New Study Abroad Trip to Iceland in 2018

Iceland, affectionately labeled the “Island of Fire and Ice,” is known for its volcanoes and glaciers. However, there are also impressive waterfalls, places offering solitude and silence, and beautiful sandy beaches stretching for miles.

Iceland

Slated for Summer 2018, IU South Bend will sponsor a new study abroad program for students to experience this magical place. Using Holar University College, located in Holar in Hjaltadalur, as our base, we will explore places such as Snaefellsnes (the mystical volcano known as the entrance point to the planet’s interior, made famous by Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth), Reykjavik (the world’s northernmost capital), Gullfoss (Iceland’s best known waterfall, also labeled the “golden falls”), Vestmannaeyjar (comprised of 16 small islands – Heimaey, the only inhabited island of the chain – and is one of the world’s newer volcanic creations), and Akureyri (Iceland’s second city having the country’s most photographed attractions).

The purpose of the SUST-B399: Human Behavior & Social Institutions course, besides exploring the places listed above, and others, is to investigate through assigned readings, onsite explorations, and interactions with native Icelanders the sustainable living practices occurring there, including those embedded within the country’s social, scientific, political, and educational institutions, and contrast them with what is currently evidenced within the United States. The goal is to develop a critical and analytical skill set necessary in becoming global citizens guided by mutual respect and trust.

“Canada, Our Near Neighbor to the North”

Canada, our near neighbor to the North, seems very familiar, but also very different. It has a unique history and has developed its own characteristic approach to public issues, social policies and the rights of its citizens, and lately is playing an outside role on the world stage. What can we learn from this country with its universal health care, embrace of refugees, and charismatic, yoga-loving feminist Prime Minister? At the same time, how can other democracies learn from Canada’s attempts to reconcile a painful genocidal history and continued mistreatment of indigenous communities?  In a cost-effective B399 course, slated for travel between Spring and Summer 2018 semesters, students will spend 10 days divided between Canada’s beautiful capital Ottawa, a diverse and green city in the province of Ontario, and Montreal, a major historical and cultural French Canadian city in Quebec. With local Anglo, Québécois, and indigenous experts as guides, and drawing on the rich museums, universities, and cultural sites in each city, students will learn that while all nations face challenges with regard to social, civil, and human rights, there are many different ways to meet these challenges, even among the pluralistic democracies of North America.
Canada IndigenousTour guideMany people offer guided tours of various indigenous sites around the beautiful and culturally significant areas of Canada. Pictured here is Jaime Koebel, who designed and runs the powerful Indigenous Walks tour that our students will experience. This experience exposes students to some of the vast cultural diversity North America has to offer in the best way possible, by giving them a tangible experience through which to learn.

 

Blog post by April Lidinsky

Terrors of Terezin: The Juxtaposition Behind the Walls

Standing here I am locked in by the same four walls. The same four walls that innocent Jewish people were forced to stand in, side by side, in a cell made for one. The origin of the cell was intended for the use of punishing one person for their actions against the Nazi regime. However, people upon people were piled into the room. The cell had one cut out square in the cement wall for the purpose of ventilation. Yet, the ventilation provided little to no air for the prisoners. During the middle of the night, forced to sleep standing up, they were suffocated to death.

Terezin was established in 1780 on the orders of Emperor Joseph II. It was constructed as a fortress to protect Bohemia against the Prussian troops. The fortress, however, was never used for its original purposes. By the end of the 19th century, the facility was being used for military and political prisoners. The most infamous prisoner was Gavrilo Princip. He was convicted of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, the assassination that it said to have started World War 1. He died in cell number 1 of tuberculosis.

Terezin 1

After Hitler had successfully invaded Czechoslovakia, on June 10, 1940, the Gestapo took control over Terezin. The first inmates were moved in the small fortress, the location of the Jewish prison, four days later. The larger fortress was used as a Jewish Ghetto during World War 2.

The eerie presence of the prior history hits you as soon as you drive into the fortress, which is still an inhabited town.  The walls of the fortress are built for protection of the people living within. Despite the fortification intended for security most of Terezin’s history was never used for this purpose. The walls of Terezin saw more destruction than preservation.

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The irony of the location is found around every corner. First and foremost, the irony that the fortress was built for protecting the people within it yet, thousands of innocent lives were lost inside the fortified walls. There is also the interesting juxtaposition of the run down isolation cells traced with death. The location of the old moat around the town is now filled with an abundance of green grass. From the bridge connecting the prison cells to the crematorium, you can look off into the distance and run your eyes down the fortified walls. The ground is full of vibrant green grass. The top of the walls are crowded with overgrown weeds and grass. The beauty of the scenery makes you forget the death that occurred beyond your standing position.

