Class Sees Fiennes in London Play

Springer makes his presentation to class.

Springer makes his presentation to class.

Herchel Springer ‘17 – Today in London, was a very eventful day. It started out with the tour of the West End Theaters, in which I saw The Globe Theater, Shakespeare’s Globe, and The Windmill Theater. Theater is real big in London and it is part of the culture so it interesting being over here and learning about the history of certain theaters and also the people such as William Shakespeare, Henry Irving, and many more.

Then after exploring that I did a presentation on the architecture of The Globe Theater, Blackfriars Theater, and Shakespeare’s Globe.The most important thing about the architecture is that it is so grand and it catches the eye. The buildings seem to still have an old architecture to them, but also mixed in with new buildings and their style.

Later on in the day we went to the play Man and Superman which Ralph Fiennes is apart of and plays the main characters John Tanner and Don Juan. The play itself was very pleasing to watch, but the action of the play did not come about until the second half. It plays on the idea of romance and one person not wanting to commit to another person.

The experience in London so far has been great and breath taking and I thank Wabash College and Dr. Dwight Watson for making this possible and also to my classmates and other professors for making this experience more  enjoyable.

Understanding Wabash Network in NY

Quinn '00 chats with Wabash art students in his studio.

Quinn ’00 chats with Wabash art students in his studio.

Pat Embree ’15 – “Wabash takes care of their own.” That phrase was repeated so many times during my recruiting stage at Wabash that I almost got sick of it. The phrase, however, was one of the biggest reasons of my decision on going to Wabash. It was also something I experienced first hand Tuesday. We met with both, Matt Delegat, a Wabash alumnus who has opened his own gallery called the Minus Space Gallery, and Wabash alumnus by the name of Nathaniel Mary Quinn ’00, who is a painter that attended Wabash and now has skyrocketed to fame in the art world. Both alumni have made names for themselves in the art world, and yet were able to take outside of their busy schedules to talk with current students. Why? Because Wabash men take care of their own, and they want nothing more than take time to talk to fellow Wabash men.

Wabash is a place that pushes you to your limits, and all of those who been through it or are going through it have a special bond, due to the special place that Wabash holds so many hearts. Both individuals talked to the immersion group about what it took to get to where they are, and both individuals encouraged us that with the tools that Wabash gives us, we can achieve whatever we set our minds to. Both of these alumni where motivational to the point that I wanted to hop back on a plane today and head back to work on my own work more, but I also can’t wait to see what else New York has in store for the reminder of the trip.

I can’t believe how many opportunities that Wabash has given me, and I am also extremely thankful for the opportunities that Wabash has given me.

Being in Rome Brings Classroom Alive

Michael Haffner ’16 – On Monday night, we were able to gain a sense of the modern culture in Rome.  We attended a Lazio vs Florence soccer match.  It was quite an experience as it showed us how serious Italians take soccer and how united the Roman fans were.  Each citizen knew the “fight songs” and the chants almost as well as Wallies know Old Wabash.  

While we slept with horns and screaming Italians still lingering in our ears, we awoke early on Tuesday. We began our day at the epigraphical museum.  The museum itself is rich with early religious and social activity.  Multiple students gave presentations at the museum highlighting a topic they had researched earlier in the semester. The museum aided in putting all of the ideas and topics we have learned together.  For instance we viewed a statue found at the Syrian sanctuary in the Janiculum.  This allowed for us to visualize not only the rituals that a cult would undergo, but also to see how cults and religious views transitioned as the statue was found in the second century and emblems of a different cult were found at the same site in the fourth century.  

It’s hard to fully understand how a cult or any religious group functioned in Rome, but small statues and artifacts aid in providing clues as to what may have been occurring.  I have learned not only to keep an eye out for details but also to keep an open mind.  

Oftentimes, the reasons for why a temple was built where it was or why the road slants in a certain direction are not obvious. One must be open to new ideas as new information is still being found.  In the afternoon, we were given a special tour through the Vatican and we were able to see where Peter may have been buried and St. Peter’s Basilica.  While viewing other catacombs, we were able to gain a sense of how families would worship their dead family members and what sort of rituals would take place involving the dead.  

