving climate change, and resource depletion and degradation, particularly in tropical environments. It treats the Green Revolution, capital-intensive/high-input practices, and corporate agriculture. Students will learn about the implications of “conventional” agriculture for the environmental protection, and food systems, security, and sovereignty. Additionally, students will explore the principles and practice of alternatives, including integrated crop and pest management, agroforestry, permaculture, plus organic, sustainable, and “climate smart” agriculture. Using a framework of “systems thinking”, and drawing analogies between agricultural and ecological systems, the course explores the multiple drivers, inputs, and outputs of agricultural production and trade. Students will have firsthand, immersive experiences with production systems that are wide-ranging, and will explore the costs and benefits of each, through the lens the environment, economy, and society.

Berlin: A Divided City (GER1529)

This course traces the history of Berlin for the last two centuries by surveying literature and

film set in the city, works in which the city itself often functions as a main character. In analyzing

these cultural works, we will trace not only the changing nature of Berlin, but also such changes in Germany as national unification, industrialization and modernization, urbanization, the rise of the proletariat, national division, reunification, and the rise of multiculturalism. We will focus on the various divisions that constitute this vibrant city, including political, economic, and social divisions. We address a range of texts and films in this course as both historical and as aesthetic objects and link the variety of aesthetic expression represented here to the historical phenomena of division in Berlin. All readings, media, and discussions are in English.

This course fulfills the “Global Awareness and Cultural Understanding – Specific Geographic Region” and the “Literature” requirement of the Dietrich School.

Green Germany - Nature and the Environment in German Culture (GER1109)

In this course, you will explore the role of nature and the concept of sustainability in German culture. We will look at literary and non-literary texts, film and art from the Romantic period to the present, and analyze how the concept of ‘nature’ has been defined and instrumentalized at different points in time, e.g. by political movements, in advertising, for economical gain, or in the name of progress. In this context, we will also study the history of the environmental movement in Germany from the early 19th century to now and investigate specific environmental projects in Berlin. The course will be held in German, although some texts will be made available in English.

This course fulfills the “Global Awareness and Cultural Understanding – Specific Geographic Region” requirement of the Dietrich School.

German Language Abroad: Pitt in Berlin (GER1907)

Students with no prior German will all be placed into Beginning German. Students that have taken German previously, will take a language placement test upon arrival and will be placed into the appropriate language level once in Berlin. You will then work with the German department upon return from Berlin to see which level of German you will place into to continue here at Pitt the following fall.

Media, Gender and Identity (GSWSXXXX)

In this course, you will apply a critical lens to representations of gender and identity in contemporary media. Taking gender and sexuality as a critical starting point, we will examine the construction of identities under the simultaneous influence of race, class, and nationality. By focusing on popular representations in both the US and the European country where the course is taking place, we will gain a deeper understanding of identities as both culturally specific and influenced by global media. Instead of suggesting that contemporary identities are determined by what we see on TV screens, computers, and in local movie theaters, the course seeks to describe the complex interactions between national audiences and concrete media productions, and analyzes how different audiences reproduce or challenge traditional concepts and stereotypes of gender, race, sexuality, and class. By combining the study of theoretical texts with examples from the advertisement industry, television, the movies, and other forms of contemporary cultural expression, it offers a comprehensive and thorough introduction to contemporary studies of the media and identity.

Health Psychology (PSY1215)

Health psychology focuses on the relationship between behavior, health, and illness while trying to identify the predictors of health-compromising and health-enhancing factors. Through a dual focus on healthcare and psychology, students will examine illness identities in the German / EU context. Special emphasis will be placed on cultural differences related to quality of life, self-help, religious beliefs, alternative medicine, and rituals related to dying and death. Through an examination of the relevant literature, guest lectures and site visits, the course addresses philosophical questions about the perceptions and definitions of what it means to be “healthy” or “unhealthy” within a cultural context.

