Centre-in-England at the University of Reading (Fall 2013) and Centre-in-London (Spring 2014)
Windsor, England, (captured here by Micah Roberts) is a popular
day-trip destination for students.
Centre students (including Anne Evans '12 and Alex Sterba '12,
above) studying abroad in London in the spring of 2011 watched
a streaming video of the royal wedding in Trafalgar Square.
Centre-in-England (at Reading)
This program provides an opportunity for a few selected Centre students to live and study at a major British university with British and other international students. It has had great appeal for Centre students who seek a somewhat more independent "exchange-student" experience at a foreign university, rather than the more typical Centre experience, where students take classes abroad with other Centre students and regular or adjunct Centre professors. About 20 percent of Reading's 12,000 students are from other countries, including about 125 visiting American students from institutions similar to Centre. Unlike most modern British universities, the 300-acre campus at Reading includes a lake and much green space.
Centre selected the University of Reading for this program because of its long-standing reputation as an attractive and welcoming home for American and other international students, the variety and strength of its academic programs, its leafy location near London, and the professionalism of its Visiting Student Office, which organizes very low-cost excursions to Edinburgh, Stonehenge, Bath, etc.
Eligibility. Students may not apply for this program unless they have a 3.0 academic average at the time they apply; this is a requirement of the University of Reading.
Program dates. The program begins when you arrive in London on the morning of Thursday, September 26; you will fly out of the U.S. on Wednesday, September 25, but do not make plane reservations until this date is confirmed in early spring. The final class is on Friday, December 13; plan to vacate your dorm on Saturday, December 14. Once you arrive, you meet up with a Centre professor and the other Centre-in-England students for an orientation to living/studying abroad, to London, and to Reading. You will stay in the Bloomsbury district of central London, near the British Museum and University of London, and will be introduced to some major museums, historical sites, and theatres.
On Sunday you move into your hall at Reading, a pleasant, bustling town of 175,000 people upstream on the River Thames, about halfway to Oxford. Trains between London's Paddington Station and Reading leave about every 20 minutes and continue until 2:30 a.m. The express train takes 23 minutes and can cost students as little as 12 pounds round-tip—about $19.00.
Housing in Reading. You will probably live in single rooms, each with its own washbasin, telephone, and computer port. There is a small kitchen for every eight rooms, and students are not segregated by gender or year. You will take your meals with, compete on intramural teams with, and have social events with the 250-300 other students in your residence hall. So that visiting students make friends with British and other international students, Reading typically does not house all students from an American institution in the same residence hall but, rather, spreads them out.
Coursework. During the 10-week Reading term, you generally select three or four courses from those available across many departments. Typically, a course may have two lectures a week, occasional individual meetings with the professor, two papers, and some kind of final examination—although this regime will vary widely depending on the course and department. Students may not use a Reading English course as their required English junior seminar. Because the Reading term does not begin until early October and is only 10 weeks long, you will also take a 2-hour course at your home and in London, before you go out to Reading. This new course is designed to prepare you for studying and living in England by giving you an introduction to British history, politics, religion, film, etc. You will complete reading and short writing assignments on-line before you leave home and then give an oral presentation and take a test during the London orientation.
There is a non-refundable $350 deposit/surcharge for this program. In addition, students pay their own round-trip airfare, which is currently available for about $850-$1,050 at reduced student rates. You may be able to save money by canceling your car insurance while abroad. If selected, the $350 deposit/surcharge is due by Tuesday, March 5. You can learn more about the University at reading.ac.uk.
Psychotropic Medication and Counseling. The kind of counseling and support services available at Centre are generally not available abroad. Because any significant life transition can exacerbate and complicate already existing mental health issues, students who are currently on psychotropic medication and/or have been in mental health counseling are encouraged to consider participating in a shorter program during CentreTerm or the summer. In addition, those students are urged to meet with a Centre Student Assistance Program counselor prior to their leaving to develop a support plan for their time abroad.
Centre-in-London, Spring 2014
London, the city of eight million that hosted the 2012 Olympics, is perhaps the most dynamic and diverse city in the world. In the 21st century, it still lives up to Dr. Samuel Johnson's famous 18th century dictum: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life." Students live and study in the Bloomsbury district, the academic and intellectual quarter in the very heart of the city and in walking distance to the West End theatre district and most of the great London sites: Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Regent's Park, etc.
Faculty Co-Directors. Co-directing the 2014 Centre-in-London program are Amos Tubb (history) and Judith Jia (art). Both are accomplished Centre teachers and international travelers. Dr. Tubb has co-directed the London program in the past.
