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Czech your calendar: Berlin and Prague 2014

Lisa Zwicker and her students gather outside their hostel in Berlin. Photo via/Lisa Zwicker

Lisa Zwicker and her students gather outside their hostel in Berlin.
Photo via/Lisa Zwicker

By: MELISSA SEYBOLDT

Staff Writer

“European cities as sites of collage” is the theme behind the second overseas study trip in 2014 offered by IU South Bend – a twofold journey to the capital cities of Berlin, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic.

Three weeks of course study at IUSB will prime students with insight into the history, literature, culture and art of these major cities before traveling to experience them first-hand.

Teaching the courses and leading the trip will be Director of International Programs and History Professor Lisa Zwicker and English Professor Kelcey Parker. They led the trip together once before in 2011 and were quick to express their excitement for bringing more students next year.

“We get pretty geeked out about it,” Parker laughed.

Zwicker explained how the theme of collage reflects the experience.

“One of the things we’re doing […] is we’re tracing on the physical monuments themselves, so we’re looking at the ways that these different regimes, five different regimes over the course of 100 years, interpreted these different buildings and monuments,” she said

Pointing to a picture of Museum Island in Berlin that sits in her office, she explained how the modern architecture positioned behind a regal 19th-century building illustrates the city as a collage.

“I think you can really see it in this picture,” Zwicker said. “Not only is [Berlin] a city of the past, it’s a city of the future too. I love the chance to bring students there.”

Former IUSB student Joe Kuharic went on the 2011 trip and said it was “really interesting to see how the culture in the Czech Republic and Germany during World War I, World War II, the Cold War… how the people reacted and how it shaped their culture. It was a really eye-opening experience coming from the background of living in Indiana my entire life.”

Zwicker’s course will give students a history of the two cities from the 1500s to the present, and Parker’s course will study the art and literature of Berlin and Prague throughout these periods. She will also introduce students to the art of making their own collages as a way of recording what they observe and learn from the experience.

“Collage in terms of art history really came into being in the early 20th century,” Parker said, “so we talk about these movements developing artistically where people started taking familiar images from around the world and represented some of the ways cultures were being fragmented.”

Some of the literature included in her course will be works of Franz Kafka, short stories from 20th century Berlin and Czech fairytales.

Parker and Zwicker added that Prague looks like what Americans imagine as old fairytale Europe.

“The benefit [of studying abroad] is something you can’t get in the classroom,” Kuharic said. “Seeing wildly different cultures in action is an experience no one can ever take away from you, and it will change your view of college and your own personal life, really.”

The courses will be taught from May 19 to June 30. Travel in Berlin and Prague will take place from June 8 to June 24. Seven days will be spent in each city.

The total cost for the program is $2,700 plus 6 credits tuition, according to the Office of International Programs website.

Students wishing to go are encouraged to reserve their spot early. A total of 12 students will be accommodated.

Applications for the trip are due Friday, Jan. 31 and a deposit of $300 is due by Friday, Feb. 14. For more information visit http://www.iusb.edu/intl-programs.

More photos from Berlin and Prague available here 

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