Transformed by immersive study abroad opportunities in Germany, 20 Hobart and William Smith students shared their reflections during this year’s Blocker Cultural Showcase— named for the generosity of Julius G. Blocker ’53 and the fellowship that supports German study each year.
As part of their scholarship, Blocker Fellows detailed their adventures in study abroad blogs that explored a variety of research topics ranging from German LGBT culture to architecture. For Cynthia Kellett ’19, examining German memorials and collective memory prompted thinking “deeply about our own culture and where our own faults may lie.”
“Writing a blog, especially one centered around my daily interactions with German culture and memorials in particular, really allowed me to experience the environment I was in at a deeper level,” says Kellett, an international relations and German area studies double-major who spent a year studying in Bremen. “My time in Germany has impacted me in ways that I will continue to reflect on, but I know I can implement my experiences abroad into a future career in international development or education.”
One of several resources that support students interested in HWS’ No. 1 study abroad program, the Blocker Fellowship drew political science major Matthew Fox ’19 to Freiburg, where he explored his interests in global economics, German culture and global affairs. “This experience allowed me to take abstract concepts about current events and historical landmarks and turn them into more concrete experiences,” says Fox, who studied the implications of Brexit on the European Union while abroad. “I’m more open to different perspectives and able to understand them in new ways.”
For Emma Gallagher ’19, studying in Tübingen created the opportunity to embrace two passions; the program’s April start date allowed her to complete another season on the William Smith basketball team before examining the cultural implications of street art in Germany. Gallagher, a double major in economics and media and society, viewed studying the art form as a way to thoughtfully engage with those who created it — whether she was visiting London or Berlin. “Writing a blog abroad helped me focus on a certain aspect of the community I was living in,” says Gallagher.
During his time in the Freiburg program, Huruizhen “John” Qin researched and studied German companies to learn about the country through an economic lens. “Germany’s strong economy has always intrigued me, particularly because of its economic trajectory since World War II,” explains Qin, who is originally from Sichuan, China, and is interested in pursuing his master’s in business administration. “Germany has one of the strongest economies in the European Union, so it was interesting to learn about how companies interact within that system and with each other. By doing the research and writing the blog, I’ve been able to maximize my experiences and reflect on them to think more about all I learned there.”
The Julius G. Blocker ’53 Endowed Fund supports scholarship in German studies and reflects the path of its founder. As a student at Hobart, 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 and to the Free University in West Berlin, where he served as a Fulbright scholar.