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 Back to SummaryDaniel Scott Smith - Student Advisor Profile

photo of Daniel Smith
Stanford in Berlin - Stanford in Berlin, Winter – Spring 2009, Krupp Internship Program, Fall – Winter 2009-10

MAJOR: English Literature, Art History

 

 

ACADEMIC INTERESTS: Romantic – Early Modern British Literature, Prussian Education and Nationalism, Sociology of Education

Growing up, it was called “going abroad,” not BOSP. Indeed, going abroad had its own definitive meaning, which included going to China for one semester, learning Mandarin, and eventually tying everything into one perfectly neat undergraduate career, through which I would have a stellar demonstration of both theoretical understanding of how the world works and practical experience and expertise in that very same subject, on my own, predetermined terms.

I ditched the insularity of that definition and embraced the Bing approach, which has been, to say in the very least, an out of this world experience. Or, perhaps, it’d be more precise, if I were to say an in this world experience. Do I begin by relating my realization that I–as a 21st century global citizen–am equally responsible and accountable for the Holocaust as my peers are in Germany, that dealing with the past is not a specific event that is completed by a specific ethnic group of wrong-doers but a shared experience which all people, everywhere have duty to remain cognizant and vigilant of? Or how about the moment I realized that I fell in love with my host family, in Trieben, Austria, where we celebrated Christmas together?

I left Stanford–and the United States, for that matter–for about 15 months. In that time, I went from being a 19 year old defined by Leland Stanford Junior University, to a 21 year old who defines Leland Stanford Junior University. I don’t mean to say that my BOSP-Berlin experience engendered a self-perceived authority or entitlement to change the face of Stanford, but rather it gave me the agency to know better what I want and to reestablish these wants within a more global context. Somehow, I went from struggling to find a place at Stanford to having a solid footing in the world.

I studied with BOSP for Winter and Spring Quarters, taking classes ranging from “The Concert and Concerto” to “Jewish and Muslim Berlin.” Directed Readings are not a rare occurrence in the Villa, and I had the opportunity to take a class with an Art Historian on Weimar Art, for which my field-trips to the Berlinische Galerie and to the Bauhaus in Dessau were sponsored. Every class I took in the villa brought the students out into the city: from the Berlinale, the Philharmonie, and Museumsinsel, to “crowded, loud” Italian restaurants, Jewish Community Centers, and San Souci. The city was our classroom and the city was our teacher. And so it goes without saying that these were not mere field-trips, isolated to my newly Bing-pimped abroad experience, but have extended into my life after being abroad. The academics in BOSP-Berlin have both refined and extended my appreciation and insight, insofar as they have expanded into the realms of my personal aesthetic and intellect and have, in large part, contributed to the creation of a new thinker.

After learning more about the Krupp Internship Program and working with Wolf, the Internship Coordinator, I decided that I’d very much like to participate in the Krupp Program relating to my Art History studies. So I applied to the program with the simple hope that I could stay in Berlin and learn more.

Wolf informed me that the Museum for Islamic Art responded affirmatively, and that it was then my task to call the director, introduce myself to him, relate my intentions, and schedule an in-person interview. After the call and the meeting, we were all sold! I began my internship in mid-August 2009 and continued for six months thereafter, concluding mid-February 2010.

The Krupp Internship Program was for me a lot more than another "experience." I met people with whom I will forever be in close contact, understood German work culture, academia outside of the university, and the ever-changing responsibilities of cultural heritage foundations and institutions. My internship has led me through the basements of the Pergamon, into the museum Kantine, restoration and conservation workshops, coworkers’ dining rooms for dinner parties, to a whole host of “real-life” encounters. Indeed, my internship is the starting point of my ambitions to return to Germany (perhaps even to immigrate, permanently).

I think my experience in BOSP-Berlin was so full-rounded and edifying because I embraced some kind of alternative to the notions of success by which we in America measure college: graduating within a neat 4 years, networking and making quite remarkable connections with to-be influential peers, and ascending the ranks of collegiate politics, for example. I wouldn’t deny that these are important and are priorities for many or that they are even impossible or more difficult to attain. Rather I would encourage one to consider "abroad" as an opportunity, as a mentality. Only then will overseas be more than another singular experience to consume made possible by the extreme generosity of the Bing’s. It will be something transformative and alchemic: a time in one’s life when one gets a ten-fold return on his or her investment because he or she simply dared to "go" and be abroad.

This section of the website should be titled, “What Berlin did to me.” The truth of the matter is quite simple: regardless of where in Berlin or Germany I went and what I did there, it was the one doing all the doing.

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