One of the societies I’m part of at UEA is the History Society. They organise all kinds of socials and events, from film nights to nights out, and an annual Spring Ball which is coming up in April. Back in January I got the opportunity to go to Berlin with the History Society which was a brilliant start to the year!
The trip was only around £160, which covered flights and accommodation, as well as the cost of various activities that were planned for the week. I’d never been to Berlin before, so the opportunity to go at such a good price was one I couldn’t turn down!
We stayed in Berlin from Monday to Friday, giving us 3 full days there. On the first day we went on a walking tour of the city, which was a brilliant way to see all the sights and learn about some of the history (it was a history soc trip after all!). The only downside was the temperature, as walking around isn’t quite as fun when it’s minus 10 and you are beginning to worry that losing limbs to frostbite could be a serious issue. But at least the freezing temperature meant we got snow, so everything looked extra magical! In the evening we got to go on a guided tour of the Reichstag, home of German Parliament. There was also the chance to see Berlin at night from the glass dome on top of the Reichstag, which has to be one of the best views of the city.
For our second day a trip had been organised to go to Stasi Prison, but my friend Jessie and I decided to use the day to properly explore Berlin instead. The great thing about the trip was you could pick and choose what activities you wanted to do to get the most out of your time in Berlin. We revisited some of the places we’d seen briefly on the walking tour, and spent the afternoon in the DDR Museum, which was all about life in East Germany after the war, where we also made the most of the warm environment and free wifi!
For our third, and last full day in Berlin, we travelled to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, which was just over an hours train ride from our Hostel. It was an extremely bleak place to visit, but it was moving and thought-provoking, both on a historical and personal level. Then on the last day, before leaving for the airport, we squeezed in a visit to the East Side Gallery, a section of the Berlin Wall just round the corner from where we were staying.
The chance to experience the culture and history of Berlin and meet new people through the history society was fantastic. If you’re heading off to uni in September definitely look into what societies you can join, they offer some of the best opportunities that’ll you’ll get from your time at university. I loved the trip to Berlin, and can’t wait to see where the History Society will organise for a trip next year.