After decades of Soviet rule, Slovakia has emerged to become one of the most rapidly developing nations in the European Union. With a cultural heritage that extends from ancient Celts and Romans through Marie Therese and the Hapsburgs, it is rife with breathtaking castles, churches and quaint farming villages. Slovakia contains some of the most beautiful vistas in Europe, with open plains full of sunflowers contrasting with the snow-capped Tatra mountains and lush river valleys. In addition to Slovak ethnicity and culture, the area is home to many communities of Roma, Hungarian and Ruthenian cultural minorities, each with its own unique language, art and music.
This program is designed to introduce students to the music and culture of three distinct communities with divergent but linked traditions in Central Europe: Roma, Slovak and Ruthenian. Led by Professors Sarah Meredith Livingston or Courtney Sherman, you will attend events at the renowned Folklore Festivalin Východná, the Festival of the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Cultures of Slovakia in Svidník, the Slovak National Museum in Martín and the Museum of Ruthenian Culture in Prešov. In addition, you will have the unique opportunity to work with young Roma students to foment a musical and cultural exchange via a day camp experience. If time and personnel allow, this camp will culminate in a concert of Roma and American music performed by UWGB students, faculty, friends and of course the Roma children themselves. Throughout the trip we will be particularly interested in seeing Roma and Ruthenian cultures as they relate and react to the dominant Slovak culture; socially, politically and foremost musically.
Before the trip we will read texts and have discussions related to the history of this region and its various cultural groups. You will then prepare a plan for our time with the Roma children, including activities and music you can share. We will complete the course through discussion and written reportage of the concerts, lectures, museum visits and any other events you experience on the trip.
Program Dates: June 20th- July 4th, 2018
Students will share double hotel rooms for the duration of the program.