Thomas Hansen ‘23 — The Roman Forum – Rome, Italy — From a group of thatched huts on the banks of the Tiber River, to a wall built to keep the Picts out of England; from the marble temples to the emperors in modern Turkey to the houses of North Africa; from the theaters in Roman Gaul to the destroyed town of Pompeii, the Romans inhabited the entire Mediterranean and formed a diverse society. During my time abroad in Rome, I was enrolled in a class titled Roman Art and Archaeology. In this class, I explored how the Romans built and decorated their houses, how they buried their dead, how they interacted in public spaces, and how they used art for their sacred services. We began with the formation of Rome in the 8th century BCE and finished with Constantine moving the capital to the east. The semester consisted of me exploring numerous monuments such as theatres, amphitheaters, circuses, burial sites and ancient cities.
Out of all the sites I visited, the place that I enjoyed the most was the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum, also known as Latin Forum Romanum, is the most important forum in ancient Rome. Situated on low ground between Palatine and Capitoline hills, the Roman Forum was the scene of public meetings, law courts, and gladiatorial combats in republican times and was lined with several shops and markets. It was such a great place to explore because of the importance of the forum to ancient Rome. Some of the surviving structures included the Temple of the Deified Caesar, the Mamertine Prison, the Curia (senate house), the Temple of Saturn, and the Temple of Romulus. As I walked through the Roman Forum, I was able to enter a new world; a world that the ancient Romans ruled. I walked the paths that Caeser and several other emperors walked. I touched the rocks that they sat upon when making the laws that turned Rome into what it is today. These were all landmarks that the most powerful Romans once did business with and hung out in.
As I explored the Roman Forum, I was able to understand how important this site was for ancient Rome and present-day Rome. Though the forum had not been active for several centuries, it once was the single most important place in Italy. Walking through the Roman Forum gave me a deeper appreciation for the city I was fortunate enough to spend almost four months in. I am forever grateful that I had the opportunity to study abroad in Rome and the experiences I gained this semester will last me a lifetime.
Kwaku Sarpong ’22 — This semester, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Strasbourg, France. While there, I enrolled in a Renaissance art and architecture course at the University of Strasbourg, and thanks to the Givens Scholarship, I was able to visit Renaissance architectural sites in Italy and Spain. While all of these sites were incredible in their own right, there were two places that left a deep impression on me: the city of Florence and St. Peter’s Basilica.
Upon arriving in Florence, I headed straight to nearby restaurant that a friend had suggested to me, where I enjoyed my first authentic Italian spaghetti. After that, I went into the city center to see the sites as I had planned, and I was taken aback by what I discovered. Entering Florence was like taking a leap back in time – I was surrounded not only by Renaissance culture, but by styles of art, architecture, and even urban design of all different ages. My initial surprise slowly turned into admiration as I stood in awe at the Santa Maria Novella, which when basked in sunlight had an almost relaxed, summer villa atmosphere in addition to its beauty. As I turned and strolled through the old cobblestone streets, I passed small shops and cafes and other buildings which seemed as if they had been there for ages. Eventually, I came up on the Basilica di San Lorenzo and the Florence cathedral, both of which were truly, grand majestic works. The cathedral, in particular however, was truly incredible because of the amazingness of its intricate design which when combined with its grandeur and sheer size made it one of the most impressive works of art I have ever seen in my life. As the sun began to set, I visited the Palazzo Vecchio, where I was able to admire the longevity of this ancient site of civil power. At each turn, for each new site I visited, I would discover a road, a restaurant, a café, whose unique classic style added even more to the charm of the city. I reached the Palazzo Pitti in the evening, by which time a deep fog had set in. The old brick palace loomed over the fog in the darkness, as almost a testament to the power that it once possessed. After seeing these works, I turned around to catch my train. To this moment, I am not sure which route I took or why I had not seen this before, but I found myself in a truly modern part of the city, bustling and packed with people. I walked past a live jazz and swing music performance that I greatly enjoyed and then accidentally wandered into a modern high-end shopping district filled with luxury goods that I was glad to admire even if I had no plans to buy them. As I left the district, I began to hear wafts of what sounded like traditional Indian music. Suddenly, I came upon a small group of traditionally dressed Hare Krishna followers, who were waving flags, singing, dancing, and playing music through the streets of Florence. This incredible contrast of modern life with the ancient city I had just experienced was a great way to finish what had been an amazing trip to the city of Florence.
