Centre-in-England at the University of Reading (Fall 2010) and Centre-in-London (Spring 2011)

Centre-in-England at the University of Reading (Fall 2010)
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 do not live together in one place but take classes abroad with other Centre students and regular or adjunct Centre professors.  About 20% of Reading’s 12,000 students are from other countries, including about 125 visiting American students from institutions similar to Centre.   

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.  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.  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 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.   

The program begins when you arrive in London the Thursday morning after you fly out of the States on Wednesday, September 22nd; flights to Europe arrive the next morning.  (Do not make plane reservations until this date is confirmed in early spring.)  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 half way 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 costs as little as 11 pounds round-trip--about $17.00, though it will cost you less, because you will be given pounds to purchase a Young Person’s Rail Pass that allows you to travel for 1/3rd off. 

Visiting American students at the University live in modern, single rooms, each with its own wash basin, telephone, and computer port.  There is a 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 or “college.”  So that visiting students make friends with British and other international students, Reading does not house all students from an American institution in the same college, but rather spreads them out two or three to a college.  Unlike most modern British universities, the 300-acre campus at Reading includes a lake and much green space.  The Centre orientation is followed by a six-day University of Reading orientation, which includes social events, excursions, student fairs, and lectures on travel opportunities in Great Britain and the continent.   

During the ten-week Reading term, you select, generally, three or four courses from those available from 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 junior seminar.  

There is a non-refundable $350 deposit/surcharge for this program.  In addition, students pay their own round-trip airfare, currently about $600.  You may be able to save money by canceling your car insurance while abroad.  If selected, the $350 deposit/surcharge is due by Monday, March 8th.   A 15-minute video about visiting students at Reading is available in the Study-Abroad office in Carnegie.  You can learn more about the University at www.reading.ac.uk, or by reading the Travel Journal on Centre’s webpage.

Centre-in-London, Spring, 2011
London, a city of eight million, 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 2011 Centre-in-London program are Prof. John Kinkade (English) and Prof. Bruce K. Johnson (economics).  Prof. Kinkade studied in London while a Centre student and after graduation; Prof.  Johnson will be spending his fifth semester in London with Centre students. 

Food and Housing:  Students are housed in two-person, efficiency flats in Endsleigh Court, a handsome apartment/hotel building in Bloomsbury.  The building is located a short walk away from the British Museum, the British Library, and the University of London’s Birkbeck College where classes meet.  Its location a block from Euston Station and two blocks from the just-renovated St. Pancras Station (the new London home of the Eurostar) makes it convenient to major tube lines and trains; London busses stop across the street.  On the way to class, students 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 flat includes an entrance hall, an equipped kitchenette, and a large bathroom.  Its main room includes two single beds, wardrobe and drawer space, a private telephone, and tv.  A porter is on duty at the front desk 24 hours a day.  At regular intervals students are given food money sufficient for shopping and preparing wholesome meals in their apartment kitchens—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, 15 Februaryand arrive in England the following morning where and when the program formally begins.  There is a four-day break for optional individual travel from 24-27 March, coinciding with the end of Centre’s spring break.  The program ends with a trip to Paris from 27 April – 30 April.  Students have the option of leaving the program eitherin Paris on Saturday afternoon, 30 April or of taking the Eurostar fast train back to London that evening and leaving the program in London on the morning of Sunday, 1 May in time, if they wish, to catch a plane back to the States that same day.  In the past, many students have left the program in Paris and traveled in Europe on their own before they return to the States for the summer.  To facilitate this post-program travel, Centre will rent storage space in Endsleigh Court until Tuesday, 17 May, for storing luggage students may not want to haul around Europe with them. 

Courses:  All students in the program will take The Economics of London (upper-level Econ course) – A study of the living, breathing, and ever changing organism known as London.  No mere lecture course this; a laboratory class is more like it, and our lab will be London, one of the world's great cities.  We'll be able to use London, and its various neighborhoods and suburbs, to reveal the influences that have contributed to its status as one of the world’s greatest and most powerful cities. Taught by Prof. Johnson. 

In addition, students will choose three of the following five courses:           
a. 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, students in teams of two will research, visit, and write written profiles of London parliamentary constituencies as part of a class-produced London Political Travel Guide.  During the second half of the course students will “join” one of the hundreds of British political pressure groups of their choosing, 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.  Taught by Centre Adjunct Prof. Todd Foreman.

b.  Contemporary London Theatre (DRA 341) – Students, read, study, view, and discuss a wide variety of London productions ranging from the latest West End shows to government-subsidized theatre at the Barbicon and National, to experimental and “fringe” theatre put on  in warehouses and pubs.  There is a $185 extra fee for this course to cover the costs of theatre tickets, which Centre partially subsidizes.  Taught by Centre Adjunct Prof. Steven  Dykes.

