Local students leave Lower Mainland classrooms to learn abroad

Langley, British Columbia—Twenty-three Lower Mainland students recently traded their desks in Langley, B.C., for the seats of the Globe Theatre and Royal Festival Hall in London, England. As a part of Trinity Western’s first Fine Arts/Interdisciplinary Studies travel studies course, the students traveled to London, England to experience everything from London’s Symphony Orchestra to Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

“It was an excellent opportunity to broaden our perspectives and learn about present-day arts,” says Laura Brown, a second-year TWU student from Surrey, B.C. “When we broaden our understanding of what’s happening in the world, we have a lot more compassion and understanding for what people are doing and saying.”

The course focused on the subjects of visual art, drama and music. Over the span of 19 days, the group attended a minimum of six concerts and five plays, visited six art galleries and museums, went to ten churches and cathedrals, took in one musical, one opera and one ballet, toured three castles and palaces, attended four special lectures—and spent an additional 17 hours in class.

“We were really stretched,” says Brown. “Every day was jam-packed.”

While she admits that the course was demanding, she says that it was worth the work. “It was a growing experience. We were really pushed to understand the areas that we weren’t accomplished in. We didn’t just go to a concert, sit and enjoy it and then never think about it again. We’d enjoy it, but at the same time, we really had to analyze the composer, what he was trying to say, what was going on historically at the time and how various other arts influenced him.”

The group was housed in Baden Powell House, the official residence of the British Scout movement which is located close to many of the fine arts venues. And while the course centered on the arts in London, three one-day excursions allowed the students to experience English life beyond London as they visited places such as Winchester Cathedral, Stonehenge, Cambridge and Canterbury Cathedral.

“We wanted to enhance the students’ understanding and appreciation of the gift of human creativity,” says Deane Downey, PhD, TWU’s dean of academic administration and professor of English who supervised the trip along with Wes Janzen, DMA, professor of music at Trinity Western. “What a better way to do this than to take them out of the classrooms and into the very places that they hear and read about.”

Downey states that plans are already under way for another travel studies course to London next spring. “As more students hear about this course, more are interested in coming aboard,” says Downey. “Travel studies is a great way to help students better understand the course material, and on top of that they get so many other learning experiences as a result of being in a foreign country. We plan to continue to combine classroom learning in the Lower Mainland with practical experience abroad.”

To learn more about travel study opportunities at Trinity Western University, call TWest at (604) 888-7511.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling 2,763 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2012-08-21
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