Maymester 2018 Stop 2: Monte Verita
Hello again! Before beginning, if you have not yet read my post on our Maymester’s first stop, Geneva, Switzerland, be sure to check that out for more information on what a Maymester is and what brought me to Switzerland.
So, to pick up where we left off, I travelled to Monte Verita with my class after our week studying international law and policy in Geneva. To be honest, I had never heard of Monte Verita prior to this course, but it was by far my most anticipated stop once I learned about its history. Monte Verita, known as “the magic mountain,” is a mountain with a particularly strong magnetic field underneath it. This magnetism lends some interesting properties to the mountain, primarily that it is the one of the very few places in Europe where tea can be grown. Additionally, the mountain’s beauty and near-Utopian presence has given way to its use in the early 20th century as a stomping ground for writers, philosophers, and artists alike.
While at Monte Verita, our professor gave lectures on the figures who lived and worked there, including dance legend Rudolph Laban, authors like D.H. Lawrence, and psychologists including Carl Jung and Otto Gross. Additionally, we were able to live like these figures while at Monte Verita by taking part in yoga classes, going on hikes through the nearby forests, and venturing down the mountain to Ascona, Switzerland, a small Italian-speaking town.
Monte Verita provided our class with a different sort of intellectual stimulation than Geneva. Geneva grounded us in the reality of international issues such as the refugee crisis, while Monte Verita allowed us to explore more abstract artistic ideas and exist in a place that had been penetrated by idealism in the early 20th century. As a dancer, I was thrilled to visit Monte Verita, especially knowing how rare it is for students my age to do so. This part of the trip was wonderful, and I will treasure the memories made here.
We spent about four days at Monte Verita before traveling to Murren and Grindelwald, two towns in the Swiss Alps. 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 email@example.com.