Clarksville, TN – Dr. Daniel Shea, Austin Peay State University associate professor of languages and literature, leaned back in his chair and said, “We’ve got lots of programs for people who can spend considerable amounts of time abroad. If you want to study abroad for a year or a semester or a month, we’ve got you covered.”
Outside his office window in Harned Hall, dozens of nontraditional students walked across campus. They’re the type of students – parents, full-time employees and military veterans – who don’t necessarily have the time or money to spend weeks studying in a foreign country.
“Even two weeks is a stretch for some people,” Shea said. “And we have so many nontraditional students here.”
Next semester, he’s hoping a few of those students will sign up for his English 2030 World Literature class. It’s a typical, three-credit-hour class that meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays on campus, but instead of taking a week off during the spring break holiday, Shea and his students will head to London for six days.
“We’ll be staying just a couple blocks from the British Museum in London,” he said. “My students will be reading ‘Beowulf’ and going to see the single manuscript of ‘Beowulf’ that exists in the world. We’ll be touring of some important sites there, like the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.”
The World Literature class is one of two courses being offered next spring in conjunction with the APSU Office of International Education. An art appreciation class, taught by APSU assistant professor of art Dr. Jennifer Snyder, will also be traveling to London during spring break, allowing students to visit sites such as the Tate Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Stonehenge.
“The study abroad program in Art Appreciation is a wonderful way to see many of the works of art we talk about in class,” Snyder said. “London is a very exciting city for viewing art from a variety of periods. To see works from the Paleolithic period, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, all the way through contemporary art is really a unique opportunity for students at Austin Peay.”
The opportunity is also a bit unusual in that it targets students early in their academic careers, in their sophomore and, in some cases, freshman years.
“This year we are focusing on increasing the number of international options in ‘gateway courses,’ or courses which the vast majority of our students are required to take while at APSU,” Tina Rousselot de Saint Céran, coordinator of International Education at APSU, said. “What better way to make art or literature relevant than experiencing a Monet in person or learning about Shakespeare while touring the Globe Theatre?”
Since the program is targeting these gateway courses, it is offering study-abroad opportunities to students who wouldn’t traditionally have many options to study in a foreign country.
“It’s a core required class, so it’s open to all students in all majors,” Shea said. “That’s another good thing about it because so many study-abroad courses are specific to certain majors. There are a lot more opportunities for humanities majors than say math majors.”
The program cost will also be very low due to the short amount of time abroad, and students will be able to use financial aid and apply for a Global Learning travel grant to cover 25 percent of the program cost.
For more information on these courses, contact the APSU Office of International Education at 931.221.6851.