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Study Abroad
Western Michigan
University

1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo, Michigan
49008-5245 USA
Phone (269) 387-5890
Fax (269) 387-0630

Location

2425 Ellsworth Hall
WMU Mail Stop 5245

James Mellor--Grand Tour
James Mellor
Grand Tour of Europe
2008

 

 

I’m James Mellor and I am a senior majoring in psychology at Western Michigan University. I grew up and still live in my hometown of Portage, Michigan and studied abroad in summer I 2008. The program I chose was the Grand Tour of Europe, which included stops in Amsterdam, Paris, Switzerland, Rome, Florence, Venice and Germany. We were abroad for one month and studied art history in three major eras, including the Dutch Golden Age, Renaissance and Impressionist periods.

 

As a psychology major the subjects studied during this time did not really tie in with my academic pursuits pertaining to a future career. However, this experience expanded my personal intellectual pursuits vastly. Prior to this experience I knew very little about art. I always thought of it as very interesting but never had a chance to develop my interests beyond casual observation. Western European culture is also something that I did not have extensive knowledge about. I knew about the basic stereotypes that go along with each country, but not a true sense of their daily culture. As a result of this program my knowledge of not only the art being studied, but also the cultures that produced them, progressed immensely.

 

 

If you travel through Europe you will not return the same person. My appreciation for art has exploded and I have been visiting museums on a regular basis since my return. Being exposed to these different cultures opens your eyes in many ways. Each country and city I traveled to was so different from the last while being so close to each other in distance. Being exposed to 4 languages from one country to the next is an exciting adventure in its own right. I was very impressed with the people’s ability, in every country, to speak at least 2 to 3 languages. It was rare to encounter a person who does not speak English, and even when someone does not speak English it was fairly easy to communicate through universal gestures, such as pointing.

This program was set up very well culturally. Once we started to get fairly comfortable in one place we would be onto the next country and have to fit into their customs, languages, and culture. The experience has affected me in countless ways, allowing me to appreciate a whole new intellectual and cultural world. My growth as a person as a result of this trip is invaluable and extraordinary. Once you go to Europe you, you don’t come back the same.