Each year, the Blocker Fellowship funds student participation in an HWS-sponsored study abroad program in Germany. Thanks to the generosity of Julius G. Blocker ’53, the funds enable students to explore German culture in immersive, transformative cultural experiences and return to the Colleges and share those experiences with the campus community.
During the Blocker Cultural Showcase this fall, recipients Katie Allen ’18, Ben Cooper Alexopoulos ’18, Ellie Dieter ’18, John Emmet Hassett ’18 and Peter Frey ’18 described their semesters abroad, exploring everything from politics to architecture to the German culture.
“My experience studying abroad helped me get ahead in my major,” says Allen, an architecture major who studied at Norwich University’s CityLAB Berlin campus, which runs programs focused on architecture and design that incorporate the city’s history. Allen, who blogged about her eye-opening experiences in Berlin, told the Blocker Showcase audience that studying abroad enabled her “to work with students from other universities and learn different ways of thinking.”
Hassett, who explored political science at Bremen University in Northwest Germany, discussed continuing his studies in political activism. Alexopoulos described his study dendrology (trees) at Freiburg University. Dieter, who also attended Freiburg through the IES Program, studied the history and cultural makeup of the European Union, as well as an intensive German studies course in Leipzig with the interDaf German Institution. Frey explored physics at the International Physics School in Leipzig while also immersing himself in German music studies.
In addition to the Blocker Fellows, students who attended the Leipzig Summer Program participated in the showcase. Raven Jiang ’19, Mandy Ren ’19 and Cameron Williams ’19 discussed the four-week abroad program at Leipzig University, organized through interDaF, and described their immersion in German language studies and German culture.
As an HWS student, Blocker majored in modern languages and developed an interest in Germany that would evolve into a lifelong passion. That passion led Blocker to Columbia University, where he earned a master’s in international affairs; to the Free University in West Berlin, where he served as a Fulbright scholar; and to the establishment of the Julius G. Blocker ’53 Endowed Fund, which supports the work of the Center for Global Education.