European Odyssey Study Abroad Program
Viessmann Academy on Sustainability
Our university has a partnership with the German Viessmann Company; as part of that partnership, 20 students from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh participate in a one-week seminar at the Viessmann Company headquarters in Allendorf, Germany. There they listen to lectures by company leaders, tour factories, biodigesters, and logistics centers, and work in small groups on topics related to sustainability. The Viessmann Academy is an amazing opportunity to get to know German business culture and the company's and country's attitude towards sustainability.
In 2014, I was asked to be one of the faculty mentors for the program (together with Bruce Niendorf from the College of Business). We added a few days in Berlin to the Viessmann Academy, so that the students also learned about the history and geography of Berlin. Bruce Niendorf and I repeated the Viessmann program in 2015, and in 2016 I led the program with Nathan Stuart (College of Business).
The European Odyssey study abroad program provides 20-25 students with the opportunity to spend an entire semester residing in Europe while progressing through five areas of academic study. Each class, taught by UW Oshkosh professors, is a balanced blend of classroom and on site lectures, discussions, site visitations, written assignments and exams. On weekends, students have opportunities to explore their environments on their own. Our mini-residences range from 1 to 3 weeks each to allow students time to "settle in" and savor the sights and sounds of their various settings. Residence cities include London, Paris, Dresden, Berlin, Amsterdam and Rome. Numerous day trips to selected locations and sites augment and enhance the program's academic emphasis.
In spring 2013 I completed my sixth European Odyssey. On the first European Odyssey I taught in Berlin for two weeks; since then I have always taught my course on European Geography in two different cities--either Paris and Berlin, Amsterdam and Berlin, or Dresden and Berlin. In all cities I do a lot of walking tours, focusing on urban development and other urban issues. In addition, in Paris we visit a mosque and Versailles. In Amsterdam we enjoy the Dutch master painters at the Rijksmuseum, explore the Anne Frank Huis, visit a diamond cutter, and learn how windmills work at Zaanse Schans open air museum. In Berlin, we visit several museums (Checkpoint Charlie, Pergamon Museum and Transportation Museum), but we have also been to the Olympic Stadium, several sites connected to the Berlin Wall, watched a team handball game, and seen many other sites. In Dresden we visit diverse sites ranging from impressive historical buildings to a modern car factory.
I have been part of the European Odyssey team from the beginning. We have successfully completed the European Odysseys in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. I had a wonderful time teaching students in the locations where the actual events happened—this is a very different teaching and learning experience from being in a classroom!
Odyssey 2006: Berlin
Odyssey 2007: Berlin and Amsterdam
Odyssey 2010: Paris and Berlin
Odyssey 2011: Amsterdam and Berlin
Odyssey 2013: Dresden and Berlin