Students from Fairmont State University will be in the Low Countries of Western Europe as part of the annual International Study/Travel course from Monday through Saturday, March 10-17.
In the past, students have traveled to such diverse places as Turkey and Italy. This year’s destinations were chosen “for their vast and important history and culture in the development of Western Europe. Brussels, Belgium was chosen as a home base for the visit as it is the capital city of today’s European Union, the government entity which helps to define the future of much of Europe,” said Jeff Greenham, Assistant Professor of Art at FSU and one of the professors who will be accompanying the students on the trip.
Some highlights of the trip include a tour of the European Union Parliament, visiting the house of Anne Frank, spending the day in Amsterdam, as well as exploring the historic cities of Brugges and Ghent in the Flemish-speaking regions of Belgium. Museums such as the Magrite and other Brussels museums, as well as the Van Gough Museum in the Netherlands, round out the trip culturally, but free time for exploring the cities encourages the students to interact with their environments.
“We live in a global community. It is important that we all better understand our relationships within that community and there is no better way than to visit other parts of the world and meet the people who live there,” Greenham said.
The course is designed to show students how the interconnections of art, architecture, language, literature, theatre, history, geography, music and economics have contributed to the life and culture of the Low Countries. For the purposes of this trip, studies have focused on Belgium and the Netherlands.
The International Study/Travel course is coordinated through the FSU Honors Program, but the course is also open to other students. A broad range of disciplines is represented by those going on the trip, from History to Computer Science.
The motivations of the students for signing up for the trip are diverse:
- “I chose this year’s trip because I had the financial aid to completely cover the price of the trip, and I have never left the U.S. before. I really want to be able to travel and see other parts of the world so that I can feel culturally educated about different areas,” said Jay Cooke, Vice President of Honors.
- “My first reason for wanting to go to Belgium, the Netherlands and the Low countries is because of some of the fascinating architecture. One thing I have always wanted to do in my life is go to and explore a medieval cathedral, and while we are on this trip we are to see a number of these structures. My second reason for wanting to attend this trip is because I want to travel everywhere I possibly can, regardless of where that takes me, and this trip provides me a way to go see a new place and culture while having instructors and others with me to help me learn even more about the place than what I would do on my own,” said Michelle Brown, an Architecture student.
- “I decided to take advantage of this trip to Belgium because I love to travel and I jump on every opportunity I get! There isn’t a reason that I chose the Belgium trip specifically, just that this is the first chance I’ve had to go to Europe. I am very excited about the trip; we have been learning a lot about the Low Countries in class, and I know it is going to be great to apply what we have learned in person,” said Kitty Dixon, a junior in Art Education.
A detailed course description can be found in the current FSU academic catalog as HONR 3301. For more information, contact Dr. J. Robert Baker, Director of the Honors Program, at JRobert.Baker@fairmontstate.edu.