While Florence captivated me with its own charm, my trip to St. Peter’s Basilica also left its own unique impression on me. Thanks to the scholarship, I was able to stay in Rome for two days, so I was able to see the Basilica both at night and in the morning, which was truly special. At night, I was impressed by the Basilica’s beauty – its lights combined with the artistic design of St. Peter’s square leave their mark on the night Vatican landscape. In the morning, upon seeing the Basilica and the square in much greater detail, I became more philosophical, reflecting on the thousands of years of history and culture that had passed through this ancient building. I had the opportunity to go St. Peter’s Dome, where I had been told that I could get a good view of Rome. To reach the Dome one can either take a combination of the elevator and the stairs, or just take the stairs. For the sake of the experience, I decided to take all 551 steps to the top. That was an unforgettable experience. The Vatican stairs are very, very old, meaning they were not constructed with as much attention to safety and comfort as our stairs are today. At different sections of the stairwell, I faced different challenges. Some sets of the stairs were incredibly steep, in others the passageway was too small, at other times the roof quite low. Sometimes the stairs just looked weird. I remember that after about 300 steps, there was a slight break where one can view the dome from below and then continue to the top. After getting back on the stairs, I recall thinking to myself “There’s 200 more?” But eventually, I reached the Dome, and almost instantly, I knew it was worth the effort. I could look out and see the city of Rome for miles out. As a fan of history who particularly enjoys learning about the Roman empire, it was surreal to see that great and ancient city spread out in all its grandeur for the first time.
My trips in Europe were truly lifechanging experiences, but they would not have been possible without the Givens Scholarship. I am very, very thankful to the Givens family for the opportunity they have given me and other Wabash men to study art and see the world in ways that I could never have imagined. Thanks to this scholarship, I have grown considerably as both a student and a man. I am sincerely grateful for all that the Givens family has and continues to do, and I wish the best to all Wabash students who come after me.
This summer, I had the opportunity to study in Granada, Spain at the University of Granada’s Center for Modern Language. It was an incredible experience that helped me grow as a student and citizen of the world. I took classes on the history of Spain, art history, and Islamic history and culture in Spain. I enjoyed classes thoroughly. The professors were friendly, accommodating, yet challenged all of us in our practice of Spanish. My classmates were primarily fellow Americans, with a few from other European countries. Aside from my usual in-class studies, I was offered many opportunities to broaden my knowledge of Spanish culture. I visited several art museums, went to flamenco shows, and regularly met professors or friends for churros or Arab tea. Also, I took part in a weekly cultural exchange program, where people of different cultures met at a pub or restaurant to hang out and better their language skills. This was an incredible experience. In one meeting, I talked with people from Belgium, Norway, England, and Germany about anything from sports to different schools of philosophy. I had planned to go to Granada last fall, so I had been dreaming of this trip for almost 2 years. I thought that the pandemic had eliminated my chance to study abroad, but the Rudolph Scholarship made this amazing experience possible.
I lived in a residence hall, which consisted of about half American and half Spanish students. I was initially nervous about living in a dorm as opposed to a host family, but it was one of the best decisions that I have made. Everyone became fast friends and the Spanish were eager to get to know us and show us the city. Through them, we were able to meet many of the locals. We were constantly together when we weren’t in class. We explored the city, studied together, went hiking, and had watch parties for the European Championships. We also traveled together. One weekend was spent in Malaga, relaxing on the beach and visiting landmarks such as Pablo Picasso’s childhood home. Another weekend, we visited Barcelona to see the Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, and spend more time on the beach. These people were the most valuable part of my experience in Spain. I spoke far more Spanish with my friend group in the dorm than in class or class excursions. Also, getting close with a group of complete strangers, from drastically different places, taught me a lot about myself and opened my mind to new ideas. Some of them will surely be my lifelong friends. I will always be thankful for the opportunity to live with such amazing individuals.
