Photo by Jane Ford
Carnohan and Nathan Baker gained confidence as students
and adults during their
semester in London.
Here the two pause for
a moment at Bedford Square.
By Jane Ford
London — Whether it was visiting the Lakes District where Wordsworth wrote
or touring World War II sites in London, “to go on walks and actually see
where events happened was amazing,” said U.Va. student Shannon Carnohan
of her study-abroad experience.
decision to leave Charlottesville and travel to London
for a semester was a big move for both she and
fellow student Nathan Baker.
needed an experience outside Charlottesville,” said
Baker, an English major and Charlottesville
native who ha always wanted to attend U.Va.
In London, he said, he “lost that safety net of having my family
Carnohan, a history and foreign affairs major from Fredericksburg,
now said she feels “confident” that she could be “far away from home and
still be happy and comfortable and … form new bonds and [make] new friends.”
Both students wanted a study-abroad program taught in
English. They were attracted by the wide variety
of courses offered through the U.Va. in London
program — courses
that include biology, chemistry, business, economics, theater, English literature,
politics, philosophy, art and architecture history, among others.
Sarah Adams, a U.Va. sports medicine major, said she
chose the program because she could take a pre-med
physics class and lab, required courses
Tahirah Gooden, a media studies major at U.Va. and an
international student from Jamaica, chose the
program because she had heard positive
from her parents, who had once studied there. Additionally, the British
Media and Society course being offered — and her hopes of getting a summer internship
at the BBC — made the program especially appealing.
Since fall 2002, the U.Va. in London program has been
formally affiliated with the New York University
London Center. All courses are U.Va.-approved,
the grades students earn there transfer directly and are factored
into their grade-point
The classes are taught by faculty from NYU, the London
School of Economics, University College London,
King’s College London and U.Va., and are
held at the NYU London Center on Bedford Square.
The neighborhood is home to the
University of London, the British Museum, the Royal Institute
of Philosophy, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Royal
Architecture, among others. Students have easy access to the
public events hosted by
these groups and the history and cultural offerings of the city.
“The location of the London facilities is fantastic,” said Herbert “Chip” Tucker,
the John C. Coleman Professor of English at U.Va. and an expert on 19th-century
literature, who taught in the program in fall 2002.
“There’s a huge difference between London and Charlottesville,” Tucker
said. That difference allowed him to modify his courses to take advantage of
his location abroad.
For students to read Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House” and visit
the sites of nearby legal London is something Tucker cannot provide in his Charlottesville
classroom, he said.
Beyond enriching the educational experience for students,
working in London gave U.Va. faculty access to a wealth
When he wasn’t teaching, Tucker spent his days in the British Library,
where his efforts were rewarded by the discovery of “some pretty obscure
poems” for his ongoing research on the Victorian
poets, he said.
to Tucker, Alon Confino, an associate professor
of history at U.Va. whose teaching and scholarship
and extend his classes into the city of London. While
taking his courses — German
History in the 20th Century, which highlighted the relationship between Germany
and England, and Remembering the Second World War: 1945 to the Present — Confino’s
students had access to relevant museums, commemorative sites and monuments. “International
experiences are always good for students,” Confino said. “They [let
students] see how people do things differently, how they organize their society
Carnohan praised the History of London class she
took last spring for integrating the subject matter
a mandatory class
in British popular culture and one on the Atlantic
slave trade, gave Carnohan a
better grasp of British culture, she said.
Baker also benefited from a uniquely London educational
experience. With his Modern British Stage class,
London’s theaters served as his classroom two
to three times a week. He saw plays ranging from small productions to performances
at the National Theater. Not only did he and his classmates discuss the plays
in the classroom, but they learned about the business of the theater and the
British government’s active role in supporting the arts.
“The best way to talk and learn about the theater is to go to the theater,” said
Betsy Tucker, U.Va. assistant professor of acting and directing, who taught in
the London program in fall 2002 and used her spare time there to search out experimental
works and pub-theater.
lot of new work is developed there today in the back rooms
and upstairs of pubs,” she said.