This geographical journey through Western Europe will visit five countries (Ireland, United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Spain) and multiple non-state nations (Scotland, North Ireland, Wales, Flanders, Basque Country and Catalonia) to better understand historic and contemporary issues stemming from nations and nationalism. We will consider political, cultural, linguistic, and religious influences in the formation of nation-sates, the aspirations of separatists regions, the impact of immigrants and minorities on national identity and the role of post nationalism as represented by the European Union.
Along our way we will meet with folks from all walks of life to better understand their experiences living in the dynamic political landscape of Europe. Additionally we will hike, bike, walk, ferry, and ride through many other geographical landscapes: urban and rural, agrarian and industrial, religious and secular, mountain and shore. We will climb Ben Lomond in Scotland, walk a section of Offa’s Dyke—an ancient border between Wales and England—and hike the first leg of the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail over the Pyrenees Mountains from France into Spain. We will also bike through the WWI battlefields and memorials in Flanders Fields and through the vineyards of Southern France. We will visit castles, cathedrals, restaurants, beaches, museums, monuments, headquarters, and neighborhoods. Students will also have ample free time to explore iconic cites like Edinburgh, Belfast, Derry, Dublin, London, Canterbury, Bruges, Brussels, Paris, Bordeaux, San Sabastian, Bilbao and Barcelona.