The summer of 2018 brought one of the most vibrant group of young students and scholars from across the globe to the beautiful island of Juist in order to discuss the topic of space and frontiers in the ancient world. While there, we were able to use our shared academic interests as a foundation for prolonged, intensive engagement with materials and ideas relating to imperial and domestic boundary zones. The international makeup of our class ensured that there was always an array of diverse perspectives which both complimented and constructively challenged each other. Over the course of the week, we became such a close-knit group that interesting conversations sprung up almost everywhere – be it while walking along the beach, strolling through Juist’s charming town center, or simply over afternoon tea following a class session. The group dynamic between us saw to it that there was never a moment which did not see us advancing our intellectual horizons or creating a stronger bond together in a warm, congenial atmosphere. None of this would have been possible without the unflagging efforts of Professors Sommer, Kunst, and Schmitt in organizing the summer school, whose hospitable natures are matched only by the level of erudition they brought to the island. Each of the professors added to our collective knowledge of antiquity while also pushing us to come up with our own answers as independent academics, making it at once truly both a learning and creative process.
In short, the summer school was a remarkably unique combination of amazing people who were given the opportunity to develop their academic potential in an environment quite removed from the hustle and distractions of everyday life, but fit instead for both focused group study and idyllic enjoyment. I will always look back on the summer school with appreciation for the wonderful people with whom I was able to connect, and for the illuminating experiences had there – both of which have made me a better scholar, and brought me into a strong fellowship with new colleagues.
Joe Holwell, University of Wisconsin–Madison