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Summer School in Berlin

Sunbathing by the riverClair O’Callaghan: 1 week Summer school

I was hoping to learn some basics and make friends in the class to spend time with sightseeing and socialising when not in class. My trip FAR exceeded my expectations.

The lessons were brilliant, much better than the German language lessons I remember from secondary school. A lot of German was covered each week but I didn’t feel overloaded with information. Whatever we’d learnt was revised in fun games. The games were imaginative and such a laugh. The teachers were animated and interesting to listen to. Each student had the chance to answer questions, have a go at pronouncing words etc. Everyone was involved and enjoyed themselves.

The students were all chatty, friendly, polite etc. Really cool fun people. The college social activities got booked up so quickly, so myself and friends organised our own sightseeing trips.  So my advise to new students is get your activities booked up as early as possible – so you don’t miss out.  Although we were okay for the bike tour as the college ran a second trip so we were able to attend that. Warning, you need to ride fast to keep up with the guide and you are in a large group making this difficult if you’re not bike confident, especially when everything’s on the right hand side. It was a fun mission however – so I’d recommend you go for it. The Stammtisch is a must (that’s a regular, informal get together at the college, in case you weren’t sure). I think time wise, doing the Standard Course, with 20 lessons per week was just right for me, as I had all afternoon left to sightsee and all evening for socialising, but there were a range of German language courses on offer.

For an overall view of Berlin, which is a large city I seriously suggest you go for a bus and boat tour – it sounds really touristy but it’s a great way to get a handle on the city. The Jewish Museum is very interesting, be wary not to run out of time thought as I reckon the best bits are at the start and very end. It takes a while to get to Sachenshausen concentration camp but its worth seeing, very moving, best seen as a group so you’ve got someone you can chat to on the S-bahn. There was a lovely outdoor bar just by the canal in Tiergarten, make a point of finding this – it was very popular and I loved it.

CESA were excellent.  Thanks. My queries were answered very quickly by Katherine and my call was even accepted late one evening.

Overall looking back on it now, I’m amazed at just how friendly and fun all the students were at the German Language school, and particularly on a German for Teenagers programme, and what a mixture of ages and nationalities there were at the college.

Suggestion: If you have something you want to see or do, take the plunge and tell some of the others in your class or at the school, the chances are they want to do the same and would love to go with you!

The most memorable bits were the laughs we had in class and the fun I had with the other students from all over the world out of class that I went sightseeing and drinking with, some from my class, some from other classes. I seriously would advise people to attend Stammtisch, the gathering on the Monday was a good way to make friends, who you them get to spend time with the rest of the week. And don’t worry if you’re a beginner to German; if you want them to there always seemed to be other students around who were very willing to communicate in English.