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Dr. Leslie L. Liedel
Department Chair
Email: liedel@wju.edu
Phone: 304-243-2334


History Department Travel Program


Image of the Berlin Cathedral and Television Tower

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-Elysees 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 jrutherford@wju.edu or 304-243-2276.


Student Testimonials

Berlin/Potsdam/Dresden 2014

"There is so much to say about Berlin. It is one of the coolest and most exciting cities I have ever visited. There is always something going on, which makes it a place where anything can happen. It is also so full of history, that it is impossible to go anywhere without thinking about what was going on years passed in the exact spot in which one is standing. This is one of the reasons why I loved it so much. Overall, there was so much to do in Berlin and we definitely did as much as possible, which made me feel like it was definitely worth it. It is certainly one of the best places to go for history majors, or for people interested in history in general.

One of my favorite parts about the trip was the free time we were given. Being able to explore a city and find unique and fun things to do is always one of the most exciting parts. I felt that on this trip, we had much more time to wander around the city and get to know it. It was especially beneficial that our hostel was in a great area. It was not only a fun place to stay, but also was in a great area to explore. Having free time in between scheduled tours and museums was even better because we were able to explore other parts of the city, and not just the area where our hostel was. We found great restaurants, unique local shops, and beautiful parks! By the third or fourth day, we were already able to figure out the metro and go explore wherever we wanted. This trip was definitely one of the best times I've ever had and one of my greatest experiences. Berlin is certainly a city I would love to visit again!"
-- Emily Teachout

"The trip to Berlin was simply amazing. The city was so beautiful and full of history. From the Berlin Cathedral to the Stasi Museum, we experienced so many interesting and important sites. These are things that most people only dream of seeing, but thanks to the history department that dream came true for 20 students. The completely stress-free environment that is provided is fantastic. From the time we leave, until the time we return home, there is not a single thing that we have to worry about. The History Department takes care of all of the arrangements and allows us to simply enjoy the trip; as a whole, the trip was flawless."
-- Jake Zirkle

"Traveling to Berlin was definitely one of the best times of my life. It was a great learning experience, especially since I have never flown before, let alone traveled outside of the US. I feel that all college students should have the opportunity to travel abroad, because we live in a globally, inter-dependent world. Travelling abroad provides valuable experience and understanding of foreign countries. Germany was an especially relevant country to visit, not only because of its rich history, but because it is the strongest and biggest economy in the European Union. By visiting Germany, we were able to learn about the country's history, government structure, economy, and culture.
These are all valuable topics of knowledge that we will be able to utilize later on in our research papers, internships, etc. In short, I am extremely grateful that WJU has made this trip possible, and I hope to be able to travel with the university in the future. Not only was this trip a valuable learning experience, but it was also a lot of fun! There was so much to take in that it is difficult to choose a favorite experience. One of the places I found most enjoyable was Sanssouci Park in Potsdam. It houses the great palaces of the Prussian Kings and later German Kaisers. The palaces were truly a sight to behold, especially because there is not anything like them in the US. I also greatly enjoyed Berlin's culture. We ate traditional food at Biergartens, heard folk music, saw street performers and art, and some of us even tried on traditional German garb. I believe that taking in the culture of Berlin was just as important as learning about its history. A last experience I would like to write about is visiting the museums in Germany. They truly were unprecedented, and the German people should be commended for their outstanding museums. One of my favorite museums was the Stasi Museum, which houses the old archives of the East German secret police. We were able to experience firsthand what the Stasi did and the effects their actions had on the general population. My other favorite museum was definitely the Pergamon, which is the museum of the ancient Middle East and Mesopotamia. The Pergamon house life-size recreations, all made from original materials, of the Pergamon Altar from the ancient city of Pergamon in Asia Minor, the Roman Market Gate of Miletus, and the Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon. Walking through this museum feels like going back in time, and I am so glad to have had the experience of visiting it."
-- Falon Weidman

"After traveling to Vienna last year with the History Department travel program, I was excited to venture off to Europe for the second time. As a history major, having this opportunity to experience the history and culture of another country has been priceless. After studying both the Second World War and the Cold War in classes, having the chance to visit locations related to these historical events has allowed me to think about the past in a new way. For example, after learning about the Wannsee Conference in class, a meeting that finalized how to solve the Jewish question in 1942, I was able to tour the lakeside villa where this event took place. While walking around the grounds I found the outside gardens and lake to be peaceful. Actually seeing the tranquility of the estate and knowing the events that took place inside the walls gave me a new level of understanding to this horrific event. Furthermore, it was interesting to see how this city portrayed its past. After traveling to Vienna, where the city focused heavily on its royal past, it was interesting to see how directly Berlin confronted the atrocities committed by the Germans during the Second World War. Overall, I am glad that I had the chance to explore this exciting city and learn about the history of Berlin with classmates and professors. I had a great time and I would love to go again in the future!"
-- Kayla Mason

"The trip was very productive and I learned a lot about German society as well as its history. I gained valuable experience traveling and formed new relationships with other WJU students. My three favorite things we visited were the Berliner Dom (Cathedral), the Wannsee House, and the Olympic stadium. I was blown away by the detail and the size of the cathedral. I was awed by the detail of its artwork as well as the organ and immense size. I loved the view at the top of the cathedral and how you could see all of Berlin. I also found the accounts of the Jewish life during the Holocaust at the Wannsee House very interesting. The tour of the stadium was great, as it combined both the history of stadium with its present day use as home to a Bundesliga soccer team. I loved how we could go into the locker rooms. My favorite part of the stadium was the plaque to Jesse Owens and our tour guide's discussion of the Nazi Olympics in 1936. Here, sports and history collided on the biggest of stages."
-- Padraic Slattery

"The trip to Berlin had many beneficial and enjoyable moments for me. What I enjoyed most is discovering the city, food, and culture of Germany with my fellow history majors. The trip allowed us all to become closer to each other and to our professors while seeing landmarks we had covered in class. My favorite stop during the week was the military museum in Dresden. This museum had exhibits not only relating to Germany, but a striking exhibit featuring wounded American soldiers being operated on. The museum presented the total tragedy of war and how as time progresses weapons become more harmful. I think it was beneficial to see not only how the methods of killing develop, but the effects and repercussions these developments have on humanity. I don't think too much could be improved, I truly enjoyed every moment of the trip…even if we were exhausted at the end of the day from walking. We stayed at the Circus Hostel and our rooms were clean, the Hostel was very secure since you had to have key cards to get on your floor, hallway, and room, and overall it was a very fun environment. I can honestly say I was never bored on the trip."
-- Sarah Smith

"While traveling throughout Germany with Wheeling Jesuit University professors and students, I was able to experience many sights and attractions that were both enjoyable and beneficial. One in particular was the Wannsee House where the "Final Solution" was decided. I was also able to immerse myself in culture that was vastly different than my own, and gain a deeper appreciation for art and architecture. Another beneficial, and at times humorous, aspect of the trip was learning the language. We all have fond memories of struggling to correctly pronounce the words through our orderings at restaurants or "thank-you's" to shop owners. It was especially enjoyable to walk through the many palaces and see how life was lived many years ago. Along with the trip's educational importance, it was also an opportunity we students had to grow closer to those in our major and meet students outside of it. Additionally, spending time with our teachers outside of their classroom or office allowed for students to better relate to them and form better relationships with them."
-- Marque Marry

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