Clemson University Honors College; Office of the Provost

National Scholars travel to Germany, Greenland for unique experiential learning opportunities



Two National Scholar groups recently embarked on study-travel experiences as part of the National Scholars Program’s approach to experiential learning. Designed to develop intercultural competencies, to grow personally and intellectually and to build community within and across their scholar cohort, nine first-year students traveled to Germany, and 14 other National Scholars visited Greenland.  

Both experiences began with a spring preparatory class led by Clemson faculty. Professor Johannes Schmidt prepared scholars traveling to Germany, while Associate Professor Todd Anderson led the class for those heading to Greenland. 

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Robert H. Jones traveled with both sets of students. 

“We all know Provost Jones to be deeply committed to our Clemson students. It was a joy to watch the students interact with him one-on-one and in small groups,” said Anderson. 

These study-travel experiences are a testament to the National Scholars Program’s commitment to experiential learning, fostering both intellectual and personal growth among participants, and I was honored to join the scholars on these unforgettable journeys.”

Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Robert H. Jones

National Scholars Germany Cohort

The rising sophomore cohort traveled to Germany to immerse themselves in the German culture while touring places and sites they studied in class, including the Berlin Wall, Holocaust memorials and museums and Germany’s parliament, the Reichstag. Later, during the trip in Stuttgart, they learned more about Germany’s role in the automobile industry while visiting the Mercedes-Benz Museum. Associate Professor Andrew Pyle and National Scholars Program Associate Director Kris Fuller also traveled to Germany with the group. 

According to Schmidt, the cohort was captivated by the historical layers of the city, and they enjoyed the immersion in German culture and cuisine. 

“I am grateful for Provost Jones’ active participation in all tours and hikes. His vast knowledge of the fauna and flora complemented Andrew’s stimulating questions about memorization and public communication and Kris’ explorative questions about how we feel about our encounters and their encouragement for different perspectives,” said Schmidt.

“I also have to give a shoutout to the Honors College’s staff who made a perfect adventure possible.” 

National Scholars Greenland Cohort

The Greenland trip connected directly with Anderson’s class on the aesthetics of climate change. Anderson’s background includes climate science research, fieldwork and artistic creation. During the trip, scholars visited several glaciers to observe the effects of climate change firsthand and engaged with residents to understand their perspectives on the changing environment. 

Image courtesy of Todd D. Anderson

“Most of us will never travel to Greenland and sail through an iceberg-strewn fjord, helicopter to remote glaciers or get to contemplate the vastness of the Greenland ice sheet in situ,” said Anderson.

We need people like these National Scholars students to go to such places and experience such things on our behalf.

They will become the civic, academic and cultural leaders we will look to for guidance in the future. And, given the right educational experiences, these are the ones who will lead us forward as a society and people,” he added.