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The Citytravelreview Berlin project is City Travel Review’s most established and most popular study/working project which has been running for around 10 years. CityTravelReview...
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citytravelreview basics from my experience
Submitted by rebecca woods | October 15, 2017
CityTravelReview Berlin Project key facts from my experience
My background is in English literature at University. As or German I did GCSE but almost forgot all. I wanted to be part of a project that involved some parts of what I studied and something completely different. I did a lot of research on many projects and in the end I chose and was selected for the CTR project in Berlin. I was also tempted for Edinburgh but I wanted to go abroad and had already visited Edinburgh many times.
There are quite a few different options relating to study working type placements and I did A LOT of research in this area prior to joining this project.
CityTravelReview is one of the established organisations and they have run many projects over 10 years during all seasons so have a fair amount of experience. The Company is a registered UK trusted company and the ctr project is run by Motion Placements Ltd. They have won awards for the projects as best educational projects are also verified under a few trusted sources and under the companies house and to date have no negative issues standing. Their main popular projects take place in Berlin and Edinburgh but they also do run smaller projects in some other locations. Projects tend to fill quickly and there are 2 application rounds per year. I was in a team of 28 people. (July and August I was told are the most popular months where they allocate a few more spaces) Most were from the UK but we also had some team mates from the US, Canada, Australia, Italy, France, Spain and some from Hong Kong so a good mix.
After leaving the project I did pass on my contact details as a few people each year give permission for future applicants to contact us for a short time. I no longer have time to answer the emails coming in and my name has now been taken from the ctr list. So to save anyone the trouble below here are the key places to look for info on CTR
- I requested a project schedule which holds the main information on the project.
- The citytravelreview website has a faqs page which answers the basic questions you may have.
- on the homepage there is a blog which is quite hidden as I never saw this first time around. There is a link called CTR Staff and Project Member interviews. This also holds quite a bit of info from past project members’ who have been on the projects so don’t overlook this. There is also a testimonial page called project members views on the website.
- There is a guides section on the website that lists some example guides made by past project members’
- Facebook page also has a gallery page with past members, accommodation pictures, class rooms, meetings and similar
- For anyone being selected standard procedure is that you are also are required to listen to how the project runs by a Project co-ordinator where they basically run through the same info that was sent but are they are there to answer any queries and will only process your place if you are in agreement with all terms and understand how the project works, I applied in first round applications so they also gave mea a few days to think if i definitely want to join the team. Those selected CTR provides all the main things within their project fee like apartment, classes, project activities workshops, all the structure, admin and organisation of the team and the main things you would expect from such a project. Food is the project members’ responsibility although ctr provides kitchen and cutlery, crockery utensils. There are basics items in the fridge together with welcome pack when they bring you tot he apartment. Not all apartments have a single room as they have different layouts. For those that want this they have to request this early and there is an extra fee of 25pounds per week.
- Project fee- There are scholorships and bursaries available and hardship funds. Though from my own experience pretty much most of the group members in my team paid themselves or had their parents pay the fee. Some though did use part of their student loan which is the easiest thing to do. I was not at all eligible for a hardship loan or any fee waiver programme like most of the group unfortunately. If It depends on a number of different factors but if you speak to the right people at your career hub then yes you may get full or partial funding, the rules change frequently. Be aware though the time it takes to process funding does vary considerably from university to university. Most I know that got funding had to pay some of the fee first to ctr to secure their place initially and then they were reimbursed by funding later (3-6 months later).
-language classes we were split into 2 groups. Absolute beginners and a low intermediate level. Fo most other things we were 2 groups for workshops and for all other meetings and project activities we were all together.
My impression was excellent and i do not regret joining and feel that in a way it did change my perspective on what I am doing. I like some others am working in Germany working in a temporary post in Franken working for an independent family run English/German translation company which produces tourist reading material so from ctr was a nice transition. I’m also getting to use a little German although missing the big team culture as most of my duties are individual tasks so is much quieter. I believe my team as a whole enjoyed the majority of the experience and from what I’ve read most people have also done the same. They structure the project quite simply which means you also get the freedom to also see Berlin the way you like. I have tried not to be biased and explain exactly the main facts which may clear something up for some. So hopefully my contribution helps and Good luck if you do join ctr!
Learning working project in Berlin with CityTravelReview
Submitted by Bronwen Ward - - | October 12, 2017
I stumbled on this project through my university. One of my lecturers recommended it as one of the possible learning experiences out of term time. I’m currently travelling around Germany, Austria, Switzerland on a 6 week history/culture touring group so the German I learnt at CTR that I can remember has been useful to say the least.
You have to commit usually early to get on the project. I didn’t join the project until July but had to secure the place in October although was easy to pay rest of balance in timed instalment. This didn’t much matter to them. Getting in on the 2nd round applications can be more challenging but not impossible. More people apply and at some stage the project fee can increase in 2nd round apps if you apply the wrong side of 2nd round apps.
