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Dr. Leslie L. Liedel
Department Chair
Email: liedel@wju.edu
Phone: 304-243-2334

History Department Travel Program

Image of the Berlin Cathedral and Television Tower

Each history major is given the opportunity to participate in an end-of-the-academic year trip to various locations in Europe and the United States. This trip will be partially subsidized by the university to ensure that all history majors have the opportunity to travel up to four times during their time at Wheeling Jesuit University.

The travel program is extremely beneficial for students on an academic level. History classes at Wheeling Jesuit University focus on a range of topics, from Immigration to the First and Second World Wars, from the Cold War to the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, among others. Complementing their coursework, students are able to explore where history was made. Students can visit Ellis Island, walk the battlefields of the D-Day beaches or Verdun, stroll down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris or the Ringstrasse in Vienna, visit the Vatican in Rome or the famous Cologne Cathedral and touch the remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall. The program is perhaps even more valuable for the personal development of students. Traveling throughout Europe and the United States fosters both intellectual growth and individual responsibility. From a more tangible perspective, coming into contact with different cultures is an unparalleled experience and provides history majors with a real advantage in today's globalized economy.

Previous trips led by history professors include trips to Ireland, New York, Berlin and Metz/Trier/Paris with trips to Vienna, Munich, the Rhine River Valley, Normandy, London, Rome and Prague on the future schedule.

For further information, please contact Dr. Jeff Rutherford at jrutherford@wju.edu or 304-243-2276.

Student Testimonials

Austria/Slovakia 2013

"This trip was the best experience of my life because it gave me the opportunity to see amazing sights such as the royal apartments, flak towers, and Schonbrunn Palace. This trip also served as first hand reminder of the sobering past of Europe, with the expedition to Mauthausen concentration camp reminding me of all those who lost their lives in World Wars I & II. In addition to giving me a better understanding of history, this excursion exposed me to a culture that was different from my own through the wonderful food and friendly people that I encountered. This was an extraordinary once in a lifetime trip that and I will cherish its memories for the remainder of my life."
-- Erin Garrison

Aerial picture of Schonbrunn Palace

"Before our journey to Vienna and Bratislava I had never left America and I did not know what to expect on the flight across the Atlantic. After an eventful day of traveling, the exploration of the city began. Tours of the Imperial Palaces and museums, as well as stops at historic monuments in both Austria and Slovakia, filled our days as we took in as much of these European cultures as we could in our short time there. As a history major, this trip provided me with a valuable experience that added both depth and understanding to this area of study. In a way, coming into contact with these relics of the past put everything in perspective. For example, while visiting the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum we had the opportunity to see the car in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, as well as his uniform which had been stained with blood. While studying these items I could not help but think about the significance of this moment. Here I was standing in the same room as items that were linked to the spark that started the First World War. On our trip, we also toured the largest concentration camp in Austria, Mauthausen. Through my time at Jesuit I had read numerous books regarding the Second World War and the brutality that encompassed the Holocaust, but seeing the site of these atrocities offered me a new perspective on this event. Encounters with history, like the ones that occurred on this trip, do not happen every day and experiencing the past firsthand with other WJU students and professors allowed me to relate the story of Austria and Slovakia to the topics I have studied in class."
--Kayla Mason

Picture of students and faculty members standing in front of Belvedere Gardens

"The trip to Vienna was a once in a lifetime event. I had only seen architecture that existed in the city in pictures; it was amazing to see it in person. The boat tour of the Wachau Valley was very impressive as was the monastery in Melk. Everywhere that we visited was something new and exciting. I also liked the idea of having a few meals together as a group. The trip to Vienna was one of the best experiences I have had in my life thus far. It was an outstanding adventure."
-- Kodi Peterson

WJU students and faculty standing in front of two army tanks at the Vienna Army Museum
"Vienna is definitely one of the coolest places I've been. There is so much history and so much culture that it's impossible not to find something to do. If I had gone on my own, I would have been very overwhelmed and wouldn't know where to start. Luckily, the trip was well structured and very organized. We went to many museums which helped us learn about the history of the city so that we could appreciate it more. While we visited many historical places, we also went to places like the amusement park, making it an enjoyable trip for both history majors and non-history majors. Even though the trip was organized, there was still a lot of space for free time. Almost every evening was free for us to go exploring. Since we had all of this time we were able to find new restaurants where we could eat, new places where we could shop, and more places to visit. Overall, I really enjoyed the trip. The people were nice and welcoming and the city never felt dangerous. I always felt safe even if I was alone. It was also nice to visit other places in Austria and the surrounding area. It was interesting to go Bratislava, Slovakia and see how different it was from Vienna, and it was refreshing to visit Melk which was a quaint little town that was not overwhelmingly filled with tourists. I think this trip was a good way to put everything we talk about in class into perspective. Being able to see where historical events occurred and visit historical museums made me appreciate this experience and has encouraged me definitely go on the Berlin trip next year!"
-- Emily Teachout

WJU students and faculty eating schnitzel at Figlmuller's restaurant
"The week we spent in Vienna was rich with culture and history. I greatly enjoyed touring the imperial palaces of Vienna and learning about the royals who lived there. In the course of a week, we went to the many churches, museums, and palaces that Vienna had to offer. An eye opening experience was visiting the Mauthausen concentration camp. It is hard to imagine the horrors that happened during the Holocaust, but when you actually visit one of these camps, the sheer magnitude of the horror is all around you. While visiting Mauthausen, history came to life for me. Even though I am not a history major, I greatly enjoyed going on this trip and learning the history of Vienna which is all around the city. Everywhere you look in Vienna, there are remnants of the past and historical stories to learn. Overall, it was a great week shared with classmates and professors. I would love to go on another trip with the history department!
-- Patricia Paolini

Picture of the Benedictine Abbey in Melk"The trip was a marvelous adventure. Austria is a beautiful country, full of history, culture, and delicious food. It was incredible to see Vienna, a city that was home to one of the most influential families in European history. It was also amazing to be able to visit Bratislava. The mixture of medieval, baroque, and modern architectural styles spoke to the incredible evolution and longevity of the two cities. With the well-structured itinerary, we were able to see all the important sites. We also had sufficient free time to explore and experience large swathes of the city. The trip to Melk Abbey and subsequent river tour were both tremendous experiences. The excursion to Mauthausen concentration camp was an enlightening experience, serving as a sober reminder of history that should not soon be forgotten. Overall this trip was a splendid opportunity, with friendships forged, novel experiences, and a more personal relationship with history.
-- Si Gammache

2011-2012 Travel Archive

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