During October half term 52 year 10 and 11 students visited Berlin, making the most of their 3 full days with a packed programme designed to enhance their learning by giving them real life experience of a city with such historical significance.
The group left school at 3.30pm on Friday 19th October and headed to Gatwick airport from which they flew to Berlin. They arrived very late due to a plane delay but were quickly settled and in bed getting valuable sleep before waking for breakfast. They had a packed first day with the first stop being the German-Russian Museum. After this the students took a walking tour and stopped off at many different key locations. They took in a range of eye catching exhibits at the German Historical Museum; charting German history right through to reunification, saw the Brandenburg Gate; a key symbol of Berlin, visited the Fuhrer Bunker and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Finally ending up at the Reichstag, where they visited the impressive dome. This was one student, Ellie’s, highlight of the trip ‘listening to the history of Berlin as we travelled up and being able to see everything was amazing and gave me a better understanding of how the buildings had changed.’
After such a busy day the students were rewarded with a delicious dinner at the Pavilion restaurant where they could choose from traditional dishes such as German sausage and chips. They then headed back to the hotel for a much needed rest.
The second day was just as packed as the first with a visit to the Allied Museum. They then headed to The Berlin Wall Documentation Centre where they saw the preserved section of the Berlin wall and also video imagery of an aerial view of the whole area. This really brought their learning to life allowing them to see how different the two sides of the wall were during the Cold War. After this they headed to the bowling alley for some leisure time.
On the third and final day the students headed to Checkpoint Charlie (where many students purchased Russian hats), the Stasi Prison, which made an impact on the students, giving them an insight into the horrible realities; Josh said ‘the stasi prison was really eye-opening and made me realise the kind of lives people had.’ They then had a chance to sit in a Trabbie, try on the ‘latest fashions’ and see how East German’s spent their holidays at the interactive DDR Museum.
The final stop off before heading back to the airport was Alexanderplatz, the heart of old East Berlin. Students could admire the Soviet era architecture & murals but also had an opportunity for shopping which they enjoyed, being particularly impressed by the tech shops and size of the shopping plaza.
History teacher Georgina Eastment, who organised the trip said ‘it is really helpful for students to cement their learning during a trip such as this. Being able to experience the many historical landmarks and museums in Berlin is a fantastic opportunity that allows them to relate what they learn in the classroom to real life.’ The students agreed with this, student Amelia said ‘having the chance to see things, such as the model of the gas chambers in the German History Museum, made me feel really emotional. It gave me a better understanding of what happened and this experience will help me remember what I have learnt.’
The students arrived back at school in the early hours of the morning and, although exhausted, were excited about their amazing trip. Many thanks to Mrs Eastment, Mr Atkins, Mrs Dedman, Miss Clark, Miss Hitchcock and Mr Briscoe for giving the students such a fantastic opportunity.