Read interviews with some of our authors about their pieces and their experiences abroad.
K.C. Schweizer, 2016
The Lonely Blue
Jess Mitchell, 2017
The Island of Venus
Megan Rudloff, 2017
Emily Teitsworth, 2017
Katy Griffith, 2016
Inside the Walls of Hell: Inspired by Terezin
Virginia Baynum, 2016
Jess Mitchell, 2017
Toi o Tāmaki
Amanda Schader, 2016
A Day in Tudor England
Essy S. Dean, 2016
A Foggy Venezia
Megan Rudloff, 2017
K.C. Schweizer, 2016
Kelly Grebeck, 2016
Emily Teitsworth, 2017
Ahlan Wa Sahlan min Al-Magrib
Danielle Boyd, 2016
Walking in the Footsteps of Ghosts
Gwendolyn Bodner, 2016
Amanda Schader, 2016
Issue 2, 2016
Public Relations Chair and Web Manager:
Associate Web Manager:
Reading Board Head:
Reading Board Members:
Amanda Schader, Chelsea Ritter, K.C. Schweizer,Laura Healy, Katy Griffith, Marissa Spratley, Jennifer Ghiorse
Melissa Ballow, Amanda Schader, Helen Savidge, Katy Griffith, Julia Raffel, Laura Healy, K.C. Schweizer, Kelly Grebeck, Ian Rush, Marissa Spratley, Jennifer Ghiorse
Dr. Laurence Roth and Dr. Glen Retief
With special thanks to:
Christina Dinges and Mark Fertig
Writer’s Institute, English and Publishing & Editing Department, GO Office
Issue 2, 2016
Read essays from students here
Check out photos taken by students here
Interviews with the authors can be found here or linked at the bottom of each essay
The 2016 essay winner is K.C. Schweizer with her essay “La Corrida.”
The 2016 photography winner is Sarah Dorko, featured above.
Letter from the Editors:
At Susquehanna, we are asked to study abroad, to experience another culture. But experiencing is not the same as embracing it. In this issue of Flagship, we invite you to experience new cultures as our contributors have with vulnerability and honesty.
We ask you imagine these moments with us. In Morocco enter the hammam bathhouse with K.C., where she is exposed, but willing to step outside her comfort zone. Bargain with Danielle as she navigates a local market. Break the barrier and ask a native questions with Jess, getting a smile in response. Or enter a room of strangers, who eventually feel like family, with Kelly. Step forward into your temporary home.
Travel through British castles with Essy, remembering kings and queens of the past. Honor the ground you walk on with Gwendolyn and Virginia as they pay respects to those who died in the Holocaust. Join in our journey as we reflect on the past and live in the present, walking our way through history with a modern, astute perspective.
Contemplate faith with Katy and Megan as they try to comprehend the presence of a higher being. Feel the heaviness of the holy space around you, weighted with history and tradition, and discover that it is okay to feel uncertain, to not know how to feel.
Relish in the art in culture and folklore of a new land with Emily and Amanda’s poetry. Learn of the fairies’ mischief in the Scottish Highlands and how Maori people narrate the creation of heaven and earth.
We would like to thank our reading board and copy editors, who helped to shape this magazine, through the selection and editing process. Thank you to E.J. who designed the beautiful magazine you now hold in your hands. And to Kelly and Keri who crafted the website you can visit for more information and content.
Thank you to our sponsors and to the GO Office, Writer’s Institute, and English Department for their continued support and encouragement. Thank to Mark Fertig for judging our photography submissions.
A big thank you to Dr. Retief and Dr. Roth, our advisors throughout this who process and were also generous enough to judge our literature pieces. Flagship would not be here without these two fantastic mentors.
We now invite you to embark on this journey with us, to turn the pages as we set sail around the world.
Alexis Gargin, Editor
Gretchen Hintze, Associate Editor
I went to Nicosia, Cyprus, in Fall 2015. I took a class trip to Greece in high school, and I really enjoyed the Greek culture and atmosphere. Since Cyprus is mainly Greek, I thought it would be a good fit for me and a new adventure. Cyprus is also an SU program, so I went with 13 fellow students. I felt more comfortable traveling with a group. I also got a two-for-one deal, experiencing two cultures at once.Cyprus has been divided between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots since a Turkish invasion in 1974.
