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Director, Eleanor Stellyes Center for Global Studies
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The interdisciplinary European Identities course combines classroom studies with a 17-day trip to Berlin and Istanbul over winter break.
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.
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.
Day 1: Depart USA and Arrive in Berlin
Students and professors travel from Chicago O'Hare to Berlin Tegel, then take public transportation to a hostel in Charlottenburg. Once there, attend an orientation meeting and a walking tour of Charlottenburg.
Day 2: Berlin's Imperial Core (Part 1)
Professor Todd Heidt leads a tour of Berlin's central government district while discussing historical forms of diversity in Berlin, followed by a visit to Brandenburg Gate, Hugenottenkirche, Operplatz, the City Palace Site, and the Berlin Historical Museum.
Day 3: Berlin's Imperial Core (Part 2)
Professors Emre Sencer and Daniel Beers 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 is a discussion at the hostel.
Day 4: Jewish Berlin
Our group takes 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 guest presentation from a Rabbi.
Day 5: East and West Germany
Visits include the Museum at Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and the Stasi Headquarters. 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 is a group discussion in the evening.
Day 6: Humboldt University
Cooperating faculty from Humboldt University and the University of Flensburg provide lectures. Interact with Humboldt University students over coffee to discuss issues relating to the program.
Day 7: Travel from Berlin to Instanbul
Fly from Berlin to Istanbul, then take a minibus from the Istanbul airport to the hotel in Sultanahmet. There will be an orientation meeting and evening discussion at the hotel.
Day 8: Sultanahmet (Part 1)
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.
Day 9: Sultanahmet (Part 2)
Led by Emre Sencer, tour the Ottoman palace and then have free time to explore the neighborhood independently.
Day 10: Beyoğlu
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.
Day 11: Sehir University
The group, led by Daniel Beers, visits one of Istanbul's premier universities. 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.
Day 12: Contemporary Turkish Development
The day includes a tour of one of Turkey's fastest-growing metropolitan areas, and Daniel Beers gives a talk on economic development, inequality, and public policy.
Day 13: Travel from Istanbul to Berlin
Take public transportation to a hostel in Charlottenburg.
Day 14: Turkish Berlin (Part 1)
Visit a Mosque and attend a presentation by an Imam or other community leader on the topic of Muslim culture in Berlin. After that, eat lunch in the neighborhood and visit a Turkish language school.
Day 15: Turkish Berlin (Part 2)
Travel to Wedding, a less gentrified, working-class Turkish neighborhood, explore and have a traditional Turkish meal with students in the neighborhood.
Day 16: Free Day
Day 17: Depart Germany
Depart Berlin for Chicago.
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