Student Travel in Berlin – The Five Most Educational Experiences in the City

Packed with art galleries and museums, and with tangible relics of its recent history everywhere you look, Berlin is one of the most culturally engaging cities in the world. Which is just one of the reasons why so many language students choose to do a German course in Berlin.

With opportunities for students to learn more about this fascinating city literally around every corner, it can all seem a bit overwhelming at first. Here, then, is a quick roundup of five of the most educational Berlin experiences.

1. Deutsches Historisches Museum

Want to learn about the history of Germany? Where else would you go but the German Historical Museum, then? Appropriately positioned in the very heart of the city, on Unter den Linden, the Deutsches Historisches Museum is an educational titan and an absolute must for any student on a German course in Berlin.

With over 8,000 artifacts and historical objects scattered across two floors, the permanent collection is a thing of wonder. Covering the last 2,000 years of German history in the most thorough way, it’s the perfect place in which to lose yourself on a rainy day in the city.

2. Berlin Zoo

Why, when Berlin art galleries and museums are so remarkable, would you even consider going to a zoo? The answer lies in the fact that Berlin Zoo holds the largest collection of species of any zoo in the world.

A little to the west of the Tiergarten, it’s a fantastic day out that provides a remarkable insight into an almost impossibly wide variety of animals. There’s even the opportunity to catch a glimpse (through his adoring crowds) of local celebrity Knut the Polar Bear!

3. Gemaldegalerie

The Gemaldegalerie is to art galleries in Berlin, what the Deutsches Historisches Museum is to Berlin museums – the crowning glory. And what makes it so special isn’t merely the array of staggering works (one of the most comprehensive in Europe) from artists like Vermeer, Raphael, Rubens, Titian, Rembrandt and Caravaggio.

No, what makes it so special is the remarkable way in which the gallery is laid out. You get a real sense of order, vision and, as you wander from room to room, the sensation that collections both work in isolation, and still contribute to a wonderfully unified whole.

4. Topography of Terror

Standing in the former cells of the Gestapo Headquarters (now, mercifully, exposed to the elements) and flanked by one of the last remaining, sullen stretches of the Berlin Wall, ‘enjoy’ isn’t the word for the Topography of Terror.

However, it is, nevertheless, an essential educational experience in Berlin. What it does is usher you along a fascinating journey through one of the most terrible sagas in history, and chillingly lays out the often curiously banal face of human wickedness.

5. Coffee in Kreuzberg

High culture, history and art are all very well, but for the student on a German course in Berlin, the best way to get under the skin of the city is to do, well, nothing. Sitting back over a coffee on Bergamanstrasse in Kreuzberg and watching Berlin go about its business, is the best possible introduction to understanding the unique rhythms of this fascinating city.

What is Responsible Travelling?

Responsible travelling is about respect. Respect for the environment, the place, culture and the people. Responsible travelling is about reducing your carbon footprint and it is also about conservation and protection.  

Obviously when we travel, especially by air, we have inevitably contributed to global warming. However, we can try to reduce the carbon emission in other ways like planning your travel plans in advance to avoid unnecessary travel. Whenever possible, use public transport like buses and cycle to sightsee. Abstain from unnecessary travelling using domestic airline for interstate travelling if possible, travel by train or coaches to reduce your carbon footprint. Walking holidays and cruises are also ideal form of responsible travelling.   Responsible travelling is also about supporting the local produce and not imported goods. However, it is also important not to buy products of unethical practices like slave labour, company that exploit the young and the vulnerable. When you buy local produce, you inevitably create jobs and help contribute to the community.  

It is always an eye opener or sometimes even a culture shock to discover practices and way of life that is so different from our own. We should always respect the different cultures and practices of the locals, we should never try to judge and pass snide remarks about them. Imagine how you would feel if a tourist passes undesired remarks or do something disrespectful.   We should also be aware of different religious beliefs and should always try not to offend them.   It pays to learn more about the country, culture and the people before going there. You can obtain the necessary information from brochures or do your research on the internet. With a good understanding of the place you are visiting, you can immerse yourself into their culture more readily. It also enables you to have a more authentic experience about the place rather than just visiting the usual tourist attractions.  

Responsible travelling is also about visiting local conservation projects like forest conservation, animal sanctuary and learning about what people do to preserve their environment. There are responsible holidays where you can stay and participate in the conservation projects like forestry, wild life conservation and protection.  

Conservation is also about keeping the environment clean, not wasting water especially in places where water is scarce and not wasting food.   When you participate and practice responsible travelling, you encourage the good practice of tolerance and respect. When you take an interest in conservation projects and wildlife, you help sustain the livelihood of the local people and indirectly help build their community.

