Students learn about German culture and community in Würzburg

By Gabriella Pozell, Staff Writer

In addition to France and Poland, Germany was another study abroad destination for Hilltoppers this past summer. 16 students total, nine from WLU and others from Fairmont, WVU, and WVU of Parkersburg, traveled to Würzburg. The trip lasted from July 1 to 16, and it was led by Dr. Miriam Roth Douglas.

Unlike the other study abroad trips, the students who attended this one came from especially diverse academic backgrounds. Education, Criminal Justice, Math, Political Science, English, and Biology were just some of the majors that were represented.

Ramsay Core, a senior majoring in Community Education explained his reason for participating in the trip, “I decided to go because it was a great price, I love to travel, and it was a chance to experience a new culture.”

During their time in Würzburg, students learned about German culture, customs, and history with a special-topics class entitled “Germany: Culture and Community.” As a part of their coursework, they completed research projects and presentations, kept journals, and listened to lectures by Dr. Douglas and Dr. Süss, a professor at the University of Würzburg. They were able to earn up to four academic credits for their work.

Students did much of their learning outside of the classroom as well by participating in numerous excursions. They visited several major German cities like Munich, Heidelberg, Nuremberg, and Bamberg, to name a few. Some other highlights included: exploring Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, taking baking lessons at Stahl & Stieber, a bakery run by Dr. Douglas’ godmother, experiencing a vineyard tour, visiting a forest kindergarten, and touring the Marienberg Fortress and the Main-Franconian Museum.

Alexis Brum, a senior Mathematics student, noted what she got out of the trip: “Traveling abroad has allowed me to learn things about Germany, and traveling in general, that I would have never learned or really understood if I hadn’t actually gone there. It’s one thing to learn about something and an entirely different thing to actually experience it. I have to say that I’m much fonder of learning by experience than the typical classroom approach.”

Brum said that she would recommend the study abroad experience to other students, and she offered some helpful practical suggestions as well, “I would plan early…I also suggest looking up information about the place you are visiting, such as weather, a map of the city/cities you are visiting, list of places you want to visit, roughly how much stuff costs for budgeting, and perhaps common phrases if you are going somewhere where the native language isn’t English.” Brum also warned, “Pack lightly with comfortable walking shoes!”

West Liberty offers different opportunities for students to take their studies abroad. For more information, please visit here.

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