"The trip was like a 'dream-come-true' ending to my senior year and the years spent at WJU. My favorite things were getting to spend some quality time with my classmates and my professors. The sites were spectacular as well. I really enjoyed Metz and Trier for their quaintness and European 'authenticity.' The hostel stays were fun too because they gave us the full European young adult travel experience. Paris captivated me! Overall, it was just a superb trip!"
--Maria Petrasko, Metz/Trier/Paris
"The trip was one of the highlights of my time at WJU. It was set up in such a way that there was enough structure, but plenty of free time for us to explore. This trip helped bring together opportunities to learn about culture, history, and see the really famous landmarks in each city."
--Elizabeth Philbrick, Metz/Trier/Paris
"I had a great time on the trip! I liked how organized everything was. I had no time to prepare for the trip because I was so busy with graduation but it wasn't a problem because everything was taken care of. We also saw so much without feeling like we were rushing around everywhere. . . it really was a great trip."
--Maria Sauk, Metz/Trier/Paris
"I had an incredible time on the trip. My favorite city was Metz without a question. It allowed students to see how another culture lives without being too touristy . . . It was awesome as a whole."
--August Capiola, Metz/Trier/Paris 2012
"Our week in Germany was a mix of history, culture, and entertainment. We walked along the Berlin wall, perused modern and classical art museums, imagined royal life while touring palaces, felt small before memorials to the fallen of the Second World War, and relaxed at the end of the day in street cafes and beer gardens.
Traveling with classmates and professors enhanced this experience tremendously. I compared American and European culture with my friends as we rode the subway to yet another place that no one we knew had ever seen. And, once we got to the next historic site, we had historians in our midst to explain why this troop movement was crucial to ending the war and why that propaganda poster was especially heinous in German.
The trip also provided unscheduled time for self-guided activities. I took in a performance of the Berlin Philharmonic playing Dmitri Shostakovich’s fifth symphony during a free day. Getting to hear one of the classics of the orchestral repertoire, performed by one of the top-rated symphonies in the world, directed by one of the outstanding conductors in all of music today--Simon Rattle--thrilled me. Sitting in an audience of people whose language I did not know, I strangely felt connected to them; the music communicated something to us all that we could not have told each other with words."
"This was a great trip. It is one thing to talk about World War II in class, and to read about the atrocities that were perpetrated during that time. We visited a concentration camp in Berlin that had not been used for the express purpose of extermination. The caretakers of the property had not been able to keep up all the buildings, but had left markers in the place of the former living quarters of the prisoners. These markers were piled high with stones, a practice reserved for honoring Jews buried in cemeteries. We saw the Wall and everything we had read about became very real. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that only about a half century has passed since these events took place. It's like the difference between looking at a photo in grayscale and then again in color. It was hard to continue putting distance between myself and the things humankind has done when I was standing in the midst of it."
"I hadn't been off the North American continent before heading to Berlin with the Wheeling Jesuit faculty, but I would go back with them if I could. We had perfect cultural experiences like eating a Frankfurter in Frankfurt, trekking on the insides and outsides of kings' palaces in Potsdam, and in Berlin, we checked out the jewelry, tapestries, and paintings of one of history's most influential peoples. But the trip's effects went much deeper than the small pleasures of vacationing in such an important historical city.
These relaxing educational experiences were countered by our trip's sobering, awakening focus on World War II and the Cold War. Walking alongside the notorious Berlin wall and being beaten by the sun at an old Nazi concentration camp made me realize that much of what I had previously learned in history classrooms was part of a mental world unconnected from the tangible places we visited. To me, learning history has gained in dimensions - not only depth or breadth - because of the trip. I used to wonder why professors quoted gargantuan death statistics from battles and genocides. "Why wouldn't they just focus on quoting people's personal laments?," I wondered, believing no one could comprehend these meaninglessly huge figures. But standing on dry, sparsely foliated dirt in the endless expanse of the camp's inner yard established the terrifying reality of such statistics: tragedies never happen in textbooks. They happen to real people in real places."