The British Isles Study Program 2018: Collect Memories

By: Emily Church

One of the most impactful things  one can do during their time at Whitworth is participate in a study abroad trip or program. While I’ve never been outside of the country with a Whitworth group, I still like to consider the three days that I spent up on Mt. Baker for my Adventure and Travel Writing class with Professor John Pell as my abroad experience. There is something about going somewhere new with perhaps an unfamiliar group of people that takes the act of learning and experiencing to a new level.

With the approach of the study abroad fair and the different informational sessions, there is one study abroad trip that should be brought to the forefront of any humanity studies fan’s mind: The 2018 British Isles Study Program (BISP).

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The upcoming BISP trip will expand from February 14th until May 8th and allows students the opportunity to travel through England, Scotland, Wales, and the Republic of Ireland. The first module of the trip is British Isles Art and Craft led by art Professor Katie Creyts.  Students will see historic and contemporary Ireland through a creative lens by visiting unique architecture like abbeys, castles, forts and cathedrals, listening to folktales and songs voiced by the local Irish, and discussing the powerful visual graffiti in Belfast. The second module of the trip is led by Professor Corliss Slack on the Topics in British History. During this section, monuments will be used to tell the story of Scotland by taking tours to Loch Ness, Roslyn Castle, and the Kingdom of Fife. Then it will be off to Caernarvon, Wales were students will stay overlooking the sea and exploring Edward I’s castles. The third module explores Literary England with Thom Caraway who will take students to where William Wordsworth walked and wrote, and met with Percy and Mary Shelley, and Samuel Coleridge. See where J.R.R Tolkien dreamed of the Shire and the mysterious Moors of Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes. The fourth and final module will be spent with theater professor Aaron Dyszelski to explore Fine Arts Culture in Britain Theatre by attending a performance at the acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company, the Globe, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, the Royal Opera House, and the National Theater.

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The 2018 BISP trip has a lot to offer, but as those who have been on previous year’s trips have said, sometimes it’s the moments that happen outside of the major touristy spots that continue to resonate months after the trip is over. One of the students from the 2015 trip, Aly Brooks, now a senior English major, shared her reflective podcast, “Collect Memories Not Things.”

Collect Memories Not Things

By: Aly Brooks

I didn’t want to get stuck in the tourist trap mentality of documenting every second forthe sake of having evidence to show others while forgetting to actually enjoy the experience of living it. Life is so rarely about the things I accumulate around me. I think of rich and varied experiences and the people who lived life to the full and enjoyed telling the tale afterward.

No more than a week into the semester, I considered this mantra once more. I was confronted with the option of using my day off in Dublin to go on a day trip or stay in town and take life at a slower pace. I had an hour to decide. I chose the day trip to the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast. To this day, the Cliffs of Moher are one of my absolute favorite places on the entire trip. I spent the best Valentine’s Day of my life with five friends exploring the Irish west coast, listening to folklore, and trying some of the best brown bread my tongue has ever known. I spent 50 euros on a day trip that I will remember for the rest of my life rather than a fancy trinket that will only take up space on a shelf somewhere. It helped me cultivate a habit that gave me more stories and less regret.

Months later, I spent the last two days of Spring Break on the French Riviera in Nice. Spring Break emphasized this lesson I was learning. I didn’t buy a single souvenir while in Paris, and yet Paris holds some of my most cherished memories from the semester. I remember nights making dinner together in the hostel, sharing a bottle of cheap red wine and dancing in the kitchen. I lost myself in the genius of impressionist paintings in the Musee D’Orsay. I read in the March sunshine at the edge of a fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens. In Nice, I swam in the Mediterranean Sea, and all it cost me was the cash to buy a bikini. I have a priceless memory that had nothing to do with the kinds of funds I had at my disposal.

Memories like this typify the wonderful experiences I took away from this trip. Most souvenirs can only point me to those memories and add to the clutter in my life. Living out of a suitcase for three months taught me how many physical objects I am able to go without. It is easiest to travel light and quick instead of letting myself get bogged down with tea cups or books. Instead, my memories only weigh as much as my moleskin journal can hold in between its pages stacked with ticket stubs, postcards, and words. That lightweight notebook was my constant companion, and now, it’s a better souvenir than anything I could have found in a tourist shop. It’s a time capsule of thoughts and feelings about my experiences. The British Isles Semester Program gave me a new perspective on the things I value. Trips are always more about the adventure than they are about the prize at the end.

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Be on the look out for the information sessions and the application for the upcoming BISP trip!

 

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