Dr. Christopher Molnar
Just before I began my undergraduate program at Indiana University Northwest, my parents took our family on a vacation to Germany and France. That was my first time in Europe, and I was stunned by the beautiful cities, with their soaring cathedrals, walled cities, fortified castles, and medieval city walls. I was especially struck by the visible presence of Europe’s long history, which was so different from the historical sites I had visited in the United States. That trip led me to sign up for a survey in Western European history when I was in college, which led to upper-level classes in European and German history, which led to German language classes, which led to…you get the picture. I share this story because it shows how international travel can broaden your perspective and change the trajectory of your life. I have been an Assistant Professor of European History at the University of Michigan-Flint since 2013, a position I am honored to hold, and I doubt very much if I could say that if not for that vacation to Europe many years ago.
Since that original trip to Europe, I have returned to the continent over and over again, particularly to Germany and Austria. I backpacked through Europe after receiving my bachelor’s degree, taught English in Austria for a year as a Fulbright Fellow after my master’s degree, lived in Munich for a year while I conducted research for my PhD in German history at Indiana University, and have returned to Germany and Austria regularly for short conferences and long-term research stays. I am also an active member of the German Studies Association, the largest German Studies organization in the US, as well as a frequent participant in the recently revived Midwest German History Workshop.
I have been impressed by the enthusiasm and expertise my colleagues in the history department have displayed in their Wyatt Exploration Programs focused on Flint, Japan, and most recently London. Although I was not on those trips, I have spoken to students who went on the trips, and many of them say it was a life-changing experience. It is a great honor to have been chosen by my colleagues as the 2016-2017 Wyatt Fellow. Now I am excited to have a chance to share my interest in German history and culture with the campus community and to take a group of students to Germany and Austria at the end of the year. Maybe it will change your life!