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Tour benefits from personal contacts

The North-Eastern Education and Library Board party made the most of the Berlin trip by combining visits to museums with language seminars, vox-pop interviews with passers-by and talks with informed sources such as Klaus Hesse. Briefings on the historical background with an overview tour of the city and on-coach documentary videos, including the World at War episode on the Holocaust, called Genocide, also proved valuable.

Contacts with people on the ground were helped by the Board's twinning arrangement with Brandenburg, whose education department arranged the seminars and provided a guide for Potsdam. Its officials also proved a rich source of stories about life under the East German regime, including the good and bad points of state socialism and the growth of popular opposition.

The tour was organised through NST, the largest school specialist travel company and was offered to pupils at Pounds 210 a head with some subsidies. NST sends about 15 school parties a year to Berlin and provides a study pack. The company encourages teachers to go on an NSTinspection visit in advance to ensure they plan a schedule most suited to their needs.

Accommodation was in a large, clean Youth Hostel in Wansee. Evenings were spent ten-pin bowling and ice skating. Travel was all the way from Northern Ireland by coach.

For further information from NST, telephone 01253 352525

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