Terezin 3

Lastly, it is hard not to address the elephant in the room when visiting. It is the first thing not only I but many of the people in the tour group recognized. There are still a few thousand people residing in Terezin. They live in the same homes that Jews were placed in during World War 2. Within the Ghetto, many people died of disease and famine. Yet, these people are willingly living within these same buildings despite their gory history.

The overall tone of Terezin is hard to capture in words. It is not even plausible to capture it in pictures either. However, you can be assured that it is powerful, haunting and beautiful all mixed into one.

 

Additional resources about Terezin:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/terezin.html

https://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005424

http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/holocaust/about/03/terezin.asp

 

Blog post written by: Samantha Blair

Prague vs. Berlin by Savannah Welnetz

One of the greatest gifts in life is when things don’t go as planned. This was definitely the case for my study abroad trip to Berlin and Prague. I originally signed up in order to finally get to see the infamous German capital. The idea of Prague was just a pleasant bonus. I wasn’t even sure where it was until I started the classes. But, boy, did I discover a gem.
I fully expected to spend my time in Prague looking forward to Berlin. And in some ways I did. But in others, I never wanted to leave. One such moment was anytime I could stand and gazing up at the Prague Castle. I will never forget the image so long as I live.
The St. Vitus Cathedral peaks out from behind the lengthy castle, confusing tourists who don’t know any better. The castle itself stretches out almost the entire length of the hill it sits upon. The orange titled roof blends in with the similarly painted roofs of the other buildings and homes beneath it, again stumping the unknowledgeable tourist. What struck me the most about this postcard perfect view is the fact that no matter where I went in Prague, no matter how much of a glimpse I caught of the fortress, it was still beautiful. There was never a time in which it looked ugly or off. Even the view from our hostel made it shine.

 

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In addition to the fact that the castle and cathedral looks epic from any angle, the dynamic duo looks just as breath taking at all times of the day. In our exploration of Prague, every time we cross the Charles Bridge I made sure to capture at least one or two quick shots of the castle in the hopes of capturing just how gorgeous the view really was.

I never did manage to capture a picture that fully communicated to the viewer the sheer beauty of the castle. And I often felt guilty for failing to be able to share this hidden gem to my friends and family back home. However, what I ended up doing was capturing a series of shots that showed the castle at different times of the day. Each picture makes the castle look like almost a different location.

Prague Castle during the day…

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Prague Castle at dusk…

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And finally, Prague Castle at night…

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Obviously to the harder to impress, it is the same location. And the not-so-stereotypical looking castle can be written off as something not so astounding. But as someone who grew up with Disney princesses and dreams of fairy tale places, Prague and its castle view really gave the feel that I was standing in the middle of said dream. Standing on the bridge or looking up from our hostel, I felt like I was looking up at a marvel of mankind. Often times I would be just ogling and committing the picture to memory when I would think, “People get to live in this ancient city and look up at this same castle I am everyday”. It’s hard to wrap my mind around that.

For all of our modern technology, I’m not sure there will ever be a camera that could capture the near angelic image of Prague Castle to my satisfaction.

 

For more information on the castle:

 

Brexit: Implications Home and Abroad

Is the European Union Falling Apart?

After World War II, European states realized the need for an alliance in Europe to ensure that another war was not an option. In order to do this, European states began to not only unite but also intertwined their economies. This resulted in the creation of the European Union (EU). The EU brings together 28 different countries, but its foundation is shaking. And, on June 23rd, 2016, the votes came pouring in on whether Britain was to exit (British Exit; or ‘Brexit‘ for short) or remain in the EU.

Each political side had their advantages and their disadvantages. Anti-establishment members, or “Pro-Brexit” voters, called on Britain to leave the EU. They believed Brexit was necessary in order to protect what was left of the country’s culture which would benefit their economy by not having to follow EU business regulations. By leaving the EU, Pro-Brexit voters believed Britain would be able to regain its control over its independence. With the EU’s preset regulations on immigration, Britain did not get much of a say in the handling of the country’s labor migration. Many argued that immigrants would work in Britain for fewer benefits and lower wages. With jobs of British citizens being threatened, many individuals began seeing Britain’s role in the EU as a negative for Britain’s working class citizens.

