Tag Archives: history

Back At It!

21 Jan

Well, the second semester has officially commenced, meaning I’m back at classes. Though I’m continuing with a second semester packed to the brim of political science classes (I’m starting to have history withdrawal), I do have one random elective for the semester. I also don’t have any classes on Tuesdays or Thursdays (though I’m hoping that will soon be filled with an internship). So, here they are!

Government and Politics of Global Powers

As stated in the syllabus, this course “analyses the challenges of Global Governance and the role played by emerging countries (BRICS) in the new global order.” What are the BRICS you might wonder? Well, that is the fun new acronym (because International Relations and Political Science didn’t already have enough) for the emerging world powers: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. So this course looks at those states (except South Africa, don’t ask why) along with different international institutions, like the UN and IMF, to see how they are changing international political arrangements. I think it will be an interesting class. I really don’t know much about any of the BRICS states, and the professor seems really knowledgeable. She comes with years of experience working in almost every part of the UN.

International Organizations and Global Governance

I had the professor I have for this course in two courses last semester and he is great, which makes me super excited for this course! As you may be able to infer, this class will be interacting a lot with the first class on this list, and vice versa. This course looks at how international organizations, such as the UN, NATO, EU, AU, WTO, and others, work to try and establish global governance. They really do have the best professor to teach this course as well, since he is the director of the Global Governance Institute (a think tank here in Brussels).

History of Political Thought

I have not been to this class yet, so I’ll let you know if it is as interesting as I hope it will be. What this course will be is an evaluation of political theory and the big political theorists in relation with the historical context that they were writing in and how that continues to be applied today. We will study theorists from Machiavelli, to Hobbes, to Marx, and many more along the way. This course has a pretty daunting term paper, but it is supposed to be a cross between a politics and history course, so I’m excited to see what I’m in for. Maybe I won’t have much of a history withdrawal after all?

Introduction to Psychology

I don’t think I really have to explain what this class is all about. Can you guess which class is my free elective this semester? ūüôā

Diplomacy and International Negotiations

I think this is the course that I’m the most excited for! It is divided into two parts. The first part of the course focuses on the theory behind diplomacy and international negotiations. The second part will look at specific examples of successful and failed attempts and diplomacy and international negotiations. It also looks like I’ll be taking a country and having the responsibility to speak on their behalf for some negotiations in different areas, such as peace and security, the environment, international trade, etc. It will definitely be challenging, but interesting.

So there you are; my exciting schedule for the semester! If I get my internship I will have to drop one of those classes, and I don’t know which one I will pick, but it looks to be a fun and challenging semester! If you have any questions, just drop me a note below in the comments section.

P.S. I have officially updated my contact information, for those of you who were looking for my new mailing address!


Where In The World Is Agnes Irvine Scott?: Episode 4

12 Jan
Brussels, Cologne, Langenfeld, Bielefeld, Aachen

Brussels, Cologne, Langenfeld, Bielefeld, Aachen

After our quick trip to Bielefeld, Flat Agnes, Eva, her father, and I took to the autobahn and drove down to their family’s house is Aachen, Germany. Here in Aachen we got to see the end of their Christmas market, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Centre at the Aachen Cathedral, and try some of their traditional Aachener Printen (similar to American gingerbread). Another successful trip with some great memories!

Flat Agnes and I at the Aachen Cathedral

Flat Agnes and I at the Aachen Cathedral


Fröhliche Weihnachten!

26 Dec

Fröhliche Weihnachten (Merry Christmas in German) to all of the people who read my blog, so mostly friends and family. I first want to say how much I love and appreciate each and every one of you, and I cannot wait to see you when I get back to wherever you are living!

That being said, I was fortunate to experience a new kind of Christmas this year in my explorations of Germany. I was adopted by my German family (The Grothe Family) for the season and could not have been more thrilled! They really took me under their wings and helped me get the most out of the season. This post is dedicated to them and will show how I really got the chance to experience a traditional German Christmas.

