Two College of the Rockies University Studies students have recently returned from a trip of a lifetime to London, England. The 17-day journey, part of second-year sociology and English courses offered by Vancouver Island University, was made available to students from the College who applied to become visiting VIU students.
Shaylee Rutledge and Alexis Vitaliano enrolled in the VIU course for future credit there or to transfer back to the College. They took part in the weekly VIU classes by Skype.
“This field school was an amazing experience and I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to join the group from VIU,” says Rutledge. “Through this experience, the College enabled me to see the world and to further my education by taking two university-level courses. I was able to actually witness and become familiar with another culture with a brilliant history, especially in literature. This type of interactive learning related well with the sociology and English courses I was enrolled in.”
Vitaliano’s London field school with VIU was her second educational trip, having gone to Guatemala last year with Capilano University. She is extremely grateful for the opportunities to travel that the College has provided. “I grew up in Cranbrook. To be able to get these experiences here, to be able to travel to other countries and to encounter other cultures first-hand is remarkable,” she says.
The students spent much of their time visiting notable London landmarks, some facilitated by the field school, some on their own. Their English course required them to read four London-based novels, one of which was titled Brick Lane. They then were able to visit many locations mentioned in the books to experience them first-hand, including enjoying a lunch on Brick Lane.
From a sociological perspective, the students were able to witness how another society lives, including the high level of surveillance and security that is in place in London. They were also able to see for themselves how the construction of structures for the Olympics affected the neighbourhoods they were built in, especially in the poorer sections of London.
Though one might not think there is a large cultural difference between Canadians and Londoners, Vitaliano and Rutledge found otherwise. “London is a very multi-cultural city. You get on the tube and you hear five different languages, which is just amazing. I also noticed a difference in how people interact and go about their daily lives. We are definitely more low-key here and tend to treat each other more politely,” Vitaliano notes.
Both Rutledge and Vitaliano are grateful for the field school experience and for their time at College of the Rockies. “The College is an amazing school. It is very homey and welcoming and the teachers go above and beyond for you. I would not have had the opportunity to go on either of these field schools if it wasn’t for my instructor, Avery Hulbert. It is because of Avery and the College that I was able to take part in travel that changed my life. I am so grateful for that. I am sad to be leaving the College now that my two years are done. I have built such great relationships with the instructors here,” Vitaliano concludes.
Vitaliano will transfer credits earned during her two years at the College and enter the third year of the Social Work program at Vancouver Island University. Inspired to continue travelling by her two field school trips, she is already planning a trip on her own. Rutledge completed one year of University Studies courses at the College and returned from London to a very busy work schedule. At this time she is unsure what her plans are for the fall.
Learn more about College of the Rockies University Studies courses.