Have you ever been to London? Have you ever hiked along the Welsh Coastline on a sunny day? Have you ever gazed at the stars from the English countryside, laying between a bed of purple flowers and your best friend?
If the answer to these questions is “No”, now’s your chance!
The termination of Winter Term for the ’15-’16 school year brought sadness to much of the student body, but Graceland worked to provide an awesome alternative. In May of 2016, five Graceland professors decided to bring a group of students to live in and explore England for three weeks while taking one of their courses. And they’re offering that opportunity again!
For the first five days, the Graceland students and staff stayed in London where they attended a performance of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the National Theatre of London, learned to navigate London’s underground public transit, the Tube, and hit up all the tourist attractions including the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, the Changing of the Guard, and Abbey Road. Individual classes also had scheduled their own separate adventures that sometimes others were invited to join. The theater class, taught by Gary Heisserer, attended theatrical shows almost daily while the history class taught by John Franklin hit up even more museums.
For the next two weeks everyone stayed at the Dunfield House, owned by the Community of Christ and located in the English countryside, within walking distance of the border to Wales. Then the classes really delved into their subjects. Raquel Moreira had her Communications students writing about their experiences as Americans in another country, Dennis McElroy took his education students to a local school to observe the differences in an English classroom from an American classroom, and Isaac Pressnell hiked his travel and nature writing students up every hill you could see from the Dunfield House.
Jessica Pycior shares her memory of the first hill Isaac made his class climb. “The first day Isaac took us on a hike; We went straight up a super steep mountain. On the way back down Lexi [Cairns] slipped and fell on her butt and her leggings were so slick that she slid, literally, all the way down the mountain like it was a freakin’ slide!”
Some days the itinerary pulled the students from the Dunfield House to explore other cities like Stratford-upon-Avon where they watched a performance of Hamlet at the Royal Shakespeare Company and to Hay Bluff where they toured a ruined castle. Students would also take advantage of these times to find wifi and update everyone at home of their time in England. Lydia Bendorf explains that back at the Dunfield House, “the internet didn’t work all the time, but that just helped to enjoy the view so much more and to really enjoy the time there.” Other students expressed how being disconnected really allowed for them to be more present in where they were and to embrace the fullness of the experience.
If you don’t want to miss out on your chance to have this awesome experience but you’ve already missed the informational meeting for the England May Term of 2017, just contact Adam Groh, Dan Platt, Karen Gergely, or Steven Glazer to find out what kind of classes they’re offering and how you can sign up!
Traveling is such an incredible opportunity that is great for all ages, but especially college students. It opens you up to the world and makes it more attainable. You’ll learn so much more about your own culture once you’ve stepped into another. If you’re still uncertain about going on the England trip, Maceson Spencer leaves you with his thoughts on the value of his experience:
“England proved to be a treasure trove through and through. I could’ve spent a whole year wandering the streets of London and still not have scratched the surface of all it has to offer. Don’t think for one second that you’ll manage to see everything you’re wanting to see, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. What’s important is that you’ll be able to see the things you can never see anywhere else.”
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