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October 2011 issue

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Germany’s varied landscape


Located in the heart of Europe, Germany has much to offer language travel students. From unique annual festivals to hip modern cities, those from overseas will be hard pressed not to enjoy the rich flavours of the country. Bethan Norris reports.


Germany offers a range of experiences for visitors due to its vast size and combination of different cultures. The 11 European countries that border Germany each provide an influence on the way of life of different regions, yet Germans also display their own uniqueness that unifies the country as a whole. Language schools in the country go out of their way to ensure students get to experience as much as they can during their stay.

“Berlin at the moment is one of the coolest capitals in Europe,” says Dorothee Robrecht, Marketing Director at GLS Sprachenzentrum Berlin. “[It is] very urban, very liberal and not to forget, Berlin still has very affordable prices.” Germany’s capital city has been undergoing something of a cultural revival of late and it is proving to be a very attractive destination for young people and students wanting to experience the many club nights and music gigs that take place among the busy city streets. Robrecht adds that their school is situated in the perfect location for observing the metropolitan throng. “My favourite place [in the city] is actually our restaurant here on campus,” she says. “It has a terrace facing Kastanienallee, which is Berlin’s catwalk number one. If you want to see Berlin street style, this is the perfect place to be. And often you get to see people walking by you just saw on television the other day.”

For those interested in making the most of Berlin’s nightlife, Almir Krupic from did deutsch-institut, which has schools in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, recommends Oranienburger Strasse as the place to be. “Night owls and metropolitan adventurers stroll along the one kilometre stretch between Hackescher Market and Friedrichstrasse where you find more than 40 bars, cafés, trendy shops and galleries,” he says.

Andrew Geddes from Eurasia Institute in Berlin adds that up to 1,500 cultural events take place in Berlin every day. “We advise our students to visit historical places like the Berlin Wall, Brandenburger Tor and the Jewish Quarter but also encourage them to experience the current culture and lifestyle,” he says. “You can practise your German by visiting an open-air cinema, have a nice talk over a coffee in one of the several cosy cafés or relax after studying in a beach bar with a view over the River Spree. Besides this there are also many parks and lakes around Berlin.”

Even in Germany’s cities, the local people are often keen on outdoor pursuits and students staying in a host family will almost definitely find themselves able to take part in some traditional sports such as hiking in the mountains and even Nordic skiing – a type of skiing where the heel of the boot is not attached to the ski – in the winter. Doris van de Sand from ISK Munich says, “From December to the end of March, I’m either going to some of the many great concerts or looking at the latest exhibitions in numerous superb museums, or you might find me somewhere on my Nordic skis. There are so many places to ski, even in the Englischer Garten or along the banks of the Isar – there are at least five places for Nordic skiing in Munich. My favourite places are Dietramszell and the Garmisch-Partenkirchen/Mittenwald area.”

As well as taking part in many different sports activities, students at Carl Duisberg Training Center (CDC), which has schools in Radolfzell, Cologne, Berlin and Munich, can visit a number of sporting and non-sporting attractions on excursions organised by the schools. Andrea Maass, Director of the Munich school provides an exhaustive list of some of the excursions on offer. “Sightseeing tours of the city, tent roof tours of the Olympic stadium, barbecues along the banks of the Isar River, visits to the Allianz Arena – the home ground of the FC Bayern Munchen soccer team and FIFA Stadium 2006 – soccer, rock climbing, bowling, sledding, Christmas markets and excursions to Neuschwanstein, Salzburg or to Lake Chiemsee, or a tour of the Dachau concentration camp,” she relates.

In Radolfzell, a picturesque lakeside region in southern Germany bordering Switzerland and Austria, Petra Heintze, Director of CDC, says that the school offers the perfect opportunity for students to participate in sports all year round as well as for visiting other European countries. However, closer to home is the annual festival of Hausherrnfest, which celebrates the founding of the town. “There is a traditional procession from the lake to the main cathedral in Radolfzell, which marks the opening of the festivities,” she says. “Those taking part in the procession don traditional attire worn by the monks who founded the city some 900 years earlier. It takes place every year in July.”

Festivals and annual events are a staple part of German culture, with the most famous events with international visitors being the Munich Oktoberfest beer festival. However, most regions in Germany have their own festivals, often centred around specific food and drink. Lennart Güthling, Managing Director of the Humboldt-Institut in Constance in the south of Germany, says that each season in the region offers a fantastic variety of events for visitors. “The students can visit the very famous Seenachtsfest, which is one of the most beautiful European firework [displays],” he says. “It is accompanied by a huge programme of sports, fun and games for everybody. In Constance and its region, you have various and delicious fish and wine festivals as well.”

In Frankfurt the Apfelwein Festival [Apple wine festival] looms large on the social calendar for locals and visitors, according to Carsten Sallmann at Sprachcaffe Languages Plus in the city. “This special drink is very famous in the region of Hessen and many prefer it over the local variety of beers. Visitors can also get a culinary taste of various special dishes such as Handkäs mit Musik [a sour milk cheese] or Grüne Sosse [a green sauce for sausages].”

