Study Abroad Fellowship

The Susan Gibble Wolf Fellowship

The Susan Gibble Wolf Fellowship provides support for students studying for at least one semester in a German-speaking country. Second preference goes to students participating in short-term program in a German-speaking country. The award can be given to first-year, sophomore, junior, or senior students. The fellowship is designed to enhance the study-abroad experience by aiding student-designed projects that are carried out while abroad. Examples of such projects include research, a post-semester internship, cultural experiences, or travel to cultural heritage sites. Awards range from $250 – $400 and must be used while abroad. Selection and award amount are based on the merit of the project.

Applicants must fill out an application in the semester before they study abroad. Applications for fall semester projects are due by the first Friday after Spring Break; applications for spring semester projects are due by the Friday after Fall Reading Days.

Recipients of the Susan Gibble Wolf Fellowship

Congratulations to all recipients!

Spring 2016

Piper O’Keefe ’17, “The Muslim Community in Berlin”
Lauren Ashley Bradford ’18, “Wurzeln: Abstammung"

Spring 2015
Kim Longfellow '16, "An Analysis of Dresden Architecture and the Frauenkirche: Historically Authentic or Postmodern Pastiche?"

Spring 2014

Ann Sasala '15, "In His Footsteps: A Second Generation American's Look at the Country Her Grandfather Loved"

Matt Nadler '15, "Funding for the Prüfung Wirtschaftsdeutsch"

Fall 2013

Martina Khalek '15, "Spaces, Places & Reflecting: Berlin Architecture" 

Spring 2013

Sarah Hayes '14, "In Search of Maria Theresa and Elisabeth: Female Habsburgs in Modern Day Vienna"

Fall 2012

Nicole Elder '14, "Motives of German Emigration in the 1700s," travel to Hamburg and Siegen

Ned Strasbaugh '14, "Ich bin ein Berliner: Multiculturalism and Identity in Berlin," travel to Berlin

Elizabeth Topolosky '14, "Rediscovering Family History Through the Holocaust," travel in several countries

Spring 2012

Connor Lees '13, for visiting museums and historical sites in Bavaria (pictured below at Neuschwanstein Castle)


Fall 2011

Jonathan Hofe '13, for attending the National Theater's performance of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" in Weimar and exploring the political side of Berlin (pictured below in the Alps)

Hilary Landfried '13, for exploring the vestiges of the Wiener Moderne in Vienna (pictured below at the Kunsthistorisches Museum)

Sissi Products in the Hofburg Gift Shop The Empress Elisabeth Memorial in the Volksgarten

Sarah Hayes '14 in the Hofburg Gift Shop

The Empress Elisabeth Memorial in the

Maria Theresien Platz

Grave of Maria Theresa and her husband Francis I

Sarah Hayes '14 at Maria Theresien Platz    

Sarah Hayes '14 at the grave of
Maria Theresa  and Francis I

Sarah Hayes - "In Search of Maria Theresa and Elisabeth: Female Habsburgs in Modern Day Vienna"

In June 2013 I was able to travel to Vienna, Austria on the Susan Gibble Wolf Fellowship to study two Austrian empresses, Maria Theresa and Elisabeth, nicknamed Sissi. As I visited their palaces, museums, memorials and even graves, I found varying portrayals, facts, and legacies of these two fascinating women. Over the course of my trip I became utterly enthralled with how these two very different and complicated women are depicted and used in the Viennese tourist industry today.

One of the more tangible parts of my trip to Vienna was getting to see the worlds that Maria Theresa and Elisabeth inhabited at the Hofburg and Schönbrunn Palaces. At Schönbrunn, it was emphasized that many of the palaces’ most important rooms were in the style of Maria Theresa’s time period, probably due to the fact that most of the palace was built during her reign. When she was mentioned specifically, she was nearly always placed in a maternal role, rather than as a ruler, something that really intrigued me. The Imperial Apartments at both palaces were furnished as they had been during the reign of Franz Joseph, Elisabeth’s husband, and contained many objects that belonged to the imperial couple. I was really able to get a feel for what Elisabeth’s life might have been like from the surprisingly simple decor, especially her plain bed, and the gymnastic equipment she used for daily exercise. The Hofburg was also the home of the Sissi Museum, dedicated solely to Elisabeth. Her personal effects, dresses and toiletries were displayed and it was incredible to see how thin she actually was and things that she actually touched and owned. The exhibition helped to create a real person for me and in the case of both women, I was able to get a better feel for their lives after seeing these spaces.

