Day 10

Day 10:

Today was our last planned out day on the trip! All that’s officially left is a seminar that’s taking place tomorrow morning to recap. Today was another museum filled day. We started out with a great tour of the British Library. I really enjoyed learning about the architecture of building and the different resources they offered. I was so impressed by their business research and how easily accessible their resources are. I was also really impressed with their treasure section and thought seeing the magna carta and the original new testament was so cool. Next we went to the Wellcome Center and saw really interesting exhibits primarily focusing on physical health. It had a great section on the history of medicine and another exhibit that was more contemporary focusing on current issues like obesity. Lastly we went to the Freud museum, which was also his final house. Despite being very tried and hungry I enjoyed learning more about Freud’s life and seeing the infamous couch. 

I was most surprised today to learn about the plethora of resources available to anyone at the British Library. Knowing that other people pay upwards of 6,000 pounds to read what they just offer blew my mind. Having this understanding will help guide me in the future to look for and use the resources that are available to me. 

The big spot for looking at religion and psychology today was definitely Freud. It was interesting hearing about how he considered himself a god less and penny less Jew. Freud was pretty well known for being an atheist, but towards the end of his life he began to appreciate how being Jewish impacted who he was and how it created a culture. I think religion can play so many different roles in people’s lives, I think it can come and go as necessary. By being on this trip and realizing the overall impact religion has had on different society’s and on mental health I have realized similar to Freud that religion no matter what you believe plays a big role in how people interact with each other culturally and how people view themselves. Religion often forces people to be more introspective, and can also make them feel more guilty or remorse. Religion plays a role in creating groups, often as we have learned on this trip in groups and out groups with severe consequences. It has been enjoyable to pay close attention to this topic as this trip has progressed.

Day 9

Day 9:

Today marks the 9th day on this study abroad trip, as well as our last day with our wonderful tour guide Victoria. We started off the day by touring Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. It was really informative in terms of Shakespeare himself, the history of the Globe, and the history of theatre in general. It was a nice warm up to actually seeing the the play Hamlet preformed there in the evening. After the Globe we went to Westminster Abbey and got another very informative tour. I am always just so impressed by the detail in these buildings. I throughly enjoyed this one because I remember seeing some of the architecture in the televising of William and Kate’s wedding. I also really enjoyed learning about the different clusters of famous scientists and poets that’s were buried there. Following that we went on a nice walking tour of the Inns of Court where maybe lawyers practice and aspirin lawyers study. I enjoyed seeing the architecture and learning a bit about the court system in the UK. Lastly we saw Hamlet. I had a phenomenal time at the play, Hamlet is a play that makes you think and reflect on your own life, it is entertaining and thought provoking. It was quite amazing we got to see one of Shakespeare’s finest works in the Globe itself. 

My big surprise for today was the caring of characters in Hamlet. Hamlet was played by a women as well as many other parts that were men and Ophelia was played by a man. I was surprised at how these choices simultaneously made me think and also didn’t get “in the way” of the story at all. I found myself paying even more attention as a result of these choices. It even made you think a little harder about how men and women were spoken to and treated when you had to remind yourself of the gender they were “supposed” to be. 

Westminster Abbey really connected with the theme of religion today. I thought it was interesting to hear Victoria tell more stories of scandals that occurred within the royal family as a result of conflicting religions or behavior that wouldn’t have been accepted by the church. I thought it was cool that the church had progressed over time burying poets that were originally banned. I also think it’s interesting how women weren’t greatly represented in those that were buried. In general I think the tradition and standards set by the church on how people are supposed to act and behave can seen as a big difference between England and America. I feel like there is a greater importance on being proper here than in the the United States, and that those ideals come from the Church. 

Day 8

Day 8 

Today we had a jam packed day in London. We started out by of train to St. Paul’s Cathedral, the original part of the cathedral was designed by Christopher Wren and his vision was for it to be more simple than many other buildings/churches at the time. It has a very open feel with mostly black and white colors. I made the 520 step climb to the very top of the dome to see a wonderful view of London. Next we went to Buckingham Palace with the intention of seeing the changing of the guard. This ceremony was cancelled, but it was still fun to get to see the palace and take photos. Next we got lunch, and then went to the National Portrait Museum. I really enjoyed learning more about the history of Great Britain and the many scandals within the royal family. I also really enjoyed seeing the more modern portraits of the royal family, along with Paul McCartney and Ed Sheeran. I was a little disappointed with the representation of women and other marginalized groups though. It was certainly dominated by white men. Next we went to the British Museum, which was very large and diverse in what we saw. I most enjoyed seeing and learning about the greek marble sculptures. After the museum we went to a play called Quiz which was really fun! 