Overall, the class has been an enjoyable experience which I think is enhanced with the immersion experience. It is one thing to be told that the colosseum is massive and once hosted murders, wild animals, and martyrdoms.  However, when one actually stands in the building and visualizes what took place, it becomes a humbling experience.  I am very grateful to attend a school where these types of courses are offered as I feel they open students eyes to different ways of studying these topics.

Learning EU Policy Student to Student

Wabash students set to visit EU Central Bank, Frankfurt, Germany

Wabash students set to visit EU Central Bank, Frankfurt, Germany

Seton Goddard ’15 – Since Monday was our first full day in Germany, we had the opportunity to spend a lot of time talking with different officials, policymakers, and civilians whose perspectives impacted the way that we viewed the European Union. Throughout our class discussions, we have questioned whether or not the European Union can survive, and if it does, whether its survival will be a meaningful one. Often, the class would conclude that the European Union simply isn’t sustainable and that there are just too many problems for it to work the way it was intended.

However, our experiences today revealed quite a bit. First, it has become clear that while the E.U. may look like a train wreck from the American vantage point, there are intelligent minds guiding the monetary policy of the European Union. Like America, though, we are beginning to see where politicians take policies crafted by experts and turn them into policies that are appealing to their voters. In turn, bad policies are implemented, and in many cases, this is what Americans and the rest of the world see.

Nonetheless, our discussions with people who live and work in Germany made it obvious that Americans are not the only people who are skeptical of the European Union. At a pub in Frankfurt Sunday night, we talked with two German interns who shared their views on the European Union, the challenges it has created, and in some ways, confirmed the things we were told at the European Central Bank today. First, while the European Union may be a “nice idea,” taking dozens of existing government structures and central banking systems and placing them under the jurisdiction of a loosely defined, constitution-less governing body leads to a lot of skepticism — even more than we might see if we spent a lot of time comparing the federalist system in the United States to the attempt at federalism in the European Union. On top of this, the students we talked to made it apparent that two of the greatest challenges in making the European Union work in a cohesive way are labor mobility and cultural differences. In other words, while Americans don’t have to think much about moving from Indianapolis to Kansas City, for example, moving from Frankfurt to London is a much bigger deal: the German who moves to London is forced to learn a new language (or expand his or her existing knowledge of English), change national citizenship (though the European Union has expedited this process substantially), and deal with differences in accreditation and licensing processes. And while some of these challenges would exist in the Indianapolis-Kansas City move, those challenges aren’t nearly as debilitating as they are in the European Union.

Additionally, the students we talked with identified substantial cultural differences between E.U. states that create even more challenges as leaders attempt to craft policies. They pointed out that, even though they’re German, they don’t tell people that they’re German. They say that they’re Bavarian (meaning they’re from Bavaria, a state that is often compared to Texas in its cultural attitudes and slightly hyperbolic desires to secede), which reveals that not only do they not necessarily call themselves Europeans who are apart of the European Union, but also they don’t even call themselves Germans. All in all, even though it was only the first day, we gained multiple valuable perspectives that we couldn’t gain by staying in a classroom.

The lectures, experiences, and simple conversations offer a perspective that simply wouldn’t be possible without being here. All thanks to Professors Mikek, Hollander, and the Rogge Fund.

Student Group Learning EU Finances

A key part of each immersion trip - the food.

A key part of each immersion trip – the food.

Josh Bleisch ’16 – Monday was the first full day of activities for class. We began by visiting the Frankfurt stock exchange. On the way there, we walked through the City Hall square. In the middle of the square, there was a memorial of a Nazi book burning that took place during the lead up to World War II. I found the site interesting and very powerful. The quote around the memorial roughly translated to: “when you burn books, you burn people.” This was just one of the many things in the city memorializing the events of World War Two.

At the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, we learned about the history of trading in the city, as well as how the exchange operates today. At the ECB, we enjoyed a great presentation about the strategies of the central bank, both in good times and in crisis. We have been reading about European Monetary policy for half of a semester, but this was our first chance to speak with people actually working within the European Central Bank.

We learned so much valuable information about what the ECB has done during the Eurocrisis to ensure price stability. I ended the day by going to an Ethiopian restaurant with a few other students in the group. It was a great end to a busy day in Frankfurt! We still have most of the week left to explore and learn. I’d like to give a special thanks to the Rogge Fund for making all of this possible!