The most rewarding part of my trip was the opportunity I found for further analysis and discussion of the ways in which Maria Theresa and Elisabeth are portrayed in modern day Austria and its tourist industry. Maria Theresa’s legacy is most easily seen in the statue of her in Maria Theresien Platz and in her grave in the Imperial Crypt. Her tomb was the largest among those of at least ten emperors in the Imperial Crypt and she brings an imposing and regal Queen Victoria to mind in Maria Theresien Platz. This created an interesting discrepancy with the maternal figure I found at Schönbrunn and the book I read on her to prepare for the trip. Elisabeth’s portrayal was possibly even more intriguing. She is the Viennese tourist industry and you could buy Sissi jewelry, portraits, books, soaps, shampoos, chocolates, and pastries. What was fascinating was that I had read that the city’s population hated her while she was alive. The Sissi Museum did an excellent job of portraying her as a multifaceted woman: beautiful, depressed, intelligent, self-conscious, and paranoid. The secluded Empress Elisabeth Memorial in the Volksgarten and her grave in the Imperial Crypt with its many flowers, showed her idealized image and enduring popularity, creating a myriad of impression of Sissi.

I had always expected to be interested in my topic when I proposed this project, but I did not anticipate feeling a near overwhelming fascination with what I encountered. I became utterly enthralled with what the lives of these two women actually looked like and the differences between what I had read, what was portrayed, and how those portrayals were used in various ways. I am now very seriously considering focusing on gender issues in female rulers and consorts as an area of research in graduate school. My trip to Vienna was an incredible intellectual journey and one that I will not soon forget.


Elizabeth Topolosky - Rediscovering My Family History through the Holocaust

My first visit to a concentration camp took place when I was seventeen, on the fourth of July. In the sweltering heat I followed around my German host father as he explained about the prisoner washrooms here and the old munitions factory there: the lingering smell of something unsettled me and I couldn’t understand why the other people there, mostly German high school students on the mandatory field trips to the camps to learn about Germany’s role in the Second World War and the Final Solution, didn’t seem to feel that anything was wrong. The ruins of the zoo, built so that the commandant, the guards, and their families would have some entertainment, loomed in the distance, just outside the gates. Buchenwald, estimated dead: 56,545.

My second visit to a concentration camp took place three years later, an unplanned day trip to Dachau, six hours away by train. The same smell and feeling of wrongness set my teeth on edge and raised the hair on my arms, even though it was warm for an early October afternoon. This time it was quieter: the forests of Buchenwald had been filled with cicadas. Eventually, I found the museum, and I spent the next hour and a half or so ghosting past artifacts --a room filled with the shoes confiscated from inmates upon their arrival, the wheelbarrow used to collect bodies and take them to the crematorium—until I was informed that the museum would be closing soon for the day.

On my way out of the building I passed through a hallway lined with windows looking out onto a courtyard with a large, abstract statue. I had always been familiar with the Holocaust, hearing my grandfather’s first hand account of his tank corps’ liberation of Buchenwald before I had turned ten. I had seen camp footage and read books on medical experiments and mass executions before the end of middle school. My familiarity with the subject matter had always made me aware but had also had a distancing effect: I had walked through the Washington DC Holocaust Memorial mostly unfazed by the brutal images of prisoners and bodies and smoke, while my high school classmates, many facing this material for the first time, sat and wept, a few even vomiting. But what I saw through that window stopped me in my tracks and I felt my stomach drop. The dark metal of the statue was twisted into an angular spider web, lines echoing barbed and charred cadavers, too thin to be human anymore. I found my way outside to the courtyard and sat, staring at the sculpture, unable to stand for fear of vomiting, but unable to look away. This was unfamiliar and had thus reached me deeply, replacing the feelings of unease that I had felt in both camps, with a mixture of more-than-sadness, hopelessness, and rage. I left shortly thereafter, catching an evening train back to Heidelberg, staring out the window at what should have been the countryside rushing by, but instead seeing only those giant misshapen corpses. Dachau, reported dead: 31,951.