Did you have a favorite town or city that you got to visit? Why?
My friends and I would always take the bus to Old City Nicosia, about a twenty minute ride. The homes and buildings there are more historic and less modern than those in Nicosia, where I lived. The architecture of the old city is representative of Cyprus’s many conquerors throughout history, such as Turkey and England, due to its central location near Europe, Africa and the Middle East. There is a main street in the old city called Ledras Street, where shops and authentic restaurants are located. One of the checkpoints of the island is here, which allows you to pass through to the Turkish side of the island. My friends and I explored the Turkish side often, and got to experience the clash of cultures.
I tried snails at a traditional Cypriot dinner. I didn’t like them! My favorite food was the gyro, which I ate almost every day. There was an authentic restaurant down the street from my apartment that made the best gyros. Cyprus also has the best coffee. The country is famous for Cypriot coffee, which is served like espresso, but the grounds are kept in the cup and sink to the bottom. Each cup is served with a glass of water in case you drink any of the coffee grounds.
What kinds of courses did you take abroad?
Some of my courses included a children’s literature class and a world literature class. It was very interesting to see how the study and dynamic of literature in Cyprus differs from Susquehanna University.
by Danielle Boyd
I’m not really sure what I expected when I booked my trip to Morocco, but I can tell you what I didn’t expect. Lush farmland. Crystal water over white sand. Unbelievably friendly people. Being inspired to learn Arabic. I´d heard so much about how supposedly dangerous the country would be, but it wasn´t until I was immersed in this culture that I realized I´d jumped to conclusions that were completely wrong.
I´d left Spain on a Thursday with the hopes of avoiding the typical weekend traffic. From Sevilla to M’Diq (in Tetuan, Morocco) takes a little over five hours with traffic and a slight delay at the border between Europe and Africa.
The first city I visited was Chefchaouen, also known as “The Blue Pearl”. All of the buildings, streets, and even walls are painted blue, making it one of the most unique views I´ve ever seen. Chefchaouen (or simply Chaouen) is located in the Riff Mountains in the northern region of Morocco. Situated in the mountains, Chefchaouen’s markets offer a lot of handicrafts that aren’t available in other parts of Morocco, such as Casablanca and Marrakech. This is due to the proximity to the Berber people who live exclusively in these mountains. The city is most well known for wool garments and blankets along with goat cheese.
Morocco is a country where bargaining is a part of the culture, something that was definitely new to me!. While at a market, I decided to try my hand at it. I saw two striped scarves the same shade of blue as the city for 350 dirham, which is about 36 U.S. D. The man came over and we started negotiating. Eventually, I was able to wiggle the price down to 200 dirham, about twenty-one dollars. As I handed over the colorful paper money, the man placed the scarves in my hands and I couldn’t help but fill up with pride. This was my first time bargaining and I was pleased with how well I did.
What I enjoyed the most about bargaining was, having to think about the value of the product that we normally don’t do in America. At first, I felt bad knowing that I was putting a limit on someone´s income in a region where poverty is evident. But after a bit of thought, I realized that the prices were set higher with tourists in mind. Still, I felt like the process changed my view of shopping. Instead of thinking of price in terms of comparison, it was more of a calculating consideration. When I want a scarf at home I’ll try to remember the cheapest one I saw, accepting what the American economy tells me a scarf should cost. In Morocco on the other hand, I found myself assigning a value to the scarf completely independent of what the price was. What material is it? How much time and effort went into making it? How unique is the product? How good is the quality? I figured since I was buying two hand made products that I got to watch being made, $21 USD or 200 dirham was a pretty decent price. Bargaining is an experience I know I’ll never have in the United States and certainly one that I will not forget.
The second city I visited, Tangier, is one of the largest cities in Morocco. The city has a coastal vibe and city life feel to it at the same time. When I got to Tangier, the first thing I did was ride a camel on a beach where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean. It only cost about $3. After that we went into the center of the city and went to a fruit and vegetable market.