I was surprised by the diversity in representation at the British Museum. I was at first impressed with the different exhibits and how different they were from each other. Going into it I was expecting more of the same British history we had been receiving.

Today was a good lesson in understanding how the church impacts the royals and their behavior. The church plays a big role in what people feel is acceptable or not and it made a big difference in who was eligible or comfortable taking the crown. I think this definitely still impacts the culture and thought processes of everyday citizens today. This would definitely impact how others are viewed. In the play that we saw today it actually talked a lot about fairness and what it means for there to be a fair playing field. With the Church of England setting the standard for what it means to be civilized or respected it really could put others at a disadvantage right from the get go. 

Day 7

Today was our first full day in London! We had our morning meeting around 8 and then quickly departed via charter bus for Bethlem, Museum of the Mind. We had a really great talk about the history of Bethlem and how it was originally created for religious purposes and worked it’s way into a mental hospital of sorts. At the beginning it was very public and in order to get donations they would have outside folks come in and see the facility and show off the patients. Eventually this was forbidden, but that made the treatment of the patients worse because there was no government involvement and no outsiders for accountability. We did a cool activity where we got to read the actual medical records from the 1880s and go through their modern museum. I really annoyed the museum and learned a lot about the history of Bethlem and how it operates currently. The second place we went to today was the home of Charles Darwin also known as The Diane House. I learned a lot about Darwin as a scientist and as a human being. His journey to becoming a scientist, his experience as a father, and his experience after publishing his work was fascinating. I was also extremely impressed by his gardens and essentially his on site laboratory. 

Today I was surprised by how recent these events in history are. It was crazy to me that the granddaughter of Darwin just passed away in 1980. I think it was can be easy to put history in a different compartment in my brain that views things as being super far away, but this made Darwin’s discoveries, experiences, and house that much more realistic and relevant to me. 

The Bethlem museum was interesting in that religion played a role in people’s motivation to build the facilities themselves and to donate to the facilities. The guide discussed how there wasn’t a distinct period of time where the facility was no longer religiously motivated, but rather just overtime evolved and stayed modern. Darwin posses many interesting angles to analyze religion. He considered himself agnostic, and his work of course directly went against the idea of creationism. He marginalized himself in a way by publishing this work and having people call him mad for thinking this way. He pushed the boundaries with his family as well with his views causing come contention with his wife. His views also caused problems with others misinterpreting them and looking to creat a superior race via eugenics. This also posses interesting questions in terms of religion and people feeling as though it was their moral obligation to wipe out entire races. A lot of interesting questions come from both Darwin and Bethlem in terms of religion. 

Day 6

Day 6: 

Today we got up at 5am in Belgium and again put our public transportation skills to test getting on multiple trains to eventually make it to London! When we arrived we were greeted by Victoria who will be our guide for most days this week. Victoria helped us navigate to the hotel where we were able to freshen up and get ready for our first day. We all met at 12 and made our way to Westminster where we got on a boat to Greenwich. The boat ride was great giving us a view of many historic, political, and urban buildings in London. We went under the London bridge as well.  Greenwich is where we spent most of the day. We started off with an early afternoon tea at Catty Stark. I loved this as I am a loyal and enthusiastic tea drinker. It was fun to have an authentic tea time in England. Next we toured Catty Stark, which was extremely interesting from a trade perspective as well as a historical perspective. From there we went to the prime meridian and learned some more history of England. 

A surprise for the day was seeing the urban part of London that victoria compared to Manhattan in New York. I had always known about Buckingham Palace and the mor historical buildings that are in London, but didn’t realize it also had skyscrapers that were home to banks and law offices. It was fun to get to walk around that district a bit and see everyone in their business attire. 

One way today connected to me theme was the idea that religion prompted people to drink more tea. The push for people to drink less alcohol by the methodists resulted in a boom in the tea market and with more demand resulted in the Catty Stark having an initial purpose in moving tea from spot to spot. Another interesting point Victoria made today was the description of Britain selling opium to China in order to get their silver back. I thought this related in the sense that with power you have a responsibility and Britain abused their power here hurting another group. 




