Literature classes covered Cinderella to Lord of the Rings

Published 2:18 am Saturday, August 18, 2018


I was awarded the Class of 1968 International Study Fellowship to study at the University of Cambridge. Words cannot express my thanks to the Andalusia High School Scholarship Foundation for the opportunity to travel with some of my closest friends from high school to study at one the top universities in the world. The whole experience was so remarkable, and looking back on the past six weeks seems like a dream.

Taran Carrasco and I departed for England a week early and visited Dublin, Ireland and Edinburgh, Scotland in route to Cambridge. Both Ireland and Scotland were so energetic and full of life! We stayed in hostels, which was a cultural experience in itself. Both hostels had their own unique style, and staying in a place with so many other young travelers was really fun. In Dublin, we took a bus tour to the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs were absolutely breathtaking. In Edinburgh, my favorite part was—well, everything. We climbed Arthur’s Seat, and though we struggled on the long hike up, the view from the top definitely made it all worth it. We also took a Harry Potter tour and even ate dinner on Diagon Alley… I almost cried tears of joy!

After our time in Scotland, we made our way to Cambridge, England. We met Ian Peek at the University and went through orientation. We could tell right away that we were in for a treat! There were so many people there from all over the world—different ages, races, nationalities. And all there to learn from the faculty as well as from one another.

Classes started without hesitation, and our journey began. I took literature classes during both two-week terms; a total of eight different courses. I took a course on young adult fantasies that included the authors of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. I also took a fairytale course that focused on classics like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. And in a completely different genre, I took courses that covered authors like Henry James and Jane Austen. The variety of these courses allowed me to learn new information regarding every genre of literature. Attending these classes with students from all over the world really opened my eyes to new ideas. Everyone saw something different in each book, and it was inspiring to see everyone sharing their personal reaction to each reading. My favorite course was “Dangerous Books for Girls? Fairy Tales Past and Present.” There was something so enchanting about discussing these “simple” books that I read as a little girl, and digging into their deeper meanings. I chose to write my evaluation essay on the fairytale course, and lucky enough, the prompt was to write my own fairytale. Since I love creative writing, it was actually a lot of fun to do, and I am eager to receive my evaluation.

On two weekends, we traveled into London and for sightseeing. We visited Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and the London Eye. London is a big and bustling city and it was exciting to try and keep up with its fast-paced lifestyle. We also spent time in the historic city of Cambridge. We ate at some of its famous restaurants, shopped at the local flea market, and watched England in the World Cup on large screen TV at a local pub. If you think American football fans are crazy about their teams, then you haven’t watched soccer in England! It was the most intense and loud sporting event I have ever watched in my entire life. It was not too pretty when England lost! When classes were over and we all received our certificates, Taran and I were off to do just a little more traveling before returning to Alabama. We packed our bags and hopped on a plane to Prague, Czech Republic. We spent two days there and squeezed in everything we possibly could. We did a three hour walking tour the first day, which allowed us to cover a lot of ground. We toured the Prague Castle, which is the largest castle in the world. We shopped at flea markets and gift shops, ate traditional Czech desserts, and learned all about the Czech’s Bohemian history. It was an extremely beautiful place, and it will definitely be hard to match in any of my future travels. On our way back to Alabama, we had a layover in Amsterdam where we visited the Anne Frank House. It was surreal to be able to tour the attics that Anne Frank hid in for two years. After our layover, we were excited to get home to the States.

This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I will never be able to say thank you enough to the Andalusia High School Scholarship Foundation for selecting me for their International Study Program. There aren’t many Andalusia High School graduates, or Auburn University students who can say they were able to study at the University of Cambridge, and it is not something that I take for granted. . I have learned so many new things from my professors and classmates, and have made memories to last a lifetime.