2023: German language course in Berlin
Sabine, President of the Berlin-Potsdam Twinning Association, was very pleased that the German language course was held in Berlin from 16 to 22 April 2023.
The course took place at the Humboldt-Institute and it was imperative to have about ten participants in order to benefit from a group rate.
The participants were 12 in number, 7 French and 5 Portuguese. Prior to the course they underwent an on-line test to determine their level according to the European classification from A1 to C1-2 and be integrated into small groups of about 12 people.
My group consisted of three French people and other participants from Spain, Brazil, Mexico, the USA, Russia and Mongolia.
The beginner group consisted of two French and three Portuguese members and one other from Bulgaria.
The courses were well-structured and dynamic and lectures were delivered in a good atmosphere which was appreciated by all participants.
Classes, meals, and accommodation were all on site at the Humboldt Institute ; this allowed us to have more time for morning visits for the 3 people who were not taking classes and for the afternoon visits by the language students.
Sabine and the members of the Berlin-Postdam twinning association organized the week and the daily activities in an excellent manner, and we would like to thank them : certainly nobody got bored!
For the morning visits, the 3 persons wo were not participating in the lectures were accompanied by members of the German twinning group, including one twinner who spoke Portuguese.
After a morning with a journey to the past at Check Point Charlie and a leap into the future at Potsdamer Platz, our hosts introduced us to other facets of Berlin.
o We entered the world of artists with the remains of the wall of East Side Gallery or Urban Nation and were surprised by an exhibition and buildings decorated in an unbridled and unexpected way.
o We strolled through the market, walked along a canal and then in an instant found ourselves in a very lively cosmopolitan quarter. We also had the pleasure of a coffee break at the Berlin House of Representatives.
The afternoon tours were just as full and interesting:
o On Monday we strolled along the famous avenue « Unter den Linden (Under the Lime Trees) », passing the embassy buildings and we walked through the Brandenburg Gate, crossing the Wall, symbolized by blocks on the pavement, to get to the Reichstag and discover its history throughout the 20th century. Then via helical ramps we arrived at the top of the dome to enjoy a 360° view of Berlin. On the way back we were overcome by emotion walking past the 2,711 concrete steles symbolizing the victims of Nazi barbarism.
o On Tuesday we visited the Hackesche Höfe, a real masterpiece of Art Nouveau: an ensemble of eight courtyards with painted façades and bright colours with plays of curves and geometric figures, now housing cafés, shops, galleries and flats. Returning to the institute we passed in front of the new synagogue with the golden Byzantine dome that shines in the sun and with the Moorish facade.
o On Thursday we visited the Kaiser-Wilhem-Gedächtniskirche, Memorial Church, destroyed during the Second World War where we were welcomed by its pastor who told us about the history of this church. The decision was taken, after the war, to keep it and to build a new church next to it which seen from the outside appears to be an austere cube, but from the inside sparkling with blue light emanating from its double walls made entirely of small square-shaped stained-glass windows. It was a moving and admiring discovery of the old and new church and the 2 m wide bright space created by the double wall.
On Friday we explored the Humboldt Forum and the Nikolaiviertel, where we were greeted by Trabis.
o We entered the walls of Hohenzollern Castle, which was rebuilt to its current style until 2019. Here we saw a digital presentation of its history and from the terrace we had a new panoramic view of Berlin and the ubiquitous TV tower. We quickly took a last aerial view of Berlin from the 213 m high platform of the TV tower and then went to the "Kaffeestube im Nikolaiviertel" for the traditional farewell evening with the ceremonial presentation of the certificates of participation.
Berlin is a very airy, green city with many sights and museums, and we didn't have much time to visit the rich museums on the Museum Island: Old and New Museum, Pergamonmuseum, ...
For all the visits during the week, a big thank you to Sabine and her husband Jean-Louis, Gudrun, Rena, Captain Manfred and his wife, Michaela and Monika and all the accompanying persons for their helpfulness and for telling us all about their Berlin with lots of anecdotes in good humour.
Many thanks also to all the French and Portuguese participants we had the pleasure of getting to know during this week and with whom we shared many nice, convivial moments.
When is the next course?
association de Nord-Isère
On behalf of all the participants