PhilaU Students Study History, Politics and War on Recent European Trip


Listen to one of the student podcasts above.

Sixteen PhilaU students got to learn first-hand about the history, culture and politics of several European countries during a study abroad short course to Germany, Bosnia and Croatia May 19 to June 7.

During their three-week trip, the students tackled such sobering historical events as the Holocaust and Bosnian war, and delved into the current European economic crisis and the countries’ relations with the Muslim world.

“To focus on subjects like the Holocaust and Bosnian genocide requires not only a deep intellectual engagement, but also a deep emotional engagement, and the students handled that really well,” said Phil Tiemeyer, associate professor of history, who co-led the course. “They learned that we all need to work hard to make sure we continue to live in a just and moral society.”

While abroad, the students produced films, podcasts and blogs documenting their experiences and reflecting on what they learned.

Phil Tiemeyer, associate professor of history, and students tour Munich.

“After World War II ended, and the crimes against the Jews were brought to the surface, Europe made a promise to its people that never again would such genocide occur on its soil,” Alyssa Udijohn, a rising senior psychology major and health sciences minor, said in her film. “We explored this idea during our time here and found that, despite Europe’s best intentions, similar events have occurred. The children of the Bosnian War and current immigrants living in Berlin are struggling with similar identity issues as those experienced by the children in the Holocaust, as a result of displacement.”

In a blog post, Nicole Criscenzo, a rising junior studying interior design, noted the remnants of war she observed in Sarajevo, Bosnia. “There is such a stark difference here from Germany,” Criscenzo said. “There are still a lot of buildings standing that survived the war. A lot of these buildings are covered in bullet holes. The destruction we heard about was right here.”

The course, Contemporary Europe, is open to students of any major or year and offers the opportunity for students to study abroad as early as just after their freshman year.

In addition to Tiemeyer, the course was led by David Rogers, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric; and Samantha Camoni, associate director of career services.

To listen to the students’ podcasts, view their films and learn more about their experiences, go to the class blog.

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