Cultural visit to Berlin
History and German students from WQE have just returned from a cultural visit to Berlin which “… gave us an insight into the country’s history, immersed us in the buzz of the city and left us with life-long memories”
Despite the very early start on day one, the students were keen to get their trip started and began with a walking tour around Berlin’s most famous monuments including the Brandenburg Gate, Victory Column and the Reichstag building. Climbing up the (seemingly endless) stairs of the Victory Column was worthwhile due to its stunning mosaics, commemorating the unification of Germany in 1871, and the breath-taking view from the top. They also stopped for a period of reflection, visiting the ‘Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism’ and the ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe’. Both memorials were highly symbolic, creatively and evocatively commemorating the millions killed during Nazi rule.
The students described visiting the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp the next day as a powerful and heart-breaking experience whilst deepening their understanding of their studies. Their visit to the 1936 Olympic Stadium, used as Nazi propaganda to promote Aryan racial superiority, and their guide’s retelling of how Jesse Owens destroyed the Olympics’ racial hierarchy by embracing his Aryan rival was fascinating. The German students rose for an early start at a German school to practice their language learning. Later, the History students indulged in a trip to Museum Island before the whole party went to explore the Jewish Bavarian Quarter and German Film Museum.
The final day of the trip was dedicated to Germany post-WW2, They had a tour of a USSR prison, the DDR Museum (which taught us lots about living in East Berlin under the USSR) and walked along the former Berlin Wall. After learning about the restrictive overnight rise of the Berlin Wall in 1961, it was stunning to appreciate its expressive, imaginative and political street art.
The students clearly shared an enjoyable trip, “The WQE trip to Berlin was highly educational and intellectually stimulating, but also lots of fun. I met a group of spirited characters that I wouldn’t have met otherwise and we now share cherished memories- I only wish we could’ve stayed longer!”