Literature lives in study abroad session

By Judith Patrick
Correspondent

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

This quote from St. Augustine holds true for one of the College’s most recent study abroad trips to Harlaxton, England.

While studying “Literary Landscapes,” students traveled around Europe, “(bringing) literature to life,” according to English professor and director of the trip Michele Lise Tarter.

After reading Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” students saw the play performed at The Globe Theatre in London and traveled to Verona, Italy to visit the play’s setting.

Study abroad trips create a lifetime of memories. (Photo courtesy of Michele Lise Tarter)

Students also studied F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book, “Tender is the Night” and visited Cote d’Azur, the setting of the novel along the Mediterranean coast in France.

Students finished the course with trips to the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain. They also visited Barcelona while studying Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.”

Still, a course is more than just its syllabus. As with any college class, the summer abroad trip furthered students’ education, but it also helped them become more well-rounded by exposing them to new cultures, histories and places.

“To be a part of ‘Literary Landscapes’ has been the highlight of my life,” said Martha Barabas, a senior English and secondary education dual major. “This class has marked a period of exponential growth, and has allowed me to embark on adventures that I will be chasing the rest of my life.”

Kenneth Shindle, a senior English major, recalled feeling at peace during the trip, especially while staying in Italy.

“Some of my friends and I sat on a hill in Palazzo Giusti, a collection of gardens in east Verona,” Shindle said. “It was totally quiet and serene, and it overlooked the city and offered an incredible, expansive view of hundreds of old houses and churches. I laid back and fell asleep on the hill with a smile on my face. I’d never felt so at peace.”

Students weren’t the only ones with life changing experiences during the trip. Tarter, who has been facilitating study abroad trips for 15 years, says she still has awe-inspiring experiences.

Tarter reflected on her time in Pamplona, where the students arrived for the first day of the week-long San Fermin Festival, also known as the Running of the Bulls.

On the very first morning, the group woke up at 4 a.m., took a local bus into the village and secured a spot above the starting line.

“At 8 a.m., the rocket went off, the gate was swung open and out ran the bulls,” Tarter said. “There were thousands of men who chose to run with the bulls. It was an extraordinary moment to witness. The excitement was palpable in the air. I will never, ever forget it.”

Students experience the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain. (Photo courtesy of Michele Lise Tarter)

For students who are able to go abroad but are nervous or worried, the study abroad veterans had some advice: try and go in slow and do your research.

Interested students can visit the Center for Global Engagement office in Roscoe West Hall or go to one of the study abroad fairs hosted by the College.

There are many courses that are offered each summer, and are open to students of all majors.

Tarter added that next year’s locations are already planned. In 2018, students will be able to travel to countries such as England, Hungary and Poland to study the works of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and Anne Frank’s “Diary of a Young Girl.”

After returning back to the states, Tarter said she hopes her students will open their eyes to other cultures and enhance their sense of global consciousness.

“I think experiential learning is the most inspiring, transformative education there is. I love taking students beyond the classroom and right into the literature we are studying,” Tarter said.

Although each student gained a different experience from their time abroad, many students agreed it is a worthwhile opportunity.