Literary London
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Lauren Shovlin

Liberal Arts Majors: English
Minor: History
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Experience Time: Summer 2022

Give us a brief summary of your experience?

This past summer I had the incredible experience of studying abroad in London, where I learned about Virginia Woolf and Shakespeare as well as the city where they lived. I not only read books from both of these authors, but had the incredible opportunity of attending multiple performances at the Globe and other theaters as well as sites related to our curriculum. I visited Vanessa Bell’s house, Virginia Woolf’s house, York (including Yorkminster Cathedral), as well as Knoll and various castles. In addition to bonding with my classmates, I became familiar with the city around me, immersing myself in various cultural neighborhoods and sites, like the British Museum and Westminster Cathedral.

How did this experience impact you academically?

This opportunity to study abroad had an incredible impact on my academic experience. I believe that I would not have truly appreciated Virginia Woolf or Shakespeare if I had not been immersed in London. It was such a worthwhile experience to have the city’s sites augment the curriculum we learned in class. I loved reading “Kew Gardens” by Woolf in Kew Gardens with my classmates, or reading about Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens in “Moments of Being” at both of those locations. The ability to immerse myself in the city that so deeply influenced these authors truly inspired me in my intellectual experience as well.

"It was such a worthwhile experience to have the city’s sites augment the curriculum we learned in class. The ability to immerse myself in the city that so deeply influenced these authors truly inspired me in my intellectual experience as well."

How will this experience impact your career goals?

I have such a deeper appreciation for literature and the intricacies of writing than I did prior to my abroad experience. It has awakened a passion within me to pursue the literary arts more deeply and fervently. Woolf’s class in particular revealed a passion for philosophy in me that I never fully realized. I met friends in London who study philosophy at King’s College and I am now considering studying philosophy there after completing my undergraduate education! Overall, this opportunity to broaden my intellectual horizons has been one of my greatest blessings and I am so grateful for this opportunity. I have made lifelong friends, both Penn State students and those studying full time in London, who all continue to inspire me to pursue my dreams.

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.)?

The College of Liberal Arts graciously assisted me through enrichment funds to attend the Literary London program this past summer. Without this financial assistance, I would not have had this life changing experience abroad and would have very different plans for my future. Through the enrichment fund, I truly feel that I have a more wholistic perspective of my life, the world, and my intellectual pursuits. It was through this aid that I have made lifelong connections and memories that I never could have imagined. I truly immersed myself in London through my abroad experience, visiting a wide variety of museums (the Churchill War Rooms was my favorite!), churches (the Oratory was easily my favorite!), parks and gardens (loved Regent’s Park!), and met so many friends through the University College London’s Newman Catholic club, who I still keep in touch with today! Thank you College of Liberal Arts for making this experience possible!

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