History Department Travel Program
Each history major is given the opportunity to participate in an end-of-the-academic year trip to various locations in Europe and the United States. This trip will be partially subsidized by the university to ensure that all history majors have the opportunity to travel up to four times during their time at Wheeling Jesuit University.
The travel program is extremely beneficial for students on an academic level. History classes at Wheeling Jesuit University focus on a range of topics, from Immigration to the First and Second World Wars, from the Cold War to the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, among others. Complementing their coursework, students are able to explore where history was made. Students can visit Ellis Island, walk the battlefields of the D-Day beaches or Verdun, stroll down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris or the Ringstrasse in Vienna, visit the Vatican in Rome or the famous Cologne Cathedral and touch the remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall. The program is perhaps even more valuable for the personal development of students. Traveling throughout Europe and the United States fosters both intellectual growth and individual responsibility. From a more tangible perspective, coming into contact with different cultures is an unparalleled experience and provides history majors with a real advantage in today’s globalized economy.
Previous trips led by history professors include trips to Ireland, New York, Berlin and Metz/Trier/Paris with trips to Vienna, Munich, the Rhine River Valley, Normandy, London, Rome and Prague on the future schedule.
For further information, please contact Dr. Jeff Rutherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-243-2276.
"The trip was like a 'dream-come-true' ending to my senior year and the years spent at WJU. My favorite things were getting to spend some quality time with my classmates and my professors. The sites were spectacular as well. I really enjoyed Metz and Trier for their quaintness and European 'authenticity.' The hostel stays were fun too because they gave us the full European young adult travel experience. Paris captivated me! Overall, it was just a superb trip!"
Traveling with classmates and professors enhanced this experience tremendously. I compared American and European culture with my friends as we rode the subway to yet another place that no one we knew had ever seen. And, once we got to the next historic site, we had historians in our midst to explain why this troop movement was crucial to ending the war and why that propaganda poster was especially heinous in German.
The trip also provided unscheduled time for self-guided activities. I took in a performance of the Berlin Philharmonic playing Dmitri Shostakovich’s fifth symphony during a free day. Getting to hear one of the classics of the orchestral repertoire, performed by one of the top-rated symphonies in the world, directed by one of the outstanding conductors in all of music today--Simon Rattle--thrilled me. Sitting in an audience of people whose language I did not know, I strangely felt connected to them; the music communicated something to us all that we could not have told each other with words."
"This was a great trip. It is one thing to talk about World War II in class, and to read about the atrocities that were perpetrated during that time. We visited a concentration camp in Berlin that had not been used for the express purpose of extermination. The caretakers of the property had not been able to keep up all the buildings, but had left markers in the place of the former living quarters of the prisoners. These markers were piled high with stones, a practice reserved for honoring Jews buried in cemeteries. We saw the Wall and everything we had read about became very real. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that only about a half century has passed since these events took place. It's like the difference between looking at a photo in grayscale and then again in color. It was hard to continue putting distance between myself and the things humankind has done when I was standing in the midst of it."
"I hadn't been off the North American continent before heading to Berlin with the Wheeling Jesuit faculty, but I would go back with them if I could. We had perfect cultural experiences like eating a Frankfurter in Frankfurt, trekking on the insides and outsides of kings' palaces in Potsdam, and in Berlin, we checked out the jewelry, tapestries, and paintings of one of history's most influential peoples. But the trip's effects went much deeper than the small pleasures of vacationing in such an important historical city.
These relaxing educational experiences were countered by our trip's sobering, awakening focus on World War II and the Cold War. Walking alongside the notorious Berlin wall and being beaten by the sun at an old Nazi concentration camp made me realize that much of what I had previously learned in history classrooms was part of a mental world unconnected from the tangible places we visited. To me, learning history has gained in dimensions - not only depth or breadth - because of the trip. I used to wonder why professors quoted gargantuan death statistics from battles and genocides. "Why wouldn't they just focus on quoting people's personal laments?," I wondered, believing no one could comprehend these meaninglessly huge figures. But standing on dry, sparsely foliated dirt in the endless expanse of the camp's inner yard established the terrifying reality of such statistics: tragedies never happen in textbooks. They happen to real people in real places."
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