Tattooing is the most misunderstood art form in Japan today. Looked down upon for centuries and rarely discussed in social circles, people with tattoos are outcasts in this country, banned from most public spaces such as beaches, bathhouses, and even gyms. Tattoos have an extensive history in Japan, and to truly understand the stigma behind them it is essential to be aware of their significance. The first records of tattoos...Read More
BERLIN MARKS the third city and third continent for the school year! It’s incredible to think that some students left their home countries for the first time in September and have since lived in three very different locations. A little over two months from now, the students will be finishing up the school year. Our goal is for them to return home more knowledgeable, more independent, and more aware.
Founder Joann McPike joined us at the start of the trimester to kick off the term with a session about the TGS Core Values. She reminded students of her vision for the school and the elements that make up a TGS student. Students are fortunate to have the amazing opportunity to be part of a school that travels the world, and they have a responsibility and expectations to live up to. The Core Values session was followed by a fun video with highlights of Berlin, which led to an overview of the ResLIFE expectations for the trimester.
We are determined to make this trimester the best one yet, and we need cooperation and support from the students. Additionally, if they want something to happen, they need to be given the opportunity to try and make it possible. Thus, this trimester we’ve decided to facilitate the development of a student government. We’ll be meeting regularly with students interested in developing the program.
First excursion downtown
Friday afternoon, students and staff boarded a bus bound for Berlin. We went on an architectural tour and were then taken to a hotel where we spent Friday and Saturday night. Staying in the city gave us more time to explore.
Friday evening students went to dinner with their advisors. From what I heard, no one had true “German food.” Berlin is very international, and the streets are lined with cafes and restaurants that represent many different nationalities. I can almost bet that students won’t get sick of eating in Berlin.
Scavenger hunt around Berlin
On Saturday, students hit the pavement in groups and tackled a scavenger hunt that sent them searching for places around downtown. One such place was the Kunsthaus Tascheles. It was once a department store but after the fall of the Berlin Wall, artists claimed the building and have transformed it into a street artist’s haven. Students participated in the scavenger hunt and met up with staff at various checkpoints.
They headed back to campus, so they could complete homework assignments and prepare for the upcoming week. Some of us went on an underground tour of the host school and learned a bit about the history of the building that dates back to Nazi Germany.
This evening, we had a TGS community meeting. All students and staff were present, and we made announcements about the upcoming week’s schedule. Each person shared their highlight of the week. One person mentioned a view they had of the Brandenburg Gate at night. Someone else mentioned they met a host school student who likes the exact same bands as them. Quite a few mentioned they really enjoyed eating dinner with their advisory group. It was wonderful to hear everyone’s highlights.
We will be continuing the weekly community meetings and incorporating ResLIFE time–space and structure with which to learn life skills and develop into the person they have the potential to become.
This trimester is packed with weXplore activities, city explorations, assignments, exams, and other opportunities that pop up as we go. I am excited for our time here and looking forward to giving students more opportunities to make this trimester even better than the last.