Travel Journal: France
In my opinion, an important part of the Centre-in-Strasbourg program is that, while students are given a great deal of freedom and opportunity to live as young adults, we aren't alone. For example, this term's Strasbourg group includes 23 other Centre students and two Centre professors. I've discussed how integral and rewarding the relationship with other students can be in a previous journal, and I honestly think the interactions with each of our professors are just as rewarding.
Aside from being generally helpful concerning how to navigate Strasbourg, this year’s trip director, Dr. Dan Manheim, has helped us take full advantage of our time abroad. When a few of us mentioned that we'd like to attend a Strasbourg professional basketball game, Dr. Manheim went to the stadium and arranged group seating and prices. His wife and our French professor, Madam Manheim, invited students to their home for lunch, taken us to movie showings, and helped us with train reservations. Over the course of this term, they've suggested restaurants for us to try, rearranged the class schedule in the interest of our travel plans, and surprised us with awesome trips to Paris, Verdun, Metz, Heidelberg, and Mont Sainte-Odile.
Likewise, we've been fortunate to enjoy this type of relationship with Professor of Government, Dr. Pierre Nuss. A native of Alsace, Dr. Nuss studied law in Strasbourg and, in addition to teaching for Centre-in-Strasbourg students, he serves as professor of constitutional and international law at his alma mater. He has also published several articles in law magazines and is the author of four fiction novels. In addition to being an awesome professor, he's an avid soccer fan and an accomplished musician.
We experienced the former when Dr. Nuss invited the entire class to join him in attending a professional soccer game in Alsace at Stade de la Meinau. The team we went to watch, RC Strasbourg, has a history almost as interesting as that of the region itself. Like Strasbourg, the club has changed nationality many times during the troubled periods of the 1900's. Its political history and strong local ties has made the team a very important part of the culture of Alsace. Dr. Nuss spent much of the game sharing information about the club's history and its players with us. He even clued us into some of the slang terms the fans were using as they cheered on their favorite team.
A few weekends after our trip to La Meinau, Dr. Nuss invited the entire class to his home for a traditional French meal and an evening of fellowship. As we journeyed by train to Molsheim (a small town just outside of Strasbourg), my classmates and I were both excited and anxious. Although we had heard stories about “Dinner with Dr. Nuss” from past Centre-in-Strasbourg veterans, the current group really had no idea what to expect.
We were welcomed into his home with open arms. He took us on a tour of his home before we were ushered into his study, refreshments in hand. For the next thirty minutes, Dr. Nuss entertained our group as he played the piano and sang duets with his daughter. We heard all types of music, from Stevie Wonder to traditional French tunes. We were fed a fantastic four-course meal and listened to stories about Dr. Nuss' childhood and how he met his wife. These types of personal interactions add value to life and certainly have enhanced my experience while here in Strasbourg. I often consider it a matter of fact that what you do is as important as whom you do it with.
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