College Plans Three Spring Break Trips for 2012

by Rashad Mulla

College Plans Three Spring Break Trips for 2012
Munich, Germany

In the middle of 2011's long, hot summer, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences planned ahead to create engaging educational opportunities across the globe. As part of the college’s extensive study abroad offerings, faculty members will lead three weeklong trips during spring break in March 2012.

Marion Deshmukh, Robert T. Hawkes Professor of History, will lead a trip to Germany from March 9-17. The delegation will visit Munich, Berlin, Potsdam and other locations, and tour some of the country's important sites. Some of these landmarks include the Reichstag (the parliament of the German Reich from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s), the Berlin Wall border area, the Museum of German History, the Jewish Museum, the house of Impressionist painter Max Liebermann, Munich University, Nypmhenburg Palace, the Olympic Stadium, and Linderhof and Neuschwanstein - two of “Mad” King Ludwig of Bavaria’s castles.

The group will benefit from the hands-on exposure of studying in Germany, while relying on the expertise of Deshmukh and her Berlin-based contacts.

“The beauty of university study tours is that there is absolutely nothing like combining on-site visits and talks by experts to learn about the rich history and culture of Germany, from the Middle Ages to the present,” Deshmukh said.

Char Miller, a member of the public and international affairs faculty, will be leading a trip to Greece, also from March 9-17.  His group will visit a wide variety of landmarks in the Greek capital, Athens, including the Acropolis, the Nike Temple, Constitution Square, the National Archaeological Museum, the Old Olympic Stadium, Olympia, Mount Olympus, and the Byzantine Castle of Platamonas.

For students, visiting places that they had previously only read about in class provides a texture and depth to their understanding and memory, Miller said.

"Details that might be difficult to remember or take as significant in a classroom become more obvious, important and memorable when you have seen them," he said. "In the case of Greece, the size, location and relationships between the cities greatly contributes to our understanding of the historical relationship between the cities."

Finally, Jack Censer, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Jane Censer, history and art history professor, will lead a study trip – to Memphis, Tennessee. In an in-depth look at one of America’s most culturally rich and dynamic cities, the program will include a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum, a visit to Graceland, a stroll on historic Beale Street, and a detour to Oxford, home of William Faulkner.

According to Dean Censer, students will learn a lot about the city’s history from experiencing it firsthand.

“This trip puts Memphis, the birthplace of rock and roll, in its geographical and historical context,” he said. “We will learn about the Memphis experience at a time when race and culture interacted in productive and problematic ways that are still evolving.”

The application deadline for these three trips is Oct. 1, 2011, and spots are limited, so reservations are first-come, first-served. The trip is open to George Mason University students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the general public.

Visit the Center for Global Education website for details.

And as Deshmukh said, "Start packing your bags!"