Pla­cen­tia stu­dent rel­fects on se­mes­ter abroad

Emily Nash spent three months study­ing at Har­low in the United King­dom

The Compass - - OPINION - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca

When you’re a stu­dent of both his­tory and English, spend­ing a se­mes­ter in Eng­land might be the best move you’d ever make.

It’s lit­er­ary ties to the likes of Wil­liam Shake­speare, Mary Shel­ley, George Or­well and J.K. Rowl­ing, along with Buck­ing­ham Palace, the London Mu­seum and Old Har­low make it a must-see des­ti­na­tion for lit­er­a­ture and his­tory buffs alike.

For Pla­cen­tia’s Emily Nash, it was that mix­ture that in­spired her to en­roll in Memo­rial Univer­sity’s Lit­er­ary London pro­gram of­fered at its Har­low cam­pus in Har­low, Es­sex, U.K., from Septem­ber to early De­cem­ber.

The 20-year-old is study­ing English and his­tory at MUN and spent three months with 25 other stu­dents learn­ing from the likes of Mary Walsh and Don Ni­chol.

De­spite hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to study in a place that of­fers im­mer­sion in both of her pri­mary ar­eas of study, that was not Nash’s pri­mary rea­son for study­ing abroad.

It was the op­por­tu­nity to see other parts of the world.

“The travel is what drew me into it,” said Nash. “Ev­ery­thing is re­ally ac­ces­si­ble and ev­ery­thing seems much smaller.”

It’s true. At­tend­ing school at the Har­low cam­pus al­lowed the group to plan trips to the rest of the United King­dom and con­ti­nen­tal Europe. France and Ger­many are but a twohour flight away, while the likes of Italy, Be­larus, Por­tu­gal and parts of the Ukraine take three hours to reach by air.

“We would have classes all week, get home on a Thurs­day morn­ing at 1 a.m. and then get ready for a 4 a.m. flight be­cause you were trav­el­ling some­where,” said Nash.

Dur­ing her three-month stay at Har­low, the Laval High School alum­nus trav­elled to France, Hun­gary, Ire­land, Bel­gium and Swe­den. One of her per­sonal high­lights was a Nov. 11 trip to Beau­mont Hamel in north­ern France.

It is the place for­ever linked to one of the dark­est days in New­found­land his­tory. On July 1, 1916, some 324 mem­bers of the New­found­land Reg­i­ment were ei­ther killed, miss­ing or pre­sumed dead dur­ing the Bat­tle of the Somme. Another 386 were in­jured, while only 68 men an­swered roll call the next day.

“That was re­ally hum­bling. To walk where they walked,” said Nash. There were re­grets, how­ever. “I would’ve liked to go to Italy though,” she said. “Two of my friends were head­ing there one week­end but I couldn’t go. I turned it down be­cause I was go­ing to a Count­ing Crows con­cert in Manch­ester.”

Nash is the daugh­ter of Mark and Melissa Nash.

Find­ing a fam­ily

MUN is one of two Cana­dian univer­si­ties with a strong place in the ed­u­ca­tional land­scape of the United King­dom.

When the 25 stu­dents head across the pond, they are the only ones who take up lodg­ing at the res­i­dence on cam­pus. If you’re go­ing out to the lo­cal pub for an after­class pint, some com­bi­na­tion of those 25 peo­ple are the ones who will likely ac­com­pany you.

“They be­come your fam­ily,” said Nash. “You re­ally come to­gether be­cause you have just those peo­ple.”

North River’s Kalysha Snow also at­tended Har­low at the same time.

It was not Nash’s first visit to Eng­land. She had pre­vi­ously trav­elled there with her high school and as re­cently as last sum­mer with a friend.

“I knew what I was get­ting into,” said Nash. “I wasn’t as awestruck as some of the oth­ers.”

His­tory in real life

While study­ing, there were count­less field trips to var­i­ous the­atre houses and mu­se­ums in London and abroad. Nash re­counts see­ing Shake­speare orig­i­nals and the like at the Bri­tish Li­brary, amongst trips to the Eifel Tour and The Lou­vre mu­seum in Paris.

She missed out on a tour of the Cat­a­combs be­neath the French city due to an ex­ces­sively long line up.

“We went to a play at the (Shake­speare’s) Globe The­atre where we stood watch­ing for three hours,” said Nash.

Emily Nash is shown here dur­ing a trip to Bu­dapest, Hun­gary.

She saw Shake­speare’s The Two Gen­tle­man of Verona in a space less than 800 feet from the spot of the orig­i­nal Globe The­atre, a space built by Shake­speare’s the­atre company in 1599.

“A lot of it did not feel real un­til you come home and peo­ple are ask­ing you ques­tions about it,” said Nash. “It was surreal.”

She will re­turn to MUN when classes re­sume for the win­ter se­mes­ter this week. Now in her third year, Nash in­tends to com­plete an ed­u­ca­tion de­gree and teach at the high school level.

Re­flect­ing on the three months she spent at Har­low, Nash has a piece of ad­vice for any­one think­ing about tak­ing the leap.

“Make sure you go with no ex­pec­ta­tions and an open mind,” she said.

Sub­mit­ted photo

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