When I entered St. Lawrence University as a first year student, I knew that I wanted to major in English with a focus on literature, and that I was very interested in pursuing a minor in Spanish. I had no idea, however, that I would end up minoring in European Studies as well. I was not a big fan of history in high school, so when I got to college I had every intention of avoiding it. However, the Spanish and English classes I took during my first two years at SLU incorporated history in various ways and by my junior year I realized that a history course would complement the classes I was interested in quite nicely. Because I felt that it would unite the two disciplines I was most interested in and it would give me the opportunity to explore history a bit if I chose to, I decided to pursue a minor in European Studies. I then took a course in Nineteenth-Century European History and, surprisingly, I really enjoyed it! It turned out that minoring in European Studies was a great decision for me!
I was never terribly interested in studying abroad and as an athlete I had thought that it would be nearly impossible to do so. However, my decision to minor in European Studies made me aware of just how beneficial and relevant studying abroad would be. After much contemplation, I decided to study in London, England on the St. Lawrence program during the Fall 2010 semester—and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made! I had the opportunity to live with an amazing host family and to learn first hand about culture in London and in other European countries as well. While abroad, I had the chance to travel throughout the city of London and to spend some time in Ireland, Scotland and Italy. Every day was an adventure. I loved being able to learn from every experience I had, and I took advantage of every opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. Aside from learning by traveling and exploring London and other parts of Europe, I learned an immense amount in the classes I took while in London. I took a class about Art and Architecture in London, something I knew nothing about, and had the chance to visit museums, exhibits and galleries throughout the city. The Theatre in London class I took was amazing! I got to see a play every week and visited many famous theatres throughout London. ‘Encountering London,’ the required course for all London students, was outstanding as well. We went on a class trip to Stonehenge, Salisbury and Bath, did various walking tours of London and traveled on small group study tours outside of England as well. In place of a fourth class, I spent my semester in London hard at work on my combined English Honors Project/European Studies Independent Project—a close analysis of a 20th century British novel, A. S. Byatt’s Possession. This project, a combination of work I have done related to my English major and my European Studies minor, will continue throughout my final semester at SLU. Exploring the theme of the female struggle to balance autonomy and interdependence at the heart of Possession, I am focusing on the European feminist movement and the use of genre within the novel. I have found my senior project to be a wonderful way to unite my love of literature, my interest in European history and my incredible experience studying abroad.