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Scotland & Ireland field study offers unique experience


Have you always dreamed of studying abroad, but never had the chance to do so? Whether it was due to finances, scheduling, or internships, swinging an entire academic term abroad is simply not possible for many students. However, there is a new opportunity to get that taste of life across the pond this spring. From the same professors who brought you the semi-racy and creative course Sex, War, and Plague, comes the unique opportunity to embark on a field study abroad to both Edinburgh, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland over spring break. Concerned about that program fee? Thanks to a very generous donation from Rollins alum Mark Miller, the cost of the trip has been dramatically reduced to $1,950 which includes tuition, round-trip airfare from Orlando, room, some meals, activities and excursions, in-country transportation, health and emergency insurance, and domestic excursions. “Mark Miller expressed how much he valued the relationships he fostered with his professors as well as his own experiences abroad,” says Assistant Professor of English Jana Mathews. “He wanted to provide students at Rollins with a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience.” ​

​The field study will consist of two Rollins courses in the English major: ENG 304: Americana taught by Associate Professor of English Emily Russell and ENG 410: Going Medieval taught by Dr. Mathews. A total of 12 students will be accepted into the program and will receive a total of 8 academic credit hours during the spring semester. The purpose of the field study is to explore the nature of travel, souvenirs, and history through a series of close readings of domestic tourist attractions in central Florida and castles and ruins of medieval churches across the Atlantic. “The two courses focus on the concept of nationhood and national identity and how they are constructed through tourism,” says Mathews. Throughout the term, students will take domestic field trips to tourist attractions such as Weeki Wachee Springs, NASCAR, and the Magic Kingdom in order to stage an intellectual discussion about how tourism shapes what it means to be an American. While tourism is an evergreen subject, the course is particularly timely with the recent referendum regarding Scotland’s independence. Scottish citizens voted on whether to remain part of the United Kingdom or sever ties and become entirely independent on September 18. The outcome of this historical event will provide another forum for the course to discuss the social constructs of national identity and memory. [Editor’s Note: the referendum did not pass.] In addition to the eight credit hours students will earn from the two courses, both professors have planned to incorporate ways to further boost your resume. “We have designed several unconventional assignments that students will be able to use and showcase in their professional lives,” says Dr. Russell, “we aim to provide students with an academic lens through which to experience tourism that they can use in their future travels long after graduation.” Start your RIPA application today; the deadline for all applications is September 29.

Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons

Castles of Leinster: Leighlinbridge, Carlow (Mike Searle) / CC BY-SA 2.0

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