You rise early in the morning and make your way down to the River Thames for crew practice. You never rowed crew in your life before this year, but by now you and your friends on the novice team are getting to be pretty good at it. There’s a slight drizzle this morning (after all, this is England!), but it doesn’t dampen the team’s spirits, and the practice is a good one.
Following practice and breakfast, it’s time for a lecture in The World in Britain seminar. Mr. Christopher Hardman, a member of Reading’s English department, is talking about Shakespeare’s Richard III, a play you will see tomorrow on a day trip to Shakespeare’s Globe in London with your classmates. You will be groundlings for the performance.
After a break, you have a tutorial in art history. The tutorial method of teaching, fashioned after the style of pedagogy practiced at Cambridge and Oxford, puts you and two or three other students together with a tutor (professor) who doesn’t lecture but, rather, facilitates and guides the discussion.
The topic for the day is Gothic church architecture—fan vaulting, perpendicular style, and flying buttresses. During an upcoming weekend field trip, you will get to see such superb examples as Bath Abbey and Bristol Cathedral. After lunch in your house with some of your friends, you board the fast train to London. Twenty minutes later, you’re at Paddington Station. Catching the tube to Covent Garden, you purchase tickets for next month’s performance of Swan Lake by The Royal Ballet, then head for the theatre district for a performance of Wicked. It’s a wonderful evening! Humming “Defying Gravity,” you head back to Paddington to catch the last train home.
Sound like an interesting way to spend a day? How about a semester or a whole academic year? This is what Randolph College Abroad: The World in Britain, affiliated with the University of Reading, is all about.