Thanks to student Megan Hickes for this post.
It was midnight on 29 June at Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College when the unforgettable Berlin trip began for lower sixth students. The accompanying staff had planned the trip in detail, and students had high expectations for this long-awaited excursion, which was finally becoming a reality.
They were certainly not disappointed.
Travelling around Berlin on the U-Bahn allowed students to develop an insight into the city’s lifestyle. A visit to the dome of the Reichstag building was followed by a tour of the Stasi Prison, revealing the activities of the East German secret police during the period of the division of Germany.
Other experiences included the harrowing starkness of Sachsenhausen concentration camp, museum visits, and a tour of Berlin’s nuclear bomb shelter. Places such as this, resonant with intimations of past human tragedy, brought the students very close to understanding the unimaginable fear and desperation inflicted by the menacing presence of the Berlin Wall.
One student commented that ‘the main reason the Berlin trip was great was because it brought the A level History course to life… it made me appreciate the significance of historical landmarks’. Seeing the physical remnants of a time period studied in class has made the words of an A-level textbook seem much more tangible. Without a doubt, the trip was one that the 2018 lower sixth students of Notre Dame will never forget.