The Danube (Intercultural Interaction)

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The Danube (Intercultural Interaction)

The Danube explores both sides of the river’s role in bringing cultures together and keeping them apart, through history, politics, environmental science, literature and more

On this page:

Register now for The Danube as part of this year's UCL Global Citizenship Programme, 2nd-13th June 2014.

Course outline

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The Danube is Europe’s second longest river and one of its great waterways. Rising in the German Black Forest, it runs through Austria, then Slovakia, where it forms the border with Hungary, then plunges down into Hungary itself and on into Serbia, for some while forming again the border with Croatia, then heads East, once again a border river, now the long border between Romania and Bulgaria, before losing itself in the great delta on the Black Sea where Romania borders Moldova and Ukraine, on its way, shaping some of the great cities of Central and South East Europe - Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade.

This course uses the study of the Danube as a means to explore the challenges of a world that is interconnected and, thus, to encourage students to reflect on the values of global citizenship that such interconnectedness requires.

Language sessions

Students choosing The Danube will study not only the river but also the languages spoken along it. Each country group will learn the language of that country - German, Romanian, Serbian, Slovakian, Hungarian and Bulgarian - in just a few hours.

These sessions aren't just about being able to order a coffee in Budapest - they are used to give greater insight into the culture of each country, and how both the languages and the cultures of the whole region relate to each other.

This is what one student had to say last year:

“The language teachers made us believe that we actually know the language we studied after as few as three or four lessons. In class we often used just the language but somehow we still learnt so much about the culture and the people and the structure of that language. In the closing presentation all the members of my group introduced themselves in the language we studied. It’s amazing!”

Read more about the innovative language sessions on the UCL Teaching and Learning Portal

Timetable and outputs

Students will be allocated into groups that focus on one of the Danubian countries to focus on during the course, and will . Lectures included:

  • The Danube in International Politics.
  • Upstream and Downstream: Moving of Peoples along the Danube - Invasions, Migrations, Expulsions.
  • The Danube: The Artery of Europe

Download the 2013 The Danube course booklet (pdf)

Outputs for this course include:

  • Set of 4 posters per group for exhibition at the end of the Programme
  • Writing wikis, editing a collaborative Google map, and making podcasts on a particular topic coveredon the course

Each group also has language sessions covering the language of the country they are focusing on, as well as a taster session on Yiddish.

Please note these details are subject to change for the 2014 Programme.

Course leader

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Dr Tim Beasley-Murray

The cultural conflict and exchange that the Danube facilitates as it meanders through Europe is a great microcosm through which to consider wider global cultural issues.

Students really engaged with the course last year - especially the language sessions - and we look forward to building on the collaborative aspects of the work with a new cohort this year.

Dr Beasley-Murray is a Senior Lecturer in SSEES. You can learn more about him here.

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