This summer I was excited to be the only Juniata student attending the Leeds International Summer School (LISS) at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Two planes, two trains, one bus, and a 10-minute Uber ride, and finally I was at Uni. During ice breakers (yes, they happen everywhere), I realized less than a tenth of the program consisted of Americans.
The month-long program is separated into two sections. For each part, the student chooses a different class. As an English POE at Juniata, I wanted to take English classes at Leeds to compare the content and learning environments. I chose British Comedy (a surprisingly dark class) and The Brontes and British Culture.
One would think that signing up for a comedy class would mean a lot of laughing right? Well, this summer I learned: British Comedy is really depressing. Although my sides weren’t splitting from laughter every day, I really enjoyed this class. It was refreshing to analyze and understand a different culture’s comedy alongside 20 other students all from very different backgrounds and senses of humor.
Similar to the comedy course, I really enjoyed The Brontes and British Culture class because I was learning alongside people from all different cultures about a very specific time period (Victorian Era) and very successful writers. Just like all literature, the understanding of their work and home life is interpreted in different ways by different cultural backgrounds.
In both classes, we took a field trip! For British Comedy, we went to two iconic performance spots. In the Bronte course, we visited Haworth, West Yorkshire to see the Bronte Parsonage. We were able to walk the same streets and hiking trails as the Bronte sisters. It was very surreal seeing the town they grew up in. (Fun Fact: Haworth did not get clean drinking water until after WWI. The water was dirty from the placement of the cemetery).
Included in the program cost:
- Seven excursions throughout the Yorkshire area
- Fun events from mini golf to movie nights at the bar
- Housing (includes a bathroom you share with only one other person, and a kitchen shared with 10 or so people)
- Breakfast and lunch
- Transferrable credits through classes
Attending LISS was a great opportunity for me as a Juniata student to: study abroad, experience a multitude of cultures, visit over 15 towns, hike through two nations, make international lifelong friendships, and drink a whole bunch of tea all within a reasonable budget and time.
If you are interested in more information, feel free to watch this video!
–Deanna Parenti ’20, English POE, Probably covered in clay laying on the ground with her nose stuck in a book