Monthly Archives: September 2015

Hiking the Italian Riviera: Love Locks & Sea Side Restaurants

The Cinque Terre of the Italian Riviera region is known for many things. From glorious seafood dishes and pesto, to romantic scenery, visiting this area of Italy is a must. A beautiful 11-kilometer path connects the five towns of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso. Three other students and I hiked from Vernazza to Monterosso during our brief stay in Cinque Terre. On this path we saw many things -vineyards, olive orchards and lemon trees, even a feral cat park. One thing that we noticed along the trail were many “love locks” as well. Love locks are pad locks that couples write their names on and lock in places to represent their love being “locked” in.

A beautiful area like Cinque Terre makes it a popular destination for honeymooners and vacationing couples alike. It is not limited to this as a reason to visit however. Cinque Terre has amazing white-sanded beaches and equally impressive restaurants and shops. Between the incredible views and magnificent cuisine, Cinque Terre offers an unforgettable experience to international travelers!

Love Locks between Monterosso and Vernazza, Italy. The background town is Vernazza. Photograph by Ryan Shields

Love Locks between Monterosso and Vernazza, Italy. The background town is Vernazza.
Photograph by Ryan Shields


The History Club Welcomes Guest Speaker Monica Tetzlaff

The History Club will kick of its guest speaker series this Thursday (9/24) with Dr. Monica Tetzlaff, who spent the last academic year in Ghana.

Dr. Tetzlaff is a History professor at IU South Bend and received a Fullbright Fellowship to complete research in Ghana. Her lecture, “Sites of Slavery: Coastal Forts and Inland Slave Markets in Ghana” will give students an insight into the research Dr. Tetzlaff worked on.


All students, faculty and staff are invited to join the History Club in welcoming Dr. Tetzlaff in the Alumni Room (second floor of the Administration Building).

Pizza and drinks are free for students.

For more information, please contact the History Club’s faculty advisor, Tim Willig. (

The Quest to Cinque Terre: A Blessing in Disguise

In this week’s Florence Friday we find ourselves on the Italian west coast. Professor Susan Moore led an optional trip to Cinque Terre. Cinque Terre translates to “the five lands” – five sister towns that span about 8 miles along the coast. Our plan was to travel by train from Florence to Cinque Terre, returning the same day, as we were to travel from Florence to Rome the following day.

As we made our trek through the Tuscan mountains aboard a train to the equally rugged northwest coast of Italy, we were filled with much anticipation. We had heard that Cinque Terre was an absolute paradise, so every student was bright eyed and ready to shoot.

The train ride started like any other, making routine stops to pick up and drop off commuting passengers and tourists alike. We stopped at the station in La Spezia and a voice came over the intercom, speaking Italian. This particular message came without an English translation, which was peculiar. People started to get up and exit the train, much to our confusion. After some investigating by Professor Moore, we were told that there was a train strike and there would be no more trains until five o’clock that evening.

We had to make a choice and quick – find an alternate destination, stay in La Spezia, or continue on to Cinque Terre by a different method of transportation. Mere minutes later, our group was shuffling through the town of La Spezia with the hope of reaching a boat to Cinque Terre.

After much nervous excitement, our group reached the boat that would take us to our destination. I immediately grabbed my camera and began to shoot the amazing Italian coast along the way!

Fezzano, Italy. Photograph by Ryan Shields

Fezzano, Italy. Photograph by Ryan Shields

Florence 2015 Study Abroad Alumni: An Interview with Jackie Thornton and Ryan Shields

In the Summer of 2015, International Programs interns Jackie Thornton and Ryan Shields participated in the four-week study abroad program in Florence, Street Photography.

Photograph by International Programs intern Ryan Shields from Action and Reaction: Italia.

Photograph by International Programs intern Ryan Shields from Action and Reaction: Italia.

Why did you choose this program?

Ryan: “My major is digital media with a focus in motion media, so this program directly related to my major. I also wanted to explore still frame composition.”

Jackie: “I have a minor in photography, so that was a big draw for me. Also friends of mine previously went on the Florence trip and loved it, so that really helped convince me.”

I understand that each student on the trip had to come up with a photographic theme, a focus for taking pictures for a final project. What were your themes?

