Dartmore Institue - Spend a semester study abroad in Prague, the heart of Central Europe
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Arts & Architecture Program - Field Trips & Excursions

The study program is enhanced by field trips to several of Central Europe’s most beautiful cities, including Krakow, Vienna, Budapest, and Berlin.  For the most part, during their time outside of Prague, there is no formal classroom.  Instead lectures are given by local scholars at cooperating institutions and during tours of museums, galleries, churches, and other historical landmarks.

Five-Day Trip to Krakow

The town of Krakow has been considered Poland's Heart for a thousand years. It provides the lifeblood for the country’s creative genius; to understand Krakow is to understand Poland.  The decision to take our students to this important city is an easy one, for it provides participants with a chance to view another face of Central Europe.  Poland is an overwhelmingly catholic country whose proud history includes many chapters of direct confrontation with its eastern and western neighbors.  The weeklong program of study concentrates on themes such as Jewish Krakow, with lectures on the Holocaust, a visit to Auschwitz, an examination of Primo Levis’ seminal work, and neighborhood walks of Kazimierz

We also expose the students to lectures and a shared curriculum with students at the Dartmore Institute’s main cooperating institution, Jagiellonian University, Poland's oldest and most prestigious institution of higher learning.  The students move through a diverse curriculum that includes Polish Poetry, presentations on Polish culture, history, post communist social development and its relationship to the E.U., and visits to museums and galleries.  Students visit the legendary Salt Mines, spend a day in nature in a beautiful national park, tour castles and attend cultural performances.  The academic program runs each morning from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., and the rest of each day is given over to non- mandatory cultural activities.  Students are offered group dinners and time to explore this charming and intimate city on their own.  Students are housed in a very high quality small hotel. The Dartmore staff and students are the hotel’s only guests for the week, so we will have the undivided attention and service of the hotel staff.

Three-Day Trip to Vienna

To witness an equally rich and historic dimension of Central Europe, one must journey to Vienna, renowned for its architecture, composers, and painters.  While walking the Ringstrasse, the famous street that encircles the historical center of Vienna, you are transported back in time and feel the spirit of creativity.  Vienna, the home of such influential and important individuals as Mozart, Wagner, Freud, and Klimt, was arguably the premier city of Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century.  The city reads as a living text that chronicles many of the major events that shaped the development of modern European art, architecture, and culture.

The goal of these three days in Vienna is to place students inside this historical text.  Students spend the majority of their time not in the classroom, but in the city with a single guest lecturer each day speaking about a particular aspect of the city’s life. They tour many of the most famous places in Vienna, including Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral), the 13th century gothic masterpiece that towers over the city’s center, and the Hofburg (Imperial Palace), the famous Habsburg palace that also dates back to the 13th century. Other visits include Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) and the baroque palace, Schloss Belvedere, which houses the Austrian National Gallery.

Students also have an opportunity to meet other university students in Vienna.  We stay close to downtown, about 10 minutes by train, in a clean, airy, and well-equipped pension.  This trip is three weekdays and an optional weekend.  

Three-Day Trip to Budapest  

Students experience the intriguing mix of eastern and western influences that Budapest offers.  You can smell the spices of the orient and feel the influence of former empires, both Ottoman and Austrian. The Danube River cuts this beautiful city into distinct halves.  Buda, the western and older half, contains remnants of the city’s medieval past.  Students begin their journey into the intriguing world that was medieval Europe in the heart of Buda at the Magdalen Tower, all which remains from a Gothic church destroyed in WWII. Students then visit the Royal Palace, which contains the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. 

Once crossing the Danube via the famous Chain Bridge, students visit the Citadella, the imposing fortress built by the Habsburgs to defend the city after the 1848 - 49 Revolution.  Now firmly in Pest, the tour of the city continues to the Vajdahunyad Castle, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the neo- Renaissance St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the cafes, gardens, and hot springs of Margaret Island.  Students may also spend their time in any of the city’s famous bathhouses.

Students also have an opportunity to meet other university students in Budapest.  We stay close to downtown, about 15 minutes by train, in a clean, airy, and well-equipped pension.  This trip is three weekdays and an optional weekend.   

Three-Day Trip to Berlin  

Once again Berlin has become the cultural, political, and economic center of Germany.  Culminated by the return of the Reichstag in 2002, the German parliament, this city has completed an incredible transformation from a city divided by a physical wall and competing ideologies to a vibrant metropolis that celebrates a unified Germany.  Students tour the city and experience these profound changes as they visit the historical places of Berlin’s complicated past and the new, modern cultural centers, including the Museumsinsel, the famed Museum Island, one of Europe’s premiere centers of modern art and architecture.

Other visits include the New National Gallery, with its 19th and 20th century paintings and sculptures by Picasso, Klee, and many other German expressionists, the Museum of Modern Design, dedicated to the artists of the Bauhaus school, and the Museum of Decorative Arts, which contains artwork ranging from 16th century silver artifacts to Art Deco furniture.  

Students also have an opportunity to meet other university students in Berlin.  We stay close to downtown, about 20 minutes by train, in a clean, airy, and well-equipped pension.  This trip is three weekdays and an optional weekend.  

Other Field Trips

Other trips include the medieval city of Cesky Krumlov, located in South Bohemia and protected by UNESCO, the breathtaking spa-town of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad), the historic town of Mikulov, nestled in the winemaking region of Moravia, the former 14th century royal town of Levoca in Slovakia, as well as our Art Retreat held in the picturesque village of Slavonice.   

In an effort to expand students’ horizons even further, the Institute’s administrative staff will arrange additional weekend excursions to other cities and towns throughout the Czech Republic and the region.  These excursions will not be part of the formal Arts & Architecture program.