Media & Politics in Europe Trip: A Q&A with Manship Students

This blog is the final 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.

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Manship School students on the London Eye

Throughout the month of June, Manship School students traveled around Europe to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin and Prague and examined strategies used by the governments, political parties, political consultants and activists to influence the news media. They visited and learned about the role of mainstream and non-mainstream media outlets in these countries. While their trip may be over, the experiences they gained overseas will forever change the way they perceive the world.

We asked a couple of these world-traveling students to share their experience with us.

What was your favorite part of the trip?

My favorite part of the trip was learning and interpreting the world alongside brilliant minds (both professors and students) that I can continue to learn from in Baton Rouge. I learned about different political views, different thought processes, and different ways to work through dilemmas. -Arden Hooper

Throughout my time studying in Europe, I experienced so many incredible things. I learned about Europe’s rich history, many different types of political systems and how they function and, most importantly, I learned how to communicate effectively with people from different cultures. -Samantha Lanham

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Manship School student sitting behind CBS News London’s desk

How did this study abroad experience affect your outlook on your future career?

This trip has changed my outlook on my career completely. I’ve fallen deeper in love with the career of communications and I now know that I want to one day work for a humanitarian organization. I want to use my communication skills to make a difference in this world. -Samantha Lanham

Our classes on media ethics and real-life examples of acting ethically will undoubtedly influence my decision-making in my future career. -Arden Hooper

Final thoughts?

Overall, this program allowed me to expand my thinking in a way that I never thought possible, and I will be forever grateful for this experience. -Arden Hooper

Thanks to the Manship School, my amazing professors and this opportunity of a lifetime, I’ve found my passion. -Samantha Lanham

Manship School Explores the Deep History of Berlin

This blog is the fourth 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 Samantha Lanham

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The Bundestag is home of the German federal parliament, 

It is currently Week 3 of Manship’s annual Media and Politics in Europe study abroad program. We have spent this past week exploring Berlin, Germany. From the rise of Hitler to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and everything in between, we have learned all about Germany’s rich history.

Day 1 of our week in Berlin consisted of a meeting with Simone Hartwich Uli Brueckner of the Federal Agency for Civic Action and a tour of the Berlin Underground. The Federal Agency for Civic Action produces educational materials for citizens on Germany’s government and political issues. These materials are meant to motivate citizens to think for themselves when making political decisions. Next, we traveled to our tour of the Berlin Underground. We were able to tour a couple of World War II air-raid shelters intended to keep citizens safe if their neighborhood was attacked.

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Manship School students learn about different stories about Germans living during WWII.

On Day 2 we visited the Topography of Terror Documentation Centre and Terrain and met with former German parliament member Klaus Diet Reichardt. The Topography of Terror Documentation Centre and Terrain is located on the former site of the Gestapo headquarters. Also on that site is the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall. Next, we were able to meet with Klaus Diet Reichardt who served on the German parliament for four years.

Day 3 of Berlin included a tour of Berlin by a Syrian refugee and a dinner with Emily Shulthies, a freelance journalist. One of my favorite activities of the trip thus far was the tour of Berlin by a Syrian refugee named Nafee Kurdi. Nafee brought us around Berlin to many places of importance in his migration story. He took us through his entire difficult journey to reach asylum in Berlin. Hearing his story opened my eyes to the issues of migration going on around the world and how it is our civic duty to help in any way we can. At our dinner with journalist Emily Shulthies we were able to ask her about writing on German politics and the differences between German and American media.

 

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Manship School students learning German history on a tour.

On Day 4 we toured a former Soviet Secret Police prison that was used to interrogate and detain potential threats to the Soviet Union. Day 5 was the most impactful day of the trip. We visited the former concentration camp, Sachsenhausen. Sachsenhausen housed 200,000 prisoners. These prisoners were Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Nazi resistance members and any other potential threat to the Nazi regime. We were able to tour a recreation of one of the barracks that housed up to 500 people at a time, the firing pit and “Station Z”.  Station Z was where the prisoners went to die and be cremated. There are simply no words to describe the feeling of seeing the site where thousands of people were killed.

Germany has such a dark past and my time here has impacted me forever. It’s important to learn about these unsettling times in our world’s history in order to keep history from repeating itself. Next week our trip will conclude in Prague.

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.]