GW sent its first Living and Learning Community abroad this spring break, allowing 18 freshmen to study international media in England.
The Press Room community, which studies different types of media, spent the week visiting various news organizations and tourist attractions. Students toured London’s “The Daily Telegraph” newspaper, the Independent Television News – which owns five TV stations in London – and Reuters – an international wire service.
“The best part of our trip was the tour of Reuters,” said freshman Ryan Kelley, part of the community, which resides on the Hall and Virginia Avenue’s second floor. “We got to interview an assistant editor at one of the departments for two and a half hours. We got a perspective on American life through British media.”
The students spent their first meetings of the academic year brainstorming ideas for a spring break trip. They first considered New York, but decided to pursue an international destination instead.
“When we were first thinking of a trip abroad, we thought London would be a great place to compare (the foreign media) to the American media,” freshman Nathan Imperiale said.
Community Facilitator Ashley Donovan helped the students present their idea to CLLC.
“I mentioned the trip to our community director in October, and he told me what (CLLC) was looking for in terms of proposals, so there was a lot of communication between myself and the University,” said Donovan, a senior.
The proposal consisted of a cover letter with the group’s reasons for going on the trip and an extensive itinerary, complete with a detailed budget for airfare, hotel and tourist attractions. CLLC approved the trip by mid-February.
The students each paid $320 for travel and hotel expenses.
“It was something we have never done, and we wanted to explore that,” said James Kohl, director of residential life and education for CLLC. “We were very receptive to the idea of a trip abroad.”
“London was a lot easier than other places that could have come up,” Kohl said. “The fact that there was no language barrier was a contributing factor. We also checked with travel advisors and found out that London was not on the State Department’s advisory list.”
While Kohl said he was pleased with the trip, he said CLLC is re-evaluating whether Living and Learning Communities can travel abroad in the future because of the time and effort taken to plan the trip.
“We have to see what can be satisfied domestically first, and a lot of educational needs can be met here,” Kohl said.
In addition to visiting media organizations, the group also went to the British Museum, Big Ben, Leeds Castle and Hampton Palace. Students said while they enjoyed sight seeing, they were disappointed with CLLC’s midnight curfew.
“I realize that the University was keeping us safe, but they could be a little more realistic with the curfew,” freshman Parinaz Farzinfarid said.
The students made a video journal of their trip, which they will present at the Living and Learning Community Symposium April 14.