In February I returned to Buchenwald for my third concentration camp visit. The day before I arrived in the closest town, Weimar, there had been a blizzard. Snow covered the streets and ice had completely frozen over the trees. Ice blown into sharp points by wind protected the metal of the main gates, outlining the thick words in the center: Jedem das Seine. Everyone Gets What They Deserve. Thin pathways had been cleared throughout the camp, but they had iced over in sections, slowing travel. The cold had killed the smell, but a new eeriness was achieved by the absolute silence of the place: it was too cold for most visitors and the workers were mostly huddled inside buildings next to space heaters. This time I wanted to see an area I had missed on the previous visit: the Soviet memorial. Placed at the bottom of the hill on which the camp had been built and through a section of forest, the memorial stretched alongside the dirt road that Soviet POWs had been forced to march along to reach one of Buchenwald’s satellite camps. It took awhile to make my way down as I stopped several times to clear off smaller memorials buried under snow along the way, resulting in two different sets of frozen gloves, but upon reaching the memorial I was filled with a pervasive peace. Here I was completely alone. The world had stopped and for the first time in a long time I cried, the tears freezing on my face. But the world couldn’t stay stopped, and no matter how much I wanted to stay there in the quiet, in that peaceful, sorrowful place, there were people waiting for me, so I turned and trudged back up the hill.

Despite the melancholy and unsettling nature of the camps, I benefitted greatly from these visits. The topic has always interested me, especially because of my close familiar ties to the event: distant cousins on my mother’s side served as camp guards, while another set of maternal cousins were themselves interned in camps as was a distant paternal cousin. Throughout these camp visits, I was able to connect to both history and to my own familial past, something for which I am very thankful.

Jonathan Hofe Hilary and Jon
Jonathan Hofe '13 in the Alps Jon and Hilary on an AJY trip

Hilary Landfried

Connor Lees

Hilary Landfried '13 at the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Connor Lees '13 at Neuschwanstein Castle


Ned Strasbaugh - Ich bin ein Berliner: Multiculturalism and Identity in Berlin

I visited Neukölln, a district in Berlin and one of the largest Turkish-speaking areas in the world outside of Turkey, so that I might come to realize how a community so far from home had settled into its new environment and how this affected them and Germany. I did some research on German-Turks and the area itself, as well as interviewed a few Germans beforehand to see what the general opinion of multiculturalism in Germany is.

My first impression of Neukölln as I walked down Karl-Marx-Straße, the busiest street, was that it looked like New York City, except without tall buildings. But I got more than I bargained for, particularly when I stopped at the Museum Neukölln several blocks away. The museum revealed to me not only how integral immigration was to Neukölln history, but showed me how diverse it was as well. There were artifacts from families in historic Neukölln of Jewish, Polish, Turkish, Lebanese, Prussian, French, and German descent, as well as an urn from the Iron Age and the jawbone of a mammoth. I got to see that Neukölln was not just a district of “us” and “them,” but rather was built around this colorful conglomeration of so many different cultures.

For the rest of the afternoon, I tasted the Turkish dishes and cuisines that were offered, such as tea, baklava, and ayran. I also observed the people walking on Karl-Marx-Straße. There were obviously people of many other ethnicities who had settled in Neukölln. Turkish music played in the background of cafés. Honestly, apart from more signs in Turkish than usual, I wouldn’t have known this place was any different from the rest of Berlin or New York City.

I went to an opera that night, called “Berliner Leben,” an opera similar to “La vie parisienne,” or so I was told. It painted for me a picture of what life in Berlin was like. The “Berliner Leben” included people of different types in the background, who were brought together by something they had in common, for instance, taking the city tram. They also often had to work together to make the music of the opera, for instance, a blind woman in the background singing randomly during another character’s song, or everyone on stage forming a circle and snapping fingers.

This, like the museum, gave me nothing but the impression that Neukölln and Berlin are not just Germans and German-Turks, but rather consist of people of many different backgrounds and cultures. The Turkish culture and other cultures are proudly marketed to everyone and offer a hint at how beautiful their culture can be, raising Germany as a multicultural nation in a globalized world. That’s the one thing I learned most from my journey to Neukölln: that any place can have a history and a future that are colorful and multifaceted.



Connor Lees - Trip to Bavaria

My goal during my time studying abroad in Germany was to experience as much of Germany as possible. I wanted to see as many regions, cities, areas, and sights as possible, and this fellowship allowed me to get a better sense of the most well known Bavarian city—Munich.

