A total of 16 students joined several faculty members to participate in the “Ashland University in Germany” program sponsored by Ashland University.
A six credit-hour study abroad course was the basis for a four week course that included a trip throughout Eastern Germany. Dr. Mitchell Metzger, professor of psychology; Fabio Polanco, assistant professor of theatre; and William Vaughn, professor of philosophy, explored the German culture with 16 Ashland University students who were interested in taking the Study Abroad course.
This is the eighth consecutive year that Ashland University has traveled to Germany and offered this study abroad course. The course began at Ashland, where students took a week to learn about the German culture before arriving in Germany for the final three weeks of the course on May 15.
Throughout the three weeks the students and faculty were in Germany they traveled to different cities in Eastern Germany. These cities included Leipzig, Erfurt, Eisenach, Weimar and Berlin. They also took a guided tour of Buchenwald Concentration Camp which lies outside the city of Weimar.
According to Dr. Metzger, much time on the trip was spent attending lectures, doing homework and studying.
Dr. Metzger believes the main goal of this trip was to have students experience a new culture. “The main goal is to take the Ashland campus and transport it to Wittenberg, Germany,” Metzger said. “Students get the opportunity to visit many places, to travel, and to spend part of the summer in a different place. They also complete six credit hours of coursework.”
One of the highlights of this trip was meeting and attending a lecture by Dr. Gerd Gruber, who is a 20th century art collector in Germany. “Dr. Gruber received his doctorate in chemical engineering from the Technical University in Dresden, has more than 9,000 pieces in his collection, and has organized more than 100 exhibitions in Germany and abroad.
“Dr. Gruber's collection is listed as the only private collection of Saxony-Anhalt in the Register of Nationally Valuable Cultural Assets of Germany,” Metzger said, “and the presentation he gave our group was on the Artistic Response to Fascism, where he presented works of many artists who were persecuted by the Nazis and/or imprisoned in German concentration camps in the 1930s and 1940s.”
Dr. Metzger believes that taking this opportunity to study abroad is definitely an amazing way for students to explore other cultures and see how other people live.
“By experiencing a different culture, you come to realize that there are many differences from our country and other cultures, and I think it makes you appreciate, not only where you live, but further appreciate this place that you visited,” Metzger said. “I always tell students, ideally, college is the time to study abroad. You don’t have a job to worry about, a family to worry about, or other similar things.”
One of the students who attended the trip, Jaclyn Horn, sophomore political science and history double major, was glad to hear that Ashland had a study abroad program in Germany.
“Since I was young I have read many novels set in Europe and have always had this romantic idea of it and have been drawn to the idea of visiting,” Horn said. “For me, it was a trip, not only to get core requirements out of the way, but to uncover the reality of the continent and give myself some concrete experience of what I've only imagined.”
In a student’s perspective on studying abroad, Lauren Ruple, senior hospitality management major, feels that everyone should take this opportunity due to its educational and personal experience.
“I think it is an amazing opportunity to learn and have fun. You get to experience a different culture and discover new ideas. There are many differences with their styles and cultures to understand and learn from,” Ruple said.
This course, part of the study abroad option within Ashland University, has been a part of Ashland for eight consecutive years, and will continue due to its popularity among students and faculty.
See the 2013 Ashland University in Germay Brochure for more information!