Carnegie Mellon University

Ryan in group of students

September 11, 2019

Study Abroad in Berlin Provides Urban Planning Insight

rusaliberlin2.jpgWhen junior Ryan Rusali stepped off of the plane in Germany, he immediately felt overwhelmed. But his desire to learn more about Berlin and its urban planning helped him to overcome his fears. It also tested his on-the-fly skills—he’d never traveled outside of the country and didn’t know the German language. The result was a summer experience that he says he’ll never forget.

Rusali’s summer program fulfilled his dream to travel within Germany—while gaining valuable life and educational experience through IES Abroad program. He took classes alongside students from across the United States and the courses were taught in English, allowing Rusali to immediately dive into his studies.

“Before going, I heard that Berlin had a lot of great public works so I wanted to go and experience that for myself. The city was amazing and totally exceeded my expectations.” In Berlin, Rusali split his time between classwork and travel. He made a point to visit somewhere new each day. “Walking around, it seemed like every street was the site of some major historical event. I really loved getting the chance to learn about all that the city has gone through,” he mentions.

Rusali also experienced apartment life in the heart of the city as well as Berlin’s public transportation system. He came home with ideas about how American systems could change for the better. “The buses in Berlin were on time and signs posted at the bus stops told you exactly when the next bus would be arriving. It definitely showed me a lot of the ways that we could improve public transit here.”

Rusali says that his time in Germany helped him to better understand urban planning and design. It also confirmed his passion for civil engineering. “I’ve now solidified my decision to go to graduate school and study more about how urban planning and design can be used to make city life better here in the United States,” he says.

He encourages students to consider study abroad—an experience that he calls the opportunity of a lifetime. “I learned so many things beyond urban planning and the history of Berlin.”