Learning Cohorts Abroad

Cambridge Brendan Loftus

This spring, sophomores in the Global Scholars learning cohorts traveled to Cambridge, England, and St. Andrews, Scotland, to participate in their respective study abroad programs. This group was the first of the cohorts to travel abroad as the culmination of their study in the Global Scholars: Independent Humanities Scholars and Global Scholars: Politics, Philosophy, and Economics sequences in the Honors Program. In preparation for these experiences abroad, students of both cohorts underwent intensive studies within their respective Honors curricula. Both learning cohorts lived in the Honors dorm on South Campus during freshman year in order to participate fully in the leadership and learning experiences.

The Global Scholars: Independent Humanities Scholars program has been well situated at Saint Andrews University, one of the premier research universities in the world. As Scotland’s first university, Saint Andrews provides the perfect atmosphere for intellectual discovery and enrichment. The Honors students have been studying the Humanities areas of their particular interests, including Social Anthropology, Modern Languages and Linguistics, and Scottish Literature. The students are also enrolled in a class together called “Great Ideas” that is designed to be the culmination of the "Good, True, Beautiful" transcendental sequence that they completed before their departure from Villanova. This course explores various disciplines, as it offers a survey of different “great ideas” each week.

The Independent Humanities Scholars have also become quite immersed in different aspects of the student body of St. Andrews, from the Ultimate Frisbee team to the Fine Dining Society. Emily Walthouse, LAS ’16, explains that the experience has allowed her to grow both academically and personally from a perspective that she could not have acquired in the United States. “I feel like an integrated part of St. Andrews, which has allowed me to learn about myself as an individual and as a part of an international community in a way that I could not have done back at home,” Emily says.

The Global Scholars: Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) cohort has spent the spring semester in Cambridge, England, studying under the direction of faculty from the prestigious Cambridge University. Prior to their departure for England, this cohort underwent a specified sequence of courses in philosophy, politics, and justice to prepare them for their concentrated studies at Cambridge. The PPE students are currently enrolled in a varied selection of economics and business classes, as well as English and literature classes. These courses include the Political Economy of the European Union, the Political Economy of China, and Shakespearean Literature. All of the students in this cohort are also taking a class together entitled “Ethics in Action,” where they can put their peace and justice learning from Villanova into play alongside their business courses.

The students have also enjoyed taking advantage of the opportunity to travel during their time at Cambridge. They have already taken trips to Stonehenge, Paris, and Spain, among other destinations. Nick DeSimone, LAS ’16, explains that the experience at Cambridge has been truly unique. “We’ve been able to take advantage of so many once in a lifetime opportunities…it’s unbelievable to study at the same university as Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, and John Maynard Keynes,” Nick says. Students have taken part in the opportunity to shine on the university’s American football team, while others have enjoyed wine tastings and baking societies. Nick remarks that he is excited to bring the knowledge from this unique experience back to Villanova where he and the other students will be able to implement what they have learned in order to further their academic success. 

Some of the students have been keeping blogs during their time abroad. Here are two student blogs:

Emily Walthouse, Global Scholars: Independent Humanities Scholars
St. Andrews, Scotland

Brendan Loftus, Global Scholars: Politics, Philosophy, and Economics
Cambridge, England

Written by Margaret Shull, LAS '16, Newsletter Co-Editor. Margaret is pursuing a B.A. in French and Francophone Studies and Honors, with Concentrations in Pre-Med and Healthcare Ethics. Photo credit: Brendan Loftus, LAS '16.

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