Below is an account written by Salam Atallah of SWB Academy about their recent school trip to Berlin in July 2015-
I have just returned from a school trip to Berlin with Adaptable Travel and I am still buzzing from all the exciting things we have seen and done. Me and my colleagues took 43 students with us ranging from 11 to 13 years. The focus was languages and history and simply having an amazing experience abroad.
After a smooth flight to Berlin via Easyjet we arrived at the IP Hostel in the late afternoon and settled in straight away. The hostel was old meets new - old building, high ceilings but very modern with great open areas for meeting and relaxing. Rooms were spacious and comfortable and the food was plentiful.
The location of the hostel couldn’t have been better. Within less than five minutes walk we were able to reach the U-Bahn, S-Bahn or Metro which meant we had excellent transport links to explore the city. On our first evening we explored the area by foot and there is enough to do nearby, especially if you like ice cream! Pupils had their first try at ordering ice cream in German and they loved the experience.
Our first full day was dedicated to Berlin’s history of the Cold War. We visited the Wall Memorial, Brandenburg Gate and the DDR Museum, which was great for that age range and very much a hands on museum. Pupils were very interested, especially after having had some lessons prior to the trip dedicated to Berlin’s history. Whilst travelling the city we also visited the Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz for ice cream stops and souvenir shopping. We also passed the Parliament, which was closed while we were visiting, and the Cathedral - spectacular architecture! It was a busy day and everyone was tired by the end, but not much time for a rest as we headed back into the centre for a cinema trip in the evening.
The next morning we headed to Spectrum Technology Museum, another great museum for younger pupils. We spent a couple of hours there before making our way to the Kurfürstenstrasse for the perfect Döner stop. Our kids loved the German / Turkish version of the Döner, great authentic lunch. In the afternoon, we visited Berlin Zoo which is near Potsdamer Platz. It was lovely walking around and seeing the animals. In the evening we walked along the East Side Gallery, Berlin’s longest stretch of wall kept intact, which was only a short walk from our hostel. We enjoyed seeing the graffiti and remembering the significance of the wall during the Cold War. After an ice cream stop we headed back for a well-deserved rest. We were tired by then, but everyone was buzzing.
On our last full day we first made our way to the Olympic Stadium. We had booked a guided tour and we weren’t disappointed. We learnt so much about the history of the Stadium and also the different uses for it now. Pupils loved the press conference room and pretending they were famous sports people.
In the afternoon we headed towards Stadtmitte to see Checkpoint Charlie which we couldn’t manage to do on the first day as it was already so crammed with other things. It was great to see, but it is a traffic zone, so be aware that you can’t just stop with 43 pupils and take a picture. Next to Checkpoint Charlie is a little fake beach which was great for regaining energy by eating Currywurst and you guessed it - more ice cream.
For our last evening we went on a boat trip along the Spree. We passed many sights again, such as the TV Tower, Cathedral and Parliament and even Angela Merkel’s workplace! It was the perfect finish to a perfect school trip.
The Return home was without any problems, transport was organised well to take us back to the airport and pupils had plenty to eat for the day.
All in all I can highly recommend this trip. Berlin isn’t just a city for older pupils, anyone can enjoy it. There is so much to see and do, there is something for everyone. I am from Germany and have lived there for 24 years, yet it was my first time to Berlin. I can’t believe I waited this long as it is spectacular. People are very friendly, architecture is breath-taking and the history speaks for itself. You don’t want to miss out on exploring this city, it is well worth it!
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