Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Welcome to "Culture and History of Central Europe" Jan Term Trip

On this study trip, the participants will explore the cultures and histories of three  important and fascinating central European countries: Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria. The participants will learn about current events and the history of these three countries, especially the history of Germany: during the Nazi time, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the aftermath of German unification.

This trip will offer students the opportunity to visit an important region in Central Europe. They will visit old, and historic German, Czech, and Austrian cities such as Berlin, capital of reunified Germany, Heidelberg, Germany's oldest university town; Munich, Bavaria's most important city and the residence of the historic Wittelsbach family. Other stops will include Dachau, Germany's first concentration camp, and Vienna, the city of music; Salzburg, the birthplace of the most famous Austrian musician, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Prague, where Mozart first conducted Don Giovanni, and the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria and possibly a visit to one of the two opera houses in Vienna.

Location and Itinerary

Day 1     Fly overnight to Germany
Day 2     Arrive in Berlin: Berlin Orientation
Day 3     Guided tour of Berlin: Brandenburg Gate, Remains of Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie Museum (Optional: Potsdam)
Day 4     Take a guided tour of Dresden and Visit Zwinger Museum, Continue on to Prague
Day 5     Guided tour of Prague and St. Vitus Cathedral
Day 6     to Vienna: Orientation tour of Vienna: Opera House, St. Stephen's Cathedral
Day 7     Guided tour of Vienna: Visit Schönbrunn Palace
Day 8     Salzburg to Munich: Travel to Salzburg, Orientation tour of Salzburg: Old Town, Mozart's birthplace, Continue on to Munich
Day 9     Guided tour of Munich: Residenz, Marienplatz, Visit Dachau, Walking tour of Munich
Day 10    Travel to Heidelberg via Neuschwanstein Castle in Southern Bavaria
Day 11    Guided tour of Heidelberg, Visit Heidelberg Castle with wine barrel and the old city.
Day 12    Depart for home from Frankfurt

Housing and Meals
We will stay in standard 3-4 stars European hotels with private baths. Daily breakfast and dinner are included.

Course Objectives and Format

Course Objectives

1.    Through visits to historical sites, the students will learn about the impact of the recent history of Central Europe, especially the Holocaust, the division of Germany (and Europe), the Berlin Wall and its impact on the Cold War, the European Union, especially Germany's role and more
2.    Students will learn about the culture of these countries, especially the Arts and Music, through various visits to museums and the State Opera in Vienne
3.    Student will gain a better understanding and appreciation of the role that minorities played and are still playing in Central Europe, mainly the Jewish community in Prague and Berlin and also the Turkish minority in Germany
4.    Students will attain a better understanding of the political system in Europe in general and in Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria in particular.

Course Format:

1.    Daily morning lectures (2-3) hours a day by licensed and professional tour guides
2.    Visits to historical sites, e.g. Holocaust Memorial Site, Reichstag, Check Point Charlie, Berlin Wall (or whatever is left of it), the New Synagogue in Berlin, Parliaments and other historical sites in Prague, Vienna and Munich, various castles and palaces in Vienna (Schönbrunn), in Salzburg, Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany, and the castle in Heidelberg
3.    Afternoon visits to museums, points of interest (e.g. Franz Kafka's house in Prague, Sigmund Freud's House or the Hundertwasser House in Vienna Mozart's birth place in Salzburg, just to name a few)
4.    Evening discussions or visits of concert halls or the State Opera in Vienna

Course Requirements

To receive credit for this trip, students must fulfill the following course requirements: 

Part 1: Active Participation in Trip (30% of final grade)
You must attend all scheduled tours, lectures and meetings and take active part in conversations and discussions.

Part 2: Choose one of the following alternatives and fulfill the requirements (70%):

Alternative 1: Create your own Blog
Your Blog must consist of (a) selected images that you have taken on the trip (a few images from each city we visit) (30%) and (b) at least 9 journal entries (5% each), 6 of which must be reflections about our visits to the 7 cities on our itinerary: Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Heidelberg. The first entry must be posted prior to our departure. In this entry, please describe in details why you have signed up for this trip and not another one, what you expect from the trip and what cities/ countries you are looking forward to seeing and why. Your last entry that is due upon your return to the USA is a final reflection on the entire trip: what did you like about the trip, which places, events, etc. and why.

Alternative 2: Journal and Photography

This alternative consists of 2 parts:

(a) Journal (40%): You must write in a journal once a day (at least 10 entries) about what you saw and experienced on that day. Use your imagination; be creative and reflective. Each entry should be at least one page long. You can also draw pictures, add small souvenir items, cards, pictures, etc. The journal will be collected twice: in the middle of trip after our visit to Budapest and on the plane. Please buy a composition book and write your name on it.

(b) Photography (30%): Each student will take photographs for exhibit at McDaniel. Try to focus on something you like (castles, bridges, churches, doors, people, graffiti, Berlin, Dachau, etc.) and make this your project idea. You will choose 10 of your best pictures, enlarge them and put them into a poster collage. These poster collages will be exhibited at McDaniel in the spring semester. You can opt to do a PowerPoint slide show instead with explanations to the pictures.

Alternative 3: Video-Journal

Your video will consist of footage you will take during the trip, short interviews with select members of the group and also your own commentary and reflections. This is a project for 2-3 students who will have to meet with me before and during the trip so we can start planning for video and editing it after we have visited each city. I have video editing software on my computer and we would be able to start the editing process on the trip by adding titles, images, music, etc. (25% photography and video quality; 20% quality of interviews; 25% commentary).

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Trip of a Lifetime - Film by Kim & Tiara

Click on the link to watch a film that Kim and Tiara have produced from the entire trip. It is wonderful, so beautifully made and edited. You'll love it.
Part 1

Part 2:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Flight Back Home

Here is our last picture from the trip in the Frankfurt airport.

Video from the singers at the Weisses Lamm

Click on the  link below to see the video from the Männer Quartett Bergstraße. They sang many songs, but this one is familiar to many. It is the German version of "The Little Drummer." You can see some from our group in the background. Enjoy.  Männer Quartett Bergstraße