Lauren Miller pi

By Lauren Miller

 

Have you ever fancied going to Europe for a month in the summer, or even longer? Well, I did, and this year I decided to go to Berlin – a city filled with history and a whole new culture to what is on offer within the UK.

I found a company online called ‘City Travel Review’. They offer placements in Barcelona, Lyon, Berlin, Madrid, London and Edinburgh for students, and it costs roughly £1,000 to go. Yes, I admit, this might sound quite steep, but what you get in return is totally worth it.

So, as I said, I chose to spend a month in Berlin, not really knowing what to expect. I was given the opportunity to pay my fee in instalments which made the hefty price tag feel quite affordable. You receive a few emails about what will happen but, all in all, things are quite mysterious.

As August approached, the excitement grew and the nerves did too. I arrived in Berlin on the 27th; a quick 2-hour flight from Glasgow and suddenly I was in 38-degree heat. At the airport a mentor – which you are assigned – greets you and your fellow travelers, and takes you to your apartment. I was expecting a run-down flat, one with nothing in it, maybe a few plumbing issues and a pet rat, but I was pleasantly surprised! Our flat was spacious and very safe, boasting a double bed, a washing machine and a cooker – and total luxury compared with what I initially expected.

This travel experience consists of a writing placement, where at the end you complete a student travel guide to the city. This actually works out perfectly. Mentors organised certain places to see and then the rest of the time we got to go off and chose wherever else we wanted to review. Genuinely, I ended up seeing more of the city than I ever expected. From the Berlin Wall to the Reichstag to rooftop bars, there really is something for everyone where I went.

This placement is worth every penny. You meet new people who are all in the same boat as you, all contributing to a guide which is produced at the end for everyone to see and keep. You also receive a great reference for future employers at the end, and experience a whole other way of life. History and culture are on your doorstep in Berlin.

Now, this is a writing placement, and journalism students may be thinking, ‘YES – this was made for me’. But the truth is, this is suitable for anyone. Our group had law, history, English, geography and engineering students to name a few. I can say truthfully that everyone enjoyed it – no one was more advantaged than others. The diversity in our group was actually quite reflective of Berlin when you think about it.

I spent my time travelling around Berlin’s historical places like the Holocaust Memorial, the Berlin wall Memorial and the Brandenburg Gate. I also went to bars, restaurants, amazing beer gardens and cafes – oh, and the world’s largest zoo. The best thing about this placement is you can do what you want; you can party like crazy, you can chill, you can eat until your heart is content. Really it’s your experience and you have the chance to do what you want with it because you will be writing your very own ultimate city guide.

You won’t regret taking an opportunity like this; I can honestly say I would do it again in a heartbeat. The city was truly amazing, like nowhere else I’ve seen. It’s a month (minimal) of travelling somewhere new, seeing different things and meeting new people, and – FYI – Berlin’s nightlife is one of the best in the world!

This opportunity is one for people who want to travel but may not want to do something like Erasums. With ‘City Travel Review’ you can go for four weeks, eight weeks – even up to one full year – it’s really up to you. If it’s going to get you away for the summer and you like travelling, then this is something for you.

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