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Enriching Half Term in Berlin
17th November 2016

Over the half term holiday, six Oundle Germanists travelled to Berlin for a series of enriching discussions and activities to help with their Sixth Form studies.

The adventure began with a thought provoking and inspiring tour from a German-Lebanese lady around the Kreuzberg district, ending with a delicious Turkish lunch and Mosque visit. From there the group headed to the Abgeordnetenhaus where they had a tour of the parliamentary building and the pupils were able to learn more about German politics and how parliament is made up in Berlin. The evening saw the group head to the Brandenburg Gate Linden Allee to see the Festival of Lights.

The following morning the pupils departed on an early train to Dresden where, upon arrival, they explored the rebuilt city on the ‘Hop-on Hop-off’ bus tour before returning to the centre, where they had a guided tour of the Zwinger.

Head of German, Emily Wagstaffe commented, “With a slightly more relaxed start to the day, on Sunday we headed into the city, to be confronted by hundreds of police officers! Not the start we wanted or expected, but Pegida were celebrating their 2nd Birthday and had not announced the demonstration.

We met our guide and headed off around the Castle and Frauenkirche and enjoyed two very informative tours. A steep climb to the top of the church, allowed pupils to see for miles and enjoy the wonderful scenery around the city of Dresden.”

The group then embarked for Schulpforte (Naumburg) enjoying a tour of the school before heading off to Weimar to see the Weimar House Museum. On a tour of the city, they learnt a lot about its Literary, Political and Cultural history.

Emily added, “Returning to Berlin our first stop was Greenpeace. We had a two hour discussion on current environmental issues and learnt about recent campaigns. The pupils engaged well and challenged some of the policies we learnt about. From there we headed to our 100% up-cycled accommodation. The pupils wondered where we were going as we headed into an old factory building passing industrial units, but were extremely enthusiastic about our resting place for the night. The accommodation was made from an old wooden house, which has been turned into cabins.”

At the end of the week, pupils met Christian Matzdorf, a former police officer, to learn more about Youth and Drug crime in the capital after which they headed to the ancient Clärchens Ballhaus, where they were entertained with dance lessons, lots of mirrored walls and outstanding food. The final day was spent visiting Checkpoint Charlie, The Holocaust Museum and Jewish Museum, before retiring to the Alexander Platz.

Pupil, Sam Herring (17) commented:

“Not only were we able to improve our speaking skills by constant communication (in German of course!) with our teachers and natives, but we were also able to immerse ourselves in the German culture, being given free time to explore the cities for ourselves. A personal highlight for me was the visit to Weimar, from where the historic writers Goethe and Schiller originate.”

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