Europe Semester Fall 2018

Application Period Closed.


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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. These very challenges, however, often bring the greatest growth-- personally, intellectually, and spiritually. We hope you'll share these opportunities and challenges with us.


Europe Semester 2018 will cultivate the dual longings of the traveler: to explore the new and unknown as a stranger, and to develop a sense of place, of familiarity, of knowing and being known. We will spend 3-4 weeks at a time in four cities—Athens, Rome, Madrid, and Paris—getting to know them and exploring their environs. Throughout the semester we will contrast being on the road with being at home, the past with the present, and the tourist with the pilgrim.

Europe Photo


IS-121 On the Road: Christian Pilgrimage examines the practice of pilgrimage from theological, historical, cultural, and comparative perspectives, emphasizing the more personal perspective and practices of the individual pilgrim. For Fall 2018, this course also counts for RS interdisciplinary elective major credit and for RS minor credit. (H. Covington; GE: Thinking Globally)

IS-122 Classical Social Theory traces the development of ancient and medieval thought that corresponds to our itinerary. Central themes include the religio-political tension and the place of virtue in communal flourishing. This course also fulfills POL-130 Classical Political Theory--an upper-division political theory course. (J. Covington; GE: Thinking Historically)

IS-124 European Society Past and Present explores our host countries through diverse local guest lecturers and by student-led debates on matters of pressing public concern. (J. Covington; expected GE: Understanding Society)

IS-123 The Art of Italy and Spain, surveys the art and architecture Rome, Florence, and Madrid during the ancient, medieval, and Renaissance periods, with an emphasis on studio work in drawing and painting. A three week intensive course. (S. Anderson; GE: Working Artistically)


Jesse Covington

Jesse Covington is Associate Professor of Political Science at Westmont, where he has taught since 2007. In addition to his love of law and political philosophy, he is passionate about liberal arts education. He has studied and lived abroad and he co-directed Westmont in Europe in 2013.


Holly Covington 2

Holly Covington brings a seminary background to her teaching on Christian pilgrimage and religious practices, with particular interests in language, liturgy, and culture. In addition to co-directing Westmont in Europe in 2013, she has extensive experience as a foreign language instructor.


Scott Anderson

Scott Anderson is a professor of Art at Westmont as well as an active freelance illustrator. His clients include publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Variety, LA Weekly, and others. He will be joining the program for a three week art intensive module. Professor Anderson has also taught for Gordon College's program in Orvieto, Italy.

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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. More information on the program charge will be posted soon.


Faculty leaders take into consideration all of the following:

 Class standing

 Brief interview with faculty leaders

 GPA (minimum 2.3 GPA for eligibility) and no student life sanctions

 Application essays

 Faculty and personal recommendations