WESTMONT IN NORTHERN EUROPE, Fall 2014
Based largely in Berlin, Germany, but also spending significant time in England and Northern Ireland, Westmont in Northern Europe will explore issues of conflict and peacemaking through three courses: Studies in World Literature (4 units, Cheri Larsen Hoeckley), Philosophical Reflections on Conflict and Peacemaking in Modern Europe (4 units, Chris Hoeckley), and Encountering the Cultures of England, Ireland and Germany (2 units, team taught).Students will deepen their encounters with the places and cultures we visit with a course in German language (4 units) and a PE course in urban and rural fitness walking (1 unit). All participants are required to take these five courses. Together these courses will fulfill six General Education requirements:
Reading Imaginative Literature
Philosophical Reflections on Reality, Knowledge and Value
Physical Education (one semester)
In addition to these courses taught abroad in fall 2014, students will prepare for their semester abroad with a 1-unit seminar in spring 2014, and will have the chance to integrate their study-abroad experience into their on-campus experience with a 1-unit re-entry seminar in spring 2015. Both of these seminars are required for participation.
The program is aimed at sophomore-level students, so students who are in their first semester of college in fall 2013 are encouraged to apply. The program is also open to students who will be juniors and seniors in fall 2014, but priority in the selection process will not be determined by class standing.
What you can expect:
Learning like you've never known!
Our learning will be active, integrated and experiential, drawing heavily on the resources our locations have to offer--both site visits and encounters with the people of these countries. You'll find that the learning never stops. Every activity and every encounter--from museum visits to shopping for groceries, from your homestay family to our hiking guide--is an opportunity for learning. And expect your learning to touch all dimensions of your lives: your friendships, your spiritual growth, your recreation, as well as your intellectual lives.
Three fantastic extended-stay locations!
We begin with three weeks at the former estate of the founder of Cadbury chocolate on the outskirts of Birmingham, England. The estate is now home to the Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre. The rooms are comfortable, the grounds are beautiful, and the food is great. But the real treasure is the community that hosts us. Quakers have a very long history of active peacemaking and non-violent conflict resolution. Their experience has enriched the learning of hundreds of Westmont students over the last 15 years.
The heart of the program is our seven-week stay in Berlin, Germany. From its complete destruction at the close of WWII, through its rebuilding as a divided city symbolizing the cold-war conflict, Berlin has emerged in the last 20 years as among Europe's most vibrant and beautiful cities. Because of its remarkable and painful history, Berlin is unmatched for addressing our themes of conflict and peacemaking. We'll stay in apartments in one of Berlin's liveliest neighborhoods. Cafes, shops and restaurants our just at our doorstep, and Berlin's great museums and monuments, as well as our language school, are a short walk away.
We close the program with a four-week stay in the beautiful countryside outside Rostrevor, Northern Ireland. Ireland, too, has a long history of conflict, though very different from Germany's. For nearly a century, Northern Ireland has been a deeply divided society, with those divisions breaking out into open violence for the last quarter of the 20th Century. But throughout that time many efforts were underway to bring about peace and reconciliation, and since the turn of the 21st Century those efforts have taken hold. We'll discover the beauty, the painful history and the emerging hope of this fascinating place.
We will eat, sleep, travel, learn, play and pray together for 15 weeks. We are bound to get close. That closeness can have its challenges. We're all very imperfect people and living and traveling cross-culturally can make those imperfections very obvious. But that closeness will also be an opportunity for new and deepened friendship, support, fun and spiritual growth.
We will get to know three places pretty well by residing in each of them for an extended stay. But we will also occasionally travel out from these places to other locations that will broaden our learning: London and Coventry in England; Dresden and perhaps Prague or Krakow in Central Europe; Dublin, Belfast and the Irish coast in Ireland. We will also break our stay in Berlin about halfway through for a week and a half at another major location in Europe, which is yet to be determined.
Expect to be stretched, especially spiritually.
Travel can be challenging, cross-cultural encounters can be challenging, language learning can be challenging, community can be challenging, academics can be challenging. But all of these will be opportunities to deepen your character. Most challenging of all, but also most exciting, might be the ways in which your faith is stretched as you encounter evangelical Christians from other cultures, Christians from outside the evangelical tradition, and people of other faiths. These encounters can be hard, as they raise questions about one's own faith. But time and again we have seen students come away with a wider vision of God's work in the world and of the breadth of God's love.
We look forward to exploring with you Christ's call to be peacemakers.