Germany, Austria Part of Study Abroad Trip

Twenty-one Arkansas Tech University students are involved in a study abroad trip to Germany and Austria during the month of May.

The touring group has two components. There are 12 members of the ATU Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Sean Reed, associate professor of music. An additional nine ATU students are also participating in the trip.

“That’s the cool part about our trip,” said Gabriele Haulmark, coordinator of the ATU study abroad program and instructor in the ATU Department of English and World Languages. “It’s not just music and it’s not just the history and other cultural things. It’s a combination of all that, and that’s what makes it special.”

Reed and Haulmark are serving as trip leaders alongside Dr. Kae Hashimoto Reed and Dr. Ursula Chandler.

The ATU students on the trip are:

  • Michael Barker
  • Michael Bays
  • Audrey Berkau
  • Cole Birmingham
  • William Brown
  • Tina Christiansen
  • Alexandria Cisco
  • Brett Davies
  • Jacob Hawkins
  • Elizabeth Kearney
  • Perry Kearney
  • Riley Kelley
  • Bernadette Lange
  • Anthony Montgomery
  • Alton Morrison
  • Ian Neiswender
  • Patricia Reece
  • Stephen Sharp
  • Trey Starks
  • Sophie Vargas
  • Gerardo Zavala-Torres

The group departed the United States on May 12. Upon arriving in Frankfurt, Germany, the ATU students took a walking tour of the city. Other stops while in Germany included collaborative learning at Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen (THM) University of Applied Sciences in Giessen, the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, the Lutherhaus Museum in Wittenberg and Castle Church in Wittenberg, where Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses in 1517.

The ATU Jazz Ensemble performed in Giessen and Frankfurt. In so doing, they demonstrated a style of music native to America for an international audience and connected with Germans who share the ATU musicians’ appreciation for jazz.

“It’s hard to put into words how personal jazz is,” said Dr. Sean Reed. “The spontaneous creation of melody while you are improvising comes directly from your heart and your mind. Although jazz is, arguably, the most important indigenous art form that we export, it has become so thoroughly assimilated by other cultures that it becomes a reflection back on our culture. The jazz musicians in Germany are amazing.”

The trip will continue through May 23 in Vienna, Austria. Experiences there include a performance by the Vienna Boys Choir and visits to the Imperial Hofburg Palace, Karlskirche baroque church, Belvedere Museum, Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Music and Arts Private University of Vienna.

“I hope that this will open students’ minds that there are many things out there beyond what you can see in Arkansas and the surrounding area,” said Haulmark. “It will change their lives, and not just right after the trip, but for the rest of their lives. I’ve had students who have gone on a study abroad trip with us. Then they have studied abroad for a semester, which they never would have considered before. Now, they are working toward a master’s degree at a university abroad. It changed their life.”

Learn more about study abroad opportunities at ATU.