The University of Southern Mississippi’s British Studies Program is marking four decades since it began providing students a global and transforming educational experience that lasts a lifetime.
During the summer 2015 semester, 16 courses will be offered through the BSP and four of the university’s Colleges, including Arts & Letters, Business, Education and Psychology, and Health. Most classes are taught by Southern Miss faculty and also feature lectures and presentations by some of England’s top scholars and business and political leaders.
In the past 40 years, Southern Miss has sent approximately 9,000 students to London for the unique cultural and academic program, and nearly 1,500 since 2006. Dr. David R. Davies, a professor of journalism who took over as director of BSP in 2013, said he’s looking forward to seeing the impact the program has on the next group of students traveling to London this summer.
“Over and over, our British Studies Program students tell us their summer in London was the most life-changing event of their college years,” said Dr. Davies. “The size, scope, and success of the program is a testament to the hard work of so many faculty and staff members over the decades.”
Students in the program stay in a King's College residence hall, located adjacent to Waterloo Station, the River Thames and the South Bank Arts Complex. The residence hall is within easy travel distance to many of the city’s major attractions, including the theatre district; Covent Garden; the Royal Festival Hall; the National Theatre; the National Gallery; Trafalgar Square; Leicester Square; and Piccadilly Circus, among many others.
Midway through the program, students can travel with classmates and faculty members to such popular Europeans destinations as Edinburgh, Dublin, Amsterdam, Paris, or Brussels, and then spend up to five days visiting other popular European destinations.
The BSP program is now more affordable to make it as accessible as possible to more students, said Amy Linden, director of the Office of International Programs. “We know that students return with more self-confidence when they participate in British Studies,” she said. “In addition, with cross cultural skills learned while living and studying abroad, they’re better prepared for a job market that is increasingly global in nature.”
Students from across the country have participated in the Southern Miss British Studies Program, which is offered in cooperation with a number of partner universities across the Southeast, including Texas A&M University at Commerce and the College of Charleston. These and other universities have sent faculty members to teach in the program.
For Southern Miss student Sabrina Lannes, going to London with the British Studies program in 2013 included many firsts for her - traveling outside the United States, being away from her parents for more than a week, traveling alone and seeing a Shakespeare play on stage.
“It was one of the most empowering and enjoyable experiences I ever had. Before this program I would never have thought I could manage money like I did, or travel in four different countries by myself. Besides that, it was just plain fun,” Lannes said.
“London is such an amazing city with so much to see and do, and I will never forget those days going to museums with my class, eating dinner in pubs with friends and seeing the plays I had read and loved so much come to life right in front of me in those amazing, unforgettable performances.”
The Southern Miss British Studies Program is currently accepting applications for the summer semester. Financial aid is available. For more information on the British Studies Program, call 601.266.4344 or visit http://www.usm.edu/british-studies.