Cameron Brown ’17 – During my first two days in Rome, I have had a wide range of experiences. For example, on the first day here I was able to finally able to see and go inside the Pantheon. Being able to see, in person, one of the most iconic buildings in Rome was an amazing experience. It gave me the opportunity to experience first hand some of the architectural patterns, including the circles and squares that are repeated throughout the structure, that I learned about in a Roman architecture class last year. In addition to seeing this and many other structures, I was able to try out various cuisines. The first meal I tried, of course, was the pizza in Rome. This, as well as everything else I have ate so far, tasted amazing.
In addition to the food and sightseeing, just walking around the city is an experience. The culture in Rome is completely foreign when compared to the culture in America, as exemplified by the drivers. From the perspective of Americans, they are absolutely crazy. However, there is something in the confidence of the drivers that creates a feeling of safety in the midst of the chaos. I was surprised to find that while public transportation is prominent in Rome, it does not seem to be the prominent method of transportation. If you look out onto any busy street you will see a mass of mopeds weaving in and out of traffic as well as lanes.
I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity, as I have wished to come to Rome for as long as I remember. The culture, food, and even the drivers here have opened my eyes and given me an experience that I will not soon forget.
Logan Anglin ’17 – Today in Rome, I was able to experience what it was like for an ancient Roman Citizen to live in everyday life back in the 1st-4th century. We visited a church and sat through and experienced a traditional Italian Catholic mass. In particular, for the bulk of the day, visited the city of Ostia, an ancient Roman Civilization located near the coast of the Mediterranean. What was really important about studying this city was that unlike Rome, there had been no renovations or building on top of preexisting Ostia buildings. So by examining this city, we were able to see a relatively uninterrupted since the time of its busy existence.
For starters, just let me say how amazing it was to see this city and try to imagine how they lived and participated in everyday life. As we walked down the street made of large stones, there were worn down places only about 4-5 inches thick, which we learned were the result of years and years of wearing down and erosion made from the wheels of carriages. Immediately we began seeing direct evidence of a time in history where these ancient people actually lived here. This was the first real point in my trip where I was able to fully grasp the idea that this was an actual civilization that thrived and dominated the world nearly 2,000 years ago. All of the ruins we saw were simply amazing, like a time machine into the past. Especially since I plan on majoring or minoring in Classics, this helped me realize my true interests within the ancient world.
I especially was able to appreciate the ruins because I have taken four classes of Latin at Wabash College. I was able to practice this skill in the churches, signs, and all over the ruins. It was more of like a jigsaw puzzle, using what we have learned earlier in the semester as a base of knowledge, then by examining the ruins and the Latin associated to it, we could better understand what the Roman’s would have been doing here in these exact spots many years ago.
At one point in our tour with Dr. Hartnett through Ostia, he assumed the role of what a typical ancient Roman vendor would have done. The busy streets were lined with shops with large doors that offered good views of their insides and what they had to sell. Some of these buildings were very well intact and we were able to walk up the stairs into the second and third floor. These floors were meant as the living spaces for the store owners who worked on the first floor.
At one point in the tour, we were told to imagine what we would have seen, felt, tasted, touched, and heard if we were living at the time. We imagined very busy streets, with smells of all kinds of tasty food, smoke, and trash. Smoke would have filled the air as everyone cooked their foods without gas. The most populated streets were probably jam-packed with people, constantly bumping and shoving into one another. Everyone was probably constantly shouting as the acoustics in the buildings were not very good, and with so many people, you would probably have to yell in order to hear each other. The types of food to eat consisted of all kinds of breads, fish that was caught just a few miles over in the Mediterranean, and types of fruit or vegetables.
Even though this was my only second day here, it’s already been a trip of a lifetime as I have seen and learned so many things in the short time being here. It is hard to imagine that only 36 hours ago, I was in back in my dorm room at Wabash in Indiana.