Jewish in Germany – Migration, Integration, and Identity (RELGSTXXXX)

After Israel and the USA, Germany is the most important country of migration for Jewish immigrants worldwide. Jewish migration is not just a phenomenon of recent decades but is also anchored in history. There was a strong Jewish migration from Eastern Europe to Germany as early as the late 19th century. After the Holocaust there were Eastern European displaced persons who founded new Jewish communities in Germany. With the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, Jewish migration from the former Soviet Union fundamentally changed Jewish life in Germany. In recent years there has also been an increase in migration from Israel. This seminar will address Jewish migration as a part of Germany's past and present, explore integration issues from the perspective of Jewish immigrants and the non-Jewish majority, and make relevant comparisons with the current population of refugees in Germany. Co-curricular excursions will involve a visit to Berlin’s famous Jewish Museum, historical walking tours, and visits to contemporary Jewish centers of arts and culture.

Service-Learning: Berlin (SOC1515)

This service-learning course combines a structured curriculum and extensive partnership with a local community-based organization to offer tangible community service. Here, student community service includes direct engagement as well as a research-based action plan addressing a specific challenge or goal identified by a community-based organization. Students begin by exploring key community-based organizations: examining their mission, vision and goals, and the place of the organization in the local community. Each student then works with an assigned partner organization and invests at least 90 hours partnering with the organization, working with them and investigating ways to solve a challenge or issue the organization has identified. Student service-learning will include exploring the proximate and ultimate drivers of the organization’s chosen challenge, and the organization’s infrastructure, resources, limitations and possibilities for reducing barriers to achieving the organization’s self-identified goals. In concert, coursework probes the role of community-based organizations in both local and global contexts, common challenges of community-based organizations in defining and implementing their goals, the role of service-learning in addressing these issues, and effective ways for students to help them achieve their mission, vision, and goals. Coursework also guides the student’s service-learning experience by helping students develop sound international service ethics, provide tools to investigate solutions to common development issues, aid in data analysis and presentation, and provide best practices to illustrate findings and deliver approved joint recommendations orally and in writing. Throughout, students use service-learning as a means to expand their global awareness and understanding, explore shared aspirations for social justice, and develop skills to work with others to effect positive change.

Experiential Learning Description

You have the opportunity in the second half of the term to participate in a for-credit internship or structured service-learning opportunity. Each opportunity is 3 credits and combines both lecture and experiential learning and working at a host placement site. These are individualized opportunities and you will be required to complete additional application information if you are interested in these opportunities. You should expect to have to submit a resume and to interview for both opportunities. Your placement will be designed based on the youracademic track, project learning goals, qualifications, resume, and availability of placements. You can find more information on the options by looking at the syllabi above.

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts

Nazir Noori

Salam! I’m Nazir and I'm your Study Abroad Program Manager. I was born and raised abroad and went to schools in Afghanistan, Iran, and the U.S. I also took classes in India and United Arab Emirates. I worked for the U.S. Department of State, USAID, and German Foreign Office for over ten years before moving to Pittsburgh in 2014. At the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, I assisted Afghan students to study in the U.S., and now I'm glad I have the opportunity to help American students study abroad.

Stop by the office during my walk-in hours (Tue, Wed, Thu from 2-4pm) or get in touch with me at nazir.noori@pitt.edu or 412-383-4827 to discuss the study abroad options.

 
 
Your In-Country Contacts

Viktoria Harms

Viktoria Harms is the language program coordinator and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the German Department at Pitt. She grew up in Germany and has first-hand experience of the potentially life-changing impact of studying abroad: she originally came to the University of Washington in Seattle as an exchange student for one year, but quickly decided to extend her stay, and has now been teaching German language, literature and culture in the U.S. for over 20 years. She spent a year in Berlin as a student, and has visited many times since, and she is looking forward to exploring this fascinating city with her students during their semester abroad.

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $9,314 $14,902
Program Fee $6,185 $6,185
Study Abroad Fee $400 $400
Total Billed by Pitt $15,899 $21,487

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airfare ~$1,500
Meals and Personal Expenses $3,000 - $4,000

 

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad. Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

What's Included

As a part of your Pitt in Berlin program fee, the following are included:

  • Tuition for 12 credits
  • On-Site Orientation
  • Housing 
  • Welcome and farewell dinner
  • International Health Insurance
  • Three-day excursion to Prague
  • Two-day excursion to Nuremberg

 

What Else You Need to Know

Heavy emphasis is placed on student participation as there is a lot of course material to cover in each six week block. To avoid falling behind, you should not plan personal travel out of Berlin when classes are in session but instead plan trips for the long weekends in between blocks.