Last week, we did a field trip to Berlin. This was the first field trip I have planned on my own (with a lot of guiding help from others, for sure!) – booking hotels, finding trains, creating an itinerary, calling museums, calling the hotel, calling the hotel, calling the hotel…
We had to convince the kids to go! And convince the parents to send them! Then finally, 3 months later, so many phone calls and a 7-hour train ride later, we were there! Nineteen kids aged 13-17 and four adults tromping around Berlin.
So what did we do?
Day 1 – Saschenhausen Concentration Camp. We needed to feel the memory of departed souls and face the reality of the horrors, so it could haunt us for the rest of the week and we could reflect and recover.
Then we hit the Christmas Markets and let the kids eat fried food and run mental spending money and being kids – lift the memories from their shoulders a bit.
Day 2 – Pergamon Museum (Babylonian artifacts & Islamic art), Bode Museum (primarily Catholic art), DDR Museum (interactive exhibit on life in East Berlin). OH BOY did this day tire them out. Many were not used to being dragged around and spending hours in museums – “Why are we in this museum? What does this have to do with Berlin?” “Nothing really, but it’s art! Look at it!” (Thanks mom & dad for making it so I never question going to a museum.)
Day 3 – Jewish Museum. We gave them maps and told them to get us there. Half the kids were competent, 1/4 were content being told what to do. 1/4 got very lost and almost ended up on a train to Frankfurt. Many didn’t realize the museum was so big and ended up racing through (note for next year: tell them to start at the top). They all came out interested and wanting to learn more. None of them actually know any Jewish people.
Then more map work and walking to the Berlin wall museum. 1.5k of murals – something for everyone.
More Christmas Markets – more friend, greasy food. By the end, the students were melting and grateful to be sat looking at their phones for a bit before going to see Blue Man Group. They came out of that B O U N C I N G with energy – many haven’t seen a professional big-city performance before and boy oh boy did they love every minute of it.
Finally finally finally day 4 – train home. 7 hours long, and they sleep for most of it. And make their way through their candy hoards.
No real disasters, no tragedies. A few tears. A few empaths being overloaded. A few grouchy and cold kids with sore feet. But overall – they did something new and it’s safe to say that they had a great time doing it.
I do not regret a minute of all the work that went into the trip – I can think of a 100 things to do better next time, but I know they won’t forget this, and that’s worth it.