On the other hand, “Remain” supporters proposed that it would, in fact, be better for Britain’s economy to stay in the EU. Those who voted to remain believed that the consequences of leaving the European Union were even more harmful to Britain. Remain voters believed Brexit’s potential would not be worth its risk to the country’s economy. Fearing the break would cause major economic problems, Remain voters saw the EU as a security blanket and hoped to keep things in Britain the same. However, in the early morning of June 24th, 2016, the votes had been counted. Winning by 51.9%, Pro-Brexit voters beat the Remain supporters, who came up short with only 48.1% of the total vote.

The result in numbers

In order for Britain to completely withdraw from the European Union, many deals and treaties still have to be met. But since the vote, changes throughout the country have already begun. These changes not only affect European natives, but also Americans. Well, at least those with European stocks or those who plan to travel to England and other European hotspots soon.

What does that mean for the 2017 London/Edinburgh trip?

The Currency Conversion:

Both England and Scotland use pound sterling as their form of currency. The pound sterling is commonly referred to as ‘pounds’ and it uses the ‘£’ symbol. Before the Brexit (06/23/16), you would need $1.49 (USD) to purchase £1. But since Brexit, (as of 07/14/16), £1 is equal to $1.32 (USD). Right now, the gap between the pound sterling and the US dollar is shrinking, which is great news for Americans who are planning to travel to European countries such as England and Scotland.

IU South Bend’s London/Edinburgh trip is not scheduled until Spring of 2017. With this is mind, a lot could change between now and the trip. There is still plenty of time for the pound’s worth to continue its decline, stagnate, or quite possibly, rebound completely. As of right now, very few predictions can be made about the future of Britain’s economy. But for the time being, Americans currently traveling to Europe can expect their dollars to travel further as well.

For more information about IUSB’s International Program, classes, or study abroad opportunities visit our website!

Also check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Blog post written by: Margaret Belt

 

 

Getting a taste of the adventurous side of the London and Edinburgh trip with Student Traveler: Taylor Silveus

Hello, good day to you, friends! In England students can see Stonehenge, Abbey Road, and Westminster Abbey on the London and Edinburgh study abroad trip! As an intern for the International Programs at IU South Bend, I conducted an interview with Silveus about her experiences to give students an inside look at studying abroad.

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This image was taken at Abbey Road, which is where the Beatles took their famous picture.

Students on the trip will get submersed in a foreign culture. Opportunities like this gives students a truly unique and enriching experience they will carry with them the rest of their lives.

  1. Describe your experience with locals. It was so fun meeting locals because their accents are fantastic, which is pretty cliché but still true. My favorite encounter was with a barista at Starbucks in London. I asked if they sold s’mores frappes and he could not figure out what I meant. It was hilarious trying to explain it to him and he even said to bring him a s’more the next time I came in!
  2. What was your favorite new food you tried there and what was it like? I bought gelato in Greenwich, England at this cute little market that sold handmade food and items. I went right for the salted caramel which I get whenever it’s an option for any kind of food. I’m a huge fan of ice cream, but the gelato was creamier and something I had never experienced in the US.

We practically guarantee that students will have memorable experiences and exciting adventures to tell their friends and family when they return. They will also have an experience that will impact them the rest of their lives.

  1. What were the most fun activities you experienced? My favorite places were Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey and visiting the pub from Kingsman: The Secret Service. Stonehenge was the most surreal place I have ever been. My nerdy side loves the mystery behind it too. It was awesome to learn about all of the evidence and theories of Stonehenge.

I loved going to the pub because Kingsman was one of my favorite movies that came out last year. It makes it better when I watch the movie now because I am able to say, “I’ve sat in that booth right there.”

I love Westminster more than the other two places I mentioned because I love everything about the royals. This is where William and Kate got married, Princess Diana’s funeral was held, and where the Queen still attends mass every Sunday. But besides that, the number of historical figures buried inside Westminster is humbling. The walls are lined with beautiful tombstones and statues representing people like Shakespeare, previous Kings and Queens, and Charles Dickens.

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Stonehenge, just outside of London.

  1. Recount your favorite memory from studying abroad. My favorite memory from the trip was deciding to explore London with three other students. We were on our way to the London Eye and got lost, very lost. We got off at the wrong Tube station, so while we were walking the rest of the way, we stumbled upon this outstanding and strange graffiti tunnel. It was around half a mile long, and it was one of the coolest things I saw while abroad.
  2. Why did you go on the trip? Even throughout high school, I had planned to study abroad in college. I chose this trip because I am fascinated with England.
  3. Do you want to study abroad again? Yes, I want to study abroad again so badly. It was such an awesome experience meeting new people, both from the UK and the other students that went along. I plan to travel the rest of my life! I know visiting places like this after college won’t be as cheap as it is through the school, so I want to take advantage of that while I can.

