Nottingham: Greetings from Across the Pond [Inside Giving December 2010]

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"Regards from Overseas: The Study Abroad Experience at Luther" "
A note from Aaron Schmaltz Inside Giving intern

Today was not particularly significant. I made my way through the hectic streets as usual, noticing how the rain trickled down the compact rooftops. But as I reached the Hopper Bus stop, among excited shuffling and polite conversation, it struck me suddenly: I am in England. I am studying at the University of Nottingham.

In hindsight, I find it astonishing that I could have made it this far. But our group travels to Stonehenge, London, York, and Bath have kept me thoroughly distracted. Not to mention my Uni courses, which consist of entirely different takes on American culture. In my English class, for example, we learned about the American Slave Narrative through a British perspective. Needless to say, I've encountered more than tea and biscuits (cookies) here.

It was immediately apparent to me that enrolling at Luther would mean the opportunity to travel. I remember vividly hearing about the Nottingham program during my first tour of campus. I remember catching my breath, looking up at my father, and saying, quite simply, "I need to get into this program."

There are 13 of us here, accompanied by professor of history, Jacqueline Wilkie, her son, Miles, and Dr. Norma Hervey. Also here is Luther Alum and previous Luther Nott, Siri Carlson ('09), who helps us become more acquainted with British life. While here, we take classes both at the flat and at the University. In only a few months, we have been active members of the community by volunteering, getting to know the locals, and merely wandering around.

I cannot stress enough how grateful I am that this program exists. Year after year it is faced with obstacles such as fluctuating currency, but the Study Abroad office at Luther continues to maintain the importance of intercultural experience. As a result, opportunities are made all over the world. About 75 percent of Luther students study abroad during their four years. It's amazing to think that Luther College has touched so many places.

In a way, I suppose I'm finding myself here across the pond. By noticing differences and accepting changes, I am able to figure out what I want to do, where I want to go. In a month, I'll be hiking around Ireland. But for now, as I make my daily bus trips to campus, I can be content revelling in the overwhelming magnificence of England.

VIDEO: "Nottingham 2010/2011"
Take a peak into Aaron's Nottingham experience.

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