Manship Students Take on Brussels and Amsterdam

This blog is the third in a summer series by Manship School students who are traveling throughout Europe this summer as a part of LSU’s Media & Politics in Europe study abroad program. It provides a behind-the-scenes look at media, politics, policy, democracy and more as students meet with world leaders in London, Paris, Normandy, Brussels, Prague, Amsterdam and Berlin.

By Justin Franklin

IMG_7408
Manship School student Justin Franklin visiting Brussels

This past week, we visited Brussels and Amsterdam, continuing our studies on media ethics and media and politics in Europe.

Brussels is honestly my favorite city that we have visited so far. I immediately noticed that Brussels seemed to be a bit more peaceful than other cities like London and Paris. I am a big fan of architecture, and the city’s blend of old and new was a delight. We got the chance to go inside such landmarks as the Atomium, which now stands as a museum and exhibition site.

IMG_7459
Manship School students visiting the EU Parliament

In Brussels we visited EU Parliament Headquarters and the European Federation of Journalists. We were also honored to have one of the global team members from Amnesty International come address our Media Ethics class.

Unfortunately, I must report that the waffles and chocolate is in fact better in Belgium.

One key thread of our journey through Europe is gaining an understanding of the enduring impact of humanity’s greatest conflict: war. This past week we visited Brussels and Amsterdam. These two vibrant cities have very different cultures, but are forever connected through in a story post war revival.

In Amsterdam, we had the incredible opportunity to visit the Anne Frank House and the Dutch Resistance Museum, both sobering reminders of how life in Europe was so different not that long ago.

IMG_7808
Manship School students enjoying their time in Amsterdam and Brussels

My grandmother lives in upstate New York and when we got off the train in the Netherlands I honestly thought that was where we were. I remembered that New York was originally colonized by the Dutch and then it all made sense!

IMG_7794
A boat tour floating along in Amsterdam

Jokes aside, Amsterdam is truly a beautiful city. A boat tour of the canal system showed us how these waterways truly are the veins of city, connecting the vital parts by one intrinsic maze of water.

As we continue on our path to our last two cities Berlin and Prague, I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be traveling with such an amazing and intelligent group of people. I am having so much fun!

Check back next week for more updates from students on the LSU Media & Politics in Europe program.

[This blog has been edited for content and clarity.]

Manship School reflects on Normandy

This blog is the second in a summer series by Manship School students who are traveling throughout Europe this summer as a part of LSU’s Media & Politics in Europe study abroad program. It provides a behind-the-scenes look at media, politics, policy, democracy and more as students meet with world leaders in London, Paris, Normandy, Brussels, Prague, Amsterdam and Berlin.

By Amaya Lynch

4
Manship School students reflect on the events of D-Day

Our all-day visit to the D-Day beaches in Normandy on Sunday, June 16, was enough to make a difference. The students weren’t sure what to expect upon arrival, but they were all excited for something special.

“I think it’s going to make me sad,” Mary Reggie said in anticipation of the cemetery visits. “Thinking about the soldiers and all their lives is going to be intense.”

We all got a taste of what we had in store for the rest of the day when we reached our first stop at a German cemetery. The cemetery held German soldiers, officers and war criminals all together. This served as a reminder that we all end up in the same place when we die. The cemetery builders wanted to make sure everyone who entered remembered just how these men faced their end. We all had to enter one by one because the doorway is only large enough for one person to walk through, reminding each of us that death is a journey you take alone. These soldiers lived their lives and ended up here.

9
Manship School student walking through the German Cemetery at La Cambe

We all had a chance to reflect on the sacrifice these soldiers made without dehumanizing them. “I was taken aback by the sculpture of the mother and father,” Manship School pre-law student Delanie McDonald said. “All these men had lives and they weren’t just soldiers.”

Growing up, we all heard about the overarching details of World War II in history class, but this was something different. There was something about being there and seeing where it all happened that put value into their stories. There was a new and authentic light put on everything. A light that you can’t get from just hearing what happened and reading the facts. This didn’t go unnoticed by the students as we walked through Pointe Du Hoc.

“It’s so interesting because growing up, we are aware of war in a sense where we become desensitized,” Victoria Landry said. “We don’t realize the magnitude or impact. Seeing the marks of the bombs everywhere really puts everything into perspective.”

