A Study Trip to Las Vegas?
Yes, a Study Trip!

By Sabrina Völz

The two-semes­ter project, “Eth­nic Stud­ies and Eco-Crit­i­cism Meet Inter­cul­tur­al Exchange: A Study Trip to Las Vegas,” brought togeth­er stu­dents and fac­ul­ty from Leuphana Uni­ver­si­ty in Lüneb­urg and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Neva­da, Las Vegas (UNLV) as well as Jan­ice Har­ring­ton, the “Moth­er of Gospel Work­shops in Ger­many.” Apart from plan­ning all aspects of the inter­na­tion­al study trip, Leuphana stu­dents learned about financ­ing, spon­sor­ing, and orga­niz­ing a con­cert with Jan­ice Har­ring­ton and Friends ded­i­cat­ed to African Amer­i­can music in Ger­many. The pro­ceeds from the con­cert were used to defray excur­sion costs. Addi­tion­al­ly, par­tic­i­pants pre­pared their own research projects in which they learned about a wide range of top­ics: African Amer­i­can music and cul­ture; inter­dis­ci­pli­nary issues relat­ed to Las Vegas (Hoover Dam, Las Vegas’ sus­tain­abil­i­ty con­cept, nuclear test­ing); cul­ture and lifestyle of the Hopi and Nava­jo nations; and cul­tur­al her­itage sites (Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chel­ley, and Mon­u­ment Valley).


Although we have orga­nized many projects over the years, this was by far the largest-scale project sem­i­nar we have ever con­duct­ed. While it prob­a­bly would have been eas­i­er for us to plan all aspects our­selves, we trust­ed our stu­dents and turned many tasks over to them, thus giv­ing them the oppor­tu­ni­ty to rise to the chal­lenge. And an immense chal­lenge it was.


Upon our return from Las Vegas, Maria Moss and I need­ed some time to regain our bear­ings, digest our expe­ri­ences, and sort through lit­er­al­ly hun­dreds of pho­tos, a few of which we would like to share with you. Par­tic­i­pat­ing in such an excur­sion is like giv­ing birth: You can’t real­ly under­stand the work it entails and the joy it brings unless you’ve expe­ri­enced it your­self. So hats off to all the hard-work­ing instruc­tors out there who reg­u­lar­ly put togeth­er inter­na­tion­al excur­sions for their sem­i­nars. In a small series of blogs, Maria and I would like to intro­duce you from time to time to some won­der­ful peo­ple and places. Stay tuned.

View some excit­ing pho­tos or click here to read more about anoth­er excit­ing trip to Arizona!

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