If you want to have a single room in accommodation you can apply for this but not everyone can have one as was told there are not enough of these. The default is with room-mate. Don’t know though if this is always the case? Depends on personal preference if this is a drawback. If though being selected definitely check if you can have one if this is a must have on the list.
If you’re not sure what area you want to go into or just need some breathing space the project covers different elements. All briefly scratched. Incorporates learning a language, exploring and discovering another city while working in a team researching the city and surroundings. There were some areas I surprisingly enjoyed and there was a mixture of a meeting and outdoor activities.
I had a great time. I’m not sure still yet what I want to tie myself down to but as an experience to do out of term time if you get the chance then I would completely recommend. If anything else you at least also have it on your CV as doing something when not in Uni and someone that can vouch and support to what you did. It can look a bit better on your CV than writing worked on supermarket Till entire summer. Not that I’m against that and some people have to take paid work but I figured I have years of paid work ahead. Of course depends on your particular circumstance. I was involved in the guide ‘Wir Sind Berlin‘ in Spring and I put my name on the list with a ctr project co-ordinator as a contact if any future applicants wanna contact me? Please be aware that I am travelling right now so am slower to come back but I am open and happy to mail or speak to anyone for a limited period if they are considering this .
CityTravelReview (CTR Project) my positive view of the project and a wondeful city!
Submitted by ella rees | October 10, 2017
I was on this project with the interest to learn some German and work in a team to build a digital travel guide on the the things we discovered in the City of Berlin in Germany.This was in my case a must do experience and I highly appreciated my time in the team away abroad. The CTR programme organised the experience and provided most of the main essentials like accommodation, basics in the flat, language classes, workshops, Outdoor programme activities, staff and assistance. Food and free time was our department. They sent the necessary preparation, collected me at the airport (the most daunting part) and brought me to the apartment after giving a lowdown of how the the first few days theoretically playout. I was in a flat with a couple of others in the east side district and the full team was located in the same building blocks. We took part in German training classes, workshops, team meetings and we had a number of project visits, activities and a couple of excursions outside of the city (e.g Potsdam Palace region). These consisted mainly of walking tours, visiting landmarks I relished the experience and endorse it. I was there for a month and got to see the main sites of the city. I could have easily stayed the entire summer and wanted to but couldn’t join for 2 or 3 months due to other committments previously arranged. The project was structured. Laid back than my usual placements and had a degree of flexibility which gave the team enough freedom and free-time. We mainly hung out with the group on the weekends/evenings and I went away on one weekend on a backpacking type bus with my flatmates to Poland. The group bonded well and I’d definitely do this again if i had the chance. I stayed to this day in contact with CTR and am now back in the south of Germany this time for 3 months for a temporary post in a small publishing firm working as a digital researcher which i enjoy but is definitely more isolated and the early mornings feel sluggish as I need to commute and be in work by 7:45am. A few of the staff assisted mea in finding the post which I am clearly indebted for even though i need to drink vast amounts of coffee to deal with the early mornings. Language staff, workshop staff and guides on site were also helpful, upbeat and supported throughout the course.
#CityTravelReview #worthwhile #goabroad #getaway #travel researching #thesis #dissertation
Submitted by Robert Taylor - - | September 28, 2017
I was asked to share my experience of a gap style project at University as was part of my thesis research writing about these sorts of projects for the young generation: So briefly here it is.
To sum up my time at CTR: #worthwhile #entertaining #cultural # awareness-experience
Below explains why this worked for me. Without too much sugar coating:
Initially sceptical of these kinds of experiences I quickly got into the swing of things at CTR. I understood the basics of what was involved before joining the team but I think you don’t have an idea of what it's gonna be like until at least being there for a few days on location.
I was entered into a beginners class as I had no knowledge of German and I found the classes entertaining and had the feeling that I was learning step by step. I am not gifted with foreign languages so I did find the classes moving quite fast however with a little extra support I got there in the end. If you want to just learn German then I would say the ctr project is definitely not for you. If you hate learning languages then again although the project is not just about a language then I would still say it is not for you. I put in the effort also in the homework as I desperately didn’t want to fall behind which was warned at the orientation meeting. Generally though they went at a good pace for most of us in the group and tried to make the tasks fun even with grammar tasks which i normally hate.
Where we stayed
This I was told was furninshed accommodation. It is basic and my flat was outdated and in the east part but fitted with old times. Not 60’s old but 1990’s old Although most of the apartments I saw were similar some though were more modern and renovated although all the apartments were kitted the same and had a spacious layout. We were in the kitchen alot. Was more of a long corridor style kitchen so when we had friends over was crammed. Our apartment screamed 1992 but for my flat at least was part of the attraction and was much more organised and clean than my old house at uni. I shared the apartment with 2 others who were neat freaks. I did not book a single room. If you don’t it is likely you will get a flat mate. If you don’t like surprises then book a single room right away. It is still possible to get a single room but the supervisor told us this involves only luck if someone does not join the project unexpectedly for example. I luckily got on like a house on fire with my flatmates. Most were provided although things like bath mats, and what someone else wrote about creature comforts from home were not. We had a TV and radio woooo but be aware is German cable . No English channels. Makes sense though as we were in Berlin.
