Students Experience History on UK Study Tour

Professors Greg Dodds and Kellie Bond Lead Courses on History and Literature

By: Camlynne Waring

Kellie Bond lecturing on the battlements of Old Sarum above Bath

Instead of learning in a classroom, 21 students are experiencing history and literature on the United Kingdom study tour this summer from June 27 to July 17.  Led by Professor Greg Dodds, History Department, and Professor Kellie Bond, English Department, the students travel to historic and literary landmarks, such as the Roman Baths, Westminster Abbey, Scarborough Castle, and the Tower of London.

Dodds is enthusiastic about the tour experience.

“Taking history and literature courses while on a tour is a marvelous experience,” he said.  “Students and teachers get to know each other much better than in a normal classroom setting and visiting the places one is studying about makes the past come alive.”

Students can earn eight credits on the tour towards their English, history, or honors program requirements.  Assigned readings are completed before and during the tour.  Students may read works by Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, and Henry James.  Lectures and discussions enhance learning while abroad. 

“Not only do students better understand the context of what they are studying, but they remember it better,” Dodds said.  “I still remember how much I learned as a student on tours, and I want to make that type of learning and those experiences available to WWU students.  A tour provides a unique education that lasts a lifetime.”  

History major Katie Wittlake, who will graduate this summer, is experiencing Europe for the first time on the tour, and is enjoying how material she learned in previous classes is augmented by the tour.

“There is really no substitute for visiting locations with rich historical heritage,” she said.  “Some of the most captivating moments for me while on the tour have been seeing things that I remember studying in the classroom, like Lindesfarne and the Stone of Scone.”

For Kelsey Zuppan, a senior music and nursing major, history has come alive through “walking on the very places where significant things we have learned about happened hundreds of years ago, for example, the place where Bloody Mary burned Protestants at the stake, the Tower of London where many prisoners were tortured and beheaded, and St. Paul's Cathedral which is the pride and joy of the English people.”

Many students are amazed by the landscape and atmosphere.  “Everywhere we went there was a romantic movie scene with green hills, rivers, sheep, and quaint little pubs,” said Emily Balkins, a senior nursing and Spanish major.

Other highlights of the trip include seeing the royal family at Edinburgh, having tea in the pump room in Bath, and visiting Stonehenge.   

The richness of the experience is a credit to Dodds and Bond said senior art major Allison Berger.

“I feel so lucky to travel with such excellent professors,” she said.  “Their knowledge and understanding of their respective disciplines applies so perfectly to what we're experiencing on this tour.”

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