Upon arrival I wanted to first walk around the city and get a feel for it before I attempted to take anything on. I had decided to go for Easter Weekend, and the Friday of our arrival was “Karfreitag” or Good Friday. I thought this would be a good weekend as it would highlight the religious atmosphere of Munich, which is well known for being a very catholic city. I certainly got that feeling as most stores were closed and the streets were confined to a few religious processions.

I later decided to take a walking tour of the city, which helped to get a feel for the history and architecture of the city. Beginning at the famous Marienplatz, I learned the legend of the Mariensäule, which depicts four battles overcoming adversity on each of the four corners of the display, before heading into the old town hall. Here I got an idea of the religious history of the city, whose name derived from the German word for Monk (“Mönch”). It was also pointed out that this symbol could be found prevalently throughout the city and in the coat of arms.

The tour later described the history and culture of the Bavarian beer gardens (as well as the fact that it is not a true beer garden without chestnut trees), a staple of southern German lifestyles, as well as a background on the six beers of Munich. Sadly, the weather did not permit a true enjoyment of this facet of Bavaria, but that must be all the more reason to return.  Following the beer gardens, we visited the Hofbräuhaus, the most famous beer hall in Munich, where I would later return for dinner to experience a meal in the enormous establishment.

Then we began the tour of several churches and architecture around Munich, including the Frauenkirche where we heard the legend of the Devil’s Footprint. I also learned that the rebuilding of Munich after the Second World War was done with remarkable precision as a result of the painstaking photography done by the Nazis before the destruction occurred.

Finally, we ended the tour with a brief history of Bavarian royalty and the many Ludwigs as well as a look at the site of the Beer Hall Putsch and the history behind that, including the many actions of the Nazis to enforce adherence to their policies and rituals in Munich. This tour was rather informative, to say the least.

The next day we decided to take a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle to get a look at the fantastic structure built into the hillside as well as learn more about the Bavarian royalty, and specifically Ludwig II who had commissioned it. Sadly, the day brought a wild snowstorm (as you can see in my photo) which made transportation difficult, but the castle was fantastically beautiful and our tour (in German!) was very interesting.

The next day I went to a museum and also wandered around the English garden where we got to see the area where people surf on the small river which runs through it, which I found rather exciting. The Bavarian National Museum provided a more physical look, as opposed to our spoken tour, at the cultural development of the Bavarian region. I was able to see many artifacts dating back to over 2000 years and get a grasp on the history of the region as a whole.

On the last day I visited Nymphenburg Castle, another home of Bavarian royalty, where I visited the Marstal Museum, a museum dedicated to the Carriages of royalty, as well as many of the horses and dressings that were used during that time. Along with that I visited the porcelain museum which had some fascinating pieces of artistic porcelain along with the history of their creation.

All in all I hoped to get a feel for the region and the city both culturally and historically, and I believe I was able to do that because of the opportunities that I took. It provided a very interesting contrast from my home city, Berlin, and that is exactly what I wanted out of the experience.



Hilary Landfried - Vienna Reflection      

During my semester in Heidelberg, Germany, I took a class on society and literature during the turn of the last century. As one of my favorite classes, its topics covered Naturalism, the Bohéme, Art for Art’s Sake, the Wiener Moderne, and Expressionism. However, I quickly became most interested in the Wiener Moderne. After reading about Kaffeehäuser, Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt, and Jung Wien, I knew I had to go to Vienna to really experience all that I was learning. My goal was learn more about the Wiener Moderne, but also to experience all the culture that Vienna still has to offer today.

Arriving in Vienna late on a Thursday evening, I began my siteseeing the following Friday. I began my day with a traditional Viennese breakfast in Kaffeehaus from the turn of the century. A friend of mine, who had been living in Vienna for a few months, took me on a tour of the main city ring. She was able to explain some of the architecture to me and clarify how the city was laid out. In the 1850s, the former city walls were torn down and Ringstrasse was constructed. Today, it is four kilometers long and runs around the main city center. Here I saw the Hofburg, Vienna’s imperial palace, the Spanish riding school, the Austrian Parliament, the State Opera House, and many other cultural landmarks.

Later on Friday, my friend and I went to the Kunsthistorisches Museum and saw an exhibition titled Winter Tales. The artwork was mainly from West European artists and ranged from the 1450s to the present. We also attended a concert with music ranging from the early 1600s to the modern music of today.

