My Davidson | A Student Blog Photo Essay: The Best of Berlin on Spring Break

three young women stand in front of a zoo filled with penguins

While in Berlin, we attended a variety of German plays and museums, ate a slew of delicious food, went to a jazz club, explored farmer’s markets, and toured the Berlin Zoo (pictured here).

Three Davidson College students from the German Studies department reflect on a week of independent research in Berlin with their professor and thesis advisor. 

About the Authors

Breila Fuller ’23 (she/her) was a sociology and German studies double major. After Davidson, Breila is attending Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany, on a Fulbright scholarship to continue research in archival ethics and practices.

Olivia Harper ’23 (she/her) was a theatre and German studies double major. She currently works at Theatre Aspen in Colorado.

Steffi Coates ’23 (she/her) was a biology and German studies double major. Steffi is attending veterinary school in Tennessee.

During Spring Break 2023, the German Studies thesis majors traveled with our professor, Dr. Maggie McCarthy, to Berlin to spend a week pursuing our individual research. We attended a variety of German plays and museums, ate a slew of delicious food, went to a jazz club, explored farmer’s markets, and toured the Berlin Zoo. 

This trip was one of many opportunities offered to us by the Davidson College German department, which strives to immerse its students not only in language but also cultural experiences. We are so grateful for the departmental funding as well as Dr. McCarthy, who planned the entire trip and kept us wonderful company throughout the week. 

Arrival in Berlin
a compilation of images of a hotel room and a view out the window of the skyline

We could view the Fernsehturm directly outside the hotel window! Our hotel was located about a quarter of a mile from Museum Island, a centerpiece of Berlin that is home to five museums.

Theater in Berlin
a stage with white framing and red curtains with a simple set onstage

A picture of the stage at the Deutsches Theater’s production of Elfriede Jelinek’s play Angabe der Person. Olivia’s thesis focused on the Austrian playwright, and she even got to interview the production’s dramaturg, Bernd Isele. 

a stage with a large tree growing in the middle

A shot from the Shaubühne’s production of The Seagull by Anton Chekhov.

two people stand together in a theater smiling and posing for a photo

Here, our professor met an idol, Tim Fischer! At another play, we watched Tim Fischer perform Ich Bin die Leander in drag.

Davidson Connections Around the World
three young women and a young man smile while sitting around a restaurant table together

We had a whole Davidson reunion when we met up with Hani Zaitoun ’20, a Davidson alum who taught German as an AT (Davidson-speak for “apprentice teacher”). He met up with us at the Neues Museum and invited us to a concert that he helped organize as a fundraiser for Syria and Turkey.

Berlin Then & Now
a black and white photo of a scene in Germany

Breila centered her research on memory in a German-Jewish archive, the source of this photo. 

a large building on a cloudy overcast day

We visited the same spot on Museum Island decades after the initial photo was taken. Her work focused on the connection between history and memory, and how we understand history through the context of personal archives.

Out & About in Berlin
a young person stands over a table of art on a street

Here we are exploring the weekly market next to our hotel.

a group of three young women stand outside in winter clothes on a cloudy day

Pictured here are the three of us German senior thesis majors in front of the Neues Museum in Berlin.

two young women stand in front of an elephant enclosure with a city skyline in the background

Here are Breila and Olivia at the Berlin Zoo. This zoo is not only the oldest zoo in the country, but is home to the most species in the entire world!

two young women work together in a lab while wearing masks and scrubs

Steffi interned at a vet clinic in Berlin, where she had the opportunity to work with multiple outstanding veterinarians and different species. She observed a behavioral consult for an iguana, conducted radiographs on a turtle, spayed a ferret, removed the eye of a guinea pig, and much more!


  • January 25, 2024