The birthplace of Western civilization and the home of many great research institutions, Europe has been an influential presence at Washington University since its founding in 1853.
Today, our partnerships with European colleagues have yielded studies in far-flung places of discovery, such as the Azores archipelago, where students have engaged in field geology techniques critical to understanding earth’s history, climate, and the challenges we must face now to secure our future. In the social sciences, our research has introduced blueprints for change regarding working mothers and their families, and the health of young girls.
Washington University is now a major center for the study of contemporary German literature thanks in part to a vibrant exchange of research, educational programs, and visiting faculty, many of which come through the Max Kade Center for Contemporary German Literature. Additionally, WashU faculty and a team of international researchers are working to produce a series of publications fundamentally rethinking the field of Holocaust narrative. This corpus of literature will encompass many thousands of texts, resulting in the comprehensive, multi-authored Cambridge History of Holocaust Literature.
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We come to our work because we fell in love with another language and culture. The foreign language classroom is transformative.Rebecca Messbarger on the joy of language learning,
Professor of Italian in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures in Arts & Sciences
Strengthened by our global networks in Europe, Washington University researchers are addressing critical needs in the areas of public health, climate change, and the humanities. A shared understanding of ourselves and the world around us unites us in powerful ways.
Making Motherhood Work
Of all Western industrialized countries, the United States ranks last for supportive work-family policies. It has the highest gender wage gap. Moreover, there is no federal paid parental leave and no minimum standard for vacation and sick days. Can American women look to European policies for solutions?
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Rebecca Messbarger specializes in the Italian Enlightenment, in particular the intersections of anatomy and art, medicine and religion, and the shifting roles of women in civic and academic life during the age.
In a new book, Lynne Tatlock maps the novel’s journey across translations and into a new brand of romance fiction.
In 2001, Heather Cameron was teaching in Berlin when she had a novel idea that has transformed lives and communities around the world: start a female boxing club.
Education and outreach
Europe is the most popular destination for study abroad programs. Both on campus and beyond, our students choose from a plethora of opportunities to explore Europe’s rich heritage, linguistic and cultural diversity.
The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures offers a comprehensive program in the language, literature, and culture — past and present — of Germany and German-speaking countries. The department offers many opportunities for interdisciplinary study, including a one-of-a-kind joint PhD program with comparative literature and an innovative certificate program that gives students the option of developing expertise in one of seven associated fields.
The department has a longstanding relationship with the University of Cologne that brings students to St. Louis to study and teach alongside the PhD students on campus. In turn, WashU doctoral students often pursue research at universities throughout the German-speaking world. Exchange is further facilitated by the university’s Max Kade Center for Contemporary German Literature and the corresponding Mike Lützeler Contemporary German Literature Collection.
The Sam Fox School’s Florence Summer Program provides an exciting, interdisciplinary learning environment to study art, architecture, and art history.
Collaborative in nature, the studios use drawing and design as a medium for exploration and visual experimentation, alongside study of nuanced layers of history within the dynamic context of contemporary life. Visits to other Italian cities will encourage exploration of urban diversity and multiculturalism. Students will explore the themes of history, politics, conflict, and social justice and their impact on creative work.
Work in the studio extends into the city streets, allowing the students to engage the full cultural landscape of contemporary Italy. The small size of the program allows each student to work closely with professors in developing a body of work that is highly personalized, culminating in well-developed final projects.
The program includes collaborative studios in art and architecture within the rich, historic landscape of Florence, home of the Renaissance as well as a vibrant cosmopolitan city. Field trips throughout the summer engage the region’s myriad cultural offerings.
Sam Fox School’s Florence Summer Program
Featuring an interdisciplinary learning environment to study architecture, art, and art history, within the rich, historic landscape of Florence, home of the Renaissance as well as a vibrant cosmopolitan city.
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Since 2014, the Italian-German photographer Luigi Toscano has created portraits of more than 500 Holocaust survivors. In 2022, Toscano traveled to St. Louis to photograph 12 survivors living here.
Volcanic craters, fumaroles, and hot springs mark the landscape of São Miguel Island, in the remote Portuguese Azores, where WashU undergraduates studied field geology techniques over spring break.
Built in cooperation with Olin Library, it is the largest collection of contemporary German literature since 1985 at an American university library.
Alumni networks and impact
Did you know more than 300 alumni, parents, and friends live in London? International networks support alumni, students, families, and friends of Washington University by offering opportunities to socialize, network, and share WashU memories. We welcome you to reach out, make new connections, and build on your lifelong connection with WashU.
WashU CNX is the university’s online networking platform where alumni and current students share experiences and expertise, ask questions, find answers, and help each other grow. They make meaningful connections every day.
Russ Shaw: champion of the London tech sector
For Russ Shaw, BSBA ’85, the founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, achieving the honorary title Commander of the British Empire (CBE) was a shock. “When I received the congratulatory email last November, I fell off my chair,” he says.
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Ten recent alumni of Washington University in St. Louis earned Fulbright awards in 2023 to travel abroad to conduct research or to teach English.
Lynne Breakstone, PhD, AB ’64, MA ’67, was among the first students to study abroad in 1962.
Fifteen alumni of Washington University earned Fulbright awards in 2022 to travel abroad to conduct research or to teach English.
Explore our impact in other regions
No single map can reflect all global perspectives. The country borders on this map do not reflect the official policy of Washington University in St. Louis or any specific government.