Summer session sets scenes from classic tales

By Melissa Natividade
Staff Writer

Visiting Anne Hathaway’s Stratford cottage, touring a medieval forest and spending the night at an English castle is all but a taste of the European adventures that students from the College experienced during the “Literary Landscapes” course offered this summer.

The class spanned four countries in just under four weeks. Students earned college credit for traveling to England, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.

The month-long class takes students throughout Europe. (Alyssa Gautieri / Production Manager)
The month-long class takes students throughout Europe. (Alyssa Gautieri / Production Manager)

“The Harlaxton study abroad trip was any English major’s dream,” said Giovanna Lomio, senior English and secondary education dual major. “When I heard about all of the different countries and cities that we would be going on, I knew that I had to be a part of this trip.”

Directed by English professor Michele Lise Tarter, “Literary Landscapes” aims to bring classics like “Hamlet,” “The Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales” and “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” to life by immersing students in the actual settings of these stories.

“The students on this literary adventure feel the pulse of literature,” Tarter said. “I know that they will remember walking through Anne Frank’s secret annex much more than they will recall sitting in the classroom discussing the text.”

The literature course is offered through the College’s Center for Global Engagement for four course units. It can be counted as a Liberal Learning elective toward the College’s literary, visual and performing arts requirement. With no pre-requisites, language requirements or GPA restrictions, students of various years and majors are encouraged to embark on the journey. 

According to Tarter, 17 students attended the trip, which has been running for 13 years.

When the trip kicked off in Harlaxton, England, the students spent their nights at a castle in the countryside. There, they took part in traditional British activities, such as a High Tea in the conservatory and a formal banquet in the castle’s ballroom.

Students reside in Harlaxton Manor during their time in England. (Alyssa Gautieri / Production Manager)
Students reside in Harlaxton Manor during their time in England. (Alyssa Gautieri / Production Manager)

After traveling to renowned English sites, such as the Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon, students made their way to Denmark to visit yet another royal destination: Hamlet’s castle.

While in Germany, the group took a trip into the Grimm brother’s fairy tale world. They visited everything from Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Rapunzel’s tower to the recently-launched Grimmworld museum.

“I chose this study abroad trip over the other options because it went to the most countries and it was in my major,” said Alyssa Gautieri, junior English major and The Signal’s production manager. “It was the perfect amount of time for me — I could never do a full semester and we were moving around so much, you didn’t have time to be bored.”

In between all the action, students had a free weekend penciled into the travel itinerary. During this time, students had the option to travel to a destination of their choice, whether it be Edinburgh, Scotland; Ibiza, Spain or Paris, France.

The month-long trip then concluded in Amsterdam, where the students toured the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum and other museums and markets.

According to Tarter, plans have been finalized for next year’s trip, which will include France, Spain and Italy. Applications are now available for those interested. The course will be capped at 20 students.

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