After many hours sleep, I can report on the success of the excursion to Berlin. While by no means can this trip claim to be hassle-free or relaxing, it was certainly an example of Townshend students showing themselves to be the wonderful, respectable and mature students we desire, and as an excursion, it was certainly not dull or monotonous!
Whilst we are creating a more detailed and exciting report, I can say that the students had some superbly guided tours of the Reichstag building, the Haus der Wannsee Conference and the Topography of Terror exhibition. All of which showed first hand the material the students have been studying. Whilst a textbook can inform, I certainly believe that seeing where these events happened really brings the material much more into perspective and helps many students grasp concepts much more easily. Perhaps most crucially the tour guides did not just explain, but challenged the students to think why things happened without giving them a textbook answer, and challenged them as much as an exam question does!
In addition to these main visits the students had plenty of time to see other tourist sites and to take many a photograph in places such as the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Memorial to Murdered Jews in Europe, and of course the iconic remains of the Berlin Wall. There was also time to eat in some of the lovely restaurants in Berlin, with many of our alumni helping us find our way. Couple this with a very comfortable hotel and many (MANY) hours on public transport, it all panned out to be yet another successful excursion. We all welcomed the day to recuperate afterwards before school started again on Monday! Though in fact the main complaint was…wait…the trip was too short…
Many thanks to Mara Khorram, an excellent chaperone and one without whom this wouldn’t have been possible, and also to the students, and anyone who helped this excursion come to fruition. It was certainly worth it!