25 students from Year 10 and four from Year 9 visited the German capital city of Berlin to put their language skills to the test and to learn more about its culture and fascinating history. They were accompanied by Ms McDermott, Ms O’Brien, (our very own Berlin expert) Ms Colombeau (our very own year 10 expert!) and Mrs Wade.
We arrived around mid morning on Monday and after dropping off our bags at the hostel, we set off to explore the area around the hostel and get some lunch in the east of Berlin, just around the corner from a remaining section of the Berlin Wall.
Later in the afternoon, we made our way into town and visited the DDR (former East German) museum, where we got to learn about what daily life was like in Eastern Berlin under Communist rule. In the evening, students relaxed in the hotel pool after a busy day of sight seeing.
On Tuesday, we set off early and started with a brief visit to the East Side gallery to see the largest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall, which separated East and West Berlin during the Cold War from 1961 to 1989. We then headed to the 368 metre high Berlin Fernsehturm (TV Tower) to enjoy some hot chocolate and cake in its revolving restaurant whilst admiring the panoramic views of the entire city.
On Wednesday, a moving visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp proved a testing experience for all as we got to see firsthand the tragic effects of Nazi policy and methods of terror and fear during World War 2 and gained a deeper emotional understanding of how different groups were affected during the Holocaust. In the afternoon, we headed to the famous shopping boulevard Kurfurstendamm where we got to see and experience the Western side of the city and buy some souvenirs.
On the last day, we had the opportunity to visit the Checkpoint Charlie and looked at the daring ways people tried to escape from the east to the west.
After so much walking on the previous days we were glad to get some rest and experience Berlin from the water in a relaxed boat tour past the government district and Reichstag (German Parliament) and other historical sights of Berlin. We stopped at the Brandenburg gate for a group photo and visited the Holocaust Memorial.
For some light hearted fun, we managed to fit in a visit to the Ritter Sport Chocolate Shop, where we all had a personalised bar of chocolate made for us.
On the whole, it was a thoroughly rewarding and informative trip.
Ms McDermott and Ms O’Brien