Students Broaden Historical Horizons in the U.K.

Byline: by Shin Young Lee

Posted: March 3, 2012

In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer travels from London with a group of strangers to pilgrimage to Canterbury and visit the shrine of Saint Thomas à Becket. Several prominent pilgrims each tell a tale of adventure on their journey. This January, nine students made a similar adventurous pilgrimage, led by Chaplain Rosie Magee and Dean of Students, Becky Hammell.

Students visited London and Scotland for the J-Term class named "The Reformation in Britain." Magee and Hammell planned the lecture and trip.

"I’ve never travelled outside of Pennsylvania," explains Sierra Schnable ‘12, who participated in this trip. "Canterbury Cathedral was the most interesting place to me. Interestingly, there was a kitty in the Cathedral." Continued Schnable, "The memorials and stained glasses are well preserved. I felt the originality."

"As a chaplain, I’m interested in this specific topic, the Reformation. Also, I wanted to give an opportunity to experience new culture for students," Magee says.

Understanding the Reformation

The Reformation in Britain analyzes how the Church of England separated from the Catholic Church and the Pope in the sixteenth century. Besides these historic events, the United Kingdom is one of many English speaking countries, so it is more familiar to students who are experiencing their first visit to a foreign country.

"I thought this trip would be my last opportunity to travel abroad at Wilson, because I’m a senior now. And the trip cost was the same as a J-Term class, so it was affordable," Schnable says.

Due to the winter seasons, there were not many tourists traveling, so students could enjoy historic places, such as Westminster Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral in London without interruption.

The fair weather only improved the trip. "People might think it was chilly, but it wasn’t. Fortunately, it was good for walking and visiting many places outside," Magee says.

As Chaucer recounted the pilgrims’ trip as The Canterbury Tales, students recorded their journal in a blog or a paper. "Every day I kept a record on a blog. It was one of the assessments, but I enjoyed it. In Scotland, I didn’t have any internet access, so I wrote on paper and I moved it to the blog," Schnable says.

Magee and Schnable were extremely satisfied with their trip and lecture. Magee hopes to offer this course again next semester. "It is affordable, so take the opportunity," Schnable comments, "Give it a shot." 

Last Updated: March 3, 2012

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