It is a truth universally acknowledged that a driven student, in possession of a wonderful opportunity, will embark on a glorious adventure (thank you, Miss Austen, for the help). My name is Stephanie Weaver and I am a junior studying English Literature at the Mount. Ever since I was a young girl, I have always wanted to study in England. I must admit, I waited at the mailbox on my eleventh birthday hoping that my letter from Hogwarts would arrive just like Mr. Potter’s did. Thanks to all the support that I have received from the Mount, my dream of studying in England is becoming a reality. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to study abroad in the United Kingdom.
Not only has studying abroad been a dream of mine since childhood, but there are many benefits to participating in a program of this magnitude. Primarily, studying abroad is a stepping stone toward achieving my goal of receiving my doctorate degree in English Literature. Through studying in England, I will have the opportunity to form contacts with individuals who can assist me with my application for the Fulbright Scholar Program. I will be able to learn about a culture that is surprisingly different from the life I live in the States.
This spring, from January through March, I’ll be studying at the University of Reading (pronounced “Redding”). I will be studying Shakespeare in his native country, and I will also be studying Nineteenth Century English Poetry, such as Wordsworth and Coleridge. When I told my brother, who is ten years my junior, about my trip and he saw the name of the university, he said, “Stephie, you are going to be studying at the University of Reading? Do they just read there?” To answer my brother’s question, the response would be no…and yes. I am going to be studying a great deal, but I am also going to be able to visit the country where the greatest literary minds wrote their masterpieces. Why did I choose Reading? Because it is the perfect place to begin, on the waters of the Thames River. Reading is a small town only minutes from London. Its culture and scenery is immense and the university itself is a treasure trove of culture, history, and knowledge. It is also the town where Jane Austen attending finishing school.
There is a plethora of opportunities that I will be able to experience during my stay in Reading. I’ll have the opportunity to study Shakespeare in his home country and celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of the publication of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with fellow Austen fans. I will get to see where some of the greatest literary minds were buried, walk down the road where the Beatles changed the definition of music, and so much more.
Despite the exciting adventures that await me outside my door, I will miss my life and Mount Saint Mary College; however, I will make the most of my time in Europe and be back soon to share my stories.
So, like Frodo Baggins, I’ve decided to grab my pack and head out of the “shire,” to embark on my own epic adventure. I hope you’ll follow my posts. Thanks for reading!
Stephanie Weaver, class of 2014, is an English major from Rockville Centre, NY. She will be spending her spring 2013 semester studying abroad – and blogging about her adventures – in Reading, England.