Reports from Abroad – Week of Oct. 24

Study Abroad Advising:
If you are interested in learning more about study abroad opportunities, stop by the honors college seminar room to meet with Joseph Rasich, Study Abroad Specialist. He will be available every other Thursday from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

Student Study Abroad Scholarship Testimonials:
Traveling through Europe: Book Arts in Europe 2016 by Kirsten Stowell
My European experience began in Venice. After traveling for almost 23 hours, I arrived in the city on a beautiful sunny afternoon. The city was alive with life and tourists making their way to see the Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Square and the Duke’s Palace. The city was picturesque; from the outside, Venice retains an aged appearance, and seems to be from another century. This appearance is enhanced by the lack of cars or buses; other than the bridge connecting Venice to the mainland, there are no roads for motorized vehicles; instead, the streets are alive with the buzz of voices. The interior, however, is in many places very modern, as was the apartment I stayed in during my week-long visit to this stunning city. The streets are often narrow, sometimes only two or three people wide, and they crisscross the city at sharp angles. While walking, there are voices everywhere in all sorts of different languages. Venice is a tourist city, and has been transformed to meet the tourist industry.

While in Venice, we traversed the Grand Canal using bus boat passes in order to explore and visit historical sites around the city, including several museums that held both modern and contemporary art. We also toured the Duke’s Palace and visited the adjacent prison, crossing over the Bridge of Sighs in order to reach it. We then visited the island of San Giorgio to see the library and the church located there—both incredibly beautiful buildings.

During our stay in Italy, we took a day trip by train to the Tipoteca Printing Studio located about an hour outside of Venice. While there, we worked with master printers to collaboratively create a poster using different typefaces that were selected by each student and placed together on one project. We worked alongside the printers to ink and roll the poster ourselves and took a tour of their facility to examine the various types of presses that they had displayed. The trip also took us to a more remote, urban area of Italy that allowed us to break away from the typical tourist destinations.

After Venice we took the train to Basel, Switzerland, which is located in the northwest corner of the country, about 30 minutes by bus from both France and Germany. Stepping out of the train station in Switzerland was like skipping forward hundreds of years. We had left behind the ancient, weathered look of Venice and arrived in a more modern city, although it did not have the typical skyscrapers and brick buildings I would expect to see in a city in the United States. There were cars here, along with extensive bus and tram systems that ran throughout the day and night. While in Basel, we worked in a paper mill to create handmade paper. We spent a day learning how to make paper and creating paper for ourselves, followed by a day of working in a studio creating linoleum cuts that we printed on our handmade paper.

From there, we traveled to Mainz, Germany, where we visited the Gutenberg Museum and saw some of the first books that were printed using a printing press. We also worked at the museum to hand-set passages we had written in different typefaces before printing them into a collective book of our works. We then toured the area and visited several historical sites. While in Germany, the European soccer (or football, as they call it) tournaments were occurring, so the city was alive with energy and excitement. Many places were decorated with German flags and German colored streamers. When the team won, the entire city seemed to erupt with cheering, which lasted several hours.

After Germany, we concluded our trip by traveling to Ghent, Belgium, where we worked at the Museum of Industry and Technology to create a collaborative poster using different typefaces and type decorations. While in Ghent, we also explored the Castle of Counts that is located in the middle of the city, rising suddenly from the modern buildings built around it. We spent an afternoon touring the inside and gained a beautiful view of the city from the castle roof. As one of a few cities that managed to escape the wars unscathed, the medieval castle stood solidly amidst the advancing city around it.

veniceThe Grand Canal – Venice, Italy

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