Students in the “3-D Art in Europe” special topics course, accompanied their instructor, Keith Herrin, assistant professor of art, on the trip, which had stops in Munich, Germany; Innsbruck, Linz and Salzburg, Austria, and Zurich, Switzerland. Also traveling with the students was Dr. David McMahan, dean of students.
Part of the focus of the trip was not only to see the artwork and architecture, but also to allow the students to learn how to travel and feel comfortable in traveling, Herrin said during a presentation about the trip to the Tusculum College community on Monday, Feb. 27.
The first stop for the students was Munich. Walking in a city where everyone speaks another language was a learning experience, said Eric Henderson, a sophomore from Del Rio majoring in graphic arts. When international students at Tusculum speak about feeling out of place in America, he said, he now knows what they are feeling.
Much of the trip was spent in Austria. In Linz, the cathedral was stunning, Henderson said. “When you walk in, all you can do is look up and appreciate the time and skill it took to construct.”
Clare McBeth, a junior from Martin majoring in museum studies, was struck by the size of the cathedral in Salzburg. While looking at a set of sculpted, metal gates inside the cathedral, she was encouraged by Herrin to touch them. “I thought about the person who did this and how many people have gone through it,” she said. “The trip started to mean more to me then. I was seeing incredible things that I had only seen in books. I had not really grasped that there was so much history in these cities.”
In Salzburg the students climbed to the top of the fort where they had a breathtaking view of the Alps, which make the mountains in East Tennessee look small, the students said.
The students were also treated to awe-inspiring views of the Alps in Innsbruck. The youth Olympics had started the day that they arrived, said Ashley Marinelli, a senior graphic arts major from Lexington, S.C., and the students were able to view some of the events.
The last stop was Zurich, which the students found very different from the Austrian cities. In Zurich, three of the students got to practice some of their new traveling skills as their cab took them to the wrong hotel and they were able to find their way to the correct hotel.
In each city they visited, there was no set schedule, Henderson said. Although there were some things that the students were required to go visit, he said, they never felt pushed and could explore what interested them.
Overall the trip was an “amazing time,” Herrin said. As a professor, Herrin was excited to travel to the various cities and see the cathedrals, works of arts and cities themselves, some he had waited his whole life to see. However, he said, the most important part of the trip was getting to know his students as individuals outside of the professor-student relationship.
Jennifer Lawson said that getting to spend time with the others has resulted in their friendships meaning more. “I know that we will be there for each other,” she said. “The conversations we had were great. I learned a lot about myself on this trip.” Lawson is a senior majoring in graphic arts from Knoxville.
As a last-minute addition to the trip, McMahan said he was welcomed by the students and Herrin on what was his first international trip. “From day one … everyone struggled at one time or another whether it was physically or emotionally,” he said. “I soon saw that each one of this group were looking out for the others. People did not care about their needs, but cared that others in the group were having the optimal experience they could.”
Henderson said he would recommend a trip to Europe. This was his first trip out of Tennessee. “I had never flown, never rode in a taxi and on my first trip I went to Germany,” he said. “It was a learning experience. If you get the opportunity to go, don’t find an excuse to stay at home. Go do it. It will make you a different person.”
Tusculum College, the oldest college in Tennessee and the 28th oldest in the nation, is a liberal arts institution committed to utilizing the civic arts in developing educated citizens distinguished by academic excellence, public service and qualities of Judeo-Christian character. Approximately twenty-two hundred students are enrolled on the main campus in Greeneville and three off-site locations in East Tennessee. The academic programs for both traditional-aged students and working adults served through the Graduate and Professional Studies program are delivered using focused calendars whereby students enroll in one course at a time.