This is one of my professors, Aurelio, as he leads us on a tour of the Alhambra. The Alhambra is the most famous landmark of Granada, and one of the most visited sites in Spain. The fortress served as the capital of the Granada Caliphate, the last Muslim kingdom in Europe before the Moors were completely expelled from southern Spain. The intricate architecture and artwork of the Alhambra were incredible, but the visit wouldn’t have been nearly as enriching without Aurelio. Aurelio had written and illustrated a picture book about the Alhambra which we followed on our tour, and I am confident that he was more knowledgeable than the official tour guides. Aurelio was my favorite professor and a large part of my experience in Spain. Every day, he would teach class without much structure or a class plan. He would simply talk about the Islamic history of Spain off the top of his head and have a conversation with the class about what interested us most. It always felt like we were just hanging out, yet I am sure I retained more information from that class than the others. Aurelio also incentivized us to take interest in Arab culture outside of class. He conducted his meetings with students at an Arab tea house and, one day, he offered me extra credit to wear kohl eyeliner to class and explain its significance in Arab culture.
I learned a lot and made some lifelong friendships in Granada. I cannot think of another time where I have learned and done so much in such a short period of time. I am immensely grateful to the Rudolph family and Wabash College for giving me this transformative experience.
All thanks to your family’s generosity and support towards the Wabash community, I was afforded the opportunity to take a virtual study abroad course over the summer. Due to issues caused by COVID-19, I was not able to travel abroad; however, since I’m a Spanish major, the Off-Campus Study Committee and my academic advisor had encouraged me to participate in a virtual study abroad experience, which has been made common now because of the pandemic. This specific course that I took entitled “Spain and the Americas: From the pre-Columbian period to the present” covered material about the main pre-Columbian civilizations, the discovery of America, both the Spanish and English colonization of the Americas, the colonial era, the Cuban revolution, and much more. I shared a virtual classroom with five other students and Professor Delgado who is from Sevilla, Spain and gave his lectures in Spanish, exclusively. To my surprise, I found that myself and fellow classmates were more engaged and involved with our daily discussions than what I would’ve expected given the circumstances and limitations of our classes being entirely virtual. The high expectations set by our professor inspired deep and constructive conversations analyzing a wide range of topics such as the unity of Latin America or the economic/sociopolitical conditions between the US and Cuba.
Even though I was never physically able to visit Spain, my professor’s spirit and passion towards teaching and improving our understanding of the Spanish culture certainly managed to compensate for this obstacle. Many of our assignments incorporated not only lengthy, Wabash-like readings and discussion questions, but often included virtual tours and slide show presentations of the historical sites pertaining to our in-class discussions and debates. As for the assignments themselves, all of my homework assignments were to be submitted online, and my oral presentation over the architecture of pre-Columbian civilizations was also submitted virtually via a PowerPoint slideshow recording. I believe that while there would’ve been benefits to taking classes in person – in my experience – the virtual experience offered me a wide variety of courses to choose from, allowed for effortless access to my professor, and improved my self-discipline / technical skills which ultimately afforded me with an unforgettable experience that tailored to my needs all from the comfort of my home.
This was an opportunity that will always look back on blissfully and one that I will never take for granted. From this experience, I have grown a deeper appreciation for the diverse, rich, and complex cultures present throughout Latin America, and have been acquainted with many admirable students and an influential mentor in the process. Thanks again Rudolph family for being a part of what makes Wabash so remarkable, and for supporting and inspiring us students who hope to one day pay your generosity forward.
