• Program - Study Abroad

Study Abroad

  • Program

    What is Eurospring?

    In days gone by, an "educated" person was required to travel in order to round out his or her education. Minnesota State University Moorhead provides the opportunity for students to broaden their education by offering a semester-length humanities program which includes:

    • A five-week study of British society at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, with organized field trips and a theatre performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-Upon-Avon.
    • A three-week study tour of key cities throughout Europe with organized city tours and visits to museums, art galleries, cathedrals and other important sites, and ample free time to pursue individual interests.
    • A required on-campus preparatory course, as well as assigned readings and research.
    • Pre-departure orientation sessions held during fall semester.

    Students earn 15 upper-division credits through their Eurospring experience. 6 credits are earned through coursework under the direction of Oxford Professor Allan Chapman and his colleagues at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford. Students can choose from a variety of classes addressing the year's chronological theme, "The Medieval Age."

    3 credits are earned in a course focusing on preparation, execution, and evaluation of cultural experiences and the study tour component.

    6 credits are earned as two MSUM Dragon Core/LASC classes: one in the humanities (area 6, cross-listed into area 8, Global) and one in the social sciences (area 5), which includes a writing intensive designation. In these two courses, students synthesize their overall experience and meaningfully answer broad thematic questions central to the liberal studies learning outcomes. Student experiences include prep course briefings about museum visits and cultural background, field trips and weekend trips in England and Europe, personally tailored museum and archive visits, and the Grand Tour. This flexible and dynamic assessment allows students to pursue individual interests under the guidance of the tour leader, while experiencing the relevance and connectivity of the liberal arts first-hand.

    This year's Eurospring faculty leader is Professor Annette Morrow, History.

    Instruction & Academic Program

    All students take the main lecture course and select two classes for credit. Students may audit any of the remaining classes.

    Instruction will be provided in Oxford by carefully selected British faculty, who will set and grade examinations. Examinations will be held on the last day of classes at Oxford. Students must be prepared for a full day's examination schedule. No rescheduling is permitted. All examinations are hand-written. Grading results are final.

    The faculty leader is Professor Annette Morrow, History (477-2813, morrowan@mnstate.edu), who will act as resident director and advisor in Oxford, and will be responsible for grading pre-and post-departure assignments. Students will be required to keep and submit a daily journal for grading and complete papers on topics chosen in consultation with Professor Morrow. This work will be based in part on observations and material collected during the study tour.

    Students must participate in all Oxford field trips, which are generally held on Saturdays. There will be time for students to pursue individual interests, such as spending time in London and other locations.

    Pre-departure Coursework & Assignments

    In addition to the academic coursework in Oxford, students will be required to complete all assigned pre-departure coursework and attend orientation sessions; write an autobiographical essay at the end of fall semester; attend a mandatory on-campus preparatory course lasting one week during spring semester (February 9 - 13, 2015); keep a daily journal while in Oxford and on tour; visit a minimum of two historic sites, museums, and/or other cultural events in each city on tour; and turn in written work following completion of the program.

    Courses While in Oxford

    Eurospring 2015

    The Medieval Age, 500 - 1500

    Main Lecture Course

    Dr Allan Chapman, University of Oxford

    Hollywood has created a popular image of the Middle Ages that largely consists of knights, ladies, downtrodden peasants, and well-fed monks. But the truth goes much further. Indeed, far from being a narrow, simple world, the medieval centuries were a time of rapid change and exotic cultural contacts. And these contacts were not restricted to the peoples within Europe, but crossed the known world. In places like Sicily and Spain, Christians, Muslims, and Jews exchanged goods, books, and ideas, and sometimes killed each other; while Marco Polo crossed Asia to live for twenty years in China. And Viking adventurers explored Russia and the north Atlantic, and made landfall in North America. This course will provide a survey of the 1,000-year period that extended from the end of the classical world to early modern times. While the basic theme will be the cultural history of Europe, continuous attention will also be paid to contemporary developments in other world civilisations, such as those of Arabia, China, Africa, and the Americas, and the ways in which they influenced each other. The course will take a social historical perspective, in which the lives and actions of individual men and women will be used to give a wide and integrated interpretation of the period.

    Additional Lectures

    There will be a lecture on the origins, history, and present-day workings of Oxford University, and on student life within it. Before each field trip there will also be a full lecture; in addition, there will be a background talk on the Shakespeare play to be seen in Stratford-upon-Avon.

    Classes (course list subject to change)

    The following classes are offered. Each student must register for TWO classes for credit, though all classes are open for audit. Book lists will be provided to participants during fall semester.

