“Berliiiiiiiiiin, du bist so wunderbar” is the title of a famous song in Germany: “Berlin, you are so wonderful”. After having lived in Germany for about a semester now, I can safely say: It’s true!
In fact, it’s true for a reason that might sound puzzling at first: Berlin is probably the least German city in the country. It’s chaotic, unjudgmental and never sleeps. The “Berliners” are a very special kind: Always in a rush like that businessman who just bumped into you on the streets in Manhattan but at the same time as alternative and relaxed as surfers in Huntington Beach. The city has this sort of authenticity that one can hardly find anywhere else. It’s a vibrant cultural melting pot, a historical city, both a battleground of history and symbol for the union of Germany if not also Europe as a whole. Myself a German, the mere fact of being able to now get to live there is truly exciting!
Apart from the uniqueness of Berlin, which quite frankly I find difficult to put in the right words, the city also offers exceptional academic and professional opportunities. With seven other students, I take part in the Atlantis-program: As double-degree students, we spend our first year at Maxwell and the second one in Berlin. Being able to experience both the US and Germany, America and Europe, Syracuse and Berlin, adds a priceless value-added to my studies of, well, international relations, that I could otherwise have never acquired.
I started to work part-time at Save The Children (shout-out to Prof. Jeb Beagles in Syracuse, without whom I’d probably never have gotten the position!), and thereby managed to get myself into position towards a post-academic career in the humanitarian sector.
All in all, I am thankful for the opportunity that Syracuse University offered me, and I would encourage anyone to give it a shot and apply to the Atlantis-program: In Berlin, you get to spend a year that you will never forget!
Henry Mau is a student in the Atlantis Transatlantic Dual Degree Program, where he is wrapping up a Master of Arts in International Relations at the Maxwell School in Syracuse, NY and a Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. He also interned at the Council of Europe through SU’s Strasbourg Center in summer 2019.