I would not have had as great of an experience had I not met some incredible people to enjoy the experience with.Each person in my program resided from their own corner of the United States, and none of us having met each other before, fell perfectly into a functional friendship. These were the folks that motivated a spontaneous trip to Córdoba to see the Mosque – living away from home is one thing but planning trips around was a daunting task I would not have been comfortable doing alone initially. In our time together we also met numerous locals that introduced us to unique experiences and made us feel comfortable so far away from home. In this picture, we had just hiked up the hills of Falange to get a view of the city and take a photo. This day was special because we got to eat paella on the beach, explore the local shops on our own, and enjoyed a game of volleyball against some locals.
It isn’t a trip to Granada if you don’t visit the Alhambra. This was an incredible experience that brought to life the connections I was making in the classroom. I recall vividly standing in the Generalife, imagining myself hundreds of years ago enjoying the castle on a hot summer day. The view from the watchtower was phenomenal and highlighted monuments in town like La Capilla Real or the old walls that surrounded the city.
One thing that I found unites everybody is food! I had the opportunity to take a cooking class that was also a Spanish learning class. We made chicken and rabbit paella, homemade sangria, and gazpacho, which called for an incredible dinner that evening. When we would go out to eat, I particularly enjoyed croquetas, which appear like a hushpuppy but are filled with delicious Iberian ham and seasonings that reminded me of an Easter dinner. The seafood, especially calamari, was not like anything I have tasted in the U.S. before and made me appreciate the Mediterranean gastronomy. Spanish tortillas, essentially egg, onion, and potato, are a cheap belly filler and go great with salted tomatoes for lunch.
Mosque in Córdoba
Finally, I want to mention visiting the mosque in Córdoba. The beautiful colored arcs with unique column designs predates the large Catholic church centered in the middle of the building by centuries. This drastic switch made for an incredible tour of the ancient place of worship and brought to life the tale of the requisition. As this was a hot topic in my classes, it was rewarding to visit and see for myself what we were learning.
I would recommend anyone thinking about studying abroad to apply for this scholarship and find a program because this was an experience that changed my perspectives indefinitely. I am beyond grateful for the Rudolph family’s gracious contribution to my education and for an adventure of a lifetime.
Andrew Freck ’21 — While I was in Barcelona last semester, I had the opportunity to visit numerous museums which exhibited the works of some of history’s most renowned artists. Just one of these, for example, was the Picasso Museum in Barcelona which houses a variety of his works, including many from earlier in his career like ‘Science and Charity’ and ‘The First Communion’.
In Barcelona, I took classes which covered a range of varying disciplines, and one of which was focused on three world-famous 20thcentury Catalonian artists: Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Joan Miró. This being said, visiting the Picasso Museum in Barcelona allowed me to view works which we had studied in class and get a better grasp of the different techniques that went into Picasso’s work.
Along with this, throughout the semester, I also had the opportunity to travel to many different countries where I would also visit art museums thanks to the kindness of the Givens family. In October, I had the opportunity to travel to Málaga, the birthplace of Picasso, where we visited another museum dedicated entirely to his work. Here, I discovered and appreciated what has become one of my favorite pieces by Picasso, a series of 11 lithographs depicting bulls in different forms. The description in the museum explained that Picasso had created the most detailed version first and had oxymoronically progressed backward in not a ‘reduction of mass, but an expansion of gesture’. I also had the unbelievable opportunity to visit the Museé Picasso in Paris where I was able to see Picasso’s ‘Self-Portrait’ from his Blue Period. This piece also especially fascinated me because I find it interesting to see how artists portray themselves through their own work, and I was able to compare Picasso’s self-depiction with those of other famous portrait artists like Van Gogh.
I would like to thank the Givens family for their generosity, and for the way they give back to Wabash College which enables students to travel the world and appreciate art. Thanks to the Givens family, I was afforded many life-changing experiences, like visiting three museums in three different cities all of which were dedicated entirely to the work of Pablo Picasso, and had the opportunity to develop my understanding of European art.