Advent Calendar– Der Adventskalender

My Milka Advent Calendar

My Milka Advent Calendar

The advent wreath and calendar were actually invented by a German pastor, Johann Hinirch Wichern, in 1833 when he was working in an orphanage in Hamburg and the children kept asking when Christmas was going to arrive. He made the wreath as a way for the children to count down the days. I totally didn’t know that! I had always helped my Grandma Pipher light her advent wreaths, but I didn’t know where it came from. Now I do! Lucky for me, this was the first introduction I got to German Christmas traditions. When I visited my German family earlier this year, they sent me home with a Milka Chocolate advent calendar. Starting December 1 I got a piece of Milka chocolate every day for 25 days! It was a delicious countdown! ūüôā

My chocolate piece from 1 December 2013

My chocolate piece from 1 December 2013

German Christmas Markets (Weihnachstmärkte)

I have a new love in life, and its name is “Christmas Market”. I had SO much fun going through the Koln (Cologne) Christmas markets with my friend Alex for a few days before I ended in Langenfeld. Though the city of Desden has the oldest Christmas market in Germany (dating back from 1434), Koln is one of the most popular ones. It had 9 markets spread out across the city, and there was a little train that you could pay to take that would go between all 9 of them (we decided to walk instead). They have everything ranging from food, drink, decorations, souvenirs, and presents. It was perfect!

German Mulled Wine (Gl√ľhwein)

1387881714226When coming to Christmastime, every person who has ever been to Germany says that you have to try Gluhwein. No matter what Christmas market you go to, you will see lots of these stands all around. For me, I finally got to try it our last day in Koln at the restaurant LyLy (which we went to twice because it was so good and the people were great!). Though Alex didn’t like it (she doesn’t drink alcohol, but I made her try it anyway), I thought it was delicious!

 The Christmas Tree (Der Tannenbaum) 

The first Christmas tree on record was in Freiburg, Germany in 1419. It was set up by the town bakers who put fruits, nuts, and baked goods on it as decoration that the children of the town could remove on New Years Day. Traditionally the tree is put up and decorated on Christmas Eve, but some German families put theirs up during Advent. Christmas trees have always been a favorite of mine, and up until I left for college we would always get a real, 8′ tree to put in our house. This year, I got to have a real tree again! Though the Grothe family does not put real candles on their tree like some German families do (Thank goodness in my opinion! Can you say fire hazard?!), it was still beautifully decorated!

Christmas Eve (Heiliger Abend or Heiligabend)


Presents from Christkind

In most European countries, including Germany, they celebrate St. Nicholas Day on 6 December. This day is based on the Catholic St. Nicholas who lived in the 4th century in present-day Turkey. He is known as the protector of children. Traditionally, this was the day that children received their gifts. However, the Middle Ages brought the Protestant Reformation against the Catholic Church, led by Martin Luther (a German). It was through the Reformation that the glorification of saints was replaced with the focus on Jesus himself. Therefore, Luther changed the traditional date of receiving present from St. Nicholas Day to closer to Christmas Day itself. He also replaced the image of gifts coming from St. Nicholas to gifts coming from Christkind (also seen spelled Christkindl), which translates to “Christ child”. Some say that Christkind is an interpretation of Jesus as an infant, but Melissa informed me that their version of Christkind is an angel. Rather than coming during the night like the American Santa Claus, Christkind comes while the children are away and sneaks the presents under the tree. After our Christmas Eve dinner, us children (Melissa, Norman, Migel, and I) were sent to our rooms and were not allowed to leave until we heard the bell announcing that Christkind had left. We returned to the living room to find the tree with presents under it!

Christmas Days (der erste und zweite Weihnachtstag)

Table set for Christmas dinner

Table set for Christmas dinner

In Germany there are two legal days of Christmas, December 25 and 26. They are known as the First and Second Days of Christmas. This is the time for the extended family to get together and visit. This is exactly what we did. On the 25th Melissa, her boyfriend Jonas, and I went to Jonas’s family’s house where we had dinner with his extended family on his mother’s side. There we had some traditional German Christmas food, including red cabbage and potato dumplings. Then we came back to Melissa’s house where we had dinner with Melissa’s father’s extended family. After dinner we went to Jonas’s fathers house for drinks with his father, step-mother, and sister. On the 26th we had Melissa’s mother’s parents over for cake and coffee.

All in all, I had a fantastic Christmas time with the Grothe family! I learned a lot about their language and customs and laughed the whole time! This is a Christmas I will never forget!


