The TU Berlin Value-added Innovation and Enterprise Work (VIEW) Programme is an 8 week customized program for SUTD students under the GLP program. The 8 week program is divided into 3 different terms, with Term 1 and 3 being 2 weeks long while Term 2 is 4 weeks long.
Week 1, Term 1 – Leadership
Our group embarked on a leadership course for Term 1, being led by Coach Angela Keane. Our lessons start off everyday with a simple physical exercise to get our bodies pumped and moving, before moving into our class content for the day.
The course was incredibly insightful, centering around the main question of, “why should anyone be led by YOU?”. The lessons include sharing about the different types of leadership, how can we further develop our communication skills, as well as what emotional intelligence is.
Furthermore, we had 2 guest speakers, Mo Moubarak and Alessandro De Giacomo.
Mo Moubarak shared about his experiences of creating his own start-up. His confidence and authenticity captivated and inspired the entire class, with all of us leaving the class learning something about ourselves that we didn’t know.
Alessandro De Giacomo shared about how we approach change. The topic hit close to home, with all of us currently experiencing a change in environment as we had all just arrived in Berlin a week ago.
Other than just lessons in the classroom, the course also included an excursion to the Communications Museum. The Museum of Communication Berlin is the world’s oldest postal museum and showcases how the way of communications have evolved over the decades, from smoke signals to letters to the current telephones. Filled with vintage communication devices you might have seen in your grandparents home, the museum brings back a sense of nostalgia and curiosity as we have the opportunity to try using a typewriter (the perfect souvenir to write a letter to your friends or family!)
The fun did not stop there as we also participated in the cultural programmes organized by TU Berlin. These cultural programmes were a platform for us to make friends with other international students who were also taking a different course under the summer program.
The first cultural program was the boat tour at the Hackescher Markt where we saw multiple Berlin landmarks such as the Reichstag, Berlin Cathedral, and the Marstall concert hall.
We also had a guided tour of the Berlin Wall where we were able to learn more details about the life of those living in East and West Berlin that our history textbooks were unable to cover. It was fascinating to see the layout of the Berlin Wall as well as the traps that were put in place to prevent escapees, success stories of those who escaped as well as paying respects to those who failed or got caught in the crossfire.
Other than staying in Berlin for our cultural programs, we also went out of Berlin by traveling to Potsdam on the weekends. Potsdam was a truly beautiful place even though parts of the city are undergoing renovation. It was truly a mix and mash of both old architecture from the 18th and 19th century and modern architecture. We also visited the Sanssouci Palace, a UNESCO world heritage site to admire the way the park is integrated into the palace.
These cultural programs are all free to attend and I highly recommend everyone to join them to explore Berlin and use this opportunity to make new international friends. But don’t stop there! There are many interesting things to do in Berlin with your new friends.
For example, the Internationales Drehorgelfest Berlin is held from the 1st to the 3rd of July. Drehorgel, also known as a barrel organ, is an instrument where organ pipes inside the instrument play what is stored on the organ cylinder. During this festival, hundreds of Drehorgel line the street to play music creating a fun and lively atmosphere.
Another must go place to visit in Berlin would be the flea markets that are usually open on Saturday and Sunday. Since German law emphasizes that Sundays are a day of rest, almost all shops are closed on a Sunday, making the flea markets a perfect place to explore. Filled with a wide variety of goods from second hand clothing, film cameras, retro electronics as well as books and arts sold for prices as low as 1 euro. Filled with a variety of knick knacks, flea markets are the best place to find vintage trinkets for souvenirs and gifts. Looking for a film camera or that one retro console that is being sold for exorbitant prices in Singapore? Well, the flea markets in Berlin are waiting for you!
At the end of all these exploring, home is the best place to go. Pro tip: an effective way to combat homesickness is to cook! As there is a supermarket near our accommodation, cooking is a commonplace in our house as it reminds us of home and is significantly cheaper than eating out daily. This is especially important on Sundays when most restaurants are closed.
The first week has been such a fruitful week and fun week. While we’re approaching the end of Term 1, we can’t wait for what’s next! (Here’s a hint, we’ll be playing minigolf next week!)