Food and Housing. Students will live in twin-shared rooms in the Nido Student Living building near Kings Cross/St. Pancras stations, a hub for the major London tube lines and trains. The Eurostar fast train to Paris now leaves from the recently renovated St. Pancras station. Your central London location is a short walk from the British Library and an easy walk to the British Library and the University of London's Birkbeck College, where classes meet. On the way to class, you will walk through the leafy squares where the late John Maynard Keynes, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, William Butler Yeats, and other British luminaries once lived. Each twin-share room in Nido includes computer ports, a private bath, and either a kitchenette in the room or a nearby kitchen. The facility features 24-hour security, a gym, a cafeteria, a laundromat, and optional weekly activities for its international student clientele. At regular intervals, students are given food money sufficient for shopping for and preparing wholesome meals—though not sufficient for eating out in restaurants, or even fast-food places, in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
Program Dates. Students fly out of the States on Tuesday, February 11, and arrive in England the following morning (Wednesday), where (and when) the program formally begins. There is a five-day break for optional individual travel from Wednesday, March 19, through Sunday, March 23, coinciding with the end of Centre's spring break. After exactly eleven weeks, the program ends in London on the morning of Wednesday, April 30. Students may fly out of London on April 30, or choose to travel in the U.K. and/or Europe on their own after April 30 and fly back later from London, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, or wherever. To make post-program travel easier for those flying out of London, Centre will rent storage bins for one suitcase per student in Nido Student Living until the morning of Wednesday, May 21.
Centre Excursions. Centre will arrange and pay for academic and cultural excursions in and around London on some Wednesdays (regular classes are held on M-T-Th-F) and weekends. In addition, Centre will sponsor one or two excursions outside of the greater London area.
Courses. All students in the program will take History of London (HIS 341), a study of London's history from Roman times through the modern era, including visits to museums and historical sites in London, as well as a group research project into the history of an area of London. Students will use the city as a laboratory, researching how current trends in demographics, architecture, urban planning, war, industrialization, and post-industrialization have shaped the neighborhood that exists there now. At the end of the term, each group will lead the rest of the class on a tour of the area, explaining how all these factors came together to create the modern section of the city before them. Taught by Prof. Tubb.
In addition, students select three of the five following courses:
a. Collectors and Collections (ARH 266): Students will investigate various collections and their collectors. Lectures will strive to put the collection in historical context while covering the collector's motivation, the quality and appeal of the actual objects, and how they are displayed. The basics of curating will be explored by examining how a collection was displayed originally and how that typically changes as the collection changes hands. Collections covered will include stand-alone venues such as the Percival David collection of Chinese ceramics, and smaller collections within large museums such as the Natural History Museum, The Royal Collection, and the Victoria and Albert. Students will research and present a London collection pertinent to their interests. Exams will be based on readings, lectures, and field trips. No prerequisites. Taught by Prof. Jia.
b. Contemporary London Theatre (DRA 341): Students will study the range of contemporary London Theatre, from fringe to the major subsidized repertory companies, through a series of visits to performances and theatre sites and through lectures, readings, and discussion. Emphasis is on both texts and their performances. Students who sign up for this course will be charged $190 on their spring bills to cover part of the cost of the play tickets; Centre subsidizes the other part. Taught by Prof. Steven Dykes.
c. London Design and Art in the 20th Century (ARH 265): The history of the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Aesthetic Movement and industrial design practices will introduce students to the goals and production methods of designers and artists in 19th and 20th century London. Labels of decorative arts, fine arts, artisanry, design and craft will be discussed while identifying seminal objects of each period. Emphasis will be on aesthetics though obvious influences of politics and societal changes on the arts will be covered as well. Fieldtrips to museums, the studios of artists and designers, and a manufacturing facility will present students with the objects studied in class and methods used to make them. Exams will be based on readings and fieldtrips. Students will present a research project on a designer or artist of their choice and, in small groups, design a catalog of the sites and objects seen in the class. No prerequisites. Taught by Prof. Jia.
d. British Politics (GOV 451): An introduction to the structures, processes, and issues of the modern British political system using London as a primary resource. During the first half of the course, student teams will research, visit, and write profiles of London constituencies for a class-produced London Political Travel Guide. During the second half of the course, students will choose and "join" one of the hundreds of British political pressure groups, from pro-fox-hunting to anti-nuclear and every imaginable social, political, economic, and cultural topic in between. The class will discuss current British political issues such as political parties, electoral reform, the European Union, devolution, and civil rights. No prerequisites. Taught by Prof. Todd Foreman.
e. Development of the Modern World (HIS 110): Students will complete a survey of the major Western and non-Western civilizations to the mid-19th century, with considerable attention given to the factors that made each civilization distinctive and to the interaction of these civilizations over time. The expansion of the West and its rise to global prominence—including the specific role of the British Empire—is an important focus of the course. Taught by Prof. Tubb.