Grothe Family + Adopted Children (from the back, left: Klaus, Migel, Sabine, Norman, Me, Melissa)


Where In The World Is Agnes Irvine Scott?: Episode 1

23 Dec

In honor of its 125 Anniversary, Agnes Scott College has started a “Flat Agnes” campaign. What this campaign has done is sent little cut-outs of our school’s namesake, Agnes Irvine Scott, so that students and alums can take pictures with her around the world. That being said, I will not be taking Flat Agnes around with me in my study abroad travels.

Agnes’s first introduction was to–surprise–Brussels! However, we were lucky to be joined on this trip by the wonderful Agnes student Alex McLellen, who is currently studying abroad¬†in Northern Ireland. Below are the pictures of our trip, as well as the map of Agnes’s first step abroad!

Agnes's First Stop: Brussels, Belgium

Agnes’s First Stop: Brussels, Belgium






No√ęl √† Bruxelles et les Plaisirs d’Hiver

10 Dec

To start of the Christmas season in style, I spend the first weekend of December exploring the Plaisirs d’Hiver, or Winter Wonders, in central Brussels. This celebration of the holiday season in the history center of the city consists of a Christmas Market (2km of shops), attractions (including an ice skating rink and Ferris Wheel), and light show at Grand Place.

Below, you can see a video of part of the 15-minute light show at Grand Place. This year’s show is entitled “Magical History City” and uses light and music to depict the historic events that have taken place in Grand Place. This includes the medieval and baroque eras, 1695 bombing, reconstruction under the aegis of Charles Buls, and the entry into the twenty-first century.

For more information on this show, check out http://visitbrussels.be/bitc/BE_en/minisite_winterwonders/content/21949/grand-place.do

Playing Tourist (Fall Break Day 8)

9 Nov

I know that I am skipping a day again, but on day 7 my friend and I both woke up pretty sick. We spent most of the day in bed at the hostel until that night when we went to the movies and saw Thor 2 (which was exciting because it came out in Europe before it came out in the US and because it takes place in London).

On Saturday, our last day in London, we got to play tourists and just try and get up-close to the sights that we hadn’t had a chance to see yet. We got off the Tube at the Westminster stop and went out the exit toward the river. After taking pictures of Big Ben, we walked over to Westminster Abbey. I really wanted to go inside, but it was unfortunately closed for a special service when we got there. However, we got to explore the grounds around the abbey itself, and it was beautiful! After exploring the abbey for a while we started our walk over to Buckingham Palace (it should have been a short walk but there is a lot of construction in London right now that cut off our route a couple times). We grabbed lunch next to the Victoria Station at a restaurant called Shakespeare (had the Big Ben Burgers). After lunch we continued our journey and stopped along the way for some much-needed souvenir shopping (some of the best shops are the ones next to Buckingham Palace). We got our photo shoot in at Buckingham Palace right before it started raining again. Since neither of us wanted to get more sick, we decided that that was our cue to head indoors and wait for our bus home. We found a Starbucks back at the Victoria Station and enjoyed their free wifi for a while. In my opinion, it was a nice, relaxing end to our trip in London!

Below are some of the pictures from our last day!

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Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the last day of Abroad With Amy Trivia! This is your last chance to receive a special prize from London! First person to answer the question below will get the prize.

Here is the answer from the last post:¬†(Congrats to Jodi Seybert for being the first to give the correct answer!) ¬†The original Crown Jewels of England, some most then likely dating back to Edward the Confessor in the 11th century, were destroyed after the Civil War in 1649. During the Civil War, the Tower fell into the hands of the Parliamentarians. After King Charles I was overthrown and executed, Oliver Cromwell ordered that the Crown Jewels be taken to the Tower and destroyed and used for purposes to benefit the Commonwealth. The gold objects were melted down and made into coins. The gemstones were removed from their settings and sold. When King Charles II reestablished the monarchy in 1660, he commissioned new Crown Jewels to be made and modeled after those that belonged to his father. These Crown Jewels were completed by his coronation on St. George’s Day in 1661. The only piece that remains is the 12th century gold Anointing Spoon, which is used to anoint the Sovereign with holy oil during the coronation.

