Maymester 2018 Stop 1: Geneva
Hello and happy summer, Inside ‘Dores readers! While spring semester at Vanderbilt ended in early May, many students took part in Maymester courses throughout the month of May to explore subjects of interest with Vanderbilt professors either on or off campus, often travelling abroad. A Maymester course is like most courses you can take during the school year- it counts as three credit hours and has regular assignments. However, some of the benefits of Maymester courses include the fact that they allow for a deep-dive into one subject as students take only one course during May, an opportunity to explore subjects students might not necessarily pursue during the school year, and a small, focused class setting with lots of individual attention from professors.
Throughout the month of May, I was able to participate in a Maymester that covered migration, international health, social justice, and romantic poetry in Switzerland and Rome. While these subjects may seem unrelated on the surface, the links between these issues became clear in this interdisciplinary internationally-focused course. Because I had such a great experience on my trip, I thought I would share all the details with you all. I will be making a post for each place we travelled and detailing the sort of experiences we had there.
First, we travelled to Geneva, Switzerland. A hub of international affairs and a city with a long history of political neutrality, Geneva was the perfect place to dive into the world of international law. Our days in Geneva were jam-packed. We visited organizations including the United Nations Refugee Agency, the International Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, the International Organization for Migration, the Interparliamentary Union, and more. In the evenings, we often had time to explore Geneva, which was made easy by our hotel’s location in the city and super accessible public transportation.
Geneva was a place that really pushed me to explore topics I hadn’t in the past. As a STEM major, I rarely get to take courses that intersect with international law, but this portion of the course taught me about the ways in which international law intersects with so many domains of life, and reminded me of the human rights which I am able to take for granted as a citizen of the United States. This portion of the course, while intense, spurred a passion in many of us for human rights and finding international applications of our majors and intended career paths.
We spent about a week in Geneva before traveling to Monte Verita in Ticino, Switzerland. But I’ll save that for another blog post! In the meantime, if you have any questions about Maymesters or life at Vanderbilt, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.