An Idyllic Fit in the Last Grand Duchy

Cody Fuelling is a 2017-2018 American Fulbright student researcher in Luxembourg. A recent graduate of Indiana University – Purdue, his project is entitled “Ground-Level Regional Differences in Luxembourg’s Genocide Education”.  Below, Cody reflects upon his first two months in Luxembourg, the world’s only remaining Grand Duchy.

Before Fulbright took me to Luxembourg, I had not been to too many places. My approach to work and school afforded me few opportunities to venture outside my rural pocket of northeastern Indiana, and I’d left the country only once. To save money, I commuted to college from home, and it wasn’t until an internship in New York this summer that I spent a significant amount of time living away. This didn’t make me intimidated by nine months in another country – I’ve been ready for this next part of my life for some time now – but I imagined the transition would be jarring. I’d never been to Europe, and now I live in its heart, in Luxembourg, in the last Grand Duchy.

When I tell my friends where I am, I paint a picture of a small country nestled among the borders of Belgium, Germany, and France (to free them from the idea that it’s a city in Germany). I tell them about how I get to run to France at sunrise, meet new people (a story for another post), and eat new food. I get to describe how this country’s drinks marry Belgian and German beer with French wine, and how the food in Esch-sur-Alzette pulls out what can often taste like the best Italian pizza, Portuguese meats, and Middle Eastern kebabs known to man (especially the kebabs when it’s late at night and smothered in samouraï sauce). And finally I get to tell them about the places to hike and the sights to see, about taking a train through the bucolic state to go see Vianden Castle, or the castles of Beaufort, the ruins in Esch-sur-Sûre, or their companions in Bourglinster and Bourscheid. These old stones are bar none the greatest part.

Le château de Vianden is particularly romantic for me. The castle sits on a large, green hill, overlooking a river which carefully glides through the quiet town below, flanked on both sides by more tree-covered hills. When we went there were no tourists (present company excluded), just a warm, sunny day in Luxembourg. The place was quiet, and in a foreign way it reminded me of home. It was peaceful. After trips to Chicago, New York, Miami, and elsewhere, Vianden was the first place where I thought, “I could live here, *actually* live here.”

So far my experience in Luxembourg has been filled with small moments like this. The atmosphere of the country fits my private personality. — I couldn’t have chosen a better place to do my research.

Read more about Cody’s experience in Luxembourg at his personal site, The Last Grand Duchy. Articles are written by Fulbright grantees and do not reflect the opinions of the Fulbright Commission, the grantees’ host institutions, or the U.S. Department of State.