Today was a fun day! We started out pretty early checking out of our hotel in Cologne and made our way to the train station. After successfully maneuvering the multiple trains and buses we made it to our hotel in Ghent, Belgium. We had a little bit of time to get food before our excursion for the day. Luckily for us there was a food truck festival going on, so I had a delicious vegan burger made of mostly seaweed and some french fries with mayonnaise. After eating we made our way to Dr. Guislain’s Museum. This was absolutely fascinating as we got to learn about Dr. Guislain and the building we were in, as it was formerly his insane asylum, and be taken through an in depth history of psychiatry. We started with neanderthals and the cracking of skulls to free evil spirits all the way to drug therapy. We learned about key people that helped Dr. Guislain create and maintain the insane asylum. This was one of the few places people could go if they had little money. Dr. Guislain helped move technology forward with experiments and new techniques, but what I appreciated most was his emphasis on development and the idea that these people need to challenged, encouraged, and developed. We learned about some of the history specific to Ghent and that area as well. Now the building is used for the Museum and houses art exhibits of artists that have mental heath disorders. Leaving there I felt as though I had taken and absorbed a semesters worth of the history of psychiatry. 

An unexpected happening of today was the ease at which we changed countries. We went from Germany to Belgium without having so much as our passports checked. This made me excited for when I return to Europe, having a better understanding of the trains and the logistics of moving between cities. 

Today really connected with my topic of religion, as catholicism played a huge role in the treatment of mental health patients and still does. At the beginning they were some of the first to help but also hurt a lot because of their belief in the devils involvement. They used that belief amongst others to kill people with mental illnesses and to ostracize them from the rest of society. This also revealed a clear difference in those who wanted trained nurses and those who wanted nuns. Catholics helped represent those with differences by funding a lot of the work to help them and initially help by give them a place to go, but catholics  beliefs also didn’t necessarily align with Dr. Guislain’s theory of development. 

Day 3

Day 3:

Today was another great day! We had really nice weather for our adventure out of Cologne into a nearby city named Bonn. Bonn was about a 20 minute train ride from Cologne so it was fun getting to experience the train for the first time. In Bonn we went to the Women’s museum and to the Beethoven museum which was also his house! The Women’s museum was a collection of art work done by women that started with a group of women coming together and forming an organization. Some of the art work was clearly made by women for women and other exhibits in the studio were by women, but not necessarily related to women’s issues. It was cool be able to experience both. The Beethoven museum was also very interesting, my favorite part was actually just looking at the house and considering that he lived and worked there. I think my favorite part of the day was definitely just walking around and experiencing Bonn, we had a fun lunch outside and took lots of pictures as we walked around. The city has a very positive and authentic feel which was fun to experience and contrast with Cologne.    

What surprised me today was how easy the public transportation was to figure out even in such a big group. I’m certainly glad I am with the group, but I have learned and would be considerably more confident in ability to get around in a city where I don’t speak the language. 

Today had a much smaller focus on the experiences of oppressed groups of people. Like I mentioned, a lot of the work in the women’s museum was related to women’s empowerment and equality but usually in a more abstract way, or just revealing more of the womens body than normal to potentially evoke a reaction. We did learn a lot about the first group of women who came together through writing letters and decided to ban together and form the group that eventually lead to the women’s right to elect. I thought an important aspect of this was that women of very high privilege were able to use their privilege for good in helping get all women more access to education and more rights. I thought this was positively similar to Kathe Kolowitz and her commitment to helping those less fortunate

Day 2

Today, May 10th was a really fascinating day here in Cologne. We were able to sleep in until around 9, got some breakfast and then started our programming at 10. I have noticed they are a lot more environmentally conscious, particularly here in the hotel. For example they don’t have to-go cups out and ready to take I had to ask for one, and after asking I received just the cup without a lid which was totally functional just a little different than the US. Additionally in the hotel you have stick your room card in a particular slot in order for the lights to come on. This ensures we won’t leave without shutting off the lights. Everyday we start by gathering as a group in the lobby of the hotel where we debrief yesterdays events and then students present on what we are doing that day. Today we went to two Museums that were both located within walking distance from the hotel. First we went to the Kathe Kollwitz museum. Kathe Kollowitz is a famous artist who is known for her success as a woman in a time where women artists were seldom. She came from a well-off, open minded family that allowed her to practice art. Her art often showed people in poverty, war, and death along with many self-portraits and drawings of her family. Her art was incredibly controversial at the time because she was a woman and also because she was exposing a different side of Germany with the impoverished and the workers. In a lot of her work she displayed the strength of women and mothers. I also learned that she was very active in making and distributing posters that were anti-nazi, pro-choice for women amongst other political stances. Even though Hitler banned her work and she was offered asylum in the US amongst other countries she stayed in Germany until she passed away. The last years of her life were very sad and lonely years for her. This museum of her work was incredibly inspiring and eye opening. After this we had a little bit of time and went to a cute coffee shop where I had some coffee and really good chips and dip. The next museum we went to was The NS Documentation center of Cologne which was a headquarters for the gestapo during the period of national socialism in Germany. This is where the Gestapo did their work and also where hundreds of people were brought, imprisoned, and mostly killed during 1933-1945. We were able to hear from a very informative guide about the people who were imprisoned and that time period in Germany in general. Many of the imprisoned people were able to write on the walls, so it was fascinating to read what they had written. There were writings from people all over including, Russia, France, and Ukraine. It was incredible to learn about this time period from the Germans perspective.


