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The Wroxton Experience
For four years I’ve heard about Fairleigh Dickinson University’s sister campus Wroxton College in the U.K. The campus grounds, established in the 17th century, were only images I’d seen on the websites. This summer however, I had the amazing opportunity of visiting Wroxton College for an International Corporate Communications and Culture course headed by Dr. Gary Radford, Chair of the Communication Studies Department.



A couple weeks after the end of the semester, nine students from both FDU and Rutgers boarded a plane to Birmingham Airport. Upon arrival a member of the Wroxton College greeted us and from there we took a bus to our destination. Not only were we driving on the opposite side of the road, we were privy to a gorgeous view of the greenery the U.K. had to offer. Before we knew it, we arrived at the Wroxton Abbey. Little did we know that the Abbey would be our headquarters for a twelve-day stay filled with excitement, enthusiasm and amazing memories.

The course itself granted us access to seminars from professionals from the field as well as faculty of the Wroxton College. To get us acclimated, Dr. Nicholas Baldwin, Dean and Director of Operations gave us an introduction to the campus as well as the culture of the U.K. The beauty of the Abbey cannot be captured by words. The building itself is a historical landmark with every inch of it dated back centuries. From the carvings to the paintings, the handcrafted works of art are breathtaking.

 

“Going to Wroxton was the best way to end my FDU experience! It opened my eyes to al of the amazing experiences that are out there ready for me to endure” – Dykota Hillman, Graduate Student

 

Over the course of the two-week stay our schedules were packed with seminars, trips and of course, tea breaks. We all packed into the Wroxton Van almost every day and headed off to places like Bletchley Park, Oxford, London, Stratford Upon Avon and the local town of Banbury. With these excursions we were able to test out the cultural knowledge we’d learned in the classroom (Warning: Do not use the term ‘fanny pack’). These trips coincided with the curriculum to offer a comprehensive understanding of each topic. We were able to walk on the ground where Alan Turning cracked the Enigma Code, watch Hamlet in the Royal Shakespeare Theater, learn of Oxford University’s history at Oxford University and explore the vibrant color of London.



We started with the basics and history of communication, which started with Alan Turing and the Enigma machine. We learned the concepts in the classroom and visited the museum to gain depth about the subject. The same day we were taken to Stratford Upon Avon to see a captivating rendition of Hamlet. Dr. Pamela Mason gave us a seminar on Hamlet, which heightened our knowledge about the famous Shakespeare play and opened our minds to interpretation. The program was all about bringing the concepts to life through these experiences. We were generously invited to Oxford University where we learned the history of Oxford as well as a seminar on communications. The University opened its arms and library to show us rare editions of books, some even with chains on them from the old days when books were too precious to be taken out of the library. There was even a high dinner we were a part of where we could sit down with the students and share a four-course meal.  The meal was as delectable as the seminar was enthralling

 

“Completely unforgettable and even though I’ve been here before, I was able to explore and experience England with a new amazing group of people.” – Theone Kardos, Graduate

 

After a hectic week of traveling we embarked on our treat for the weekend – London. The capital of England served as our site of wonder as we explored all of the streets in awe of the architecture surrounding us. The food, culture, atmosphere and beauty captivated us and left no time to waste. We started and ended the day at Trafalgar Square which gave us access to all the main attractions like Piccadilly Circus (London’s Time Square), the London Eye, Parliament building as well as Big Ben and let’s not forgot Westminster Abbey. Oh how we wished we could just spend the rest of our days there.



While the academic side of the program was enthralling, the experiences that took place outside of the classroom were the most enlightening. We could spend the whole day learning about culture and the UK, but they’d just be words in our notebooks and brains. When we’d go out into the town we could see these concepts be exhibited by the townspeople. The kind manner of the people around us, the way waitresses allow you to take your time with a meal, how subways mean pedestrian walkways. These are few of the things we learned from Dr. Nicholas Baldwin during our seminar on England’s history and culture but practicing them shed a light that cemented those ideas.


What you won’t see on the websites for Wroxton College is the amazing beauty that surrounds it. It isn’t every day that you’ll have dinner and go on a hike to watch the sunset from a hill overlooking a field of flowers. You can’t read about the amazing friendships you’ll forge on your journey or the conversations you’ll have on the bus or over dinner. If I’d had a glimpse of that while considering Wroxton I never would have waited so long to go. However, there’s nothing a stranger I can say to dictate your stay, all I have to offer is that it will be an unforgettable one. From the staff to the faculty, they make your stay seemingly luxurious and make you forget that homesickness exists.

“My views on the world have been shifting for the better since I’ve been here.” – Taylor Glinane, Junior.









 

 

Author:
Nidhika Kalsi
 
Date:
Wednesday, July 06, 2016