Weber State University’s study abroad program is expanding its 2018 options to include a trip to the United Kingdom. Geared toward English majors, this study abroad opportunity offers students a chance to learn about Jane Austen in the setting wherein she wrote her most important works.
The trip will take place June 10–24, and while the program is developed for English majors, any student or community member interested in participating is welcome to apply.
According to the Jane Austen House Museum, Austen is “Britain’s most-loved writer.” For some students and faculty at WSU, this is not an exaggeration.
Rebecca Schwartz, director of the study abroad program and the brains behind the Austen-inspired trip, said she began reading “Pride and Prejudice” with her mother when she was 12.
Since then, Austen’s work forged an unbreakable bond between Schwartz and her mother.
Schwartz cherished that bond so much she pitched her Austen study abroad idea to WSU professor of English Kyra Hudson.
Hudson, who lived in the U.K. and visited several of the places Austen had lived and worked, jumped at the opportunity to head this project.
Graduate student Aimee Golden has already signed up and paid the deposit for the trip. For her, the best way to learn about Austen is to walk in her footsteps and understand where she comes from.
“Jane Austen is really one of the earliest feminist writers in my opinion, and that’s really important to me. I tend to go for more feminist and more woman-friendly media. And she was writing things ahead of her time,” Golden said.
Hope Lytle, a senior in WSU’s digital media program, is an ardent fan of Austen’s novels. While initially apprehensive about applying for the study abroad program, Lytle changed her mind.
“I love her because she was writing romance stories. She’s like the O.G. of romance, and it was before her time. I love the idea of a woman’s perspective and the unfairness … during her time,” said Lytle.
The trip will include visits to Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Windsor Castle, Winchester, Jane Austen’s grave, a Thames River cruise, tours to Chawton (Jane Austen’s house and museum), Bath and Southhampton (where Jane Austen was known to attend society gatherings).
Currently, there are five people signed up to participate, but the minimum requirment for funding is 12.
If more than 12 people sign up, prices may go down, and money may be refunded, Schwartz said.
“Over the last two years, 97 percent of our students have graduated or matriculated,” Schwartz said of the study abroad program. “It’s a really good opportunity to get credits in a short period of time because it’s such an intensive program. This is a very unique opportunity to follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps, go on this program and get credits at the same time. It’s going to help them get jobs later in life when they can talk about their international experience.”
The itinerary for the trip will be posted on the Study Abroad website along with prices and available scholarships to help pay for expenses.
For more information about the Study Abroad program, go to www.weber.edu/studyabroad.