The University of Northern Iowa sends students out to get some real-world learning through three or four “study-abroad” programs every year. One that’s farther than most off the beaten track includes a field trip to Auschwitz, to study the Holocaust. Aurelia Klink in the International Programs Office says it’s part of UNI’s Humanities program. They want to take a general-education Humanities course in a different setting, and not just read about art, architecture, music and culture but actually experience it. But some students take the course specifically because its focus on the Holocaust intrigues them or connects with a personal interest. They may have people in their experience who’ve been in World War Two or comes from Europe, and at least one was a history major purely interested in research. Klink says there’s no single field of study that attracts students to the “Studies in the Holocaust” program. Klink says they’re varied, including majors in business, education, history and even art…and a woman last year in Interior Design. She says most who go are sophomores or juniors and may just have started thinking about what their major will be. Klink says every student who goes will find it an experience with deep impact. They’ve told her that their lives are never the same, that their vision, their minds, their “doors,” are opened more than they’d ever expected. The students are immersed in local culture, as well as sharing studies with students at the co-sponsoring university there in the Polish capital. The program’s titled “European Studies in the Humanities and Holocaust: Poland,” and it’ll take students to Europe from May 11 to June 16, offering credit toward elective or general education requirements. They’ll study with professors in Poland, live in Krakow, and take a field trip to Auschwitz, the site of an infamous Jewish prison camp in World War Two.
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