Internet, Laptops, and phone communication. Constant communication with everyone in the world is less available in London than it is in Danville. Indeed, if you want to spend huge hunks of time Facebooking and Skyping and avoiding the environment and people around you, you should not apply for this program; you can do those things in Danville and save the slot for students more interested in being immersed in London, England, and Europe. Wireless internet is available both in the classroom and in the student apartments. Although you may turn in all work hand-written, if you own a laptop, you should definitely take it.
Most students find it easiest to simply buy an inexpensive cell phone once they get to London. Students can usually buy one for 5 GBP and load on calling time as they need it. (It's about as inexpensive to call the States as it is to call in England with this system.) Early in the London orientation, the co-directors will take all students to the many electronics/phone stores along Tottingham Court Road.
Grades/Independent Studies. Mid-term warning grades of D or U are issued after the sixth week of the term, just as in Danville. All London courses count in the GPA, just as in Danville. The Pass-Unsatisfactory option is not available in any Centre study abroad program. Only students whose schedules require that they take a particular course not offered in London in order to graduate on time after four years may try to arrange an independent study with a Centre professor in Danville; this option is never recommended.
Pre-Registration/Convocation Credits/Netlibrary. While in London, you pre-register for future courses via email with your regular advisor. You will automatically receive six convocation credits for your time abroad. While abroad, you may access articles on any database at our library. However, if you wish to use an e-book abroad, you must register with Netlibrary before you leave campus.
Study Abroad Medical Insurance. Students studying abroad through any Centre program receive travel and accident insurance at no additional cost. Centre’s Study Abroad Insurance, while provided through EIIA (Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators), is administered through Chartis and WorldRiskTravel. Every student studying abroad with Centre College receives a contact and information card as well as a passport sticker. Each has the Centre insurance policy number, which is the only information needed to receive services. The categories of coverage provided are: accident and sickness ($100,000 limit with a $500 deductible); emergency medical evacuation and emergency family travel ($200,000 limit); accidental death and disability ($200,000 limit); and repatriation of remains ($100,000 limit). For specific questions, please contact the Center for Global Citizenship office at 859.238.5285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Counseling and Support Services. The kind of counseling and support services available on campus are not available abroad. Because any significant life transition can exacerbate and complicate already existing mental health issues, students who are currently on psychotropic medication and/or have been in mental health counseling should consider participating in the three-week Early Summer Strasbourg program or one of the CentreTerm programs abroad. In addition, those students are urged to meet with a Centre Student Assistance Program counselor prior to their leaving to develop a support plan for their time abroad.
Application Procedure. Application and faculty recommendation forms may be picked up at one of the campus-wide informational meetings on November 19, November 27, or January 3—or in the cabinet in the Davidson Room of Old Carnegie. Turn in your completed application at the study abroad office no later than noon on February 5. Students who are selected must pay the non-refundable $350 deposit/surcharge to the Cashier's Office in Boles Hall by March 5 to hold their spot in the program.
Program Cost. The comprehensive fee (for tuition & fees, room, and board) is the same as for study in Danville, except that (1) there is a $350 non-refundable deposit/surcharge due by Tuesday, March 5 to help defray the considerable extra costs of living in central London, and (2) students pay for their own airfare, which is currently available for about $850-$1,050 at reduced student rates. All financial aid arrangements in Danville continue in London. Students with remaining loan eligibility are eligible to borrow additional money for these additional educational expenses. Also, remember that you may be able to save some money by canceling your automobile insurance while away. Centre pays for a few group meals and the required class excursions. On arrival, students will be given pounds Sterling to buy their initial groceries and to purchase an initial Oyster card for use on the extensive bus/tube/light rail lines in zones 1 and 2.
Book Air Tickets Early to Save Money. Students in the past have generally been able to find economical round-trip air tickets. Some have found studentuniverse.com, cheapflights.com, statravel.com, or hipmunk.com helpful sites. Book early for the lowest prices.
Obtaining a Passport. If you do not currently have a passport that will remain valid for at least one month after your return, you should begin the process of obtaining one as soon as you are selected, since it can sometimes take six or more weeks. You can now do this at the Danville post office at the bottom of Main Street.
To see photos from past Centre-in-London experiences, click here.