Theater Group Sees “War Horse”

Nathan Muha ’18 – Today was truly a sight-seer’s paradise. Climbing up from the slowly-getting-familiar Underground station, we walked straight into the middle of Trafalgar Square and the plaza of the National Portrait Gallery. Seeing the huge statues around us, including a bout on top of some lions and a modern horse-skeleton sculpture with the stock market statistics running, it was difficult to take in. Big Ben seemed almost eerily defined against the grey sky just down the road.

Muha '18 giving his class presentation in London.

Muha ’18 giving his class presentation in London.

Taking in some of the sights, we also took the numerous famous locations as places of education with a good few of our presentations. In one of the many gardens we went through, I gave a presentation about English producer George Edwardes at the memorial site of his contemporary Arthur Sullivan. During a walk through the theatre district, we also heard presentations on Charlie Chaplin, Benjamin Britton, Henry Irving, and other topics of interest.

We finished off our walking tour with three of the most recognizable locations in London: Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the Parliament building. Needless to say, it was breathtaking, and I could not do it any justice through words.

Our theatrical review for the night was War Horse, which many people know from the film adaptation made by Steven Spielberg. One word that would really describe this play was theatrical. The production value was completely out of this world, with life-sized ridable horse puppets, singing, interpretive body work with the sets, and music playing in the background for a good majority of the play. The group agreed that all of those aspects were stellar. Today ended
up being truly remarkable, and a day that I’ll remember for a long time to come.

New York City Full of Art

Scott Hastings ’15 – New York is a wild place even for someone like me, who grew up on the East Coast near the fifth largest city in the country.  Today we visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, home to some of the world’s finest and most significant works of art in history.  Very few places allow you to see works by Van Gogh, Monet, and Pollock together in addition to works by ancient Chinese and Japanese print makers and painters.

The museum had full scale reconstructions of zen gardens, Colonial American squares and Roman Temples.  A couple of the other guys got their first taste of public transportation riding subways and busses in quick succession.  When we were allowed on our own and had our fill of the Met we headed into to Queens to see a famous Graffiti display.  We were disappointed to find that it had been demolished recently but decided all was not lost and headed further up the 7 line to the location of the 1964 World’s Fair.  It’s amazing that the fixtures and displays developed for the World’s Fair are still as modern and fresh as they were in 1964.

Finally, we took the 7 to its terminus at Times Square and walked around marveling at the street performers and activists and all the people who come from around the world to experience the intersection that never goes dark.

Tuesday sees us visiting the polar opposite of the Met as we explore a small gallery owned by a Wabash alumnus called Minus Space.  It will be interesting to compare and contrast the massive museum and the smaller contemporary gallery.

Remarkable Day in Rome

Marcus Kammrath ’16 – Today was the best day of my life. Multiple bucket list sites were checked off of my list today. We started with our light breakfast at the hotel and set off promptly at 8:15 to get our day going. We started at the Roman Forum, the heart of the entire Roman Empire. There we were able to see remains as well as still standing arches, basilicas, and other public buildings. The shear size of these buildings can not be given justice from a photo.

After the Roman Forum we made our way along the triumphal march to the Arch of Constantine and the Flavian Amphitheater! Here we looked a lot at not only the Roman uses for the amphitheater but the early Christian uses as a place of martyrdom. After there we booked it to the train station to catch the train to the Vatican Museums. The amount of graffiti all over Rome, but especially in the subways, is a work of art itself. A good majority of it is really well done and pretty interesting to look at. Thankfully they know better than to try and tag the areas we were in today!

When we got to the Vatican Museums we met with our security guard and headed to the section usually closed to the public (traveling with Hartnett and Nelson certainly has advantages) we listened to the four presenters discuss their various sarcophagus’ and the statue of the Good Shepherd. But wait! There’s more. Have you ever heard of the Sistine Chapel? Yeah we saw that today as well! Me and the group I was walking with had to pretty much pick our jaws up from the floor as we looked up thinking the tourist question of the day “How could one man do all of this?”

We finished at the Vatican Museums shortly after but not until Brent and I discovered the Pope-mobile museum! Complete with a “blessed” Ferrari F1 racing wheel. Had the day ended there we still would have had the day of our lives but it didn’t. Our final stop of the night was the Olympic stadium. To see the Roman Serie A soccer club Lazio play Florence in what was supposed to be a close, hard fought game but ended in a lopsided 4-0 win for the good guys riding a Miroslav Klose 2 goal performance. Thankfully Dr. Hartnett says we will be calming down a little early tomorrow after St Peter’s. A good nights rest is well deserved by all! Best wishes everyone!

