Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, libraries, poems, plays and museums– these are all people and things that fascinate the Winona State English majors on this trip. As an outsider Education major, I had to adapt to learn about these things. Here are a few of the quotes that I heard from the English majors throughout the trip.
One of the most common phrases that I heard was, “Can we please stop and go to the bookstore?” While in London, I had the idea of going to shops and restaurants. Everyone else had the idea of stopping at the bookstore. When it was a used bookstore, look out! The Winona State English majors were aggressive. In fact, a lot of the girls I traveled with didn’t bring back extra clothes. They brought back extra books. I never thought that I would enjoy going into a bookstore, but I actually had fun looking at what was popular in another country.
Another famous phrase was, “I am so excited to go to the library!” To be honest, the library isn’t on my must-see list when traveling, and I thought they were joking. When our professor told us that we would be spending an entire afternoon at a library I was less than thrilled. It was entertaining to watch the faces of my fellow travelers light up as we walked through the huge British Library with millions of books. To my surprise, I actually really enjoyed the library. Not only were there millions of books, but we took a class on how to do a research project with different multimedia sources and websites. Then, we also went to a private room and I saw original pieces from Handel and Beethoven. That was so surreal to see such fantastic pieces of history right in front of me.
A third phrase was, “I really want to tour the houses of Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Shakespeare!” Of course I knew who all of the listed poets and authors were, but I didn’t know a whole lot about all of them. (At least not as much as the English majors did.) Usually if I didn’t know what was going on or who the tour guides were talking about I would just nod and agree, pretending to look impressed. Usually, if I asked a question I would get a huge explanation with great detail from one of the English majors. I now feel confident with information about all the authors that I could give a tour of everything.
“I think I just want to go to the park and read and write in my journal.” We didn’t have a lot of extra time to spare, but when we did it was nice to just be able to relax and reflect. I usually forget to slow down and document what I did throughout my day. It was nice to be reminded that I should slow down and relax throughout the day.
I now consider myself an honorary English major after this trip. I can now navigate through a library with millions of books and list books and plays from famous English authors. Also, I can now efficiently blog, journal, take notes on galleries and museums, and appreciate the arts. I even bought a feather pen with which to write and if that’s not English major-y enough I don’t know what is.