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Southern Virginia University

Liberal Arts in England

August 22, 2014

The last hurrah of my summer was a three-week Travel Study trip to England. After a month of studying English political writings and literature, twelve other students and myself set up camp in London. We couldn’t use our normal phones. None of us knew exactly how to navigate the public transportation. Nonetheless, we had a blast. To paraphrase a local advertisement, it was an “absolutely no nasties” experience.

The trip included visits to Dover Castle, Stonehenge, Canterbury Cathedral, the Globe Theatre, the homes of Wordsworth and Milton, Christ Church College at Oxford, and dozens of other sites along the way. Smaller groups of us visited several of London’s West End theaters, and a few of us braved persecution and stood in line to see Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. I especially enjoyed the British Museum and the Lake District.

The educational  anchor of the trip was a series of group discussions. Professors Jan-Erik Jones and Scott Dransfield instructed us on key bits of history and politics before several of our major excursions. Both professors came prepared with not only expertise and insight, but contagious levels of enthusiasm. In quieter moments, they shared their views on subjects such as fish and chips and bird lore, from which one member of the group learned to do a spanking-good impersonation of an English Moor Hen.

It was fun to study the etymology of pub names such as Merlin’s Beard, Captain Hook’s Cookery and the Rubber Squirrel. I learned more about art, language, religion and even architecture than I bargained for, and I left England with an itch to keep learning. I thoroughly recommend trying Travel Study during your time at Southern Virginia. As one student in the group put it, it’s a true liberal arts experience.

(Post by Stephen Taylor ’15. Photos by Delaney Taylor ’15 and Jordan Wunderlich ’16.)

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