Be The Best - update from Berlin

Be The Best grant recipient, Immy Blackburn-Horgan, blogs about her adventures while on a placement in Berlin. 

Finding WWII bombs is a common occurance

We shall open with the closing events of this month: a live 250 kg WWII bomb in a construction site barely 100m from my house.  Apparently this is an average occurrence in Berlin; specific areas such as Oranienburger just a couple of train stops away, face this more often due to it being an industrial area during the war.

Being told that there is a bomb did worry me slightly but thankfully the police were able to remove and explode the detonators therefore rendering the bomb inert and safe. I was glad to be at work while this occurred, but I managed to get the full story by watching the Berlin police live tweet then translating what was said.  Mysteriously I could not translate clearly an incident where I went to the local shop to buy some milk, police in full gear with guns and vans and an army type van.  Everyone was carrying on as normal and all I could find out was they were there because of a garage raid (was it them raiding a garage or were they catching someone raiding a petrol garage? I am yet to work this out).

Library leader!
Now we shall look back at the beginning of the last month. The first exciting event was that I finished my probationary period with the Federal German Government which means I’m now officially in charge of the library. Though I have visits from Frau Grubler, my inspirational mentor, to make sure that everything is functioning correctly and to see if I need any help. Thanks go to Mrs Purchon from St Francis’ College who taught me how a library is supposed to run.  I guess this makes me a responsible adult - but I do not believe that!  

A letter from St Francis College
Speaking of St Francis’ I got a letter from them which was terrifying: why were they sending me messages on official stationary in giant envelopes?  Had my great A Level results been a big mistake? Maybe I should be more of an optimist and believe in the best of things because the letter was the results of our Annual Prize Giving Ceremony and I actually won something. Well two things actually the Headmistresses Award and the Sister Christopher Trophy for Kindness. This was really nice and I also got to see how everyone did with their university placements, which were amazing. 

A little bit of Letchworth in Berlin
I have managed to be a bit more active in my exploration of the area; well it’s my home now. Hermsdorf is quite like Letchworth due to the large amount of trees and the deserted nature of the roads, seriously where is everybody? But it is quite a quaint and nice place to be in. The weirdest thing is the lack of birds. I go to work at about 6:30am and since it is still dark out the silence is expected but there is no dawn chorus and there are only a few pigeons and crows on the S Bhan platform. The other day I got really excited to see a blackbird in someone’s garden! 


  • Everyone goes to the free Tuesday Philimonie lunchtime concerts at Potstamer Platz, but having seen a rugby scrum I was reminded of this as trying to get in is like being in a granny scrum, walking sticks at the ready, elbows out now run!  Much better to go next door to the Music Instrument Museum with free concerts on Wednesdays. Pop by at 2pm collect a ticket then return by 3.30pm to hear world class classical players.
  • Talking of courses there is an excellent programme of international Universities offering free on line short courses. You can get 1,300 free online courses from the world's leading universities --  Stanford, Yale, MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Oxford and more.

Until next time.

Read Immy's previous updates here