Jesse Caldwell ’15 – We were on our feet from 10 am Wednesday morning until about 5 pm. Although we were tired, the experience was great! We started the day by going to the Museum of Modern Art otherwise known as the MOMA. While at the MOMA we were lucky enough to see some of the most significant works of art that we have seen in text books the last few years of our education. In my opinion, the most significant work that we saw today was Pablo Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon”. The professors have been referencing the significance of this painting for my four years at Wabash. I was very excited to see the work in person.
When walking through the gallery, I turned a corner and saw this masterpiece. I instantly got cold chills. Everything I was told about this painting flooded back into my head and I got cold chills. I instantly took a step back and snapped a picture of it. As with any painting I see, I looked at it from afar and then slowly approached it while observing the brush work that the artist used. This work by Picasso carried a lot of weight in this room and the entire museum. This was the painting I had heard about for so long and here it was in front of me. In my student work at Wabash, I used photography as my medium. After seeing this work along with other powerful paintings such as “ The Starry Night” by Vincent van Gogh, I wished I had used painting as my medium. The work I saw on this trip will influence the way I approach the subject matter in my photography. These spectacular works of art were not the only things that kept us on our feet.
A few of us spent time in Central Park. We escaped the loud and busy city into a place of quiet and peace. The park was very cool. The peaceful green space is being towered over by the harsh buildings of the city. After leaving the park and the MOMA, we went as a group to the 9/11 Memorial. This might be one of the most significant parts of the trip for me. In the space where we stood, there was totally chaos on that day on September 11, 2001. I believe the way the new building towers of the new memorial is very significant. I believe it is a symbol of strength that looks over the memorial and protects those who are around the area. The entire area brought cold chills to my body and I could tell that it affected others who were there.
After this museum, we made our way St. Peter’s Basilica. We received the special opportunity to go underneath the basilica where we got the chance to see the necropolis and the tomb of St. Peter. I could not believe the intricacy of the paintings in the necropolis. These people buried in the necropolis under St. Peter’s really cared about what other Roman citizens thought about their life after death. After visiting the city of the dead we ventured back up to the land of the living to view the present day basilica.
In the past, I have gotten the chance to visit the Cathedral Basilica in Missouri. So I naturally assumed that St. Peter’s would be about the same as this other basilica. I don’t think I could have been more wrong. While both of these churches were massive, St. Peter’s had so many details in every part of the church. It was an overwhelming experience just standing in the Basilica. As Dr. Hartnett warned us before entering the basilica, “If you try to absorb everything in St. Peter’s you will get a headache.” This couldn’t have been more of an accurate statement! Overall, I had a great day. I realized how much history lies within this city piled layers and layers deep.
Kolby Lopp ‘17 – The group went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and it was a great experience. Being in New York and experiencing real life pieces of art can be more than inspiring. I thought that going through the museum and gazing at famous pieces of art was phenomenal.
“The Persistence of Memory” is a famous piece by Salvador Dali, which I see in books or online all the time, but being able to see it up in person is priceless. Being able to go through these museums and see all the work in person doesn’t compare to what you see on paper. For example, going back to the Salvador Dali piece “The Persistence of Memory” you would imagine that his piece would have been bigger than an 18” X 24” canvas but in reality it really is only about 12” X 15”. Chances like this could not have been possible if it were not to Wabash allowing us to come here and view this work with our own eyes.
Seeing the work expanded my horizons and gave me the opportunity to try and incorporate things I saw into my own work. Looking at my work that I am doing now for my next project deals with abstraction and exploration of space. A piece that I saw today in the gallery that provided inspiration for my next piece of art. The piece incorporated paint in the background that was abstracted with mixed paints of watercolor and then layered with multiple colors over another. Then on the painting there was a 3 dimensional piece added on top with painted cave drawings on it that made it look like there is a whole in the painting. This inspires my next work because I was to incorporate multiple layers of colors mixing and dripping over the ground of the painting and then add layers over the top that can give the illusion of the absence of space and dimension.
