Volume XLVIII, Issue No. 9                               Published by the boys of Father Flanagans Boys Home, Boys Town, Nebr.                                                   September 1, 1965
Reprinted from the Boys Town Times.......

Fulbright Scholar Michael Leuck Is Home From Study

Michael Leuck, a 1960 graduate of the Boys Town high school, returned recently from a year of study at the University of Erlangen, Germany, under a Fulbright Scholarship Grant.
Following his graduation from Boys Town, Mike enrolled at Creighton University in Omaha, being graduated in 1964, summa cum laude.

The scholastic year at Erlangen was so arranged as to allow approximately three months for travel, if the student so desires, and Mike took full advantage of the opportunity.

He states he cover about 35 thousand miles since leaving home, 1,500 of them on foot, which, he says, is “the only way to learn about a city and have maximum contact with the people.”
Mike says he decided at the beginning that it would be more informative and worth-while to visit the Communist lands, poverty-stricken lands, and the Middle East to gain some understanding of the complex problems besetting these regions.
To this end, he spent a minimal amount of time in the usual tourist haunts such as London and Paris and concentrated on the aforementioned places.  He joined a student group for a tour of the Near East and the Holy Land, visiting Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel.
“I think I have a better insight into the Arab-Israeli conflict now,” he says.  “This problem will be more difficult to resolve than our civil rights problem.  The only good land in the area is in Israel, and besides that, the Arabs are fanatics over the subject of Israel.  Even the name infuriates them, so one has to refer to it as Palestine or simply ‘the other side’.”
The tour also was to have made astop at the Island Cyprus, but had to be cancelled for lack of time, a fact which Mike deeply regretted, since he had hope to get a first-hand look at the situation there.
“I visited both Greece and Turkey,” Mike said, “but that’s like visiting the United States to find out about the conflict in Viet Nam.”
In the poorer lands of Europe, he was shocked to see the conditions under which some people of Free Europe are compelled to live, saying that on expects these things in Africa, Asia and Latin America, but not in Europe.
He termed the Mediterranean lands the Appalachia of Europe, and said “the poverty there is quite indescribable—it must be seen to be believed.  Spain and Italy are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, he said, but the others have a terribly long way to go.”
“it gives on a new slant on foreign” Mike said.  “Without our dollars these people would be completely lost.  However, I found these people the friendliest, most helpful, and most generous of any.”
He visited all the Communist lands, except Albania, into which Americans cannot travel.
“My first impression was that everything—including the people—needs a new coat of paint.  Everything is so drab, dirty, and depressing.”
It was more depressing, he said, to talk to the people and find out what their daily lives are like.  The state is a stifling, ever-present load, stifling initiative, taking the cream of production, spreading fear, he said.
“America is these people’s only hope, and so long as we are active in places like Viet Name, this hope burns brightly.”
Yugoslavia has by far the highest standard of living, he said, although Russia’s also is higher than one is led to believe, at least in the large cities.  In the small towns everywhere behind the [Iron] Curtain life is mere existence, he said.
A visit to Berlin is quite the best thing anyone could Mike believes, state that aside from the abominable Wall, the contrast is nowhere so great between the East and West as in Berlin.
West Berlin is one of the most modern, booming cities in the world, while East Berlin is drab, dirty and stagnant, and abounds in war ruins.  In any event, he said, one always sees capitalism in a new light when he leaves and Communist land and returns to a free one, stating it takes a while for one to re-accustom one-self to the niceties of our civilization.
The freedom of movement in the Red lands is always amazing to a first-time American visitor, who half-expects the people to be kept on leashes by the police, he said.  He added, however, that of course this movement is drastically limited once they consider leaving town.
It is almost impossible for the people to visit another country, even a Communist one, he said.  For one thing, it is illegal to export currency from any Communist country, and even then an Eastern country won’t buy other Eastern currency, only western currencies, especially the dollar, he said.
These people scream about our love of the dollar, yet they love it more than we do.”
Mike says it was an edifying experience to meet and sample new cultures and new ideas.
In his travels, he found these cities to be the most beautiful: London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Athens, Istanbul and Leningrad.  Moscow, he said, has an aura of excitement about it, but it is not exceptionally pretty.

NOTE:  Mike Leuck passed away on April 20, 2010.