London Calling: “Civ in London” an Alternative Abroad Experience

by The Cowl Editor on October 3, 2019


Students look at the variety of study abroad opportunities. Lilly Hunter ’22/THECOWL

by Max Waite ’21

News Staff

Starting next school year, sophomore students at Providence College will be given the opportunity to study abroad in London, England, as part of the Development of Western Civilization Program. 

The Providence College Center for Global Education has been working on this program for about a year, and it will provide a select group of 30-40 non-honors sophomore students an experience of a lifetime. Until now, sophomores did not have the opportunity to study abroad due to the fact that they had to take DWC 201 and 202. 

Grace Cleary, assistant dean of global education and the architect for the “Civ in London” program, explains, “The idea was to offer those subjects (DWC) abroad, taught by Providence College faculty members.” Freshmen who are interested in the “Civ in London” program must apply by Dec. 1. Once accepted into the program, those students will study in London for the spring of 2021.

The two faculty members accompanying the students will be Professor Margaret Manchester of the history department and Associate Professor Stephanie Boeninger of the English department. The pair will be teaching the “Battlefields and Home Fronts: The Making of War & Peace in Western Civilization” colloquium. The course examines four different military conflicts over the course of European history and how those conflicts relate to the development of western civilization. The professors will also independently teach “ENG372: Contemporary Drama in London” and “HIS360: Special Topics: From World War to Cold War: England, 1939 -1989.”

The remaining courses that students will be taking will be part of the IES academic center, located in Bloomsbury, London near the British Museum. Joseph Stanley, Dean of Global Education, explained that students can also take courses at two of the University of London campuses, City University and Queen Mary University. As part of the program, students will live in a nice residential unit located near King’s Cross station.

The itinerary for the students is still in the works, but the CGE Deans and faculty leaders are trying to incorporate visits to historical places and landmarks that correlate with the students’ studies. 

Stanley explains, “Even though this program is anchored in London, there are many interesting co-curricular activities for students to experience. I think it’ll be a really great program.”

 Students will potentially have the opportunity to visit the beaches of Normandy as part of their history class, or attend theater performances, and possibly visit Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Hampton Court Palace. Also, students will spend a week in Athens, Greece, a place that seems to resonate with all parts of Western Civilization.

Peter Palumbo, dean of academic advising, feels that the difference between “Civ in London” and any other study abroad program is the cultural immersion that students will experience. “I know that the professors are very excited to tie in London and the United Kingdom experience into Western Civilization. I really feel like that aspect enriches the process, by visiting these sites and actually experiencing the culture.”

Cleary explained that all costs for these excursions will cost no more than a traditional semester abroad will cost. Cleary further adds, “We are hoping that this program will mimic other study abroad programs in terms of a wide variety of courses for students of many different majors. A lot of the core courses and proficiencies will be available.” 

Cleary and Stanley believe that the program will be incredibly competitive, but still encourage freshmen to apply before the Dec. 1 deadline. Students will be able to apply for scholarships as part of this program as well.

This past Monday night, Sept. 23, the Center of Global Education held a fair for students interested in this and other programs. The event went very well, as there was great student traffic flowing in and out of the fair. An additional information session was held at 4 p.m. on Oct. 3 in Ruane 105.

When asking the question of what made the College choose London to start off the program, Cleary and Stanley explained that the DWC abroad committee, which is made up of DWC faculty and members of the Center for Global Education, was looking at Granada, Spain, Athens, Greece, and London, England as potential locations for the program. Ultimately, the committee chose London because of its rich history that seems to resonate with the DWC colloquium.

In order to advertise this exciting program, students in the class of 2023 were notified of this opportunity during their orientation. Stanley adds, “It is crucial that a wide enough net is cast so that we have enough interested students in order for the program to run.”

On top of the London program, the Center for Global Education office is providing a week-long DWC colloquium over spring break of 2020 in Havana, Cuba in addition to a regular, semester-long class. Titled “Cuba Libre: Global Commodities in Caribbean and Latin American History,” students will be accompanied by professors Maia Bailey and Fr. David Orique. The application deadline for this program is Oct. 15.

Palumbo, along with the rest of the CGE, highly recommends that students study abroad, but must keep in close contact with their academic advisor. “Studying abroad is an outstanding educational experience. It is a high impact process that students really receive a lot from, contributing to both academic and personal development.”

Stanley and Cleary encourage students who are interested in any of the programs or have any questions to stop by the Center for Global Education office in Harkins 215. Walk-in hours are held Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1:00-4:00 p.m.