Ryan: “My theme was on action and reaction, photographing people. It was challenging to try and make sure I didn’t shoot touristy things.”

Jackie: “For myself it was challenging to pick a theme and to try and not make it look like a tourist book. I had two themes, horizontal lines and tattoos.”

How did you both prepare for this trip?

Ryan: “Once I learned that I was accepted into the program, I began brushing up on Italian and learning about the culture and cities of Italy.”

Jackie: “I wanted to learn how to use my camera before I left on the trip.”

What were the most notable cultural differences you experienced?

Ryan: “Travel was a lot different, walking and renting bikes are definitely the way to go and a smart car is a normal sized vehicle in Italy.”
Jackie: “I noticed that in Italy there is a lot more importance placed on family and that people lived in multi generational homes.”

Photograph by International Programs lead intern Jackie Thornton from the body of art.

Photograph by International Programs lead intern Jackie Thornton from the body of art.

What was the biggest challenge while studying abroad in Florence?

Ryan: “I think that a lack versatility in cuisine and slow pace of life was challenging, it was especially hard to follow an itinerary in a slow paced country.”

Jackie: “I felt that living with other people proved challenging for myself.”

Can you describe one of your most memorable moments that you had?

Ryan: “Being immersed in the most artistic city of the world (Florence) was very memorable.”

Jackie: “On the last day in Venice I went off by myself to find Marco Polo’s house and I found it! Another memorable moment was being able to capture unique images that I would never have the opportunity to do so in the U.S.”

What advice would you give to other students thinking of study abroad?

Ryan: “Make sure that you document your memories whether it be through pictures, journals, or keepsakes.”

Jackie: “Try and learn the most you can about everything you see.”

Blog post and interviews by International Programs intern Sam Hudson.

For more information, please contact Susan Moore at

Duomo di Firenze: A Pride of Florentine Architecture

Florence Friday is here once again! Last week we took a look at the Florentine cityscape. This week we are examining one of the most beautiful church façades in all of Italy, the Duomo di Firenze. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Flower as it is called now, is the largest church in Florence. This wondrous structure pays homage to the gothic style of early Germanic and French Cathedrals, though it has the artistic personality of the Florentines through the Renaissance.

Construction of the Duomo began in 1296. The first legate from the Papal State to be sent to Florence, Cardinal Valeriana, laid the first brick. The façade wasn’t completed until almost 600 years later in 1887; however, a section of the dome remains unfinished to this day.

The Piazza del Duomo thrives during the spring and summer months. Tourists from all over the world gather to admire the artistic brilliance and religious symbolism that the Cathedral represents. When in Florence, the Duomo di Firenze is a must see!

The facade of the Duomo di Firenze. Photograph by Ryan Shields

The facade of the Duomo di Firenze. Photograph by Ryan Shields

Attend the first History Club meeting of the semester!

All IU South Bend students and faculty are invited to attend the History Club’s pizza party and annual “Meet & Greet” this coming Thursday (9/10) at 7 PM in the Alumni Room.

Club officers will discuss future events such as activities, guest speakers, and trivia nights. A weekend excursion to Springfield, Illinois will also be discussed (pending final approval).

Stop by the Alumni Room (second floor of the Administration Building) for free pizza and drinks to help the History Club ring in the new semester.


Please contact the History Club faculty advisor Dr. Tim Willig ( with any questions.

Visitors from Arzberg to Visit South Bend: An interview with Gabrielle Robinson.

On September 7, 2015 a delegation of visitors from Arzberg, Germany will be visiting South Bend.

Many years ago, then director of International Programs at IU South Bend, Gabrielle Robinson was vital in creating the “sister city” relationship between Arzberg and South Bend. In anticipation of the upcoming visit, International Programs intern Sara Burks interviewed Robinson.


It is next week that the visitors from Arzberg are coming and I hear they have a very busy schedule while they are here?

