*Original story available on Glasgow Daily Times. Please visit http://www.glasgowdailytimes.com/news/local-western-kentucky-university-students-study-abroad/article_02d414d2-9882-11e4-8c65-432963e39811.html to be taken directly to the story.
Glasgow college students Brittany Allen and Lisa Hawkins can both cross “traveling to Europe” and “studying abroad” off their to-do lists.
The Western Kentucky University students recently returned from a fall semester at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England.
Allen and Hawkins studied at the college, which is north of London and is in a historic manor house built in the 1800s by Gregory Gregory.
“Living in the manor house was a big difference,” said Hawkins, a nutrition dietetics major who aspires to be a dietician. “That’s where we went to school. We lived there. The professors lived there. We ate there. Everything was in this one building.”
She and Allen were among nearly 200 students who spent the semester there. Because it was a small group of students, Allen said everyone got to know each other well.
“It was just a really good personal experience,” she said.
Allen did not know Hawkins before they spent the semester in England, but Allen’s mother, Feebie, was acquainted with Hawkin’s mother, Charlotte.
Hawkins took two business classes to fulfill a requirement for her business administration minor at Harlaxton, while Allen took classes toward fulfilling her general education requirements.
“Everybody there takes a British Studies class. That’s just about British history,” she said. “I also took biology and an environmental science class that I can use for my gen ed at Western.”
The students were in classes Mondays through Wednesdays and sometimes Thursdays. When they weren’t in class, they traveled to other countries.
“The school organized travel. You could go with them, or you could go on your own,” Allen said.
The students took three required field trips related to their British Studies class.
“One of them was to London,” Allen said. “One of them was to Lincoln, where we saw like a cathedral and we learned about the Roman invasion. It was really neat to go on those field trips and kind of see what we had been studying.”
In addition to traveling in and around England, Allen also visited Germany, Ireland, Scotland, France, Italy and Greece.
Hawkins also traveled to other countries while in Europe.
“I went to eight countries,” she said. “I went to England, Ireland, Spain, Amsterdam and The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy and France.”
In Amsterdam she and her fellow classmates visited the Ann Frank Museum. In Greece, they want to the Parthenon. In Ireland, they went to Galway and did a tour of the Cliffs of Moher.
“In Barcelona, we did a seafood cooking class one night,” Hawkins said. “We went to the market and got food and cooked with a chef. They taught us how. That was really fun.”
In France, they visited the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, where she saw Rembrandt’s famous painting, the “Mona Lisa.”
“It was a very small picture with a really big crowd around it,” she said. “It was really neat. You couldn’t get too close to it. You could stand there and look it and (think), ‘Wow, I’m really here looking at this.’ “
She and her classmates also visited Disneyland while in France.
In Munich, Germany, they visited the World War II German concentration camp of Dachau.
“I think my favorite was Disneyland Paris, as sad as that is,” Hawkins said. “It was the most fun.”
She explained that during other travels while in Europe, they saw several historical monuments and museums. The trip to Disneyland was just a fun day, she said.
Both Allen and Hawkins say they want to go to Europe again someday.
“I would love to go back and travel again,” Allen said. “It was difficult being away from home that long, but it was definitely worth it. I would love to go back.”
Hawkins isn’t sure if she will revisit the same places she did this past semester.
“I would definitely like to see London again and go to all the countries I didn’t get to do this time,” she said.
The partnership between WKU and Harlaxton has, since 2007, provided Western students with a traditional study abroad experience.
“We send students in the fall and spring, and we also have a shorter faculty-led program that goes in the summer,” said Craig Cobane, director of WKU Honors College and chief international officer for the university. “I would say we probably had close to 70 students to go either in the fall or spring semesters and then over 50 in the summer.”
Most of the students who participate in the program have never traveled internationally.
“It’s a really great, easy one for the first time,” Cobane said. “It gives them the confidence that they can spend the semester abroad and that they can succeed and grow. The real goal is it is an academic experience and it’s a life-changing, growing-up experience for these students. I hear this form their parents and from their siblings.”