Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Center for Global Health

Charité Universitatsmedizin Berlin – Berlin, Germany

The Charité is the largest university hospital in Europe and one of the most historic medical centers in the world – producing more than half of all the Nobel Prizes in medicine and physiology awarded to German physicians and scientists. FSM medical students may complete rotations in Anaesthesiology, Pathology, General Surgery, and many other surgical sub-specialties, and occassionaly through Radiology. The Charité has a rich history and its hospital had been located so close to the border between East and West Germany during the cold war that certain windows with a view of W. Germany had been sealed off. German language skills are not required and students will work with English speaking faculty. M4 students are eligible to apply.

Dates: Year round

Length of Rotation: Four weeks

Location: Berlin, Germany

Language Requirement: No language requirement. Many doctors at Charité speak English but some basic knowledge of German helps

Student level: M4s

How to Apply: Complete the Online Application

Rotation Areas: Charite recommends FSM studetns consider English language rotations in Departments of Anesthesiology or various Surgical sub-specialties, including General, Thoracic, Cardiac, Neuro and Transplant Surgery, among others. To review the clinical rotations and research areas that are available to visiting medical students, please click here.

Program Information:  The Charité is one of the oldest hospitals in Germany and among the largest university hospitals in Europe today. With a history spanning almost three centuries, the Charité has produced eight Nobel prize winners and has a worldwide reputation for excellence in medicine and research. Currently, with a staff of about 10,400 employees, the hospital handles about 130,000 inpatient and almost 500,000 outpatient cases a year in more than 100 clinics and institutes – concentrated in 17 centers on four campuses.

The four Charité campuses are Campus Mitte, Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Campus Benjamin Franklin and Campus Berlin-Buch.  The Charité is one of the most prestigious medical schools in Germany, since 2003 serving as the medical faculty for both Humboldt University Berlin and Free University Berlin. Currently, more than 7,000 students are enrolled in the various study programs which include human medicine, dentistry, medical and nursing pedagogy/nursing sciences as well as numerous postgraduate study programs.

The hours vary from rotation to rotation but the typical day will begin at 8AM and rotations and shadowing will continue for six to seven hours into the afternoon. Past medical students have generally spent approximately 35-40 hours each week in the hospital. FSM students have frequently participated in Radiology, Anesthesiology, and Pathology rotations, and during this time at Charité their days are spent sitting in on conferences with German attendings, observing procedures, and in laboratory. Student often gain an deeper understanding of and appreciation for the history of European medicine as well as the significant economic and technological differences between the U.S. medical system and the more socialized European system. There is an international student office at Charité which offers support and advice to Feinberg students both before and during the rotation. While students are not required to speak German and Charité will make efforts to place visiting international students with attendings who speak English, FSM students should be prepared to attend rounds and weekly conferences at times that will be conducted in German.

Helpful Links:
Charite's International Student Office
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
US State Department
World Health Organization Country Profile

Accommodations and local travel:
Previous Feinberg students have stayed in guesthouses or apartments to which they were referred by Charité’s international office where shared and single bedrooms in apartment style dormitories with shared kitchens are available. Hotel Berlin Mitte is a recommended option located close to Charite's main medical school campus, which offers single rooms in studios or shared apartments-style dormitories, with linens and internet provided.  Please note that not all affiliated Charite Hospitals are located in the Mitte borough of Berlin. Other students have successfully rented apartments for one month via various online rental companies.  Housing expenses may be budgeted at approximately 550-850 Euros per month and students pay this fee directly upon arrival. Students find the subway in Berlin to be very accessible and reliable and that it provides great access to all parts of the city.  It's recommended that one purchase a month-long pass upon arrival.  To learn more about the Berlin train system, visit their English language website.

Evaluations (only accessible to users with a valid NUID):

Sara Patrawala discusses her one year rotation at the Charité in Berlin, Germany

For More Information:
Daniel Young
Center for Global Health
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
645. N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1058
Chicago, IL 60611
d-young@northwestern.edu