“Yes, they are coming on the 7th, and we are just rushing them around. We are all looking forward to it, there are a lot of South Bend people with connections to Arzberg, and they have been over there a number of times, and they are also very excited. There are some new people coming and some people who have been before, but still, we want them to see as many of the Arzberg sites as possible. We are going to both the Riverview and Old City Cemetery, and of course we are going to see the breweries, especially the Muessel brewery. We are going to look at the plaque near the Chocolate Café for the Elbel’s who were the first family to bring music to South Bend; they had bands and orchestras and for any big event it was always the Elbel group people wanted. They will have a reception with the mayor, and a Mennonite family between Nappanee and Bremen invited us to have dinner with them where they can talk Old German. Part of the reason the sister city relationship works so well is that there are still families on both sides of the Atlantic that have roots and it was very moving the first time when people stood in front of the houses of their ancestors they’d never seen, so they are quite committed to continuing this relationship.”

Did the affiliation between the two cities occur before you wrote your book German Settlers of South Bend or how did that come about?

“Oh no, I was the director of International Programs at IUSB and every year they did a program, “Something and Us” – Mexico and Us, Japan and Us. One year it was Germany and Us, and I was always getting grants for these things. I got a grant to do research on the Germans in South Bend and Northern Indiana. I kept coming up against this name, Arzberg. I’d never heard of it, I myself am born in Berlin, way to the Northeast. Since we went to Europe every year [with IUSB], so we decided to start in Arzberg and we were welcomed like long lost family because they all knew about the connection to South Bend but they had lost touch. So the press was there, and it was a big thing and the next time we came, we brought the keys to the City of South Bend to them and they put up a beautiful plaque, its actually a picture in my book, its really a moving sort of plaque, thanking America for being so hospitable to their immigrants and so on. After that, we established a sister city and I think I wrote the book in between this, after the first couple of visits.”

What drew that group of immigrants from Germany to Indiana, or South Bend specifically?

“That’s actually a really good question, and the answer is typical really of all immigration. The first person came here by happenstance. They kept going west because they wanted to buy land, and land was still cheap in South Bend. The first family settled west of South Bend, between South Bend and Plymouth and after a few years, he came in the 1840’s, he wrote a long, long letter back to Arzberg saying what a wonderful place this was, that they had more meat to eat here than they have potatoes in Germany, that they are free, that everyone is free. In 1848 there was the revolution where they [the Germans] tried to free themselves, to have a united Germany and a federal jurisdiction but that failed and after that a lot of disillusioned people came and because of this letter, they kept pouring into South Bend. More and more came, and they would write back and tell how great it was. That is true now with Mexican immigration, a letter or news comes to one village or town where so many people come and its just true of immigration history altogether that these kinds of contacts…you know there were literally millions of letters that went back and forth, not just from South Bend, but from immigrants all over so that brings concentrations of certain groups to certain areas. Of course there were other Germans as well, but this was a predominate group – the Langs, Rockstrohs, and Muessels, in fact the last of the Muessel who still was in town just died, but many others are still in town so there is this connection.”

There was mention of a house reproduced to look like a replication of one in the other city?

“It’s a cute story really. There was another Arzberg family that immigrated with two daughters, and having heard so much about it, two brothers who owned a brewery in Arzberg thought they would come check it [South Bend] out. They met these two sisters and they fell in love. The two sisters were willing to go back to Arzberg but the older one in particular said the one condition she had was that they replicate their family house on Park Avenue in the Chapin District [once they arrived in Arzberg]. So the two sisters went over, went to live in Arzberg with those two brothers. Both houses still stand today. In Arzberg it’s a big house that is part of the brewery that was the living quarters for the family. In South Bend it’s the biggest house on the other side of the street from the Chapin house.”

What do you find to be the most important or the most beneficial experience from the relationship between the two cities?

“My honest answer on that would be that being German has been a bit of a burden for my generation in particular. In America during and after WW1, there was a huge hatred towards Germans. Many Germans changed their names. In Indianapolis, the Athenaeum was originally called the Das Deutsche Haus, and any reference to Germany was eradicated. So, it’s been difficult, but I’m very happy to have a relationship between an American city and a German city that’s so positive, friendly, and family oriented. And of course the other reason is the kind of connection of the people from South Bend to find their roots. From many of the older people, I got many moving letters saying this was the best thing that could happen that in their old age. It was wonderful that they could reestablish this connection with the country they knew they came from but really didn’t have much contact with.”

Many thanks to Gabrielle Robinson for the interview and to the citizens of Arzberg and South Bend for such a meaningful and longstanding relationship.

Interview and blog post by International Programs intern Sara Burks.