These were a mixture of visiting organisations doing walking tours and seeing general sites that were held by staff from ctr. Berlin is quite massive. If you don’t like walking then this is gonna be the reason not to apply as most of the activities we did did require some degree of walking. We purchased a travel card which was optional but recommended. This entitled us to all trains, trams buses that ran really well and alos at night. This I could not have done without.
Staff and general atmosphere
Was a close knit team and I had contact with 2 langauage trainers, the supervisor who was there for most key meetings and some general guides and organisation staff. We were in a team of 26 people so was sufficient cover. Staff were friendly, with a dry humour and all but all good ;) They were keen to help us settle in without being too in your face and they introduced us to some nice guides on our project activities. The meetings at the companies were the most insightful for me as you saw how it really it is to work inside a German company which was different to the UK of what I’ve seen.
We got the freedom in the evenings and the weekends- There is a kind of University atmosphere at the meeting rooms and in general the group. Would say most got on together although we were all different personalities. We had more awkward moments than real issues within the group and on the first week was hard to gage what was expected of us but that feeling soon passed. We went out as group quite a bit in the evenings and some of the group split into smaller numbers which was expected as we were all quite different. Although being in a group is not compulsory if you don’t like working in teams then again this would be the decision not to join as most day tasks were in teams.
We discussed on our last week as a group and this is about investing in your future and an experience that you cannot beat even if not as expected. Their is no guarantee you will enjoy it and of course you could just go to Berlin? But if you just take a plane to Berlin then this is just a solo holiday which anyone can do . Does not really sound the same on CV – This Summer i flew to berlin for a holiday:) for 1 month. In the end you would spend more or less the same amount of cash if not more in a month if you include entertainment, bars etc.. It is not the cheapest project but by far certainly not the most expensive and the living costs if you still live on a budget were a lot cheaper than my uni town of Brighton where i still currently reside. For what you get in my opinion is a good deal. With ctr they introduced us to ton things that I probably wouldn’t see and you see the city more as a local than a tourist. You pay for the access to something different and the insight of the people. There was plenty of opportunity to get involved in local activities and ctr encouraged this like the things like the Stammtisch to improve german with others usually held in a bar or cafe. Or you could do these tandem groups where someone who you could practise german and your partner improve english in a fun setting and was usually free. This all depends on your situation. I applied on the first round applications so around 8 months before the project so I had quite a while to pay the project fee off and paid in 3 instalments most though in the group lived on their normal budget at home. I now work in a leisure company and although I did not speak German in the past I had a few business trips including Germany and Austria where the basics I learnt at ctr at least came in handy and i feel that I now connect better with the germans and german speakers than i did previously from the ones i met at uni. Kind of could now see where they were coming from so ctr was an eye opener in terms of cultural awareness. Some oft the things we did felt a little like on a school project so I don’t think those are the things that i got the true benefit from but nothing to complain. In some of the activities i absorbed way more and in language classes when I was not doing grammar found myself to be quite enthusiastic.
Hopefully this sheds further light on some things. Was hard to get used to the fact of not checking the internet so much which some of the addicted internet junkies in in the team whined about but they anyway knew this from the start and is one of the whole points of the project. We had access at a local library and in meeting rooms so its not like you have zero access but for sure was less than I use it at home. After a week or so it became much more fun to go out and explore the city first hand. This was not about sitting behind a computer. So much we knew that from the start and I assumed this before joining hence my application in the first place. My advice is that if you like traveling, researching outdoors and working in teams this probably is a good thing to be involved in. CTR is one of the smaller younger thinking organisations and has been running the projects for 10 years so they must be doing something right. There is quite a bit of info of past projects available and also shows some of the accommodation, guides, past project members' meeting rooms groups and so on their FB. There were some parts of the project I was not so entusiastic aboutbut this comes down to personal preferences. To conclude I can safely say their were little downsides. Upsides weighed more. I showed up to all and as an experience on the whole I found this #worthwhile (hence the title)
A refreshing team working experience abroad
Submitted by Peter Chambers - - | September 26, 2017
The ctr project was an animated way so to speak to experience another country whilst working in a group and learning another language.
it was a mix of language classes, workshops and project activities under 1 umbrella.
I enjoyed the atmosphere, working times/conditions and freedom. I was glad I got to participate and would also recommend doing the project or really any sort of similar abroad style programmes that involve a combination of various aspects that match what you may wish to do in the future. It enabled me to see a few things from a differing perspective and to explore something different from the norm. All in all I wanted to be involved in a more creative project that was stimulating while also productive. The team were helpful and supportive throughout my stay and after finishing uni next year I would potentially be interested in working as a staff member or in the travel education industry which is something I knew very little about before joining the team.