As soon as classes let out for the summer, some students opted to sleep in; others hopped on a plane for London with their English professor.
Weatherford College Associate Professor Dr. Diann Ainsworth and several of her students took the trip in May to enhance their study of literary texts through first-hand connections with cultural experiences and historical information. The focus of their journey was British writers from the Romantic and Victorian literary periods – and a little Shakespeare for good measure.
“That first day was just for us to get oriented with the life of London and the major buildings,” WC student Ariel Renaud wrote in her travel narrative. “We stopped by Westminster Abbey, and it was so beautiful walking into it; I could just feel the history of the place vibrating my skin, making me itch to know everything about the beautiful church.”
As proper English students, the travelers read novels, plays and poems as well as penned their own travel narrative to reflect on their experiences. They saw Much Ado About Nothing at The Globe Theatre, viewed literary treasures in the British Library, strolled through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. They took the train to Bath, England to experience the Roman Baths, the Pump Room, lively culture, beautiful architecture and outdoor spaces the students had read about in Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
“I could not feel a part of history more than I did in those precious moments with my class,” Renaud wrote recalling the glorious white walls and gold trim of the Pump Room, the statues, the murals, the grand piano. “I ended up closing my eyes with tea cup in my hand and the past on my mind, and I just melted away to a time that was so invigorating and beautiful.”
Student Jakob Strobel wrote about the mixture of old and new which combined to create a beautiful city. “On our tour of Bath, I began to imagine what it was like to live back then. The town seemed to feel really relaxed and would be a great place for someone to go and just get away.”
And while their “get away” only lasted a few days, the experience will remain with them forever.
“We always come back changed by the experience with new outlooks about ourselves and the literature,” Ainsworth said.