Experiential learning encompasses any activity in which a student is actively engaged in their education inside or outside of the classroom. At Trinity, experiential learning includes undergraduate research opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, volunteer experiences, internships, study abroad opportunities, and more.

By Mariah Wahl

This summer, a group of Trinity University students explored international criminal justice firsthand by visiting The Hague, center for international criminal courts. Beginning in spring 2015, students studied the history of international justice beginning with the Nuremberg Trials and culminating in the creation of the International Criminal Court. Each student pursued an individual research question as part of the course. A firsthand experience with the International Courts of The Hague lent real-world experience to their work.

One participating student, Alexandra Uri ‘18, used the trip to research how the creation of different international courts lends itself to the cycle of justice and maintains a focus on issues of global politics. Her research led her to discover the complexities of international justice, but ultimately found a positive, effective court system at The Hague.

Uri speaks passionately about her trip to The Hague in the Netherlands
An integral part of Uri’s work was seeing these court systems in person. She was struck by how close faculty leader Rosa Aloisi, professor of political science, was to the institutions visited by the group.

“Dr. Aloisi was on the legal team for the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, so she was able to offer us deep insight into the inner workings of the court systems and the roles different bodies play in the courts. We couldn’t have asked for a better faculty lead for the program.”

The Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is an ad hoc court established to prosecute crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars between 1991 and 2001.

In addition to Aloisi’s guidance, Uri was grateful for the mixed academic backgrounds of many of the students. The course was open to all students, and drew majors ranging from business, to political science, to English.

The International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Uri spent most mornings in the program visiting different institutions and learning about International politics, but the afternoons were free. Her group was able to visit the beach, take day trips to Amsterdam, and visit Bruges, Belgium.

“Getting closer to all these people—I didn’t know anyone coming into this!—was one of the best parts of the trip. We’ve stayed close. We’re actually getting together at the end of the semester for a secret Santa.”

For Uri, the trip cemented a decision to major in political science, and to one day pursue the kind of legal work conducted at the Hague. This was only her first trip to the Netherlands, but she hopes to go back.

Uri intends to pursue a degree in political science and hopes to bring justice to others. 
“I want to go into International Criminal Justice, and to have this firsthand view of the process made it the best trip I’ve ever taken.”

Trinity students will return to The Hague in the summer of 2016 under the leadership of Aloisi and Alfred Montoya, professor of Anthropology.

Learn more about Experiential Learning opportunities here. Find more opportunities to study abroad, on faculty led trips and more, by clicking here