Egypt Travel – Luxor – The City You Can’t Afford to Miss

Grandiose structures, stunning pyramids, wealthy culture, celebrated artifacts and miscellany has placed Egypt on a platform that consistently never fails to satisfy visitors. And for a long time now, Egypt remains a lovely tourist attraction point.

Luxor, the city that many refer to as the world’s largest open air museum is unarguably remarkable. The unmatched, well maintained monuments and artifacts are some of the features that serve to draw great admiration for this city. Three different areas define Luxor as a city and people will talk about them when referring to Luxor. These are the small town of Karnak (north of Luxor), Thebes-called Waset by locals and Luxor city itself.

Tutankhamen, the tomb, which was discovered by archaeologist Howard Carter, is associated with the blossoming of Luxor City. This discovery is attributed to what is now seen as hyper conversion to Egyptian roots of the place. Luxor enjoys a semi autonomous position in Egypt with no other City in the country boasting of such privilege. A variety of buildings in this city follow the code of “antique style” with the National bank, railway station and spa standing out as perfect examples.

It is these structures that grant Luxor a feeling of uniqueness and call for adventure. In addition, a sense of calm and peace is usually notable and renders attachment to time quite impossible. However if you are looking for amenities that can be located in a modern day city, then Luxor has them all: Fast energetic night flow with clubs, restaurants and hotels. There are also enough open air markets that give shoppers the opportunity to feel happy too.

Luxor is a grand supporter of Egypt’s economy though it is currently not riding on the status of being Egypt’s economic powerhouse-it once did posses the status. Its major source of income is tourism which has roots in the Greek and Roman dynasties when just like today, it pulled the global attention of tourists. Luxor hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops form the basis for this attraction.

Three streets: Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniched, next to the Nile stand out as major in Luxor which then qualify the city as relatively small. Sharia al- Mahatta is right in front of the train station along the Nile and comes to contact with the garden of Luxor temple. The Sharia al Karnak Street, also known as Sharia al Markaz meets the Sharia al- Lokanda. Colorful restaurants, caf├ęs and bazaars with a range of Egyptian souvenir line up this stretch whereas the alabaster and pottery works form great attraction.

Some of the most exciting places to visit are the Luxor Museum of Mummification which was opened in 1997 and is the first of its kind to be wholly dedicated mummification. Not very grand, the museum comprises of a big room with guides that take the tourist round while explaining the significance of each piece on display. Over 56 archaeological objects complete with story boards that explain their process of mummification are available. The story board as well narrates the particular beliefs held by the community at the time of mummification. During this tour one can acquire rich knowledge of the progress made by ancient society in the area of medicine and chemistry.

Luxor temple is another point of attraction. Built by New kingdom Pharaohs Amenhotep and Ramesses the second, this temple is found in the heart of the city. It was dedicated to the worship of the god Opet. It is well maintained and surprisingly the art on it is hundreds of years old. While inside this temple one is overwhelmed with a feeling of being in a time machine.

Luxor museum is another site worth visiting, which is more of a store house of arts and antiquities rather than a museum. It was established in the early 1975 with most of the relics and artifacts found here dating as far back as the pre-dynastic period through to the Islamic dynasty. The museum building is modern, two storied with floors connected by a ramp. Iamu Negh, one of the historic figures of Egypt is right in this museum. It is small in size but the vast experience and first-hand view that you will gain will truly remain as outstanding and will make you want to come back again.

The temples of Karnak are believed to be the largest remaining religious complexes in the world, spanning an area of about 1500 square meters by 800 square meters and approximated to be over 1500 years old. It was called Ipet-isut during ancient times which meant the most select of places, remained Egypt’s sacred place of worship for a long time and comprises of pylons, kiosks, sanctuaries and obelisks all dedicated to the native’s Theban gods.

The temple connects to Sharia al- Karnak Street through a long stone Processional Street-the dromos. The dromos were first introduced by Nectanebo, the first and was lined with sphinxes on either side. The dromos on Karnak temple are well kept. At the entrance there is a Roman chapel that was made of burnt bricks and was dedicated to the worship of the Roman god Serapis.

Kings in Egypt had a special burial ground because people believed that the status of being king was not lost in death. They were expected to rule even after passing away. The Valley of the Kings was the final ground of rest as they prepared to meet the gods in their journey into the afterlife. The tomb of Tutankhamen and Ramesses the second, that were discovered in the 1920’s are the most recent and remarkable discoveries of our time.

The burial ground for the queens and their children before reuniting with gods was the valley of the Queens. As of now only four tombs remain open to the public for viewing. One that will guarantee awesome attraction is the tomb of Queen Nefertari.