1. Our Ethos
We believe that school German trips are not only about visiting Germany and experiencing its rich culture, but most importantly about giving young people the chance to get inside that culture by making friends with German people of their own age. With this in mind, our tailor-made German Immersion Trip to the capital city, Berlin is a perfect combination of cultural, linguistic and inspiring excursions and activities which take place with a group of enthusiastic German students.
2. Why run a school German trip?
A well run and enjoyable school trip is often the most significant memory that a student takes with them from their time at school. It is often a first time experience of being away from home and away from parents. Students develop a vast range of skills beyond those of linguistic and cultural knowledge. They learn to be more responsible, organised and communicative while learning to be a respected member of a team and helping others to work well in that team. They develop a curious and respectful nature about the world around them and become inspired to learn and be more. Our school trips are for students aged 12 – 18 and we would suggest that the optimum age for the Immersion Trip would be Years 9 and 10. The trip often encourages students to choose German at GCSE and helps Year 10 students to see the point of their Key Stage 4 studies. The interaction with the German students also helps their confidence in preparation for Oral Assessments. Exciting school trips are also viewed very favourably by parents when deciding which school to send their child to and also by OFSTED, ‘Such hands-on activities led to improved outcomes for pupils and students, including better achievement, standards, motivation, personal development and behaviour.’ From an OFSTED report entitled ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ 2008.
3. Location – Berlin – steeped in History – why not run a cross-curricular trip?
Berlin is a short 1 hour 45 minute flight from London and is a fascinating city with a wealth of incredible history to discover. Places of interest include, the Reichstag, East Side Gallery, Berlin Zoo, Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, the Holocaust Memorial and the TV tower. Such is the depth of History to discover in Berlin, your students will learn about the German language, its people and its background. What a way to open their eyes to the world around them!
4. Interaction with German teenagers – including the day in the school
We have contacts with a range of schools in Berlin who are keen to welcome British school groups. English is a popular school subject and there are always many German teenagers who are keen to take part. On every school trip, the group would usually spend a whole day in the German school working with a group of German students of a similar age. The usual format is a selection of bilingual getting to know you games followed by bilingual project work where students work in mixed groups and then have to present their findings to the rest of the group. The German students also participate in a lot of the other activities including the Scavenger Hunt, Quiz Night , Bowling and final evening Disco. Even within a fairly short space of time, students get to know each other well and create friendships that last far longer than the trip itself. Nothing is more motivating when learning a language than wanting to be able to talk to your peers.
5. Excursions Programme
Below is a copy of an example programme. Please feel free to suggest changes to some of the visits and we will do our best to accommodate them. You will have a Combination Languages Representative on hand 24/7 during your time in Berlin.
Most school groups prefer to travel from Gatwick, but other departure airports are possible too. As your Immersion Trip is all inclusive, your group will be collected from your school (or other preferred pick up point) and taken by coach to the airport. At the airport, a Combination Languages representative will meet you and help you to check your students in. The group then usually flies to Berlin Schoenefeld Airport, before travelling by coach to the hotel. All coaches are of a high standard, have seatbelts and are operated by County Council Approved companies. Flights are usually with EasyJet or another similar airline. The price includes one piece of hand luggage (10kg) and one piece of checked in baggage (20kg) per person.
The group stays together in a hotel in the centre of Berlin. Students have rooms of either 2, 3 or 4 beds and teachers usually share a twin room (single rooms are available for a small supplement). The rooms are very comfortable and all have their own en suite bathroom, fan and TV. The hotel is within walking distance of many of the attractions and within very easy reach of the underground. All meals are provided and are served buffet-style so that students can choose what they would prefer to eat.
All the activities have been carefully planned so that students get the most possible cultural and linguistic benefit from them. A lot is included within a relatively short space of time; students have a guided tour of Berlin and visit many of the main historical sites including the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag, East Side Gallery, Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, the Holocaust Memorial and the TV tower. We suggest an activity every morning, afternoon and evening so that there is no time to get bored! Students also have some time to write a diary in German about their trip. The bilingual activities with the German students are carefully designed to ensure that all students have to use their linguistic skills – small groups are strategically organised and most activities involve a competitive element, encouraging teams to work together. This really is the best way to learn a language – by having fun with German teenagers!
9. Administration – letters, medical forms, code of conduct, kit list, insurance (please see separate documents)
As experienced teachers, we know that even the keenest of teachers can get somewhat overwhelmed with how much there is to do to organise a successful school trip, which is why we will provide everything for you; letters to parents, medical forms, code of conduct, kit list and risk assessments. All you will need to do is to get approval from your Head Teacher, School Governors and Local Council. You would also need to promote the trip in school, organise the list of students and collect the medical forms from students and staff. We work on a ratio of one free teacher place per 10 students. Most schools usually have insurance for their students when taking part in an overseas visit, but we can also advise with this if necessary. Also, for your peace of mind, we are ATOL protected.
10. Prices and what it includes (absolutely everything!)
Your students and teachers do not need to pay for anything apart from maybe some souvenirs or the occasional ice cream! We have ensured that everything has been included to save you the worry of additional budgeting. We even provide an end of trip certificate. We want you to enjoy this trip as much as your students, so let us do the hard work for you!
And finally, we are passionate about providing affordable German school trips with a difference. We have seen first-hand how exciting and motivating it is for students to mix with German teenagers of the same age and we would love to look after your school trip to Berlin.
For more information please contact Suzie Comben
Tel: 07974 563137