Berlin through the ‘Why Europe?’ lens

How do you get a group of German and British students to connect immediately? Tell them to plan a tour of central Berlin together, which must take in the key sites, and explain to their peers the history, contemporary culture and connection to Europe of each place!
We met at the Stasi archive for a tour of this fascinating place. Our students immediately mixed. They needed to meet their group members face-to-face and discuss final arrangements for ‘their bit’. After a great tour, we headed back to Alexanderplatz and began. Ross, Alex and Yves set the standard; explaining to us the long history to Alexanderplatz, its role as a centre of modernist inspiration and the role it plays in modern Berliner life. At the site of the reconstruction of the Kaiser’s palace we had a contrast: Europe looking back to its heritage in tension with Europe looking forward to the future. Checkpoint Charlie, the Wall and Potsdamer Platz symbolised divided and reunited Europe. The memorial to the murdered Jews reminded us of Europe’s dark past. Our tour for the day finished at the Brandenburg Gate; built as a symbol of peace, distorted through war, and once more a symbol of a peaceful Europe. By this time it was raining, so we will have to go back for the obligatory group photo!
Frau Thompson they are working on their German assignment as we are waiting for dinner. Tonight, the theatre: Hinterm Horizont!
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