Today’s Trivia Question: Westminster Abbey was first used for a coronation in 1066 with the coronation of William the Conqueror, King William I. Since then, Westminster Abbey has been the uninterrupted sight for coronations and has held 38 coronations. However, two monarchs since then were never crowned. Who were these two monarchs?¬†

Historian Heart: Halloween at the Tower (Fall Break Day 6)

8 Nov

Most people can pinpoint the exact moment when they knew what their passion was. Though I had always been interested in history, I know the exact moment that I fell in love with history. That moment was when my dad gave me the book The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir. Though I bought this book for him for his birthday and I read it after him, I absolutely loved it! I became obsessed with Tudor and Reformation English history. Therefore, it can be understood that going to The Tower of London was an absolute dream come true. For those of you who do not know much about the history of the Tower, here is a brief description.

The Tower of London

The Tower of London

The Tower of London

On the sight of former Roman ruins, the Tower of London has a history of being a fortress, a prison, a castle, a palace, and now a museum. It is also the home of the ravens. The ravens that are housed at the Tower have their wings clipped, so they cannot fly away. The presence of these ravens at the Tower are traditionally thought to protect the monarchy. It is said that “If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it.”

The Norman Beginnings

Remains of the Roman city wall

Remains of the Roman city wall

Edward the Confessor died in 1066 without any direct heirs, which left many people attempting to claim the throne. Though Edward’s brother-in-law Harold Godwinson was crowned, William, Duke of Normandy, claimed that he was the rightful king of England. William eventually defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. After William’s coronation at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066, he travel to Barking in Essex, ‘while several strongholds were made ready in the City to safeguard against the fickleness of the huge and fierce population, for he saw that his first task was to bring the Londoners completely to heel’.(1) The location of this fortification was on the sight of the former Roman city walls. Those fortifications were eventually replaced by the White Tower, which was completed by 1100.

Medieval Times

The medieval kings built on to the original White Tower to make the Tower of London the fortress that is famous today. Additions were added by Richard the Lionheart, John Lackland, Henry III, and Edward I. By the reign of Edward I, the Tower was already being used for military purposes, as a residence, and as a prison. However, Edward saw the Tower as a safe place to store valuables and papers. The Royal Mint was established an the institution played a significant part in the Tower’s history. The Tower became of great importance after the Wars of the Roses. It saw the tournaments of Henry VI, the coronation celebration of Edward IV, and victory parties for Henry VII. However, it also saw the executions of Henry VI, Edward V, and his brother.

Tudors and Reformation

Armor of Henry VIII

Armor of Henry VIII

The reign of Henry VIII saw the end of the Tower’s role as a royal residence. His break with the Catholic Church caused the number of prisoners held at the Tower to increase. Some of these prisoners included Sir Thomas More, Bishop Fisher of Rochester, and his wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. All four of these prisoners were eventually executed.(2) After the death of Henry VIII and his son Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey was crowned queen. Unfortunately, she only held the throne for nine days before she was overthrown and Mary I ordered her execution. Lady Jane Grey was executed at the Tower. Mary I also had her half sister, Princess Elizabeth (future Elizabeth I) imprisoned there. When Elizabeth finally became queen, she continued the trend of imprisoning large numbers of people in the Tower.

Civil War

Along with Charles I’s reign came a devastating civil war that saw the fall of the English monarchy. During the war, the Tower fell into the hands of the Parliamentarians. The first permanent garrison was added to the Tower by Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell in 1653. After the monarchy was reestablished with Charles II in 1660, the Tower became less of a prison and became the headquarters of the Office of Ordnance.

Tourist Attraction

Though the Tower had guided tours as early as the 1590s, the amount of visitors to London who visited the Tower increased dramatically in the 19th century. By the end of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1901, over half a million people were visiting the Tower each year.(3)

The Tower of London

The Tower of London

Famous Prisoners of the Tower (4)

  1. Anne Bolyen- The second wife of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn resided in the Tower twice, once while as queen-in-waiting before her coronation and again as a prisoner. After three years of being married to Henry VIII and her continued inability to give birth to a male heir, she was arrested and charged with adultery, treason, and an alleged incestuous affair with her brother. She was executed on May 19, 1536. Her cousin and fifth wife of Henry VIII, Catherine Howard, was also executed at the Tower in 1542.

