Imagine being suddenly thrown into a big city, in a different culture. Many project participants, that Berlink supports in the capital of Germany, leave their own country to go abroad for the first time and this kind of experience can be a strong cultural blow for them. Every step and detail of the Berlink team’s job is important and a tour around the city centre also has a fundamental role: only walking through the city the students can have a full immersion in the German culture and they can experience, hopefully positively, what it means “to live abroad”. As we all know the first impression can be decisive. That is why it is important for them to get the best impression of the host city with its real face and culture as well.
At the very beginning of a student’s experience, Berlink offers a nice little guided tour around the city centre : we leave the office around 11.30 and get to the heart of the sightseeings by underground in ten minutes. Firstly we take our young participants to the Brandenburger Tor, where we explain that during the Cold War it represented the division of Berlin and nowadays it is the symbol of peace and unity.
Just steps away from the gate stands the German Bundestag, which is the policy-making body of the entire country. But the most touching moment during our city tour is when we stop by the memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The Berlink staff tries to make the participants realise how the Holocaust´s victims used to feel over the persecutions´
period. “How did you feel going inside?” – this is the real question that we ask the participants, when they return from the slabs. “I got the feeling of disorientation..” or “Sense of lost, bewilderment and fear.” And this is the actual feeling, that the architect of the memorial, Peter Eisenman, wanted to recreate for the people that had nothing to do with this dark period of the German history.
At the end of our tour we reach our final destination – Potsdamer Platz. On this square we can find a mix of the past, represented by pieces of the Berlin wall and of the future, embodied by the skyscrapers in the middle of the square. Here you can also see the first traffic light tower in Europe, that was erected in 1924.
Seeing and experiencing this multicultural reality, through the eyes of the young people, who just arrived to Berlin, raises deep curiosity and amazement after spending a day of introduction with Berlink. You can only fill in the real Berlin (k) s´life , only if you plunge into this initial unknown, but wonderful world!