After just a day in Tangier, I circled back north to Tétouan. We went to a traditional market and restaurant. There were hundreds of people bargaining but it was mostly food and spices unlike the one in Tangier which had more jewelry and clothing. I bought a couple souvenirs and gifts, my favorite one being a shoulder bag made from camel hide from the only stand that sold something aside from food. The asking price was 270 dirham, but I got it for 70 since that was the last of my Moroccan currency.
After the market, we went to a traditional Moroccan pharmacy . The blue and gold mosiac tiles arranged into patterns reminded me I wasn´t in America or even Europe. The pharmacist began by talking about some of the products in Arabic and then apologizing by saying “lo siento… no hablo espanol…” (sorry, I don’t speak Spanish), but then switched to perfect English and French. Turns out he really did know Spanish to but wanted to see if we understood any Arabic. He was hilarious and had many super interesting things for a decent price. Most of what he was selling was cheap makeup. I had a few dirham coins left, so I bought some lipstick for my mom. The cool thing about it is that it looked green, but when you put it on it was actually a pink color that blends according to the color of your skin.
I learned a lot of interesting things about Morocco. The flag caught my attention. I asked a man in Chaouen while I was having lunch. He moved his chair moved the next table over to mine and began to explain its significance. If you´ve never seen the flag, it’s red with a green five-pointed star at the center. The red represents bravery and strength while the star represents the five-pillars of Islam. Ninety-eight percent of the country practices Sunni Islam, and unlike lot of other Arab countries, there isn’t conflict between religions. Although Islam is the most common, it is acceptable for Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all other religious groups to live and work together. After having heard so much about conflict between these religions in the past, especially in the middle east, I really appreciated Morocco´s ability to allow all of them to coexist. It´s so easy to forget how fortunate I am as an American and that not everyone has the freedom to live how they want.
Although it is a very agricultural country, it was pretty clear while we were there that resources aren’t as abundant as in America or even Europe. We had to buy bottled water since Moroccan water isn’t safe to drink and nearly every neighborhood we walked through had its share of street vendors, desperate to make even just a few dollars (or dirhams) so that they could provide their family with something.
On the way back to Tangier, two teenage boys jumped on the back of our bus thinking that it was going directly back to Europe. Going back through customs on our way out of Morocco took a while. One of the reasons it took so long was because they had to search our cargo space for children. It’s incredibly common for parents to put their kids there with the hopes that the children will make it to Europe and have a chance at a life in a wealthier country. It´s not uncommon to hear stories like this, but seeing it firsthand left me speechless.
Read an interview with Danielle here.
by Gwendolyn Bodner
The customs line at the airport: what a perfect opportunity to daydream as you stand in the same place, the weight of your body making a permanent imprint in the industrial carpet as you wait to have your passport stamped. As I fight a losing battle with the carry-on that is slipping from my drooping shoulder, I imagine the country I left behind just a plane ride ago. In vain, I try to imagine myself back in Salzburg, Austria, where I delighted in walking through the Old Town, taking in the picturesque scenery of people milling about the Kapitelplatz and Mozartplatz while the Hohensalzburg Fortress stood protectively over the rooftops of this quaint town. I remember the thrill of sliding down a wooden miner’s slide in the salt-mine in Hallstatt. The notes of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony linger in the memory of spending my 21st birthday attending a concert at the Musikverein in Vienna. I chuckle to myself as I remember my trip to Berchtesgaden where I walked through Hitler’s Bunker and saw his Eagle’s Nest. Although I couldn’t talk the other Susquehanna University students into recreating the scene from Sound of Music where the children and Maria dance along the edge of the fountain, there was no better way to spend the last day of the trip than to stroll through the Mirabell Gardens at dusk. Yet, among all these delightfully fond memories of an unforgettable trip, it is the trip to a concentration camp that gave purpose and meaning to my GO experience.
