There definitely WILL be Europe Semester offered Fall 2017--check back soon for more details! Application deadline 11/29/2016--applications available here soon.

Perhaps offered Fall 2018 as well!


Gabriel 2008 ES

What is Europe Semester?

Westmont’s Europe Semester Program has been going for over forty-five years since its beginning in 1969 with 10 students. Enthusiasm for the unique learning opportunities it affords has remained strong ever since. During its history, over 1500 students have completed the program.

Europe Semester couples intensive study with first-hand experience of the places and people that have shaped European history and cultures. You'll travel widely, read, research and write extensively, and learn from experts and everyday people from across Europe. Your courses will fulfill four Common Inquiries requirements from Westmont's General Education program, but your academic experience will be much more than meeting requirements. You will discover new perspectives, wrestle with challenging questions, and see abstract ideas embodied in real people's lives, all while being a part of a small, Christian learning community.

Your learning will begin well before we depart, as you equip yourself to get the most from your experience in Europe with summer readings, research, and essays. Once in Europe, our learning will take many forms: some scheduled, like traditional classroom lectures and discussions, site visits to museums and galleries, and cultural events such as concerts and plays; some unscheduled, like good conversations on long bus rides, one-on-one chats with a professor, and encounters with locals on a subway or in a coffee shop. In the end you'll find that learning permeates your whole experience--your classes, your worship, your play, and even mundane tasks like grocery shopping and laundry.

Europe Semester can be as challenging as it is rewarding. Travel is exciting, but can also be tedious. A close community is supportive in hard times, but can also test our patience. Study deepens our experience, but can also limit our freedom to see the sites. But these very challenges often bring the greatest growth--personally, intellectually, and spiritually. We hope you'll share these opportunities and challenges with us.











Europe Semester Fall 2015

"Live and Learn: Europe Semester Fall 2015"


Edinburgh (8/20-26), Stratford-on-Avon (8/26-27), London (8/27-9/5), Madrid (9/5-12), Seville (9/12-14), Granada (9/14-19), Barcelona (9/19-9/23), Paris (9/23-10/3), Bayeau (10/3-7), Ypres (10/7-8), Haarlem (10/8-13), Berlin (10/13-23), Warsaw 10/23-27), Krakow 10/27-31), Prague (10/31-11/5), Nuremburg (11/5-8), Munich (11/8-10), Venice (11/10-15), Florence (11/15-22), and Rome 11/22-12/1).

2015 Courses

World War II IS-124 (4 Units; fulfills Thinking Historically GE)--Dr. Ken Kihlstrom

Global Narratives in the Arts of Europe IS-126 (4 units; fulfills Performing & Interpreting the Arts, and Thinking Globally GE's)--Dr. Randy VanderMey

Technology and European Society IS-122 (4 units; fulfills Understanding Society GE)--Dr. Ken Kihlstrom

Conflicts and Conversations in Contemporary Europe IS-150(4 units; elective credit)--Dr. Randy VanderMey


Program Leaders

Kenneth Kihlstrom, Ph.D., has been a Westmont Physics Professor for 31 years. He has led Europe Semester (with his late wife, Dr. Kim Kihlstrom) twice: in 2008 and 2011. He has a passion for World War 2, having taught the course twice before on Europe Semester. Being able to visit such historically relevant sites as the Churchill War Rooms, the D-Day beaches, Dresden, and Auschwitz helps this pivotal phase of 20th century history come alive. He will also be taking over Kim’s Technology in European Society course.


Randall VanderMey


Randy VanderMey, Ph.D., Professor of English, has led the England Semester (1998) and twice co-led the Europe Semester (2003 and 2008). In addition to teaching beginning and advanced composition, creative writing, and Romantic and Neoclassic English Literature, he specializes in teaching Dante, classical mythology, journalism, and world visionary literature. He has focused his own recent writings on poetry and drama, and his courses on EuroSem 2015 reflect his special interests in storytelling, narrative theory, desire, contemporary global issues, and the arts.

Dana VanderMey, R.N., has served on the 2003 and 2008 Europe Semesters as an administrative assistant, nurse, and health advisor. She has recently traveled to Antarctica and twice to Vietnam. She recently retired after 17 years as Director of Volunteers for Hospice of Santa Barbara, following a decade as founder of the Parish Nursing program at St. Francis Hospital. She is a certified laughter leader and a specialist in leading labyrinth workshops.



The Oxford University-educated historical tour guide Gabriel Fawcett spent two years working for BBC Radio News before leaving London to live and work in Berlin, Germany, where he put his history degree and obsession for the subject to good use by specializing as a guide around Central Europe. He is engrossed in Central Europe's sometimes tragic, sometimes inspiring past as well as its promising future.  Gabriel has 15 years experience as a guide and teacher on the Holocaust and related and general themes. He is a writer with several publications and was heavily involved in creating the documentary 'A Soldier’s Confession'.  Gabriel has been involved with Westmont Europe Semesters for more than a decade and is a highlight of the program.



Europe Semester Program Objectives

For each participant, the Europe Semester faculty desire:

  1. An enlarged understanding and appreciation of the history and contemporary character of European culture and society, including the role of the Christian faith in Europe’s past and present.
  2. An increased grasp of Europe’s place in the world both historically and in the twenty-first century.
  3. An enhanced ability to acquire knowledge through observation and experience.
  4. A new empathy for the perspectives and perceptions of other peoples and cultures.
  5. An experience of the need for and process of creating a caring Christian community.
  6. A personal maturation in Christian graces such as loving, forgiving, communicating honestly,and experiencing Christian freedom responsibly.

Expenses and Payments

Westmont College attempts to secure reasonable group travel rates and adds these costs to regular campus charges to arrive at a final fee for Europe Semester. This final fee, in other words, is the sum of campus tuition, fees, and full room and board, plus a Europe Semester supplemental charge of $3500.


Faculty leaders take into consideration all of the following:

  • Class standing
  • GPA (minimum 2.3 gpa for eligibility)
  • How many Common Context courses you have completed (since these will provide an intellectual foundation to better understand and appreciate what is seen and learned experientially in Europe)
  • Application essays
  • Familiarity/proficiency with a foreign language
  • Leadership experience
  • Faculty and personal recommendations