Chandler Jacks ’20 — This summer, I was awarded the Rudolph Scholarship to attend the International Summer Universität in Kassel, Germany. This was an absolutely incredible experience. I took three classes over the summer, studying the German language, history, and politics. I was paired with a host family, of which my host father was the director of the annual Brother’s Grimm festival, as the Grimm Brothers (the ones that wrote the fairy tales we grew up on) were originally from Kassel. I attended many museums and landmarks in Kassel, Marburg, Freiburg, and Berlin on excursions with the class. I also got the marvelous experience of meeting people from all over the world, as my classmates consisted of fellow American students from the east coast, as well as Italian, Chinese, Indian, Australian, and Russian students. Between the experiences of classes, exploring the various cities, entertaining guests at my host family’s house, and going on nature hikes with the Teacher’s Assistants, this has to be the absolute best summer experience of my life, and the Rudolph Scholarship was immensely helpful in making this dream of a trip a reality!
Chandler Jacks ’20 and host father, Peter Zypries.
(Right photo) This is my host father from the trip, Peter Zypries. He is the director of the Brothers Grimm Festival in Kassel, as well as the director of a contemporary play that features classic Grimm fairy tale stories juxtaposed with classic rock to make a more engaging experience. He is the mastermind behind replacing the lyrics to hits from AC/DC and Queen with exposition for a theater production.
Chandler Jacks ’20 and Kai Söther.
(Left photo) This is Kai Söther, head coach for the Kassel Herkules independent baseball club. Before I left for my summer class, I discovered that Kassel had a baseball team and sent him an email explaining that I was a pitcher from the United States and would be interested in coming to watch a game or practice to see how German baseball compares to American, but he responded that because I was American, he wanted me to play some weekend double-headers with the team. Playing baseball abroad was an incredible experience, the guys were very friendly and inviting, and we even got beer and brats after the game on the house! I would definitely recommend other athletes try to play their sport abroad for the story and experience alone.
Class trip to Berlin
(Right photo) This picture is from my class trip to Berlin. Although not every student is not pictured (the trip cost extra so not everyone in the program could come), this is a great representation of some of the experiences gained with the International Summer University Kassel. Most of the students pictured are from all over the world: Italy, China, Russia, Ukraine, Singapore, Australia, and Portugal are present here.
Chandler Jacks ’20 and Giorgio Cardani, at opening night of the Brothers Grimm play.
(Left photo) This picture was taken the opening night of the Brothers Grimm play. After the production, my host father let us on stage to get a picture with the set. The student pictured here is Giorgio Cardani, an Italian student living in Switzerland. Giorgio was the only student in the program who was not yet a college student at the time, and as he was the same age as my little brother, I sort of took him under my wing so he wouldn’t feel left out from the group. He told me that the night of this picture was the first time he’d ever been on stage and was very grateful that my host father let him attend the play.
The Chateau de Chenonceau which was originally gifted to Catherine de ’Medici but she forced Diane to exchange for Chaumont
Rogeno Malone ’20 — This summer I was able to study French language, art, and architecture in Paris. Perhaps the biggest lessons I’ve learned studying at a liberal arts college is that one must make the uncomfortable – comfortable, thrive in diversity, and not be afraid to take risks or fail. I preface with those teachings because intentionally, or unintentionally, I experienced each of those lessons during my time in Paris. Paris is diverse and depending on where one stays can feel uncomfortable. That’s not to say that everything in the city is flawed, no instead I found the true charm of the city in these faults. Earlier in the year during spring break, I visited Paris briefly with a Wabash group consisting of two courses (FRE-302 and FRE-202) but I did not get to experience ‘authentic Paris’ as the group stuck to many tourist attractions. Thus, returning for the summer, I was determined to traverse the city as a true Parisian. The distinct qualities of the city that usually deter tourist became charms I learned to embrace – need it be rush hour in the metro, street busking early in the morning, or the nonstop sounds of city life.
