In 59 B.C., soldiers of Julius Caeser encountered a particularly fierce tribe of warriors during their campaign to conquer the Gauls of Northern Europe. Ceasar's victory over the tribe, the Belage from which the word Belgium derives, led to the establishment of the region named Galia Belgica. This one-credit spring break course, co-led by Dr. Scott Fish and Professor Florence Thompsen, is designed to expose French-language students to snapshots of some of the sites, monuments, artistic treasures, historical events and cultural traditions, and technological innovations that have contributed to the historical development and rich artistic and cultural renown of one of Europe's newest--and most politically complex--countries, Belgium. Although our primary focus will center mainly on Francophone Brussels, we will also take a day trip to the Flemish city of Bruges. In addition to an orientation meeting and three pre-departure sessions during which we will touch on the course themes above, students will further conduct pre-departure and on-site individual research projects on one Belgian monument or landmark, and use the unique opportunity for on-site investigation to help draft their research paper; completed papers will be due two weeks after our return.

At the end of this course, students should be able: (1) to identify and to explain significant elements--dates, meanings, significances--of Belgian culture, including art and architecture, literature, Belgian humor, social values, local traditions, and culinary traditions; and (2) to articulate in English (197, 297) or in French (397) the history, artistic achievement, and significance of a major Belgium monument, artwork or site (critical bibliography & individual research topic).

Student Comments from 2013

"The trip was great! Loved everything about it."

"I had a wonderful time and would love to see this course offered to students in the future."

"I had an awesome time and made lots of new friends. I'm so glad I was able to go!"

"I loved every minute of the trip! Job well done."

"This was one of the best weeks of my life and I will never forget it. Thank you both for everything you did. It was perfect!"

"Merci beaucoup! I'm grateful to have had such fun, helpful profs. lead us around Belgium."

Photos from 2013

Click on any photo below to view a larger version.