Pfeifer blog from England & Europe

June 8, 2017

Third-year Commodore offensive lineman Ean Pfeifer traveled the British Isles and Europe in May with other Vanderbilt students as part of a course focusing on the economics of war. Here is Ean’s blog about the remarkable trip.

Until last month, I’d never been out of the country. I can tell you that being part of this course with other students made my first experience abroad much more special.

Since I’m an economics major, I took a course titled “Economics of War, Pillage and Plunder.” We explored basic fundamental economic models in war, such as opportunity cost or diminishing marginal returns. Then we dug a little deeper into some economic theories such as strategic bombing and its related costs. We concluded by studying game theories on the difficult decisions many soldiers face of whether to fight or not.

Before the course even began, we started the trip by visiting Ireland, Belgium, and France. Dublin and Brussels are amazing, and both had great history and fantastic architecture.

It also included a visit to Normandy, France, a place that I honestly will never forget. This four-day trip was by far one of the best experiences I have ever had. We visited Omaha, one of the sites where the United States invaded into France. There were five beaches that the allies reached shore: Utah (USA), Omaha (USA), Gold (Great Britain), Juno (Canada), and Sword (Great Britain). Omaha has been said to be the most brutal of the five because of the distance our men had to travel on the beach to reach the cliffs.

Visiting the United States military cemetery there was awesome. This was a very humbling and emotional experience and I just can't thank the men and women of our military today for what they do. June 6th, 1944 will be a date that I will always remember and think of all those men, young and old, that sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Once we arrived in London, a normal day started in a classroom at 9 o'clock and ended at 11. We then rejoined two hours later for excursions. We visited several notable places, such as the Parliament, the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum, Winston Churchill Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and many more. These specific places were important because they illustrated the history of World War II from a different perspective. The royal military may not have had as many troops as the Americans, but they played very important role of keeping Nazi Germany occupied long enough for us to get involved. Also, an interesting fact was that a large amount of London fell due to night bombing from Germany and many fascinating buildings such as St. Paul’s Cathedral had to be rebuilt.

When we weren't in class or on an excursion, we did some exploring on our own. There are 32 different boroughs in London and each one felt like its own small town. We tried visiting as many as we could. One particular place I enjoyed was the Camden market, which had a variety of restaurants and local shopping booths all with a very authentic London feel. I couldn't go without eating the famous fish and chips, so we researched who had the best in town and a lot of sources pointed towards a place called "Poppies" located in the Camden market.

We did a number of other things, like sitting on a boat at night on the Thames River next to the London Eye that was all lit up, traveling to Wembley and attending a Bellator fight (which is very similar to UFC).

Finally, I cannot thank (Vanderbilt Athletics Director) David Williams and (Assistant Athletics Director for Student Services) Elizabeth Wright enough for this trip. I am appreciative to them and the academic staff for this amazing opportunity. It was truly a life-changing event.


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