Spartanburg, S.C. – As the 2007 spring semester nears its mid-point, 20 University of South Carolina Upstate students and the Director of Foreign Study – London Program are making their final plans for a month-long trip to England for summer study and travel.
From June 26 through July 28, these students will be attending classes for two days a week at Kingston University in southwest London, receiving three international credit hours for studying various aspects of British culture and society – from art to architecture, museums and galleries to international business, Shakespeare reading and performance to London and its literary history. Having led the London trip several years in a row, USC Upstate theater professor Jimm Cox will be the group’s guide.
Field trips all over London and the English countryside coincide with academic study at Kingston. Students will visit Parliament, Oxford University, the British Broadcasting System, the Tower of London, Museum of London, Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace, Buckingham Palace, the Globe Theatre, the Greenwich Observatory, Stonehenge and more.
“Typically mornings are spent in lectures with highly qualified experts, and afternoons are spent experiencing the related field activity,” says Cox. “For example, we’ll hear a lecture on British government and then we’ll be led on a tour of Parliament by a Member of Parliament (MP), have all the ceremony explained to us, and observe MPs at work.”
In their free time, students are required to complete an independent study project in communication for another three credit hours. Cox will provide thirty topics, of which students must choose twelve, to write independent study papers. Cox encourages his students to take advantage of travel opportunities around England and to Europe during their off-days. Package trips are available, at an additional cost, to Edinburgh, Paris, Istanbul, Amsterdam, Madrid and Rome.
“There is a lot of fun involved on the trip, but there is a fairly rigorous academic component to the trip as well,” says Cox. He adds that he structures the program on an “open classroom” concept where students learn from their own experiences outside the classroom setting.
“It seems bizarre to me to take students half way around the world and put them in a desk in a classroom with walls and they’re closed in not experiencing all they can,” he says.
While studying in London, students will be housed on the banks of the Thames River in flats at Middle Mills, a quiet and affluent campus community a short 20 minute train ride from downtown London. They will have private bedrooms with wi-fi access, shared kitchenettes and bathrooms plus access to a nearby laundromat.
Included in the $4,650 cost of the program is the round trip flight from Charlotte to London, tuition for both Kingston University and USC Upstate, housing, transportation and admission for field trips, and a travel card for all of London. The travel card gives students access to buses, underground and rail travel to all zones of London, says Cox.
“After years of having been through this experience with students, their lives are changed forever and changed immeasurably,” Cox states. “They gain a new perspective on themselves, on their own country, and on other countries outside their own experience…and the more they travel, the more vast their knowledge of Europe and beyond, the more global perspective they have, means the more advantage students have as they enter the job market upon their return.”
With a deadline of April 1, there are still a few openings for this trip. Passports are required, and passport applications usually take six weeks to be processed. For further information and interesting trip details, students may listen to Cox’s “Tally Ho, Let’s Go” podcast at www.uscupstate.edu/podcasts, call him at (864) 503-5697 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.