Saturday, I went to the Sigmund Freud Museum and the Belvedere Palace. The Sigmund Freud Museum is where Freud lived and practiced until he was exiled to England. Along with autographs, documents, photos, and objects depicting Freud’s life and work, several of the rooms are still decorated in their original furnishings, including Freud’s former waiting room. The Belvedere Palace houses the largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s paintings. Since he is one of my favorite artists, this was probably one of the best parts of my trip. The next morning, before heading back to Heidelberg, I attended mass in a church attached to the Hofburg Imperial Palace. This is the first mass I have ever attended with a full choir and organ. The mass was composed back in the 1600s and had never been sung before since the music had only very recently been transcribed.

My trip to Vienna also coincided with a paper I was writing about anti-Semitism and Arthur Schnitzler’s work. Much of what I was writing became very real to me in my visit to Freud’s home. He was exiled because of his Jewish decent, and many of the documents in the museum depicted some of the criticism he received as a Jew. My visit to Vienna was truly a success. Not only was I able to enjoy this beautiful and culturally historic city, but I was also able to largely supplement a good deal of the material I learned in my class.



Jon Hofe - Trip to Weimar

A friend of mine and I left early one Saturday morning from Heidelberg’s main train station and made the arduous 5-hour trip, including 3 transfers in different cities, to Weimar. From the main station we took a bus to where we were staying, a hostel called Labyrinth. After checking in and bringing our bags to our room, we headed into the city to walk around. The Christmas markets were in full swing at this time so we decided to see Weimar’s Christmas market. There were several streets lined with stands selling everything from fish to sausage and cheese to incense to Christmas decorations and lights and, of course, lots and lots of mulled wine. Eventually we realized that the theater, the main reason we were in Weimar, was directly behind the Christmas market. After finding the theater we stopped and enjoyed a kebab before heading back to our hostel.

After wandering around Weimar for a while we headed back to Labyrinth and enjoyed some coffee before donning our suits and heading to the theater once more. Luckily it was within walking distance and the weather was not too cold. We were here to see Richard Wagner’s opera “Tristan and Isolde.” What we didn’t realize when we bought the tickets for the opera was that it was five and a half hours long. The opera was spilt into three acts with 45-minute intermission between acts.

In the first act we learn that Isolde finds Tristan near death in Ireland and nurses him back to health, only to discover that he killed her former fiancé, but she cannot bring herself to kill Tristan. Instead, she lets him leave on the condition that he never returns. He does return, however, and is supposed to bring Isolde to his uncle, King Marke, to marry him. Before they reach the kingdom of Cornwall, Isolde demands that Tristan drink atonement to her and they both inadvertently drink a love potion.

In the second act Tristan and Isolde are determined to be lovers by Tristan's friend, Melot. Melot leads King Marke to Tristan and Isolde and he is heart broken by Tristan’s betrayal of him, and Melot’s betrayal of Tristan. Tristan and Melot then duel, but Tristan throws his sword aside and lets himself be almost mortally wounded.

In the third act Tristan is brought to his home castle and nursed back to health by Kurwenal, Tristan’s henchman, and is told that Isolde is on her way. When she does not arrive, he goes crazy and curses the love potion. When Isolde finally does arrive, Tristan rips off his bandages in his excitement and dies in Isolde’s arms. Shortly thereafter King Marke and Melot arrive and, thinking that they are there to kill Tristan, Kurwenal attacks Melot and they both die. King Marke then explains that he learned of the love potion and was not there to separate the lovers, but rather to unite them.

After the opera we went back to our hostel and chatted with our roommate. Since we were in a hostel and were two people in a four person room, we were stuck with two complete strangers. One person named Mario from Brazil was in Europe doing research for his doctorate in architecture and engineering, specifically city planning, so it was pretty interesting talking to him. The next morning we checked out and headed to the train station and made our way to Erfurt, which was on the way back, to go to the Christmas market there. Although interesting, Christmas markets are usually all basically the same, but we did enjoy a good two hours there while we waited for the next train.

One of the trains we were on was late and so we missed our connecting train to get back to Heidelberg. We waited around for an hour for the next train and met a couple from Texas on their honeymoon. Later that evening we finally arrived home.

Overall it was a very fun, exciting, and interesting trip. I felt sort of connected to the old poets and thinkers who had made their lives in Weimar: Goethe, Schiller, Bach. It felt like the place just radiated history and culture. And the opera was phenomenal, albeit somewhat lengthy. I believe it was a very beneficial experience.