I have always been very interested in learning about the Holocaust and I’ve made a point of reading memoirs and autobiographies about the genocide. I’ve always found documentaries and movies about the Holocaust fascinating. Since reading Anne Frank’s Diary in fifth grade, I’ve been intrigued by the psychology of the genocide. In every account of the Holocaust I’ve read or watched Adolf Hitler has been described as a little man with a funny mustache. It seems inconceivable that this funny little man could be responsible for the horrifying deaths of millions of people. Even more inconceivable is the number of people who believed in Hitler and helped him execute the attempted extinction of millions. Although I went to the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. when I was thirteen, I always dreamed of being able to go to a real concentration camp and see for myself what I’d read about in such graphic detail. Granted, this is not a trip that many thirteen-year-old children dream of. In fact, it’s not a trip most adults dream of. However, my desire to visit the museum was motivated by my curiosity about Holocaust and how we could allow it to happen. Knowing that the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. offered one of the most uncensored and authentic account of the genocide, I thought visiting it would supplement the literature and documentaries I’d so far used to inform my research on the Holocaust.
During our lunch, Andrea and I ended up talking to one another and having quite a meaningful conversation about the Holocaust and God. Andrea is more active in her practice of religion than I am, but we both pondered the question of how a supposedly omnipotent, omnibenevolent, merciful god could allow such a genocide to happen. I felt that visiting the concentration camp was an important experience to watch the introductory video where survivors of Mauthausen gave testimonials about their experiences. I almost dreaded the experience of watching the video, fearful of the effect watching the video in a real concentration camp would have. It wasn’t the first such video I had seen, but perhaps actually watching it at a concentration camp made it a more profound experience. It was horrifying to learn about the stairs that prisoners had to climb while carrying heavy boulders. Even more horrifying, was learning about how prisoners had to carry heavy rocks up stairs, only to be pushed off those same stairs. The reason for pushing the prisoners down the stairs? To impress the SS officers who would come to observe and assess the camp. There was one man who said there was a guard who would have the prisoners lay against one another in the cold, wet, mud to form a bridge over which he could walk so he didn’t get his boots dirty. “Inhumane” doesn’t seem to be an adequate word to describe the horror that people experienced in concentration camps like Mauthausen.
I think I liked the tour the most because the young woman who led us through the camp brought a new perspective to the experience. I was nervous about how to react as an American learning about the Holocaust from such a young person who is part of the culture that contributed to the genocide. I acknowledged that this was part of her job as a citizen of Austria, but I was curious to see how she talked about this event in history. She seemed to be comfortable talking about this darkness in her country’s past, though she appeared nervous as well to speak to a group of Americans who obviously had their own preconceived notions based on what they were taught about the Holocaust. It was humbling to compare myself to someone who has more reason to be troubled by her past than I did and to reconsider my own beliefs and perceptions of the Holocaust and those involved. The enormity of how complex humanity is was emphasized perhaps in the length of the tour than in all the literature I read about the Holocaust.
I appreciated the pictures our tour guide showed us in the beginning of the tour. The two depictions of the prisoners carrying the rocks up the Stairs of Death were interesting to study. For example, it was remarkable, the volumes one picture could speak and the distinct impression it wanted to give, just through the omission of the SS officer in the propaganda picture, but the inclusion of the officer in the artist’s drawing. In one picture, the men looked like they were voluntarily carrying the rocks while in the other it was at gunpoint and from a fear of death. The propaganda picture also mitigated the treacherous climb up the steps and the potential domino effect of men falling down them when those at the top were pushed backward. It was chilling to see the picture of the SS officers standing as a group smiling at the camera like any high school soccer team. How could they live with themselves? What drives a person to commit the atrocities for which these men were responsible? Is there a fair and just way to punish these men and hold them accountable for what they did? Can we hold them accountable?
I wondered how I would react during the tour, whether seeing the buildings and the showers would affect me more than I expected. Perhaps it is the distance of time, but I found that I wasn’t as affected as I thought I would be. After all those years of studying the Holocaust, reading countless memoirs and biographies, and watching documentaries about Hitler and the Third Reich, I expected to be more affected by the experience of walking in the same concentration camp where the horrors took place. I remember standing in the middle of one of the barracks, looking around the empty space and at the worn wooden floors. I remember hearing my own footsteps echo in the empty space as everyone stood in the room in hushed silence. We were all thinking the same thing. We were imagining the prisoners crammed into this space, sharing fatal diseases and sorrow. We knew that the number of prisoners far exceeded the capacity for the room and we tried to imagine what “living” in such conditions could have been like.