    Room of Sir Walter Raleigh in the Bloody Tower

    Room of Sir Walter Raleigh in the Bloody Tower

  2. Sir Walter Raleigh¬†This prisoner is known as the longest-serving prisoner of the Tower with his confinment of 13 years, though not always at the same time. He engineered the failed English colony at Roanoke Island, but was a favorite of Elizabeth I. His first imprisonment was in 1592 when he secretly married one of the queen’s maids of honor. His second imprisonment was in 1603 when he was accused of plotting against King James I. He was housed in the Bloody Tower, but lived in relative comfort because of his high social status. Sir Walter Raleigh was eventually released and sent to Central America to look for El Dorado, but was eventually executed for attacking a Spanish outpost without the King’s orders.
  3. The Princes of the Tower-¬†The Princes of the Tower included Prince Edward V (12) and Prince Richard of Shrewsbury (10) who were the children of King Edward IV. They were housed in the Tower after their father’s death in 1483. They were placed there by their uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and had their titled stripped from them so that he could take the throne and become King Richard III. These two boys disappeared and were never seen again after mid-1483. Though the bodies of two small boys were eventually found, it has never been proven that they were the bodies of the Princes of the Tower. (At the Tower, there is an interactive voting system where visitors can cast their vote on who they think killed the children: Richard III or Henry VII.)
  4. Guy Fawkes- Guy Fawkes was imprisoned in the Tower after the failure of the Gunpowder Plot that was meant to kill King James I and other members of the British government by blowing up the House of Lords. This plot was meant to be taken out on November 5, 1605 (November 5 is now a holiday in Britan known as Guy Fawkes Day). Due to an annonymous tip, Guy Fawkes was caught, tortured, and condemed to be hanged, drawn and guartered. He escaped this fate by jumping off of the gallows and breaking his own neck.
  5. Lady Jane Grey- Edward VI, son of King Henry VIII, died without a male heir. He did not want the throne to fall into the hands of his Catholic half-sister, Mary, so he chose tennager Lady Jane Grey to take the throne so that it would remain in Protestant hands. Lady Jane only held the crown for 9 days before Mary raised a rebellion and caused Jane’s downfall. She was taken prisoner in the Tower and was found guilty of treason in 1553, but was pardoned by Queen Mary I. Unfortunately, her father took part in a Protestant rebellion that led to their execusions, her’s being on the Tower Green on February 12, 1554.
  6. Rudolf Hess- Though the Tower became a tourist attraction by the 20th century, it was briefly reinstated as a state prison during World War II. Rudolf Hess was one of two Nazis captured on British soil and were held as prisoners in the Tower. Hess was known as “Deputy to the Fuher” and served as second-in-command to Hitler. He was capturedafter her parachuted into Scotland in 1941 in a renegade attempt to negotiate peace with the British. Churchill did not trust that he really wanted peace, and imprisoned his in the Tower. He only remained there for a few days, but he was the last state prisoner held at the Tower. He was eventually put on trial at Nuremberg and served a life sentence. (Added note for Agnes Scott students: During the 1930s, Rudolf Hess’s niece was a study abroad student at Agnes Scott. Another Agnes alumae, who was a translator at the Nuremburg Trials, actually met up with her again and asked her opinion of the war, in which she apologized for the role of her family in the war).

I hope you enjoyed that little history of the Tower of London! Now it is time for Abroad With Amy Trivia!!

Answer from last post:¬†Congrats to Lesa Ward in correctly guessing the last trivia question! The first Ferris Wheel was introduced in 1893 at the Chicago Worlds Fair, also known as the World’s Columbian Exposition to celebrate 400 years since Columbus found the new world. The World Fair committee wanted to find a centerpiece to their fair that would outshine the centerpiece of the last world fair, the Eiffel Tower from the Paris Worlds Fair. The Ferris Wheel is named after its designer and constructor, George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.

Entrance to the Crown Jewels

Entrance to the Crown Jewels

This post’s trivia question: One of the highlights of visiting the Tower of London is getting to visit the Crown Jewels. However, these are not the original Crown Jewels. What happened to the originals?

Works Cited

  1. ¬† “The Normans,”¬†Historic Royal Palaces,¬†http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/sightsandstories/ buildinghistory/normanbeginnings.
  2. “The Tudors,”¬†Historic Royal Palaces,¬†http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/sightsandstories/buildinghistory/tudors.
  3. “19th-Century Tower,”¬†Historic Royal Palaces,¬†http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/sightsandstories/buildinghistory/theTowerinthe19thcentury.
  4. “6 Famous Prisoners of the Tower of London,”¬†History Channel,¬†http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/6-famous-prisoners-of-the-tower-of-london.