Students boosted their language skills on a recent trip to Berlin when they stayed with German landladies and took part in daily lessons, immersing themselves in the language and culture which helped in recent exams.
Student Chris Coles said: ‘I found the trip very helpful. My knowledge of the German language and culture increased exponentially. It was so rewarding using the vocabulary that I'd been learning in a proper context. Since I attended the language school, I feel that I have became more coherent and confident when speaking German. This was a great benefit for my oral examination a couple of weeks after I returned from the German capital. I really enjoyed speaking to the German lady I stayed with, about anything from European politics to what I did in my free time. The only thing I didn't enjoy was having to climb over a hundred steps every time I had to go to her flat!’
The ten students were accompanied by Head of Modern Foreign Languages Mr Robert Nicholls. He said: ‘Each day for five days the students had three hours of language school with a completely different German teacher and they spent most of their evenings with their German-speaking landladies. In the middle of the day and on some of the evenings we got to know Berlin and did touristy things. The lessons were fun and light-hearted, the students were very enthusiastic and we had some very lively discussions.’
During their time in the city the students visited the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie museum detailing the Berlin Wall and saw the Brandenburg Gate and adjoining holocaust memorial comprising 2711 concrete slabs arranged in formation.They also went to a Stasi prison and had dinner in a shop that formerly made coffins.
Lyn Joynson said: ‘I really enjoyed the trip and found it a useful life experience. It helped greatly with my ability to freely speak German because hearing people speak it in context and being surrounded by the language was really encouraging. The places we saw were great learning experiences and I enjoyed learning about the history of Berlin and what it was like on either side of the Berlin Wall.’
Shivani Mistry added: ‘It was a really good experience, I was able to be independent and we were all given the chance to make our own way to certain meeting points using only German. The public transport was so much fun and going on trams and trains alone really gave us the opportunity to be in charge of ourselves. Staying with German landladies was one of my favourite things about the trip, both Hollie and I stayed together and we had an amazing time.’