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Student Stories from Abroad

Name / Class Year: Agnes Burt, 2011

Where and when did you study abroad?  I studied in Rome, Italy for the Fall 2009 semester.

What (if any) classes did you take while abroad that counted towards the English major? There was an English class offered that semester. I don't remember the exact title but I believe the class focused on literature in Rome.

Why was your experience abroad important to you as an English major?  I actually didn't give much thought to how study abroad affected my majors. I knew I wanted to go to a non-English-speaking country and thought the Rome program sounded wonderful. Once I was there, I think one of the immediate things I appreciated was the city's history. I was also a history major and I loved the city's many layers – the idea of walking on top of buried Roman ruins while exploring the old streets and buildings. From an the perspective of my English major, I think I found the idea that past authors had lived in the city and been in the same places very exciting. As part of my English class, we took a trip to the Protestant Cemetery and saw Keats and Shelley's graves, which was a very cool experience. I believe we also read Henry James' "Daisy Miller," where one of the characters had a hotel overlooking the Spanish Steps. Our Italian language course was a few blocks away from the steps, so we saw them quite a bit. I think seeing the steps in person added a lot to my reading because I had a sense of the architecture and the character's view out the window.

Any advice/insights you'd offer to prospective or current English majors regarding study abroad?  I would encourage students to avoid the assumption that because they study English, they should go abroad in Britain. The Rome program's classes were all in English so it wasn't a problem to keep up with coursework for my major. So many authors traveled around, that I think you can still feel connected to their experiences, even if you aren't in London. I visited Britain during fall break so I was still able to see the major sights during that time.

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