Literary London
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Sarah Devlin

Liberal Arts Major: English
Minor: Media Studies
Hometown: Chatham, New Jersey
Summer 2022

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

I studied Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf for five weeks in London. For our Shakespeare class, we read Much Ado About Nothing, Macbeth, King Lear, and The Tempest, seeing Much Ado About Nothing and King Lear at the reconstructed Globe Theatre. We lived and studied in Bloomsbury, home of the famous Bloomsbury Group, Virginia Woolf's club of artists and bohemian public figures. Field trips included trips to Charleston and Monk's Houses (Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell's country homes), York, Kew Gardens, Sissinghurst and Knole houses, the country homes of Vita Sackville-West. My own excursions in England included trips to Bath and the White Cliffs of Dover.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I am an English major, but this trip allowed me to experience other art forms that are not simply literature. Studying Shakespeare requires analysis of theatrical choices, which I had never done in depth. For each play we read, we watched a film or play version after reading it. We always had a performance analysis assignment, which allowed me to study theater as well as literature. Dr. Chris Reed, an art history scholar, was our Virginia Woolf professor. We not only studied Woolf, but her sister Vanessa Bell, and the rest of the Bloomsbury Group's famous art pieces. I gained more of an appreciation for visual art and how it can intersect with literature through Woolf and Bell's work together.

"I gained more of an appreciation for visual art and how it can intersect with literature through Woolf and Bell's work together."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

Like all English courses, these two classes I took in London required a lot of reading and analysis of that reading. My career goals are in law, so English classes like this prepare me for law school.

How has the College of the Liberal Arts helped you to find and/or succeed in this experience (e.g., adviser, faculty, staff, enrichment funds, etc.)?

I was fortunate enough to receive Liberal Arts Enrichment Funds to support this experience. I was able to use this money to cover my travel expenses and food while I was abroad. I also owe Taylor Hare, PhD candidate at Penn State and my Shakespeare professor, and Dr. Chris Reed, my Virginia Woolf professor for helping me succeed academically in London.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

I have taken two prior Shakespeare classes at Penn State, which were both honors classes. I was extremely prepared for this class due to my experience studying Shakespeare before, which would not have been possible without the Paterno Fellows Program.

For more information on education abroad for Liberal Arts students, visit our website.
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