DP 1 CAS trip to Berlin

From Joep van den Boom

At the start of the February holiday, the inaugural CAS (Community, Activity, and Service) trip began. Together with 19 students and two teachers, we traveled from Delft all the way to Berlin by train. Upon arrival, we settled into our hotel, and it was time for the first activity: a historical walk. The first stop was close by, as our hotel was next to Checkpoint Charlie. We finished the walk at the lovely ‘Baraka’ Moroccan restaurant for dinner.

The next day, a Syrian refugee guided us around the city, showing different historical places and connecting parts of Berlin’s history to the present situation. We had lunch at a Syrian restaurant. In the afternoon, we embarked on a street art adventure, spray painting next to the Berlin Wall in ‘Mauerpark,’ along with a photography and video shooting challenge. We started and finished in the ‘Kulturbrauerei,’ a repurposed old brewery. The final results were both comical and original. Visiting Berlin is incomplete without experiencing German cuisine, so in the evening, we enjoyed some ‘Käsespatzle’ in the traditional restaurant and brewery ‘Das Lemke.’

The third day took place in the ‘Neuköln’ area. In the morning, we undertook a sustainable design challenge at the old Tempelhof airport, repurposing the old baggage hall with input from locals whom the students interviewed in groups. After presenting their final designs to the other groups, we had a healthy Middle Eastern lunch with various dishes before engaging in urban gardening. Dinner followed in the restaurant connected to the urban garden, ‘Café Botanico,’ where we ate various vegetables sourced from the garden we had worked in earlier. Returning to the hotel, we participated in a reflection workshop.

On the fourth day, we visited the DDR Museum in the city center, where we learned about life in East Germany, including driving an old Trabant. Thanks to the museum’s interactive approach, with a secret spy room and a full house interior, there was plenty to experience. Afterwards, students had free time to explore the ‘Alexanderplatz’ area for lunch and shopping. In the afternoon, we enjoyed a challenging urban treasure hunt along the famous ‘Unter den Linden’ boulevard, learning more about the beautiful buildings and history of the area. Before dinner, we had a CAS project challenge hosted by our local trip leader in the hotel. After dinner, we went to the Mall of Berlin for an Indian grand feast at the Amrit restaurant.

The last day began with a free morning for souvenir shopping and visiting some final spots around the city. However, we encountered a setback when we discovered that our direct train was canceled. Fortunately, the alternative trains were not very crowded, and a bit later than planned, we arrived back in Delft in the late evening. All activities had links to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Multiple activities can be used by the students for CAS.

This trip is extracurricular and not mandatory.