c.  Economic History of the Modern World (ECO 375). Why are some nations rich while others are poor? Until the last 150 or 200 years, no one would have asked such a question for a simple reason: there just wasn’t much difference in the living standards around the world. This course attempts to answer the question, along the way examining what happened when and where as the modern economic world took shape.  As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, England offers excellent resources to illustrate and illuminate the growth and development of the modern world economy. No economics prerequisites. Taught by Prof. Johnson.

c. British Literature- II  (ENG 220) - A survey of major works of British literature from the Romantic period to the present day, with emphasis upon understanding and evaluating literary works in their historical and cultural backgrounds. Additionally, this section will emphasize texts composed and/or set in London and make use of the physical background of the city to understand and appreciate our texts.  No prerequisites.  (English majors/minors who have had 220 may enroll in a junior seminar.) Taught by Prof. Kinkade.

d. London Lives (Upper-level English course) - Explore the biographies and creations of literary and artistic figures of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The life of Samuel Johnson—the subject of the first truly modern biography and one of the most iconic Londoners of all time—will anchor a course that asks questions about how we understand the lives of others and how lives in London changed over the course of what we might call the first century of the modern era.  The course will also study quintessential Londoners such as Dickens, William Hogarth, and Jonathan Wild, as well as fictional Londoners such as Sherlock Holmes, the detective who read the sociology of London in startling new ways. This course will make extensive use of walking tours, visits to historic sites, and visits to the National Portrait Gallery; it is a course that could happen only in London.  No prerequisites.  Taught by Prof. Kinkade.

Pre-Departure Training
Selected students will attend three required pre-departure meetings this spring and/or next fall.  These meetings will prepare you for living and studying in another culture and give you a head start on your common course.  Students selected will continue to prepare through individual reading over the summer.

Travel Journals
You may able to get a better sense of what this program is like by reading the Travel Journals of Eric Hack ’08 and Nate Olson ’04 on the Centre Study Abroad website. 

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 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 $600 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 the Paris weekend, a few group meals, and 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 pass in zones 1 & 2. 

Book Air Tickets Early to Save Money
Students in the past have generally been able to find round-trip air tickets from $600-$750.  Some have found www.studentuniverse.com or www.statravel.com helpful sites.  Book early for the lowest prices.  

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 Mexico 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.

Pre-Registration / Convocation Credits
While you are in London, you contact your advisor and pre-register for future courses via e-mail.  You will automatically be credited with six convocation credits during your term abroad. 

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.  In the recent past, some students have waited three months to receive a passport, even though the passport agency has stated that it will take 6-8 weeks.  Do it now! 

Internet, Laptops, and Cyber Cafes
Computers and internet connections are less available in Centre’s study-abroad programs than they are in Danville.  Indeed, if you expect to spend huge amounts of time Facebooking and Skyping, you should reconsider applying, since the point of this program is to immerse yourself in a different culture.  There are many cyber-cafes throughout London, and wireless is generally available in Endsleigh Court, where you will live.  Although you may turn in work hand-written, if you own a laptop, you should definitely bring it.

Psychotropic Medication and Counseling 
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 are encouraged to consider participating in the three-week Summer Strasbourg program or a CentreTerm course abroad.  Whenever they study abroad, 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.

Study-Abroad 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 AIG Assist.  Every student studying abroad with Centre College receives an AIG Assist 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 $250 deductible); emergency medical evacuation and emergency family travel ($100,000 limit); accidental death and disability ($200,000 limit); and repatriation of remains ($100,000 limit).  For specific questions, please contact the International Programs office at 859.238.5285 or lisa.nesmith@centre.edu.

To Apply
Application forms and faculty recommendation forms can be printed off using the link accessed on the study abroad page on Centre’s website. You should give the recommendation forms to your faculty recommenders early in January.  Turn in your completed application at the Study-Abroad office no later than 4:00 on Monday, February 8th.  You may not email your application in.  The sub-group of the International Programs Committee that makes the selections retains the right not to select students who have had run-ins with the Student Life Office.  You will be notified of your status by email on Monday, February 25th, after the list is vetted by both the Associate Dean and the Dean of Student Affairs.  For more information, check out the London “Travel Journals” on the Centre Study Abroad website.

Application form for Centre in England 2010 and Centre in London 2011

Faculty Recommendation form


For more information on Centre's Study Abroad Program, contact Milton Reigelman or Lisa Nesmith.

"One thing I'll always be grateful for is the way that our courses here have taken full advantage of the setting. My classes on museums, British theater, and British statesmanship have, in their own ways, transformed the "classroom" into the city of London itself. In the statesmanship course, for instance, each student has found within the city some symbol of British power, past or present. And in addition to submitting an analytical paper that puts that symbol in a larger context, we have all taken our classmates on quick excursions to present our symbols first-hand. It's been an excellent way to take that extra bit of knowledge, that extra memory, home with us."
—Nate Olson '04