Navigating Food, German Language

Tyler Hardcastle ’15 – A cafe?

As soon as we entered the cafe we felt out of place, but not unwelcome. The two waitresses were busy near the back of the shop and there was no sign to indicate that we shouldn’t simply seat ourselves. We made for a small table near the front and the four of us sat down. Then we waited.

Our small cafe at dusk.

Our small cafe at dusk.

This wasn’t your average trip to the Brew. Along with the rest of our class and led by Professors Hollander and Mikek, we had landed in Frankfurt, Germany Sunday morning at 6 a.m. The class, two separate courses dedicated to the Economics and Politics of the European Union, had involved two hour sections, meeting three times a week. During that time we’d unpacked the concepts of the economic and monetary aspects of a common currency, the Euro. We’d also examined the complex political interactions that led to the role out and shortly thereafter, support for the new currency.

Spending the Euro, would be a completely different challenge.

As we waited for one of the waitresses to approach our table, we took stock of the dining room. First, to be sure we hadn’t made some mistake in the seating process and that we were indeed supposed to wait to place our orders. Second, to see others dinner’s meals, hoping for a clue as to the menu. The handful of menus on our table were completely in German. This should have come as no surprise, we had simply set out with new direction and stopped at the first place we saw. We were far from the typical tourist haunts and began to wonder, if perhaps we’d been a bit overconfident.

Each of us had prepared a few phrases, but they went no further than the requisite ‘sprechen sie Englisch?’. Despite our handicap, we had each decided what we would order based off a partial decoding of the menu. I’d found ‘lachs’ to be promising (which I presumed correctly to be lox), one opted for a Cappachino, and the others found what seemed to be ham sandwiches.

In the end it was a useful exercise, but largely unnecessary. When our waitress came she was very nice and did speak English. She also brought us an English menu and offered a number of recommendations and guidance when we ordered.

European Union logo.

European Union logo.

Once the anxiety of ordering food faded, we were able to notice other things. Aside from being very well dressed, not a single dinner – of the nearly 30 – had a smartphone out. Neither did they carry laptops, tablets, chargers, or any other electronic device. No one seemed to be in a rush and in the same spirit, no one rushed us to leave (you have to ask for your check in Germany, they won’t bring it!)

There was still significant confusion when it came to paying. We had a shared check for which we first put down far too many Euros and then not enough. Though ultimately, the experience was pleasant. Unsurprisingly, we found that simply speaking to people offered more help than any phrase book or our typical crutch, smartphones.

We’re hoping to continue this practical learning tomorrow morning as we travel to the European Central Bank and through the week at the European Council, EU commission, and the lectures in Brugge and Belgium. Though even early on, it seems that the most informative experience is not speaking the language. Having to point, use gestures, and generally rely on others takes you completely out of your comfort zone. I usually feel a fair amount of comfort or control in dining and social situations, but had to give that up here.

I’m thankful to Professors Mikek and Hollander for leading this trip and for the Rogge Fund for sponsoring our travel.

German Cultural Differences Noticed

Kurt Miller ’16   We arrived in Frankfurt am Main shortly after 6:30 AM local time. After a long flight, our bodies felt the creeping exhaustion of jet lag. Upon dropping our bags at the youth hostel, myself and several other Wabash men experienced a picturesque Sunday morning along the river and ended up in the central square eating baguettes, sausages and Italian Gelatto (a treat essential for any American to experience over here).

We quickly realized that Americans speak louder than most Europeans. Experiencing stares, the level of volume had to be lowered multiple times.  One of the most surprising things was the difference in general street etiquette between the Midwest and Europe. Back home, I am used to smiling at everyone I see. In Deutschland, this same behavior is met with blank stares.

We returned to check in at 13:00 and I immediately fell asleep. With our fist day done, I am excited for the rest of the week and plan to make the most of this trip and my time in Europe. Learning abroad, in my opinion, encapsulates the liberal arts education and allows young minds to experience the vastly different cultures, institutions, and structures making up the basis of the European way of life. With the grace of the Rogge Fund and the hard working endeavors of Professors Hollander and Mikek, our education has already been furthered on day one. I can’t wait to see what comes next! Aufwiedersehen!