Ryan Murphy taught himself German by translating into English the German versions of the Harry Potter novels, and by listening to German gamers on YouTube.

Now, a senior at the College of Charleston, he’s earned a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) fellowship to intern in a German hospital or industrial research lab, after which, he hopes to attend medical school in the U.S. and return to Germany as a cardiologist or surgeon.

Ryan Murphy

Ryan Murphy

“I want to see how healthcare and science are really practiced in Europe,” explains Murphy, a double major in biology and German. “The best way to decide whether I want to pursue that path is to see what the differences are between heading a practice here versus how it is in Germany. I also really just want to make some German friends!”

RELATED: Watch a video about the College’s Neuroscience Seminar in Germany.

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange annually provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals the opportunity to spend one year in each others’ countries, studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program.

“With an impressive record of 11 fellowship recipients of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange since 2000, the College of Charleston’s Department of German and Slavic Studies exemplifies the opportunities made available with a highly committed and accomplished faculty and the outstanding language and culture program these same faculty colleagues provide,” says Mark Del Mastro, professor and interim chair of the Hispanic studies department.

Stephen Della Lana, an instructor in the Department of German and Slavic Studies, was a fellowship recipient in 1989. “What a year to have been in Germany with the fall of the wall and the collapse of the Eastern block,” Della Lana says. “The experience changed the trajectory of my life, and since I started at the College in 2000, I’ve encouraged future generations of College of Charleston students to apply for the fellowship.”

RELATED: See Stephen Della Lana in a CBYX 25th anniversary publication (page four).

Murphy doesn’t yet know the city where he will be living, but he’s hoping to take some graduate level courses in biology, pharmacology and chemistry to help him before medical school.

“I really want to work specifically with obese patients because of my own problems with obesity,” Murphy explains. “When I came to the College, I was close to 300 pounds and I’ve lost about 150 during my four years here. I’ve seen how it affects not just physical health, but also relationships, behavior in public, emotions, self-esteem, etc. Overweight people and fit people really do live in two different worlds. That’s why I want to work specifically with patients with weight issues.”

Ryan Murphy can be reached at rpmurphy@g.cofc.edu.