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Catawba College Students Gear Up for Study Abroad in England

October 3, 2005

Category: Academics, Students

Harlaxton PhotoCatawba College students will have an opportunity to spend a semester abroad studying in England beginning next fall thanks to a new partnership agreement with the University of Evansville.  The agreement provides for Catawba faculty to participate in the operation of Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, and for Catawba students to study there, according to Dr. Kurt Corriher, director of Catawba’s Center for International Studies.

“This is the first major initiative of Catawba’s new Center for International Studies,” Corriher said.  “It will offer our students and faculty a standing program in which they can participate, available every year in the fall for the foreseeable future.

“I know that study abroad changes students’ lives, because it changed mine.” Corriher continued, “And I would like to create that opportunity for every student here.”

Harlaxton PhotoThe University of Evansville, along with other contractual partners like Catawba College, has operated Harlaxton College continuously since 1971.  The campus is located 110 miles north of London outside the Midlands’ market town of Grantham.  Approximately 165 American college students, sophomores through seniors, attend Harlaxton each semester.

The campus is situated on 55 rolling acres with its centerpiece being a beautiful 100-room Victorian manor house where almost 100 students live in roomHarlaxton Photos reached by a lift.  The remaining students live a short distance away in the carriage house.  Also on the property are a bistro, laundry, “telly” lounge, reading lounge, computer room and general store.

Corriher notes that a unique aspect of the Harlaxton program is a six-hour British Studies course which capitalizes on the fact that the students are in England.  Visits to Stratford, Warwick and other historic places are incorporated into the course.  Classes at Harlaxton College are typically held on Mondays through Thursdays, Corriher said, whHarlaxton Photoich leaves three-day weekends for the students to travel.

Other courses ranging from math to science and even equestrian studies and Renaissance Art are also offered.  These allow students enrolled in them to meet course requirements at their home institutions.  Each student participating in the program must enroll in at least 12 hours of coursework to maintain their visa and be a fulltime student.

“One of the major factors behind Catawba’s decision to become involved with the Harlaxton program is that it does offer an English-speaking environment,” Corriher said.  “I wanted a program which would be available without language impediment to almost all Catawba College students.  The beauty of this program is that they’re in Europe and can travel to other countries conveniently while there.

“Another attraction for us was that our faculty can participate and they can feel totally involved with this program.”

Harlaxton PhotoBefore the Harlaxton College program, Catawba offered two types of foreign study experiences for its students.  These included the month-long Costa Rican language immersion program (nearing its 20th year of operation) offered each May and coordinated by Dr. Carl Girelli, College vice president and dean of students, and ad hoc travel excursions where trips to foreign destinations were associated with a domestic course, usually an Honors course, taught on campus.  The ad hoc travel opportunities change year to year depending on the courses taught and the faculty members involved.  Most recently, Catawba students have made ad hoc trips to Ireland and the Galapagos Islands.

Harlaxton PhotoBut even with the Harlaxton College agreement under his belt, Corriher is far from resting on his laurels.  Next on his agenda, he said, “is to develop a palette of summer study options to supplement the Costa Rican language-immersion program.”  These six credit-hour courses would be available in the summer of 2007 to a wider variety of Catawba students.

A foreign study experience will continue to have relevance into the foreseeable future, Corriher concluded, because of globalization.  “We have to do it.  We have to do it for the future and the future is that international barriers are crumbling.”

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