To learn more about studying abroad, visit our website and Facebook page.

Blog post written by: Chrissy Bohlmann

Getting a taste of the academic side of the London and Edinburgh trip with Student Traveler: Taylor Silveus

Hello, good day to you, friends! In England students can learn about the history behind this incredible country on the London and Edinburgh study abroad trip!

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This image was taken at Abbey Road, which is where the Beatles took their famous picture.

“I want to study abroad again so badly. It was such an awesome experience meeting new people, both from the UK and the other students that went along!” – Taylor Silveus commenting on her 2015 London trip. As an intern for the International Programs at IU South Bend, I conducted an interview with Silveus about her experiences to give students an inside look at studying abroad.

  1. What is your major? I’m majoring in Marketing and Advertising at IUSB.
  2. Which cities did you visit? I went to London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland when I studied abroad.

Being immersed in a sea of foreign people and experiences enables students to have ample academic and social growth.

  1. What was the coolest thing you learned? It was cool to learn the history behind the royal family. I learned about that while on a double decker tour I took on one of my free days.
  2. Tell me about what you learned in regards to the shift in tourism in London. Tourism undertook a drastic change in Britain during the 18thcentury, shifting the focus from the historical artifacts to the beauty of the country. I believe that the development of the print market is the number one reason for this change. It became immensely easier for people to learn what other countries have to offer in terms of the landscape and natural landmarks.

This shift became even more apparent during the recent technology burst. Images again took center stage as daily news and photographs from places around the world were flashed on Twitter and social media.

This directly affected me, being a key factor when making my decision to study abroad. I cannot imagine traveling through the Highlands of Scotland having never seen a picture of the landscape and maybe only ever hearing about it through word of mouth. The print market has improved tourism by leaps and bounds

  1. How has this affected you academically overall? Seeing a different culture and experiencing foreign places around the globe will enhance a student’s college life.
  2. What was something you did not expect to learn on the trip? I think an important part of studying abroad is learning quickly that it is not uncommon for things to go awry. An important skill for anyone to possess is knowing how to handle those kinds of situations. Not all parts of studying abroad are smiles, but it adds to the story you have to tell later on.
  3. What was your biggest obstacle on the trip? The biggest obstacle was actually just getting to London itself. We had trouble on our way to the airport in Chicago because we were delayed behind a fatal accident on the highway. It took hours to clear the road again so we missed our flight. In result, many of us lost tickets we purchased to use on a free day in London. Despite the unfortunate circumstance, our professors and the students dealt with it exceptionally well. To me now it’s just a funny story to tell people.
  4. Once you were on the trip, was there anything you wished you would have done before you left for the trip? I spent all spring planning what I wanted to do when I was in London. I think I got a little over excited for that city and neglected planning for Edinburgh. I wish I had taken the time to research more things to do in my free time there.

Because English is the primary language for Scotland and England, students may assume that these countries are fairly similar to the United States. However, students who went on the study abroad trip know that there are endless fascinating cultural differences that make everything an adventure all its own.

  1. Describe the environments, rooms, and people that you lived with on the trip. I had more space and privacy while I stayed in London. I had an individual dorm room at the University of London with a bed, desk, and sink. The window had a lovely view of a park across the street. I used community bathrooms and showers down the hall from my room though. I was surprised at how nice everything was in my room.

In Edinburgh, I shared a room with three other IUSB students. We stayed above a restaurant, which turned out to be awesome because we spent our nights there and met numerous people from other countries. I did not have as much room in Edinburgh, as the rooms were quite small. We had bunk beds and could barely walk past one another when we were all standing. The toilet was in the shower, which was one of the weirdest things I saw on the trip. The room also became very humid after someone showered because we were without vents.

  1. What was it like to stay in a foreign country that uses the same language we do? Even though they spoke English, the residents’ accents made it seem like a different language at times!
  2. What was the most intriguing thing you learned about the English and Scottish cultures? I learned that public bathrooms are not a common amenity in the United Kingdom. Whenever I was able to find one, it charged me for usage. I found that really odd and I wished I had been aware of it before going on the trip.

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This image was captured on top of an extinct volcano, Arthur’s Seat, in Edinburgh.

To learn more about studying abroad, visit our website and Facebook page.

Blog post written by: Chrissy Bohlmann