Two Classes Head to Europe for Immersion

by Howard Hewitt

November 16, 2011

Not all Wabash students will be headed home for Mom’s cooking or to catch up on sleep. Two classes will be continuing first semester work on immersion trips to Europe.

Students in Agata Szczeszak-Brewer’s literature class head to Ireland while Wabash men in Michelle Rhoades History class are off to Paris.

Immersion learning is an essential part of any Wabash man’s education. The trips allow students to conduct research and examine up close concepts, places, culture, and other aspects not clearly defined by simply reading text or hearing a lecture.

Rhoades class will be working in the field of historical memory. “My students have studied historical memory and its role in French history, it is time to go to Paris and allow them to apply what they have learned,” Rhoades wrote for a blog about the trip. “The travel component of my course is part anthropological field work (they have a project to complete while in Paris), part historical observation (they have already written papers on historical memory), and part personal experience. Travel allows students to compare theories about the importance of Versailles, Notre Dame, French cuisine, Vichy France, and French politics to what they see and experience in Paris.

“In other words, my students will travel to the number-one tourist destination in the world not as tourists but as highly-educated specialists, each able to decipher and read the complexities of France’s past as it is represented in the present.”

The students will write about their experiences each day. Read Rhoades complete entry here and return regularly throughout Thanksgiving break to follow their unique education experience. Additionally, Director of Public Affairs Jim Amidon will be on the trip taking plenty of photos and writing about the education adventure.

The students headed to Ireland will also blog about their trip while following in the footsteps of characters in Ulysses, visiting the James Joyce Centre, Dublin Writers’ Museum, and meet with prominent Joyce scholars at the University College, Dublin. Szczesak-Brewer’s class will be accompanied by Assistant Professor of Economics Christie Byun who will add her expertise on Ireland’s economics.

These two trips follow Professor David Hadley’s Freshman Fly Fishing Tutorial in August. Several trips are scheduled in the second semester as an extension of classroom learning. Here’s a quick look at those trips:

March – Spring Break

Professor of Art Doug Calisch will lead a six-day immersion experience for junior and senior art majors to New York City.

Hadley will be repeating a trip he has led in 2005, 2007, and 2009 for political science students to Washington D.C. Those students will be studying Congress and the Presidency.

Lexi Hoerl will take a political science class to Italy to look at public space and public art during the time of Machiavelli.

Greg Redding will lead a group of students to Marburg, Germany where they will practice their German language skills and experience culture and daily life in one of the countries typical college towns.

History Professor Richard Warner has a spring break trip to southern Mexico where students will view Mayan ruins and learn from scholars active in the field of Mayan Archaeoastronomy.


Eric Freeze will be leading a group of students to France for a look at historic and literary sites in Paris and Southern France focusing on American expatriate writers.


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