For four weeks this summer, 20 UT Arlington students will explore the culture, history and language of Germany.
Senior Lecturer Sabine Harvey, coordinator for German studies in the Department of Modern Languages, is leading the group on a study abroad trip to Berlin and Erfurt. Harvey, a German native who has spent most of her adult life in the U.S., said she hopes the experience for her students will be life-changing.
“The trip is designed for students to appreciate other cultures and their mindsets and resist being judgmental,” she said. “Living in Arlington, Texas, we’re somewhat removed from Europe. Some of our students have never been abroad. The trip abroad will broaden their horizons and enhance a global understanding.”
The study abroad session begins June 2, when students will begin taking conversation and literature courses taught by Harvey. For three weeks, students will live at the Studentenhotel Hubertusallee, or “Student Hotel,” in Berlin. Daily activities will include citywide excursions, tours of historic sites, museum visits, shopping assignments and learning to navigate the city’s robust public transportation system.
During Week 4, students will travel to Erfurt, a smaller town in central Germany. Here, Harvey said, students will get the opportunity to visit the Gotha Research Library and the University of Erfurt, as well as spend a day in Weimar, home to German authors Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich von Schiller.
Harvey also said students will do pre- and post-trip interviews – in German – to show the participants and others about students’ advancement in their fluency and cultural reception after going on a study abroad trip. The next study abroad trip to Germany is planned for 2016.
The Department of Modern Languages is also organizing trips to other parts of the world. Two groups of students will spend part of their summer in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and Paris, France. Students in the French program will have home stays during this year’s trip. The department also sponsors a student study abroad trip to Russia every other year
Associate Professor and Department Chair Antoinette Sol said these study abroad programs have a direct impact on students’ careers once they graduate from UT Arlington.
“Having an extended contact with another culture broadens your world view,” said Sol. “In a global economy, cross-cultural communication is the norm … and experiencing a study abroad program signals that you are culturally aware and adaptable. It is a good career-advancing move.
“In addition, it is adventurous, personally challenging, fun and you improve your linguistic abilities in a way that you cannot if you are not immersed in the culture.”
(Story by James Dunning/COLA)