Many of you know that I am planning on running a short-term study abroad trip next May to Transylvania (starting in Bucharest, ending in Budapest, and in between visiting Brasov, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Alba Iulia, and Timisoara).
This is instead of my usual Israel trip, which has been suspended not because it is less safe to visit that part of the world than it has been when I’ve run the trip in the past, but because the perception of safety impacts enrollment and thus the viability of the trip.
As I thought about where I might take students without their parents having to worry about terrorism, I realized that Transylvania made good sense. But it is not just a place where Americans can visit castles, and medieval cities with scenic pedestrian streets, while avoiding not only danger but the long lines that are encountered in the more usual European tourist destinations. Transylvania is interesting for a wider array of reasons. Its cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity makes the fact that it did not blow up or split in the way neighboring countries did after the fall of Communism intriguing. How did people learn to coexist peacefully? It is also a natural place to learn about and explore topics like religious freedom and Eastern European Communism.
I wonder whether there are professors at other institutions that might be interested in joining in on such a trip, bringing students from their universities. I know that there are people who, like me, usually run trips to other parts of the world, and whose institutions are worried about or actively cancelling those trips because of safety concerns. Want to come to Transylvania instead? If so, let me know!
Current Butler students reading this should obviously also get in touch if they are interested in going!