Being In Musuem Makes Big Impact

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.

Wabash men at the NY Museum of Modern of Art

Wabash men at the NY Museum of Modern of Art

“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.

Immersion Includes Exploring On Your Own

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.

Immersed in German Culture

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!

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.