In nearby Augsburg, festivals also play an important part in the everyday life of local people, including those celebrating local literature, music and film. The city also has an impressive history which the owners of ADK Augsburger, Sabine Steinacher and Bernd Weichlein are keen to share. “Augsburg, the third largest city in Bavaria, was founded by the Romans and is one of the oldest cities in Germany,“ says Steinacher. “This city, located on the Romantic Road, offers numerous places of interest, the most well-known being the Augsburger Puppenkiste marionette theatre, the Fuggerei social housing complex, the Renaissance City Hall and the Cathedral. In the year 2011, Augsburg is the only venue of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Bavaria.“

Akademie Klausenhof in Hamminkeln in the north west of Germany offers students a different experience of the country again, according to Manuela Benninghoff at the school. “The Ruhrgebiet, formerly known for its iron steel industry and coal mining, represents a different image of Germany other than wheat beer and Bavarian sausage,” she observes. “In the past famous for its poor air, nowadays the Ruhr area is a green corridor, vibrant and flourishing with cultural life.” While the industrial image of the region has now gone, Benninghoff explains that evidence of the area’s past is still visible. The country park of Duisberg-Nord has become a tourist attraction and “there you can see what has become of the iron and steel industry”, she says, adding, “Today it is a cultural hotspot. Every year during the summer there are open air performances, concerts, theatre and cinema. Apart from that you can do free climbing along the walls of former coal bunkers or scuba diving inside an enormous gas tank.”

A visit to nearby Cologne is also worthwhile, according to Barbara Spannhake, also at the school. “My favourite place in our area is Cologne with the impressive cathedral and its wonderful museums, such as the Romano-Germanic museum, the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum and, of course, the chocolate museum. And Cologne is also famous for its Rhine promenade and the shopping malls,” she says.


Agent viewpoint

“Students like studying engineering programmes but not only that, there are some who want to learn architecture, economy, design, fine arts, music, human sciences etc. When students are off from university, most of them have use the time for jobs to have enough money to cover their study there. Students often go to study in a city in Germany because they have relatives there. Therefore, where there is the biggest Vietnamese community, there’s also a big Vietnamese student community.”
Thi Chau Trinh Ngo, German Center, Vietnam

“Students love the trendy atmosphere of Berlin and enjoy the different colours of the city with its unique combination of history, art and architecture. The guided tour through the historic sights of Hohenschönhausen is always very impressive. No city in the world has this unique combination of history, art and architecture on every corner.”
Ellen Weijand, Travel Inventive, Netherlands

“Students [are attracted to study in Germany] as they don’t have to pay tuition fees and get a high quality of education. It is quite a safe destination for international students. The multicultural atmosphere is very comfortable. The cars, beer and deep European culture interests students alot. They also get a good opportunity to earn while studying. German is easy to learn and students enjoy the new language once they grasp it.”
Maninder Singh, Time Educational and Immigration Consultants, India

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Study Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Britannia Student Services  
Milhouse Hostel  
Nido Student Living  
Smart City Hostels  

ASSOCIATIONS/ GROUPS
AEPLE  
English Australia  
English UK North  
Feltom Malta  
Groupement FLE  
NEAS Australia  
Perth Education City  
Quality English  

EVENTS
Alphe Conferences  

EXAM BOARDS
IELTS  
Cambridge Esol  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  
Trinity College London  

INSURANCE
Dr. Walter GmbH  

SERVICES
InTouch  
LTM Digital  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism Authority  

WORK EXPERIENCE
Professionals UK  
St Giles International  

AUSTRALIA
Dental Nursing Australia Kingston  
English Australia  
Language Links  
Lexis English  

BELGIUM

CERAN Lingua International  

CANADA
Bow Valley College  
Braemar International College  
Niagara College  

ENGLAND
Absolutely English Young Learners  
Camp Beaumont  
International House London  
InTuition Languages  
Kaplan International Colleges  
Language Studies International  
London School of Business & Finance  
London School of English  
Malvern House College London  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
Spinnaker College  
Study Group  
University of Essex - International Academy  

FRANCE
Accent Francais  
AGISEFE - Université de Savoie  
Alliance Française Paris Ile de France  
Ecole Suisse Internationale  
Idiom  
Langue Onze Toulouse  
LSF Montpellier  
Lyon Bleu International  
Paris Langues / Club CEI des 4 Vents  

GERMANY
Goethe Institut  
International House Berlin - Prolog  

ITALY
Dialogo Language Services  

MALTA
Clubclass Residential Language School  
EC English Language Centre  

SOUTH AFRICA
Garden Route Language Centre  

SPAIN
INTURJOVEN  

SWITZERLAND
EF Language Colleges Ltd  

USA
ELS Language Centers  
UC Berkeley Extension  
Zoni Language Centers  



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