A Level German students recently spent a long weekend in Berlin, Germany.
On Saturday 18 March to Monday 20 March German teachers Alex Reich and Karin Davies accompanied a group of eight students to the famous historical city, Berlin. The first day of their visit was to the “Alte Nationalgalerie” and a guided tour through the German parliament, the Bundestag, as well as a stroll along the famous boulevard “Unter den Linden” and a visit to the Holocaust Memorial.
The second day saw the group visiting the Maerkische Museum, where they learned what significant events happened in particular streets and how this impacted on the fortunes of the whole city. The group then took a walk past the street art of the Eastside Gallery and in the afternoon visited the Stasi-Museum. The Secret Police (or Stasi) of the former communist East Germany features heavily in the film “Das Leben der Anderen” which the students have to study as one of the cultural topics. Being in the actual Stasi headquarter building and seeing the offices (where also some of the scenes of the film were shot) showed clearly that this is not fiction but a sad and tragic reality. Sunday evening finished with a visit to a theatre where the group watched the first soap opera produced for the stage and enjoyed the comedy, which consisted of life acting and carefully incorporated video clips.
The final day of the long weekend began with a visit to the Berlin Wall memorial in the Bernauer Strasse before a spell of shopping in the shops of the Kurfuerstendamm. The group then visited the “Kaiser Willhelm Gedaechnis Kirche” (taking part in the daily prayer for peace in the new building, before visiting the exhibition in the ruins of the tower of the old church).
Students really benefit from spending time in the country where the target language is spoken. Students are able to practice speaking the language but they also get to soak up the country's culture, which will be beneficial when taking their exams.