Something that surprised/intrigued me today was the tour guide at The NS Documentation Center and her view on the period of national socialism. She looked at that period of time for what is was which was terrible, but instead of continuing to feel guilty or ashamed or just not talk about it she really embraced it a catalyst for awareness and reflection. An awareness to ensure that nothing like that happens ever again with an emphasis on being open minded to others and their differences. I thought hearing this perspective was very eye opening, and even though that is what I would hope to hear someone from Germany say about that time it was surprising to hear someone take that perspective first hand. I was also surprised to hear that the fist it was spoken of in Germany wasn’t until 1960’s.

Today was very informative and connected back to my theme of religion and its role in the treatment of others. With Kathe Kolowitz her grandfather was protestant, and so her family was likely protestant but she was not an incredibly religious person and often found herself fighting against others who identified as more religious. Especially when it came to being pro-choice and pro-feminist she was really pushing boundaries. Her and her husband fought through their professions for those who had less than them and were seen as differnt. She would sell her work to raise money for those her were poor and really gave people without any representation a face. They didn’t look down upon the difference but rather worked on their behalf in hopes of change and a better life for them. The gestapo headquarters was the complete opposite. Hitler wanted there to be no differences amongst people including religion and started working towards “Reich Church” a nazi approved/influenced version of Christianity. The gestapo could have used this goal and mindset when they imprisoned and killed so many people. Othering those that were imprisoned allowed them to dehumanize them because of their differences and carry out acts as though they were less than. I think each member of the gestapo likely had their own way of rationalizing what they were doing whether that included their faith, potentially working towards the new Hitler approved faith or potentially not thinking of their faith at all.

Works Cited:


Day 1

Day 1:


Today May 8th, after many hours of travel, we arrived in Cologne, Germany. 

We had some free time to put our things away and freshen up. Soon after our tour guide Nadia walked us around downtown Cologne showing us important monuments like Edith Stein and the tribute to the soldiers that wouldn’t shoot. She showed us some common hang out spots for young people, a few smaller churches, and the Kolner Dom. After walking up the Kolner Dom (over 500 steps!) and getting a tour of the inside we went to a nearby cafe. This was a quick stop before dinner with everyone in the program at Sunner. At Sunner they served what they called a shank (pork), mashed potatoes,and sour kraut. We each had a traditional German beer to go with our meal and delicious chocolate cake for dessert. It was a great day, however there’s no denying I was the most tired I have ever been by the end. 

Surprise: The big surprise for the day could probably be described as culture shock or experiencing a language barrier, but I didn’t realize how difficult common tasks might be. Lauren and I, went to get some shampoo and conditioner after dinner and could not for the life of us find the conditioner. We went to multiple isle and with the inability to look up words up on our phones we were really struggling. We ended up asking a woman near us and she was able to help. It just gave me perspective on how gracious this woman was in helping us and caused me to pause and reflect on how i might act to someone who doesn’t speak english. 

Theme: My theme, religion, started out strong today with the visit to the cathedral. I got a lot of good back ground facts/information on Germany and Colonge’s primary religions. Some key facts I took down:

-mostly catholic people in Cologne

-protestants started in germany 500 years ago 

-growing population of islam because of Turkish people

-not a divide amongst Germans, often don’t know what religion people are 

-in school they choose to take what religion classes they want  

-germany has a church tax, a certain amount of your tax go to your church. much fewer younger people are religions now

-they allow same sex weddings 

I’m going to use this information to continue drawing conclusions and learning more.