London study abroad is popular

March 28, 2003

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PLATTEVILLE-From Big Ben and Parliament to the Tower of London and Piccadilly Circus, studying abroad in London is one of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's most popular international programs. UWP has offered a study abroad program in London since 1978, but added an exchange component in fall 2000 with St. Mary's College in London. Bill Spofford, director of UWP Study Abroad Programs, said St. Mary's College is an ideal institution for an exchange program.

"St. Mary's is a terrific place for a London program because it has about 2,200 students and its beautiful 30-acre campus is in a very nice section of London," Spofford said. "There's a real 'esprit de corps' atmosphere on campus, creating a positive experience. Our students tend to get very involved in campus activities."

Students who study abroad at St. Mary's through UWP's London study abroad program live in British homes, are mainstreamed into St. Mary's College classes and have the opportunity to participate in field trips throughout Europe.

"So many study abroad programs are self-contained with American students living together, taught by American professors," Spofford said. "I think the type of program UWP offers gives students the best of both worlds. The students are part of a group so they have peers going through the same experiences and adventures, but they're also mainstreamed into a British college so they get a more in-depth feel for the culture."

UWP agricultural business alumnus Renee Rademacher of Sun Prairie traveled to London to study abroad in fall 2001. Rademacher said, in addition to learning about another country and culture, she learned a lot about herself and overcoming her fears.

"I was just a farm girl who wanted to experience the big city," Rademacher said. "I wanted to be exposed to culture, people, education, language, foods, entertainment and transportation. I decided that this was the best time of my life to explore because it was for only three months and I could get education credits for it as well."

While Rademacher was abroad, she traveled to Scotland and visited the Edinburgh Castle, saw people dressed in kilts playing bagpipes, toured a coal mine in Wales and went to Brighton, along the coast of England. She also took the opportunity to venture outside the United Kingdom.

"In Italy, I went to Florence and Pisa and saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa," Rademacher said. "In Germany, I went to Hamburg, Cologne, Rudesheim and walked along the Rhine River. My most memorable experience was meeting up with my older sister, Wendy, who was in Hamburg working for John Deere. We toured Germany in a rental van, and her boss took us to some great places."

While studying abroad in London is one of UWP's most popular programs, studying at UWP is also popular among students from London. Last semester, UWP hosted four exchange students from London and welcomed back to campus former exchange student, Katie Teare. Teare was the first student from St. Mary's College to study at UWP, attending school here in fall 2000. Teare graduated with an undergraduate degree in business, and has now returned to UWP on her own to pursue a degree in sociology.

There are currently 54 students from all over the country involved with the UWP study abroad program at St. Mary's College.

In addition to the semester exchange programs at St. Mary's College, UWP also offers a four-week summer program at Thames Valley University where students are taught by British professors, earning six credits, and experience a British home stay.

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