English Major Experiences England, Scotland, and Iceland on Short-Term Education Abroad Program

Loustella Perry is currently a Junior majoring in English at Kent State, who had the chance to study in England, Scotland, and Iceland as part of the Beyond London program. This short-term education abroad program gives students the opportunity to travel to many fascinating locations with a focus on studying Viking-Age Literature. Loustella originally decided to participate because she had gone on the London and Beyond program with Dr. Ann Martinez the previous summer, and many of the friends she made would be participating again. She also has ancestors who lived in the region, and she saw it as a great opportunity to learn about her heritage.

Loustella standing in front of Big Ben in London.

Although she had her anxieties about studying in different countries, the leaders of the program helped ease her nerves. “I definitely had a lot of anxiety and stuff, but we had really good faculty members who were very experienced with traveling, like Dr. Martinez and Dr. Selby. They were equipped with everything we could throw at them.” Although she still missed her mom, the experiences with the people she met there left a lasting positive impact on her. “We were away from our homes, and we all were in the same boat. You just kind of start to respect that and move forward as a family. It made me realize that we’re all human.”

Loustella on a boat ride.

During her time in the Beyond London program, Loustella had the chance to venture to a myriad of fascinating historical sites and natural landmarks, such as England’s Stonehenge and Scotland’s famous Loch Ness. Her class focused on studying the literature associated with the landmarks, allowing Loustella to make rich connections between what she was seeing and learning. Loustella was particularly interested in the Sutton Hoo Burial displayed at the British Museum in London, and she found many similarities between the display and the burial practices she had read about in Beowulf.

The Sutton Hoo ship burial artifacts in the museum.

One of her favorite places in the countries she visited was the Fagradasfjall volcano in Iceland. “It erupted last year in August of 2022, and we were able to go down and see what that was like. It looks like tar, except it’s 3 feet thick and goes on for miles.” Another remarkable natural area she visited was the Scottish Highlands: “The mountains were literally the biggest I've seen. It didn’t look real. When we were driving, we saw the mountains stretch so far in the distance that we could see a rainbow forming over them; it’s just so vast.”

Loustella in front of Skogafoss in Iceland.

On top of being able to explore the unique physical landscapes of these countries, Loustella was also exposed to many different aspects of Scottish, English, and Icelandic culture. The food was especially interesting to her. “We tried haggis in Scotland,” she says, “which is their staple iconic food. It’s basically like spicy meatloaf. It looks like a meatball, but whenever you cut into it, it feels more like Jell-o. It didn’t taste bad at all.”

POSTED: Thursday, November 2, 2023 01:36 PM
Updated: Friday, December 8, 2023 02:50 PM