Walking in and seeing the sculpture that represents the emergence of youth was overwhelming to say the least. I visited the grave of 19-year-old August A. Streva at the American cemetery and it was by far the most moving part of the day. While we all were looking for our Louisiana soldiers, journalism student Caleb Greene couldn’t help but think about how in another time, one of the head stones could have been one of us. Their sacrifice is something that’s almost incomprehensible to a generation that has had the opportunity to choose how they wish to serve their country.

6

The bronze statue titled, “Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves” overlooking the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France

“I don’t think anyone can actually understand it all unless you were actually there,” Manship School student Jackson Seidel said.

So many men fought and lost their lives on the beaches, countryside and meadows of Normandy. This makes riding through the towns almost feel like an intrusion. Walking in the place of soldiers who fought for the land I live in today seems insurmountable. Every step should be taken with respect because the soldiers deserve that.

Soldiers go in to follow orders and fight for their country, trusting that their leaders will direct them in a way that will allow them to do as such. Children our age and younger fought and died where we all stepped that day, and did they know what it was for? That is something we could only infer as we have never been in that position. I could only imagine what they were thinking as the hailstorm of bullets fell upon them on that day with only their orders to guide them. Orders they are meant to obey no matter the cost.

7
Barbed wire overlooking the cliffs near the D-Day beaches

“It’s easier to obey the orders than it is to know why you have the orders in the first place.” McDonald said, reflecting on the action taken by the soldiers.

I could only think of what Lord Tennyson wrote in “The Charge of the Light Brigade” to understand why these men and teenagers would give their life and put their faith into something that is assumed to be in their best interest. “Theirs not to make reply. Theirs not to reason why. Theirs but to do and die. Into the valley of death rode the 600.”

Into Normandy they ran and to the ground they fell. Death didn’t come to all, but the silence of those who did is deafening.

Check back next week for more updates from students on the LSU Media & Politics in Europe program.

[This blog has been edited for content and clarity.]

Geauxing Abroad: London, Paris & Normandy

This blog is the first in a summer series by Manship School students who are traveling throughout Europe this summer as a part of LSU’s Media & Politics in Europe study abroad program. It provides a behind-the-scenes look at media, politics, policy, democracy and more as students meet with world leaders in London, Paris, Normandy, Brussels, Prague, Amsterdam and Berlin.

By Arden Hooper

IMG_0631
LSU Manship School students on the London Eye

Throughout this past week in Europe, we have had the opportunity to see about a dozen iconic and historic landmarks including Westminster Abbey, Omaha Beach, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. We’ve also had the opportunity to meet with people to gain insight into European politics and policies. My favorite conference was with two former members of Parliament. The two served in opposing parties, which gave us a great opportunity to hear both sides of the argument on Brexit as well as British politics. Through the international organization CAGE, we listened to a man tell his story of his three-year imprisonment in Guantanamo Bay. He specifically focused on the issue of immigration and xenophobia in Europe.

IMG_0386
Hooper at CBS News

We also met with officials within the CBS News bureau in London and The New York Times bureau in Paris to ask questions about the current political climate across the globe and about our future in mass communication.

The most impactful visit thus far, however, was our visit to Omaha Beach. People always say that nothing can prepare you for your experience at Normandy; this statement could not be truer. When I walked through the German cemetery and read the ages of the fallen soldiers on the headstones, I couldn’t help but notice how many of them were younger than me. I imagined how terrified they must have been. The beach itself was astonishingly peaceful. The sun was shining, the waves were crashing and nobody was speaking. It is difficult to believe that such horrific events happened on that very beach, yet it is too easy to imagine the soldiers wading through the water towards land. Our final stop was the American cemetery. As our class walked through the fields, reading and praying over the headstones, a trumpet sang the Star Spangled Banner in the distance. In that moment, I’ve never felt so close to my country so far away. It was powerful, emotional and unforgettable.

IMG_0905
LSU Manship School students outside the Louvre in Paris

Although it sounds like we are doing a whole lot of sight-seeing, we have official class meetings about three times each week. Additionally, as Bob Mann [a professor at the Manship School and one of the trip leaders] likes to say: the streets, the train stations and the restaurants are our classrooms. While visiting each city, we are to interview normal citizens to learn about their opinion of the United States, Americans, President Trump and the issue of immigration. We can talk to Parliament officials and news agencies all we want, but nothing compares to hearing the experience of average European citizens. The class has done a great job of stepping outside of their comfort zone to learn and experience new things. I have never seen a group so dedicated to their field of study and so determined to gain knowledge by asking questions. I am excited to see where the next week takes us!

Check back next week for more updates from students on the LSU Media & Politics in Europe program.

[This blog has been edited for content and clarity.]