Exchange students are exhibitionists

9 08 2011

The day after we arrived in Berlin, the YFU teamers did what we were all waiting for: take us around the city!

Though, of course, YFU felt the need to give us a little orientation first. In the morning, they had us reflect upon our experiences in Germany. This, apparently, helps us prepare for the shock of going back home. Thus we had two final hours of sitting around in a stuffy room and talking about our feelings.

But afterwards, we headed out into the city! By “we” I mean four teamers and 31 exchange students. Quite a crowd.

And as a crowd, we attracted a crowd. Why? Well, our teamers had us do some slightly ridiculous things. For example, when we visited the Brandenburger Tor, the teamers wanted to do a head count to make sure all the students were there. As we were scattered all over the place, this was hard for them to do. Their solution? This:

We did this about five times during our tour in Berlin, consistently attracting stares and points from the other tourists.

It got even better when we reached the Bundestag. As you can see, Germany’s Parliament building attracts many visitors:

So our teamers decided that this was the perfect place to do an “energizer.” In other words, all the students had to walk in a circle, sing “Singing in the Rain,” and do an outrageous dance. In public.

I think they thought we were some sort of flash mob or something. Albeit a rather reluctant flash mob.

Other places we visited? First, another section of the Berlin Wall: (the remains of the Berlin Wall are scattered around the city)

And then the “Story of Berlin,” a museum on Berlin’s history. Outside of the museum were the Berlin Bears representing every country in the world. Included in the museum admission was entry to a Cold War-era nuclear shelter designed to hold 3,000 people for two weeks.

The whole street was lined with these.

Beds in the nuclear bunker. Don't those look comfortable.

Acting dumb in the museum.

Afterwards, we were set free to explore Berlin by ourselves. My group went to Alexanderplatz and Unter den Linden, where we spent a good hour searching desperately for a Berliner. “Berliners,” in addition to being the demonym for people who live in Berlin, also refers to a type of German jelly doughnut. Native Berlin residents call them pfannkuchen, though.

The teamers ended our day with a “surprise”: taking us to a bar! It was a ton of fun, though some of the kids got a little tipsy and started singing soccer songs with the resident Germans.


As a final show of exhibitionism that night, the teamers made all the boys get down and do pushups on the street. Thankfully, there were no tourists to film us this time.

So that was my final day in Germany. The next day, at the fun, fun hour of six in the morning, the USA kids were to depart. But it was a great conclusion to a fantastic trip! These days in Berlin, compared to the first time, YFU definitely got right.