At the beginning of each semester, before settling in either Madrid or Florence, students engage in two weeks of travel to major European capitals in order to study the continent’s political and cultural history as well as its impact on the rest of the world. Each semester also includes a separate fieldwork experience in a different country, where students undertake research into specific issues relevant to contemporary European culture and politics.
Travel Highlights for Europe I – Fall Semester
The exploration and experience of Europe’s global impact begins in London, one of the world’s authentically global cities and a leading financial center. London serves as our lens to examine the transition from kingdoms and empires to the modern nation-state. Visits include major museums, the Houses of Parliament, and political organizations. Students gain a deeper understanding of how the British Empire exercised, by the eve of the First World War, political and economic control of over 85% of the world, exporting the English language and culture throughout the Empire. Students also come to understand the way in which this imperial system disintegrated after the Second World War, giving way to the post-colonial world system and the European Union.
Through the lens of Berlin, students compare and contrast constitutional political and economic frameworks of selected European countries in view of their domestic and international histories. Students learn how Germany in the late 19th century became a major economic and military power, destabilizing Europe’s balance of power. This destabilization led to the First and Second World Wars, the Holocaust, the partition of Berlin, and the Cold War. Students are also introduced to a postwar Germany that has struggled to confront this past, re-emerging as a major player in both the contemporary European Union and the global economy. Excursions include visits to the sites that commemorate the crimes of Nazism, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Stiftung Neue Synagogue, the Berlin Wall, and the former East Berlin.
Travel Highlights for Europe II – Spring Semester
The first module of the second semester of the Europe Program focuses on the comparative politics of post-World War II Europe, beginning with a two-week module in Vienna and Budapest. Through lectures and experiential programming, students gain a deeper understanding of the national constitutional arrangements that emerged in the postwar era and the role of the European Union in global governance and economic systems. The program will start in the city of Vienna, the world’s third United Nations city, which is the seat of numerous UN programs and various international organizations. We will also visit Budapest, Hungary, which became a global city after its unification in 1873. It was the second capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a great power that dissolved in 1918, following World War I.