The NOVA Honors Program designed its first-ever Honors Study Abroad to London this past May. Honors Program students were recruited from NOVA’s six campuses, and 25 students, ages 17 to 37, journeyed to London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cambridge and Oxford for two weeks to learn about Shakespeare and English history.
This unique study abroad class began meeting, attending plays and events in early March in the U.S. and continued in London. The course culminated on June 4 when students presented their portfolios to their peers and shared how much this enriching experience meant to them.
“The Honors Program’s first study abroad class was an experience I am so proud to say I was a part of. From the moment I heard about the trip, it felt surreal,” said Maria Vera-Alvarez (one of the 2013 Honors Scholars) whose trip was funded as part of her NOVA Honors Scholarship. “Not only was the trip itself great, but the classes we all took while abroad were incredibly interesting. I felt completely surrounded by the things I had learned so much about in a way that I had never experienced before.”
With the guidance of NOVA’s Global Studies team, Dr. Rebecca Hayes (Manassas Honors chair) and Professor Stacy Rice (college-wide Honors coordinator) designed the study abroad activities to enhance two courses: HIS 295 (Shakespeare’s England) and ENG 272 (Intro to Shakespeare II).
This experience was life changing for the eager students who got to walk in the shoes of the greatest playwright of all time and experience a culture foreign to them. Lectures were given in such places as local London parks, onsite at palaces, and in front of the Globe Theatre and the Tower of London. Students went on numerous tours with professional, local guides. They attended four professional productions (two at the Globe Theatre). NOVA students were frequently sent off on their own to explore the city on scavenger hunts with partners and in small groups.
The Honors Program would like to thank everyone involved with this trip, especially Global Studies, the NVCC Educational Foundation and the College, without whose support these worthy students would not have been able to afford such a trip or engage in such an amazing experience. Thanks to the Honors Program, chairs, faculty, students and administrators throughout the College for making this trip a reality for students, many of whom had never before left the country, but now cannot wait to travel again. Even the community pitched in to help raise over $11,000, thanks to efforts of Hayes and the Honors students.
The Honors Program hopes to offer another study abroad in the coming years.