    1. Art and Architecture
      The course will begin with a brief look at the Early Middle Ages, and then concentrate on the art and architecture of the High Middle Ages: the Romanesque and Gothic periods. We will also examine artistic developments at the onset of the Renaissance in Europe. Architecture was the dominant art of the High Middle Ages, but the course will also discuss sculpture, painting, and manuscript illumination, in an attempt to illustrate the consistency of subject matter combined with a variety of styles that characterizes medieval art. Unlike that of later eras, the art of the Middle Ages is not focussed on individual artists and personal styles, but instead on a series of monuments and works defined by historical forces and geographical areas. The course will be centred on British art and architecture, but these British works will be evaluated in relation to the art produced in other European countries.
    2. Influential Women in the Middle Ages
      Contrary to what many people believe, women in the Middle Ages were sometimes able to achieve extremely powerful positions in society, or, through their writings, to have a wide and lasting influence on those around them. This course will look at some of these influential women, wherever possible through their own writings, including courtly, secular writers such as Marie de France and Christine de Pisan, and religious visionaries such as Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe.
    3. The Knights of King Arthur
      In sixth-century Britain a heroic general probably called Artorius held out for the Celts and civilisation against the barbarian Anglo-Saxon invaders. Arthur's exploits became the stuff of legend and of countless High Medieval romances, where, in a world of jousts and heraldry, castles and courtly ladies, he was looked upon as an ideal king of an ideal company. This course will study two classic texts which tell of Arthur himself, his rise and fall, and of the famous knights of his court. While the classes will discuss a section of text each week, there will also be introductions to the origin and growth of these legends, the Celtic (Welsh) background, the French courtly influence, and the timeless appeal of the chivalry of the Round Table.
    4. Music and Culture
      This course will cover the music and culture of about 500 years in England, from about the time of the Norman Conquest to the reign of Henry VII — the mid-eleventh century to the beginning of the sixteenth. Most histories of medieval music concentrate on the music of the Church, and rightly so, since the Church was the dominant force in everyday life. However, we will look at other music as well, and try to establish a picture of life in England in general and Oxford in particular from the time of the beginnings of the University through some of its stormiest history.
    5. Politics and Law in Medieval Europe
      It is in the medieval period that many elements of what we now call a free and publicly accountable society were born. Building upon a legal foundation inherited from ancient Rome, medieval political thinkers were the first to advance serious arguments against the absolute power of monarchs. At the base of medieval society was the concept of the Corporation, where the social whole was greater than the will of any one powerful individual. While the practice was often very different from the theory, it emphasized the tradition of citizenship, and the concept of legally defensible rights against would-be tyrants.
    6. Romance East and West
      In the medieval millennium (500-1500) the world seems to have been swept away by a breeze of love and romance. In Europe this revealed itself in the strange, emotional, and passionate practice of courtly love, where the lady was the dominant partner and the knight had to obey her every whim. But the lecturer has a theory, which he will introduce, that this cult of love originated in India, and then spread west through the Middle East. The background of the medieval courts, castles, and tournaments will also be considered, along with that of the Indian fairy-tale heavens, glittering cities, and jungle retreats. Meanwhile the class will study a section of text each week from two famous works of such traditions, one from France and one from India.
    7. Science, Alchemy, and Invention
      The composition and the working of material things have always fascinated people, and it was in the Arabic world of around A.D. 900 that Al-Chimia, or the study of how substances change when heated or mixed, was born. Optics, astronomy, alchemy, and medicine had drawn deeply on many cultural traditions, such as ancient Greek, Arabian, Indian, and Persian by the time that they appeared in western Europe in the twelfth century. This course will look at how medieval peoples perceived and explained the physical world around them, to produce scientific instruments, the mechanical clock, and corrosive acids. By 1450, western Europe in particular was becoming a 'technological society', with machines being used for everything, from mechanical toys to weaponry and industrial devices.

    Field Trips

    1. Avebury, Stonehenge, & Salisbury
    2. City of Bath & the Roman Baths, via Burford & the Cotswolds
    3. Portsmouth Dockyard Museum
    4. Anne Hathaway's cottage & walking tour of Stratford-upon-Avon, performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the evening

    Each of the main field trips will take place on a Saturday except that to Stratford. Students have a mini “spring holiday” from Oxford in late March or early April. During this break students can travel and explore for themselves. Students must attend classes and lectures through mid-afternoon on the Friday of break and should not book holiday reservations that require them to leave Wycliffe Hall before 3:00 PM on that day.

    Grand Tour

    The three-week study tour this year will include Paris, Rome, Siena, Florence, Venice, Istanbul, Prague, and Rothenburg. Guided sightseeing tours will be planned and group entrances are sometimes included in the cost, but students will also be expected to visit other important historical sites on their own. Transportation to and around Europe will be via train, airplane, and bus.