Town and Gown - JSU Students Visit UK and Beyond in Unique Study Tour
By Heather Greene
This summer, two students from Jacksonville State University had the opportunity travel “across the pond,” spend a month in the United Kingdom, and travel Europe, all while completing college credit.
Brittany Hallman, a graduate student majoring in English, and Tatiana Mosbey, a junior majoring in Political Science, were the first JSU students to participate in the British Studies Program, a consortium program between 14 different colleges and universities (including JSU), headquartered out of the University of Southern Mississippi.
While on the tour, students earn college credit by selecting courses in the realm of art, business, English, the entertainment industry, history, journalism, library science, psychology, sports management, and sociology, among other disciplines.
As she is currently working to complete her masters in English, Brittney Hallman opted to take the Victorian Literature course through the British Studies Program.
Hallman is a native of Bessemer, Alabama and is the daughter of Brenda Watford.
Hallman explains that she was the first member in her family to go to college and successfully complete college, let alone study abroad.
This trip was her very first time to leave the country and it proved quite a memorable experience for her.
Hallman completed her undergraduate degree in accounting at JSU and decided to earn a Masters in English to assist her with her dream of becoming a lawyer. She graduated on May 2, 2014 and found herself back in school on May 5 to begin her graduate school journey.
“I highly recommend it [a study tour],” states Hallman. “If anybody ever gets a chance to do any study abroad opportunity, they should really go. It’s worth it; it really is.”
This study tour allowed her to earn six graduate hour credits, all while stepping outside of the classroom and exploring the locations that most English majors only dream of visiting.
“America has spoiled me and I do love home,” states Hallman, who laughed about many of the conveniences we, as Americans, tend to expect which are not always found abroad.
On her experience, Tatiana Mosbey states, “This made me look at the world as a bigger place than it really is.”
Mosbey plans to attend graduate school after finishing her undergraduate degree at JSU. She hopes to one day find herself involved in some form of politics, perhaps even on an international level.
Originally from Powder Springs, Georgia, Mosbey is the daughter of Tehira Strong and Fred Mosbey.
Of the various courses offered, Mosbey selected the history class and spent much of her time actually visiting the sights and historical locations discussed, as opposed to sitting in a classroom.
“We went somewhere every single day…You do a lot of things that you don’t normally get to do in a classroom,” Mosbey said.
She explains that her apartment on Stanford street essentially placed her in the “heart of London,” giving her quick access to the Tube (London’s subway system) for any of the major attractions that were not within a ten-minute walk from her.
While this was not her first time going abroad, it was Mosbey’s first time going abroad to Europe on her own.
“I definitely feel like I walked away from this trip with a lot more confidence in myself,” states Mosbey. “While I was over there, I really grew to become more independent…I feel like I grew a lot through that summer.”
The opportunity to witness some of the current discussions in the U.K. over the independence of Scotland piqued Mosbey’s interest, “I think I was there at a very pivotal time…I got to see the referendum which was signed by David Cameron and the Scottish Prime Minister and it was a really awesome moment for me.”
During the trip each student gets to select another part in Europe to visit for a couple of days. Mosbey chose Paris, France, and Hallman decided to visit Barcelona, Spain.
Spearheading the British Studies Tour at JSU is Dr. Chris Westley, a professor of economics who observed the British Studies Program during the summer of 2012 to get an idea about how it was organized, the course selections available, the student experience, and the actual cost.
Westley states, “Many students attend British Studies with the intention of establishing contacts that can help them establish careers overseas after graduation—they want to live and work in London – whereas others see the value of having international experience added to their resumes. In today's economy, being able to discuss what you learned and where you visited over the course of receiving your business degree provides a leg up when applying to work at companies with overseas presences. The same logic applies to the other academic disciplines covered in the British Studies program.”
Interestingly enough, Westley has been working to develop the curriculum for a class in political economy for the British Studies Program.
In addition to the British Studies Program consortium tour, JSU offers its students a number of study tours to places around the world.
This article originally appeared in the "Town and Gown" of the Jacksonville News.