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Students learn art, history on-site in Europe

Sixteen student will spend a month in Europe learning in the Netherlands and Paris.Sixteen undergraduate students will visit Europe for nearly a month, where they’ll study art and history at the very sites where they exist.

The students and Drs. Stephen and Elissa Auerbach will spend time in the Netherlands and Paris, France touring museums, historical sites, churches and more.

“We teach exclusively on-site at museums, churches, on walking tours and other historical locations in the Netherlands and Paris,” said Elissa, associate professor of art.

She and her husband Stephen, professor of history, will teach two courses during the trip, The Art of the Netherlands and France in Context and The History of the Netherlands and France, 1500-present.

“We are experts in Dutch and French art history, culture and history, and do all the teaching ourselves. Our philosophy about teaching abroad is that students ought to be fully immersed in the place where they are learning as much as possible,” said Elissa. “We want our students to experience the sites, people, food, culture and traditions of the places we’ll visit. Teaching in a classroom environment pales in comparison to using the cities as a teaching tool.”

For rising sophomore Elizabeth Van Womack, this will give her and her classmates a unique experience as they learn in a different way than they would on campus.

"I think during this experience I will learn differently because it's essentially total immersion. While the class itself focuses on art and history, I think being in the actual cities and being able to walk around will be more educational than just sitting in a classroom and being lectured to or reading about the topics.”

This opportunity will also allow her to delve deeper into her area of study.

“I was interested in this trip because it seemed like a really unique opportunity, in addition to it being related to my field of study and interests,” said Van Womack, an  art major with a concentration in museum studies. “I am most looking forward to experiencing the culture of the two cities. I am most excited about the art, architecture and food.”

In Amsterdam the group will explore the house were Rembrandt lived and worked, study Vermeer’s famous paintings in the Rijksmueum and discover the city’s “secret” churches. Then while in Paris, they will tour the Sainte-Chapelle Gothic chapel, the Louvre museum and the prison cell where Marie Antionette spent her final hours.

“Our study abroad program is the only one available in the entire University System of Georgia that examines the cultural history of the Netherlands and France from an interdisciplinary, transnational perspective,” said Elissa.”

As they take in all the experiences during the next month, Van Womack and the other students will be posting on a Facebook page created for the event. View their progress here.

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