Students will focus on the ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity of the two cities while exploring neighborhoods, visiting museums, and meeting locals. There are no language requirements, making it a perfect fit if you're interested in history, international politics, or European culture. Sophomore standing or permission from one of the instructors is required.
To prepare for the trip, you'll take a half-credit course in the fall covering common readings and travel, as well as choosing two of three department-approved courses -- European Governments, World War I, or Contemporary German Culture -- in your area of study.
The following is a sample itinerary for the European Identities trip. A full itinerary is provided to program participants.
- Students and professors will travel from Chicago O'Hare to Berlin Tegel, then take public transportation to a hostel in Charlottenburg. Once there, we'll attend an orientation meeting and a walking tour of Charlottenburg.
- Professor Todd Heidt will lead a tour of Berlin's central government district while discussing historical forms of diversity in Berlin. Our group will visit Brandenburg Gate, Hugenottenkirche, Operplatz, the City Palace Site, and the Berlin Historical Museum.
- Professors Emre Sencer and Daniel Beers will lead a tour of Berlin's central government district, with a focus on the country's political history and present-day representations of political power. Destinations include the German Reichstag, Soldier's Gatehouse (Tomb of the Unknown Soldier), Alexanderplatz, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and Pergamon Museum. Afterward, there will be a discussion at the hostel.
- Our group will take a walking tour of Mitte, including the "Stolpersteine" or "Stumbling Stones," with discussion on re-emergent Jewish culture in Germany. The day includes visits to the Jewish cemetery, the New Synagogue, and a possible guest presentation from a Rabbi.
- Visits include the Museum at Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and the Stasi Headquarters. You'll have the opportunity to break into smaller groups according to interest -- political science with Daniel Beers, humanities and German studies with Todd Heidt, and history with Emre Sencer. There will be a group discussion in the evening.
- Cooperating faculty from Humboldt University and the University of Flensburg will provide lectures. You'll also have the chance to interact with Humboldt University students over coffee to discuss issues relating to the program.
- Our group will fly from Berlin to Istanbul, then take a minibus from the Istanbul airport to the hotel in Sultanahmet. There will then be an orientation meeting and evening discussion at the hotel.
- We'll tour Sultanahmet, see Byzantine era cisterns and the Hagia Sophia, as well as visit a Mosque. Emre Sencer will lead the tour with a lecture on Turkish and Ottoman history.
- Led by Emre Sencer, we'll tour the Ottoman palace and then have free time to explore the neighborhood independently.
- The day includes a walking tour of Beyoğlu, a historic neighborhood with a rich political history, and visits to the Galata Tower, German and Austrian schools, and the Goethe Institut Istanbul.
- The group, led by Daniel Beers, will visit one of Istanbul's premier universities. We'll meet with the international club and listen to a lecture from one of the university's political science, history, or cultural studies professors -- then take the ferry across the Bosphorus.
- The day includes a tour of one of Turkey's fastest-growing metropolitan areas, and Daniel Beers will give a talk on economic development, inequality, and public policy.
- We'll take public transportation to a hostel in Charlottenburg.
- Our group will visit a Mosque and attend a presentation by an Imam or other community leader on the topic of Muslim culture in Berlin. After that, we'll eat lunch on our own in the neighborhood and visit a Turkish language school.
- We'll travel to Wedding, a less gentrified, working-class Turkish neighborhood, where you'll have free time for exploration and a traditional Turkish meal with students in the neighborhood.
- Explore Berlin on your own!
- We'll depart Berlin for Chicago.
Final Project and Symposium
After the trip, during winter term, the European Identities course allows you to work on a research or creative project inspired by your travels and coursework. Here are a few of the final projects presented at the winter term symposium.