After leaving the museum Professor Mortong gave us the opportunity to go to ground zero and see how the people who have lost their lives have been honored. The trip to New York was a wonderful experience for us to be put in a position for our skills to flourish and expand our horizons.
Alejandro Reyna ’17 – There in Höchst
Like any “good” Catholic, even before flying to our layover in Atlanta I knew where I would go for mass on Sunday when we arrived in Frankfurt. While decrypting all the German websites, St.Justinuskirche seemed the best option.
Though, like any “good” Catholic, one thing led to another and I never actually made it to mass on Sunday. Being one of the oldest buildings in Frankfurt, the desire of visiting the church was still real. On Tuesday, Ben Wade and I took advantage of the misty, cloudy free day and headed out to St. Justinuskirche.
After considering walking to the church, Ben and I agreed we should not tire ourselves. The metro rail system would be our means of transportation and so we were off. We figured that we would get on line S1 or S2 and our cue to get off would be “Höchst.” Once the train started going we realized how far we would have needed to walk and were very glad we didn’t. Höchst was our stop and it seemed like a suburban neighborhood for people who work in Frankfurt. As we exited the train station it was clear that nearly no one would speak English, meaning Ben’s limited German would have to suffice. The church was still a hike from the station but even from a distance, we saw the arched doorway at the base of a massive stonewall. No questions asked we walked through.
We entered what we thought was a garden but was actually a medieval fort. Surrounded by this very historical structure we explored many doors, stairs and alleyways that were unlocked. In one of these damp alleyways was the church we had long forgotten about due to our excitement over the medieval fort. The running joke amongst the immersion group has been that you can circle a building many times but you won’t find an open door. So we tried all the doors on the church twice and none were unlocked. We had failed to see the church and it was not disappointing because we found this fort. As a matter of fact, none of the time spent in Höchst was disappointing at all.
If I had to name one of the greatest joys in being abroad it has to be that ones willingness to try new things does not make disappointment passable or ok. You can try different foods and not enjoy them but being upset or disappointed that you did not enjoy it would defeat the incentive to try anything. Put your best foot forward and try anything and everything. If you are disappointed, you are doing it wrong.
Nash Jones ’16 – As I am typing this Tuesday, we are on a train out of Germany, heading to Belgium. This is my first time out of the US, and I was a bit worried about what to expect in a foreign country. I was more than a little curious about the different customs and behaviors that we would have to follow and imitate in order to be good guests. Before we left, we were informed of different things to prepare for so that we wouldn’t be in for a total culture shock. However, there are a few things in particular that are worth mentioning that took us by surprise.
First, it is a rare occurrence to see somebody use their smart phone during a meal. I, Tyler Hardcastle, and Ben Wade noticed this on our first day in a nice little cafe in Frankfort. Meals are social gatherings to be enjoyed without the use of the internet or apps. It also eliminated those weird instances of people Instagramming or Snap Chatting their food, which is something to be grateful for.
The second thing we noticed was how quiet everyone was. Even some of the softer-spoken members of our group noticed how loud we were in comparison to everyone else. At home, it is no big deal to yell at someone across the room. Doing that in Frankfort could draw some odd looks, and made it immediately obvious that you aren’t from the area. Even in some of the busier streets and parks, I did not hear anyone raise their voice. It wasn’t a bad thing, just different.
We also learned, quite often in fact, to stay out of the bike lanes. Cars aren’t uncommon in Frankfort, but I wasn’t prepared for the sheer number of bikes that zip up and down the streets. It was usually better just to try to maintain a single-file line down a sidewalk than walk side by side like we are used to at home. Luckily, none of us was run down in the street by a bicycle, but there were a few close calls.
The immersion trip has been a lot of fun thus far, and we are all excited to be on our way to Brussels. We all greatly appreciate the opportunity provided to us by the Rogge Fund and Wabash College to go to Germany and Belgium for a week and experience their cultures. This has been an exciting week so far, and I’m sure it will only get better as it goes on!
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.
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.