Twelve criminal justice majors from Niagara University recently joined Assistant Professor Diana Falco, Ph.D., on a three-week study abroad program that examined law enforcement policies in four European countries.
The joint program, which included 20 students from James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Va.), allowed participants to explore comparative justice issues in Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
The program commenced in the Netherlands, where students learned about drug policies (including legalized marijuana), harm reduction policies (especially treatment of drug offenders), legalized prostitution and human trafficking. During their stay, students met with proponents of legalized prostitution within Amsterdam's Prostitution Information Center as well as members of the Lighthouse Project, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that opposes legalized prostitution and works to reduce human trafficking in the Netherlands.
Students also spent a morning conversing with Amsterdam police officers and visited The Hague (Den Haag), the International Criminal Court, Dutch Parliament and the Peace Palace.
Belgium and Luxembourg
Travel continued to Brussels, where participants engaged with United Nations members on matters such as crimes against humanity (e.g., genocide), the World Food Program, terrorism and the general goals of the U.N. During Memorial Day weekend, the group made its way from Belgium to Luxembourg, stopping to check out the Battle of the Bulge Memorial (Bastogne, Belgium), the General Patton Memorial Museum (Ettelbruck, Luxembourg) and the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial.
The trip's final week brought students to Strasbourg and Lyon, France. During the three days in Strasbourg, students visited European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights. In Lyon, they were treated to a special tour of INTERPOL, the world's largest international police organization, where presentations were made on human trafficking and drugs, organized crime, counterterrorism efforts and other general responsibilities of INTERPOL.
The Niagara University students concluded their trip with a free day in Paris, visiting the Eiffel Tower and the Arch de Triumph.
"This was an incredibly successful trip, in that it provided our students with numerous hands-on learning experiences in cultures that are different than their own," stated Falco, who is entering her fourth year in NU's criminology and criminal justice department. "A number of students called this a 'life-changing experience' and expressed their interest in participating in another study abroad program in the near future."
Participating students included:
To learn more about Niagara University's criminology and criminal justice programs, call 716-286-8080 or visit http://www.niagara.edu/crj.