Europe Semester Fall 2018 -- details to follow soon

Application deadline -- November 28, 2017 -- Be sure to attend an informational meeting that will be occuring on campus this fall. More details will be posted later this summer.

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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 1600 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 will 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 2017 Program Description

Europe Semester 2017 will provide students with a rich opportunity to explore the many layers of European history and culture as well as the many complexities of twenty-first-century Europe. From the foundations of ancient Rome through the rise of the modern city, the traumas of world war and genocide, theatrical expressions of European thought and values, and the dilemmas of contemporary Europe, the program will literally take us across the continent in time and space. We will begin in Great Britain for three weeks where all the courses will be introduced but the primary focus will be an intensive course on the British stage (get ready to see lots of plays!). Then the program moves south to Italy where the other three courses will begin more fully and continue for the remaining twelve weeks of the semester. We will travel northward through Central Europe spending time in Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany before turning west and finishing in Denmark, Belgium, and France. Students will enroll in all four courses and earn 16 units.The courses on the semester will fulfill 5 General Education requirements: Working Artistically; Thinking Historically; Thinking Globally; Understanding Society; Serving Society.

Tentative Itinerary

Edinburgh-London- Rome-Florence- Venice-Vienna- Budapest-Krakow- Warsaw-Prague-

Berlin-Copenhagen-Bruges- Normandy-Paris- Southern France


Program Courses

IS 121 The British Stage – Prof. Norman Jones -- This course intends, through the study of theatre and other fine arts, to enable students to develop an understanding of aesthetics and the relationship between form and meaning, an ability to criticize and make creative works that impact culture, and an informed appreciation for the complexity and intrinsic value of the fine arts. The course will include a performative element. The course will be taught during the first three weeks of the semester in Edinburgh and London. Submitted for Working Artistically GE credit.

IS 124 Whither Humanity? Hitler’s War and the Holocaust – Prof. Holly Huffnagle --

This is not one’s typical course on World War II and the Holocaust. Taking place in Europe, the course will not approach this history chronologically, but will instead be structured around themes and human experiences present in place (as opposed to time). Each class will focus on individual stories grouped by themes from collaboration and complicity to resistance and rescue to memory and forgiveness. Approved for Thinking Historically GE credit.

IS 125 Contemporary Challenges in Europe – Team-taught by Prof. Holly Huffnagle and

Prof. Rick Pointer – Many commentators see Europe as a continent in crisis. This course will study selected challenges or problems facing current European societies individually and collectively. Issues to be examined will include migration and immigration, anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred, extreme nationalism and the rise of right wing governments, security and terrorist threats, climate and energy, and political and economic consolidation (the European Union). Emphasis will be placed on understanding these challenges in the context of Europeans’ relations with one another and with the rest of the globe. Approved for Thinking Globally and Understanding Society GE credit.

HIS 195 The City in Europe – Prof. Rick Pointer – Cities have always been at the heart of European history and culture. Using Europe Semester’s location within a host of key urban areas across the continent, this course will examine the history of the European city from ancient Rome to the present. We will essentially take a fifteen-week excursion through the medieval towns, industrial cities, burgeoning capitals, sprawling metropoles, and post-modern urban landscapes of Europe, asking a series of questions along the way about the physical forms and human relationships central to Europeans’ urban experience. The course will also have students engage in community-based service projects connected to one or more pressing social issues within contemporary urban settings.Approved for Serving Society GEcredit.

Program Leaders



Professor Rick Pointer has taught history at Westmont since 1994. With his wife Barb, he has previously led Europe Semester groups in 1996, 1999, 2004, 2007, and 2012.





Barb Pointer is Assistant Director of Global Education at Westmont. She has served in the Off Campus Programs Office since 2004.




Professor Holly Huffnagle works for the U.S. State Department as a policy advisor to monitor and combat anti-Semitism in Europe. A history major at Westmont, she participated as a student on the 2007 Europe Semester program and earned a M.A. in Global, International, and Comparative History at Georgetown University.




Jason Huffnagle was also a history major at Westmont, graduating in 2009. He is now employed by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.






Professor Norm Jones is chair of the Theatre Arts Department at Gordon College where he has taught since 1984. He has brought 20 groups of Gordon students to the British Isles for summer courses on the British stage.

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


5. An experience of the need for and process of creating a caring Christian


6. A personal maturation in Christian graces such as loving, forgiving,

communicating honestly, and experiencing Christian freedom responsibly.

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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 between $3000 and $5000.


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

Questions: or