By Molly Igoe
Interested in hiking in the footsteps of great literary romantics like William Wordsworth? If you answered yes, the summer trip to Kiplin Hall is the study abroad program for you.
Dr. Richard Gillin, Ernest A. Howard professor of English Literature and the director of the Humanities Program at Washington College, heads the program. He established it 19 years ago, with the help and encouragement of former interim president Jay Griswold.
The program lasts for three weeks, and this year it will be from June 24 to July 15 in North Yorkshire, England, West Cork, Ireland, with one day spent in Edinburgh, Scotland. Another factor that might interest students is that Kiplin Hall is closely connected to Maryland, because King Charles I granted land to the Calvert family to establish a Catholic colony in Maryland.
Dr. Gillin said, “This study abroad opportunity is actually a four-credit English course called ‘Literature and Landscape’ and entails reading works by 19th century English and Irish writers.” Students have to contribute to a blog while they are studying and each is responsible for researching a location they will be traveling to and presenting it to everyone the night before they go to that specific location. Students also must keep a journal describing their experiences while at Kiplin Hall.
Dr. Gillin emphasized that he wants to keep the cost under $5,000 like it has been in previous years. The cost covers round trip airfare, ground transportation (a bus that takes students to various locations), entry fees to historical sites, food, lodging, and credit for the class.
One unique aspect that students get to enjoy on the trip is cooking their own meals at Kiplin Hall. Dr. Gillin said, “We do all our own cooking and buy all our food at the store. My wife Barb is in charge of the kitchen area and helps students out. We gather at the end of the day to eat together, and it’s a great opportunity for discussion.”
The lodging, which is dormitory style, was updated five years ago and isn’t “luxurious” but is cozy and welcoming.
Some of the places students get to travel to include Beatrice Potter’s house in the Lake District, Haworth Moors, featured in “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, Castle Howard, Dove Cottage, otherwise known as William Wordsworth’s home, the Cliffs of the North Sea, and Robin Hood’s Bay.
Dr. Gillin said, “This trip combines physical exertion, academic experience, and culture. Being outside hiking is the best classroom in the world, because students are having an experience, and they have the desire to learn something not just for knowledge, but to add to their spirit.”
The trip involves hiking up mountains, so Dr. Gillin added, “be prepared to get wet and dirty, especially because it rains quite a bit in England and Ireland.” He said that everyone gets to the top of the mountains, and there are frequent stops to make sure everyone is together as a group.
Dr. Gillin also wants students to remember that this trip is not just for English majors. It is a life-changing experience for all majors, and even students from other colleges have the chance to apply if there are still open spots.
If you are interested in applying to the program, contact Dr. Gillin at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 443-778-7767. The process to sign up is fairly uncomplicated, and the program ia accepting applications now.
Dr. Gillin said, “The goal of the program is to link literature with the landscape and to make it your own experience.”