6 February 2015

Image of A-Level History Students Explore Historical Sites on Trip to Berlin

A group of our A-Level History students have recently returned from a fantastic trip to Germany’s Capital, Berlin to explore and experience the history of the City first-hand.


Read a review of the trip by Head of History, Jane Cavanagh who accompanied the students:
Day 1: We flew from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Berlin. We had a guided tour by coach on the way to the hotel. We saw the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still in existence and the artwork, including the famous scene of Brezhnev kissing Erich Honecker and the Television Tower. We then arrived at the Meininger Hotel which is near to Alexanderplatz and settled into our rooms before tea. Later on we went for a walk up to the KulturBrauerei, a converted brewery, now an Arts and entertainment complex. We had a drink at the Soda Club before returning to the hotel, ready for a busy day, the next day.
Day 2: We headed out on the U-Bahn to the Ulterwelten Museum for guided tour around a Nazi Bunker from the Second World War. Our guide was fantastic and really brought the history of underground Berlin to life. We then headed to Alexanderplatz to meet our guide, Roy, for a walking tour of Berlin. Roy had extensive knowledge of the city and took us around many of the main sites, including the Cathedral, the Nazi Book-Burning monument, Checkpoint Charlie and the Memorial for the Murdered Jews. It was freezing cold but it was well worth braving it out. Our tour ended there and we spent time at the exhibition here, which told the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of the personal experiences of the victims. We then went back to the hotel for tea and then headed out once again, this time to the DDR museum, an interactive museum which chronicles the lives of ordinary people living in East Germany. The museum included a Trabant simulator which was a big hit with our students.
Day 3: In the morning we visited the concentration camp, Sachsenhausen which was a very moving experience. It was snow-covered which added to the bleakness of the place. We then went by coach to have lunch and then onto Potsdam to the Cecilianhof Palace where the famous conference of February 1945 took place. Our coach driver then gave us a tour around the whole park of Potsdam. We then stopped off at the Berlin Olympic Stadium on the way back. After dinner we headed back to the KulturBrauerei for salsa evening at the Soda Club; a fun night was had by all.
Day 4: In the morning we had a tour of the glass dome of the Reichstag building. We then walked to the Brandenburg Gate and had lunch nearby. We then travelled by tram to the Stasi Prison where we had a guided tour. Again, we had excellent guides who showed us around the cells and interrogation rooms and built up a very vivid picture of the psychological torture used on the prisoners by the secret police. Sadly we then headed back to the hotel to get the coach back to the airport.


Our students found the trip to be extremely beneficial to their studies with student Matthew Lea, commenting, “I really enjoyed the trip and particularly enjoyed going to the DDR Museum and the Stasi Prison. I now have a better understanding of the reasons why Berlin was divided and the actual mechanisms of dividing it.”

Fellow student, Ellie Regan who is in her AS year the College added, “The Holocaust Memorial was really moving I thought, as it zoomed into individuals’ lives. I also thought the DDR Museum and Stasi prison camp were really interesting. The trip brought to life the statistics from our textbooks and I felt like it has deepened my understanding of the topics and put it all into context.”

The Sixth Form College organises dozens of overseas and UK-wide educational trips each year, reinforcing the classroom teaching and giving students the opportunity to expand their horizons.


Check out images from the trip and see more student comments below:

History - Berlin Trip 2015


A2 student, James Bayley, “I thought the trip was absolutely amazing, I met some great people and visited some marvellous places – it exceeded all my expectations. I have gained a greater understanding as to why Germany was so important in events leading up to and during the Cold War.”


A2 student, Brandon Bentley, “I enjoyed visiting many sites of historical importance and being immersed in the culture of the area. Berlin is a huge part of the course. Being there and learning about it first-hand really helped.”


A2 student, Phoebe Harrison, “I enjoyed visiting Sachsenhausen as I think it’s important to see the horror of what happened as it’s a vital part of history. Also, I just generally enjoyed walking around the city itself, because it’s beautiful.”


A2 student, Matthew Turner, “The entire trip was incredible. I enjoyed the salsa night. The concentration camp was also a highlight as it was incredibly enlightening. Experiencing the history, in a sense first-hand, helps to understand the emotion and even further the consequence of policies.”


A2 student Ella Dobson, “It has increased my knowledge of Soviet-controlled Germany in particular and also helped me remember key events like Potsdam better as I have been to it.”


AS student, James Nolan, “I enjoyed the trip very much. The Stasi museum was really good. I enjoyed the tour guide and the Salsa club was really fun too! It has got me really interested in Cold War history and made me more aware of the personal struggles people had in Totalitarian regimes.”


A2 student, Jack Spencer, “I fully enjoyed the trip as we did lots of activities. It has enhanced my knowledge of many subjects and given me a greater understanding of what actually happened.”


A2 student, Matthew Denham, “The trip has provided a greater in-depth knowledge in regards to both my coursework and my exam topic.”


AS student, James Ross, “A great educational trip – the 3 hour walk was very good!”

Tags: Wirral Sixth Form A Level Educational Trip Birkenhead Trip Student Enrichment Travel Berlin History

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