ISRP Berlin, Germany D'19 IQP
A century ago, Berlin was famously depicted as “a city condemned to becoming and never to being.” But today German’s capital city is undergoing a renaissance. A dynamic city of artists, entrepreneurs, developers, and social activists, Berlin is a city of reinvention: the Google-funded Factory Berlin is located in a former brewery; experimental art dots former warehouses; the city’s largest green space sits on a former airport. Berlin has a little something for everyone: the artist, musician, entrepreneur, naturalist, climate activist, refugee advocate, history geek.
Berlin faces a complex social context that is shaping its reinvention— and which the IQPs will address. Against an historical reputation of being “poor but sexy” Berlin is becoming a hotbed for new tech start-ups ranging from meal kit delivery to musical instrument instruction, print making, and even digitizing a foosball table for Twitter’s Berlin office. As a result of this and other recent economic growth, Berlin now has one of the world’s fastest growing property prices, which exacerbates social problems of gentrification and homelessness. Similar to other European cities, Berlin's refugee and migrant population has ballooned in recent years, triggering questions of their care and integration. In vast swaths of the city’s post-industrial green spaces, many grassroots groups create diverse forms of programming for creative, recreational, educational, and ecological purposes.
Located in northeastern Germany, Berlin is Germany’s largest city, with 3.5 million inhabitants, and it is also one of its youngest cities, with 40% of its population under 35 years old. It is the second largest city, and increasingly a cultural capital, in the European Union. Owing to its unique history, Berlin is a sprawling, multi-nodal city that covers 344 square miles. It has a maritime temperate climate, with average March temperatures falling between 39°F and 55°F.
WPI students will stay in self-catered apartments in Berlin. Each apartment typically has one or two bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, and a furnished kitchenette. The building has an elevator for universal access and is non-smoking. Accommodation type and location are subject to change without notice and will be confirmed the term prior to departure.
Berlin cuisine tends to be rustic and hearty, with plenty of pork, goose, different kinds of fish, peas, beans, and potatoes. Typical Berliner foods include schnitzel, bratwurst, pretzels, currywurst, Spätzle, Königsberger Klopse, Maultaschen, and pork knuckles. At the same time, Berlin is home to a rich diversity of international cuisines, so eating in the city can be a gateway to exploring a wide variety of foods and tastes. Make sure to take any dietary restrictions or allergies into account as you consider this site and inform your advisor and IGSD of any health concerns well in advance of your participation in this program.
Students must arrive on or before the posted start date and stay through the posted end date of the program. Dates will be posted at the top of this page. WPI housing will be available from the start date to the end date. If students plan to arrange any personal travel before or after the program, they will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own housing. Students must arrive by 3pm on the program start date above.
Projects will investigate topics such as:
- Campaign to prevent new coal-fired power plants
- Programming to create face-to-face encounters between refugees and the local community
- Urban gardening and community building
- Design or programming initiatives for the city’s expansive green spaces
- Anti-gentrification activism
Students will be billed the following fees by WPI for the WPI semester they are away. These will be billed to you on the regular WPI billing cycle (i.e. Fall semester, and Spring semester).
In addition to this, students should budget for the following while away:
- WPI Tuition and Fees
- WPI Housing Fee (if applicable)
- WPI Meal Plan (if applicable, reduced for term away)
- Global Projects Program Housing and Program Fee (for applicable programs)
- Local transportation
- Airfare (if applicable)
- Tourist activities and incidentals
- Project related incidentals
A breakdown of all estimated expenses for Berlin can be found here: Berlin Estimated Costs
WPI is committed to the health, safety, and security of all students who participate in our programs. While off-campus study can present unique challenges and inherent risks, we believe that careful research and diligent planning are keys to a safe and rewarding project experience. WPI utilizes several key resources to understand the risks of travel in the countries where we operate, and we urge you to consult these same resources as you research your intended destination. You can also discuss questions and concerns about your travel plans with on-campus resources such as the IGSD, the Student Health Center, the Office of Disability Services, and the Student Development and Counseling Center. It very important that you consider your own health requirements as you review what sites are most interesting to you, and that you carefully review the published information concerning health, safety, and security at the resources linked below prior to applying to a particular site. Make sure to visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for the most up to date health and vaccine information, and review all information in relation to your own health and any medical conditions you may have.
Country-specific travel health information from the Centers for Disease Control
Country-specific page from the U.S. Department of State
Student travel website from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State