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Elon professors and students winter in Australia, Europe

Four Communications professors and more than 50 Elon students spent Winter Term either Down Under or in the trenches of Europe.

Professors Ray Johnson and John Duvall led a group of 27 students on a film studies excursion to Australia. During the three-and-a-half-week trip, the class visited Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Canberra. Highlights included visits to film-production facilities and interactions with Australian film professionals. Students viewed several films and met the director of photography for the film "Lord of the Rings" at Flickerfest, a film festival at Bondi Beach.

This total immersion in Australia allowed students to analyze the effects of Australian culture on the film industry. Their research and supplementary readings formed the basis for class papers and discussions.

Several non-film-related activities were planned for the group. Students visited the Great Barrier Reef, Tjapukai Aboriginal Park, the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary and the Sydney Opera House.

"Australia proved to be a wonderful place to study and provided a welcome break from the North American winter," said Johnson. "Students and professors left Australia with a sense of admiration for the people and a sincere appreciation for the beauty of the country."

Johnson has put together a Web site featuring photos and information about the trip. It can be found at http://www.elon.edu/johnson/australia/

Professors Tom Nelson and Brad Hamm led nearly 30 students to France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany to visit the sites of major World War I battles.

"It is one thing to study the Great War from a book and quite another to learn about it while hiking old battlefield sites," said Nelson.

In France, students roamed the now-forested areas of Verdun, site of one of the most horrific World War I battles. Students searched for and often found artifacts from 1914-1918 and, at sunset, returned to the trenches to read their own poetry about being in the trenches.

Students also participated in a ceremony to commemorate the dead of World War I in the Belgian city of Ypres.

European culture was also examined in the class. Students bicycled nearly 50 kilometers to Maastriche, Holland, and hiked the challenging Philosophen Weg in Heidelberg, Germany. They also toured the Parisian haunts of Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway.

The last stop on the tour was the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.



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