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Youth Seminar 'Finding Our Place In History'

Are you passionate about building a stronger future together and learning important lessons from our past? Would you like to take part in discussions and workshops with other British and German young people?

Applications are now closed!

‘The House by the Lake’ by Thomas Harding tells the fascinating journeys of several German families living on the fringes of Berlin, including the story of his own grandmother, Elsie Alexander. These stories are a real-life representation of 20th-century Germany, and form the basis of our thematic seminar.

The Alexander family, who were Jewish, were forced to leave their home and country during Nazi persecution. After they left, several other families lived in the summer house. The house bore witness to the construction of the Berlin wall, which tore the grounds in two, separating the house from the lake. The house was situated on the East German side of the wall, directly on the border; this was often an unpredictable place to live.

Decades later, after the fall of the wall, Elsie Alexander took her grandchildren to see the house she always so fondly described. Fast forward to 2013, the house is in a state of disrepair and under threat of demolition: thus came the decision from the family to renovate the house and transform it into a reconciliation centre.

If you are interested in history, and discussing identity, reconciliation and more, this is the seminar for you. We will combine these themes through site visits and lively discussions, which will bring young people from the UK and Germany together to work on projects to promote a better, more united future.

What can I expect from the seminar?

Apply to join like-minded young people from the UK and Germany on a three-day seminar in and around Berlin on 1 – 3 June 2018. You will have the opportunity to learn about the 'House by the Lake', its history and the families who lived there, whilst simultaneously exploring the seminar themes. You will work together with young people from Germany to explore how these themes impact you, your communities and your future.

Activities will include a guided-tour of 'The House by the Lake', by kind invitation of the Alexander family, a museum visit in Berlin, as well as expert-led workshops covering the following themes:

  • Identity & Diversity
  • Reconciliation & Dialogue
  • Social Action: Our Shared Future


UK-German Connection will cover all seminar costs, including flights, local and domestic travel and full board and lodging.

Participants will book their own travel to London (see below) in order to travel to and from Berlin with the whole UK group. The cost of your domestic travel will be reimbursed after the seminar.

A small fee of £25 will be requested from selected participants to confirm their participation.

Travel and Accommodation

The UK group will travel out together from London City Airport to Berlin in the morning of 1 June and return on a group flight in the afternoon of 3 June. The German participants will join the UK group in Berlin. All participants and group leaders will stay in a youth hostel just outside Berlin in Wannsee.
(*) Participants living far away from London may request an overnight stay in London on Thursday, 31 May.

Who can apply?

You can apply if you:

  • are aged 16-19 (younger pupils aged 14 or 15 can also apply if accompanied by an older pupil from the same school)

  • are a UK resident

  • can demonstrate a strong interest in the themes detailed above, as well as a strong interest in discussing the topic with UK and German peers, and, ideally, some prior involvement in similar activities or other projects related to the themes

  • are willing and able to actively take part in the seminar and contribute to the discussions and activities.

  • are willing and able to complete preparation work for the seminar which will include reading and engaging with (at least part of) 'The House by the Lake' by Thomas Harding.

German language skills are not required for the seminar. Some German language elements will be included in the seminar but you don't need any prior knowledge and/or translations will be provided.

A max. number of 3 pupils from one school can apply to take part. If 2 or more are attending, the pupils should be from different year groups and/or subject areas.
Active support from both your school and parent(s)/guardian(s) is essential.

How to apply?

  • fill in our online application form outlining your motivation and experience

  • download a copy of your application form for your own reference

  • ask your teacher to fill in the teacher's reference document (see files to download) quoting your application reference number and email this to youthseminar@ukgermanconnection.org

We need to receive both your online application and teacher's reference (submitted by your teacher) by Monday, 16 April 2018 at midday. We will notify you of the outcome by mid-late April.

Health and Safety

For the duration of the seminar, participants will undertake activities as a group under the supervision of vetted group leaders. Further information about our health and safety policy can be found under programme safety and seminars.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the seminar, please contact Aimée Hardy at:

Email: youthseminar@ukgermanconnection.org
Tel: +44 (0)20 7824 1570

Files to download