Friday, 13 April 2012 9:02 AM
There are many benefits to taking students on overseas school tours, from giving them an insight into different cultures to enhancing their understanding of a subject and applying what they've learnt in the classroom to the real world. Although there's no shortage of places that can be visited on geography trips, students are likely to find a tour of the Rhineland region of Germany will really enhance their studies.
Given the Rhineland's name, it ought to be unsurprising that the River Rhine flows through here. Not only is it one of the longest waterways in Europe, but it's also the most important, serving as a busy trading route for many centuries.
While the Rhine runs into several countries – including the Netherlands, Belgium and Austria – it is perhaps the part of it that passes through Germany that will prove most interesting to students on a school tour. Indeed, it is the longest waterway in Germany and – through erosion – has created the astounding Upper Middle Rhine Valley, which is also known as the Rhine Gorge. By taking your students here they'll be able to get a true appreciation of the monumental effect the geological process can have.
However, the wealth of exciting terrain the Rhineland encompasses is not solely limited to the river itself. Take a cruise down the waterway and you'll be provided with magnificent views of the Hunsruck and Eiffel mountain ranges, wooded valleys and vineyards, so there is the chance for your students to experience a diverse array of landscapes firsthand.
The Rhineland has a range of natural landmarks to be explored, but your students will also discover more about the lifestyle and history of people who have lived here. Visiting the town of Koblenz gives you the chance to see the Moselle River flow into the Rhine – presenting a fantastic opportunity to study confluence firsthand – and find out how the waterway has influenced the residents' day-to-day lives. Indeed, the river has had a great impact on the local lifestyle and its name comes from the Latin phrase castellum apud confluentes – which in English translates as the castle next to the confluence.
While exploring, you'll come across a monument dedicated to Emperor Wilhelm I – who established the reunification of Germany in the late 19th century – and river promenades, where you can watch passing trade and pleasure boats. It is also worth taking a trip up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. This historic structure sits 118 m above the Rhine, so in coming here you and your students will get a true appreciation of the river's monumental size.