And yet, I felt as though I was working so hard to feel something, that I kept trying to imagine myself as a prisoner in the camp. When we saw all the memorials in the open grass outside the gates of the camp, I wanted to feel something more; I wanted to be more empathetic with the victims of the camp and feel what those who built the monuments felt. I wanted to cry in sorrow for the suffering of Hitler’s victims. I wanted to feel anger toward those who perpetuated atrocities against the prisoners of Mauthausen and the other concentration camps. I wanted to feel something. Feeling anything was better than feeling nothing. I wanted to feel something more than acceptance of the Holocaust as a part of history. I didn’t want to feel like I was standing in the middle of an elaborate replica of a concentration camp. I wanted to feel like I was in a real camp where real people once walked and experienced what I’d only read about. To connect more to the experience of being at Mauthausen, I recalled one of the English classes I took this past spring. In the class, I read a text about the Israel-Palestine conflict and learned about the Jewish tradition of putting rocks on graves. Before leaving the camp, I slowly walked toward the memorial for the Jewish prisoners and put a few small rocks on the cold marble. It was a surreal experience to stand in the middle of a camp through which you know thousands of prisoners passed. It was haunting to stand in the barracks and think of how scared these people were, how they couldn’t even go to the bathroom when they needed to. There are certainly a number of ways to imagine how you would react in such a situation, but I don’t know if is truly possible to know until you are there and fighting for your life. Throughout my whole time walking through the camp, I desperately tried to picture how I would have behaved had I been a prisoner. It was overwhelming and challenging to appreciate the reality of Mauthausen as more than a recreated model of some far away camp that once existed. I was walking the same ground that SS officers and prisoners walked. I tried to imagine the screaming coming from the human test subjects in the hospital building. I tried to imagine the officers playing soccer on the field just next to the barracks where people were put to die; the smell and sight of those buildings. The imprints left in the grass were like scars of the past.
After the tour, when we went to the museum part of the camp, it is perhaps the memorial room with the triangular pieces of granite that have the names of the Mauthausen prisoners etched in white on the surface that made me feel most connected to the prisoners since arriving at camp. Suddenly, there were thousands of names mirrored in the black granite. Suddenly, the victims of Mauthausen were not unknown. Seeing their names etched in stone made each person real, made the lives, families, jobs, houses, and communities they were forced to leave behind real. Seeing my own reflection in the black stone amidst the white names of the Mauthausen prisoners made the whole experience far more personal. I no longer had to imagine the people who walked within Mauthausen. They were all there, preserved forever. Seeing the myriad of names and my own face reflected in the soft lighting of the room was indescribable.
When I finished reading the placards of the other exhibits, I went to see the cremation furnaces, the rooms where they would keep the bodies cold until they could be cremated, the room where they would extract the gold teeth of prisoners, and the gas chamber itself. I will never forget finally seeing these parts of the camp, seeing framed pictures of several victims hanging from the wall of the gas chamber. This experience has brought so much more meaning and power to the literature I’ve read and studied about the Holocaust. Mauthausen will always stand apart as one of the best–and most haunting–parts of the trip.
Read an interview with Gwendolyn here.
Tell me a little about yourself, like your, majors, hometown etc.
I’m an English and Publishing & Editing double major from Swoyersville, PA. In three words or so it can be summed up by; small town, coal, and bars. I’m involved in Lit Club, Transformations, Flagship, 522 Review, and I work for the English Department as an assistant.
What was the food like abroad? Anything new and exciting/that you miss?
I cooked for myself so I ate a lot of pasta and frozen meals. A weird thing I don’t miss is that they have beans and a warmed tomato for breakfast. England’s not really known for food and I couldn’t afford the cute cafes. There were a lot of adorable little pubs that I loved. Cooking for myself was good practice for living in 18th street and it was really fun because I shared a kitchen with 10 other people. The kitchen was our hangout spot—it was where everyone gathered.