Swimming around the Black Forest with Chris Barker ’20 and Pia Schübel
Making the uncomfortable – comfortable. The biggest obstacle I faced occurred in the first week of my program, but I believe it positively impacted the remainder of my study. After landing in Paris, I learned that my host family could no longer host me, so I was reassigned to an apartment. I rationalized that although I wouldn’t be experiencing French home dynamics, I could still practice my French and traverse the city with my roommate. However, this idea wasn’t realized as my roommate did not show up. At this point in my study I realized two things – I was alone and uncomfortable in Paris, and that if I wanted to increase my language skills, I would have to take risks and not be afraid of failure. I failed many times, speaking, asking confusing questions at street markets, or having someone respond to me in English instead of French. But, by continually engaging in these conversations and asking for help, I eventually interacted with the city personally instead of as an outsider.
Meeting with another Wabash teaching assistant, Adèle Bacogne, in Paris’s first arrondissement
In addition to these interactions, I took an intensive language course at the Catholic University of Paris, as well as an arts and architecture course through my host program. The arts and architecture course was described as an experience where “students would see more of Paris in the course than most Parisians have seen in their lifetime,” and to this day I believe the validity of that claim. Each day the course had a different meeting location, allowing us to discover various museums, structures, or architectural anomalies in Paris. Some of the sites I visited included: The Opera, Montmartre, Centre Pompidou, La Villette, and Jardin d’Acclimatation.
Historic 17th century church inside the Chateau de Vincennes
My favorite site was the Musee d’Orsay, more specifically an art exhibit focusing on the contributions of black models in Parisian art history. In this exhibit, I learned of Gericault’s involvement with abolitionism as he worked extensively with a Haitian model, Joseph, and even featured him in The Raft of The Medusa, evoking solidarity with this marginalized group and providing abolitionist with a symbol of hope.
I also experienced excursions to Claude Monet’s house in Giverny and saw the renowned water lilies, learned about two Châteaux, Chaumont and Chenonceau, and their attachments to the wife and mistress of Henry II, and toured Europe where I met Chris Barker ’20 and former German teaching assistant Pia Schübel in Titisee-Neustadt. I am incredibly thankful for the Rudolph Family for providing me with this opportunity as well as the various faculty and staff who assisted me throughout this process.
Nicholas Fox ’20 — As a student pursuing a pre-medical degree, many individuals find it difficult to study abroad and assume they are unable to due to rigid course requirements and a general lack of course fulfilling programs. Despite these assumptions, I have been able to participate in an immersive global health program in Lima, Peru and most recently spent my summer at the Harlaxton Manor in Grantham, England. Both of these opportunities have been provided to me by Wabash College and more recently through the Rudolph Scholarship. The Rudolph Scholarship alleviated the financial burden that originally was hindering my ability to study in a foreign country. Because of this scholarship I was able to study abroad and take a Public Health and Virus course with Professor Bost, a Biology Professor here at Wabash College.
Through this class, I visited the pub that Watston and Crick would meet at while they were experimenting with and constructing the 3D model for DNA. Additionally, I was able to visit numerous museums in London allowing me to physically see Watson and Crick’s model of the DNA double helix as well as the Natural History Museum, home to a large collection of Darwin’s specimens. While attending class at Harlaxton, during the week there were field trips to different cities in England. Because of these trips I was able to visit places like Leicester, Empingham, London, Nottingham and Cambridge. In each city I could visit local museums, famous pubs, and experience the local culture. As an example, my classmates and I punted on the canals that surround the famous universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Similarly, while in Nottingham, or the “City of Caves”, I went into the caves that expand under the city. The sandstone caves were used as a place to tan leather in medieval times, as a place for secret meetings in times of rebellion, as air raid shelters during the Second World War, and for a variety of other uses since they were built in the 17th century.