Favorite memory of friends?
Shortly before we all left, we came together to cook a really nice Christmas meal where we were all together and not crazy busy with class work.
Other cultures of people you met?
My hall was odd how it worked out—two Americans, a German, rest were English with different heritages like Australian and Brazilian, one whose family was from Ireland. I thought it was really cool. A lot of people thought I was Canadian for some reason. I liked the conglomerations of different cultures in the hall.
How were you the mom?
I was just teaching them how to do simple things like cooking rice or telling if their chicken was expired. I was a go-to for all the questions and helped them feeling homesick because it was the first time for most of them. Since I’d already been away for 2 years, it was easier for me and they were surprised I wasn’t as home sick. They came to me with what they needed and I would just do my best to help.
Favorite place you’ve traveled?
Everything, I have to choose. Rome in general I love Rome. But then there’s the Dublin story. We were taken a ferry and a bunch of trains. The ferry got cancelled due to weather. We were on the waitlist for another ferry and we just made it. But all of our train tickets were then useless because we’d be getting to wales later than we were supposed to so we had to find a new way to Brighton. We ended up in Birmingham trying to find the airport—not the safest city—having no idea where we were going. We ran into a group of French dancers also trying to get to the airport who didn’t speak any English and we spoke little French. Communicating was an adventure. We ended up getting to the airport so we could get a bus to London. From London we took another bus to Brighton. It was an adventure.
Hardest/best part about coming home?
The hardest part was leaving England just in general the people and university had definitely become a home to me even though it’s scary big. It was sad leaving the culture and the friends and the ability to travel. The best part was getting to share my stories with people from home.
Advice for those about to study abroad/traveling in general?
Take every opportunity you can. I wasn’t going to do one trip to Bath and Stonehenge but I did and had a blast. If you can don’t worry too much about money, you’re there to experience the place and people and culture.
What is your name, major, and class year?
My name is Essy Dean, and I’m a senior Creative Writing major and History minor.
Where did you Go, when, and why?
I went to London. I did the Regents University London Program, and I have been in love with British history since I was in sixth grade, which I talk about a little bit in the piece. Then, I went to London in the summer of 2011 with my mom, and I fell in love with the entire city. By the third day we were there I said, “I don’t care. I am doing a semester abroad when I’m in college, and I’m coming back here.”
What surprised you about your experiences on your GO trip, especially seeing the castles you have always admired?
It was amazing. It was really cool just to see how much the street map has changed, but walking around this city that these people walked around and drove through and yelled at each other in (because Henry VIII did a lot of yelling at the end of his life. He basically went insane, but that’s another story). When I was there in 2011, me and my mom were walking up one of the towers in the Tower of London, and I said, “I want this staircase.” And she said, “Wait, you want the Tower of London in your house?” And I said, “No, just the staircase.” I was just obsessed with the spiral staircase.
What was the weirdest thing that happened to you?
Me and a couple of my friends who were also theater nuts—I took a theater class while I was there—we took a day trip to Stratford upon Avon, and we got lost trying to get to London Euston, which was the nearest national rail service station to Regents. We got lost getting there on the subway, which they call the Tube. Then, we get to London Euston, we buy our tickets to get to Stratford, and we had to change trains twice to get to Stratford. The second train was a train that was going all the way to Wales, so it doesn’t even leave the station. It gets delayed and then delayed again and again, so we said, “Forget this, and left.” We went upstairs to where the check in hall was, and we said, “We’re trying to get to Stratford upon Avon, and our train is delayed. How do we do this?” And, they told us to backtrack to a station in Birmingham and from there we could get a regional train to Stratford upon Avon.
We got there about two hours later than we had planned, and we had registered with a specific tour at Shakespeare’s birthplace and all this other stuff. So, we get there and we go into the information center and explain it to them. They just put us on the next tour.
Why should other people GO there?
If you want to go to Europe, and you don’t want to deal with the language barrier but you want to go to other cities in Europe to travel, it’s a great location for that. You can literally get to France in a day. You can go on a day trip to France. That’s how close it is. Then, England and Scotland and Wales themselves are also great places to visit.