Harlaxton Manor (Granthum, England)
When I decided to go abroad, I knew I would be stepping out of my comfort zone. With things ranging from not knowing anybody at the university to traveling to countries where I do not know the native language or being exposed to new and foreign cultures, these were all new to me. However, they were the exact obstacles that I wanted to confront while I was abroad. In doing so, I grew as a person, educated myself in new ways and prepared for my future.
The close proximity of the countries in Europe allowed me to get everything I could out of my six weeks abroad. I traveled to Hungary, Spain, France, Scotland, and Italy. Each country offered unique excursions and historical monuments and locations to visit. While in Spain I spent time at the Basílica de la Sagrada Família, a massive unfinished Roman Catholic church that has been under construction for almost 140 years. Afterward, I saw other famous landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí such as the Casa Milà La Pedrerà and Park Güell. Scotland, however, was one of my favorite places that I was able to visit while I was in Europe. The landscape was beautiful and the food was delicious. While I was there I visited the Edinburgh Castle, an important stronghold in the struggle for power in the United Kingdom during the 15th century, I went to the coast to
Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
see the retired Royal Yacht Britannia, but my favorite place was Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat is atop an 800-foot hill right outside the city of Edinburgh. The panoramic view of the city was breathtaking and watching the sun set over the city is an image I will never forget.
My last week abroad was spent in the historical city of Rome. I was able to tour around the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, Circus Maximus, II Vittoriano, the Trevi fountain, the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica. The most memorable part of my time in Italy was seeing the Pope talk on Sunday morning while I was in Vatican City. With all these experiences behind me, my appreciation for Wabash College has deepened as it has expanded my global perspective, enhanced my cultural appreciation, and allowed me to see the world.
This summer I was able to spend two months in Germany. I was able to travel to some of the most important cities in the country. I was also able to see many international landmarks that I have wanted to see for many years. All the while I was able to work on my German language skills and be immersed in the culture. I spent the first two weeks in Heidelberg on a class trip with Professor Redding and then I spent a week traveling to Munich, Berlin, and Salzburg. I spent the most time in Freiburg studying with the Goethe Institute. It is a beautiful city and being so close to the Black Forest I was able to see so many incredible views.
Ethan Kanzler ’20
The most interesting thing about studying at the Goethe Institute is how International it is. Not only are the students from all over the world but they were also anywhere from 17-45 years old. I was in class with a few students from America but there was also a girl from Ukraine who DJ’s, a guy from Mexico who just wanted to learn German, a guy from New Zealand who wants to work in Germany, and another guy from Slovenia. Those are just a few of the countries but there were many more. I was a little concerned about making friends, but I was surprised at just how quickly we all bonded. Before I knew it, we were all sharing things with one another that usually takes people months, if not years, of friendship to divulge. You can see from the picture of some of my friends that we are close, and this picture was taken three days after we had all met and we were already going on trips together. We did everything together and it never really mattered what our background was or where we came from, we were all instantly friends. We talked about everything from politics in your home country, to movies and music that we liked, to the things we loved about Germany and what we wanted to do with our lives. It was an incredible experience that I would recommend to everyone if you have the chance.
Ethan Kanzler ’20
Another short story I have about how we are not all that different from one another is a conversation I overheard between a mother and her child in a shopping area. The son was begging his mom to buy him the new Nintendo Switch and his reasoning was that he would play less on her phone and she just shook her head, chuckled, and said it’s not that simple. I laughed so hard because, 1) that conversation was in German and I understood it and, 2) that is an exact conversation I had with my mom as a kid. Germany is a fantastic country and without the help of the Rudolph family I would not have been able to have this experience, so I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to the Rudolph family for their generosity. In a time of such turmoil and division world wide I am grateful for this experience and what it taught me. Being so far from one another it is easy to forget that we all have the same fundamentals of being human with the only difference being the way that we talk. I think it’s important for us to remember that as we move forward.