The Baker Orange

Students benefit from Harlaxton opportunity

Story by Heidi Jo Hayen, Writer

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With a new semester just around the corner, some students are packing their bags and picking up their passports. According to students who have traveled before, studying abroad at BU comes with ups, downs and in some cases, Victorian manors. Senior Jillian Miller stands in front of Harlaxton University in Grantham, England. Miller attended Harlaxton during the spring semester of her junior year and found the experience educational and rewarding.

Some of the available destinations for students interested in traveling abroad include countries in Europe, Australia, Asia and South America. But Baker students’ most popular choice is Harlaxton. Sitting on 120 acres of land and having more than 150 rooms, Harlaxton Manor is located in Grantham, England.

Five BU students are currently studying at Harlaxton, while nine more plan to travel there for the spring 2015 semester.

Martha Harris, associate dean of academic affairs and former Harlaxton coordinator, has been to the mansion more than 15 times and for her, “it never gets old.”

“London is huge and is filled with culturally metropolitan areas,” Harris said. “But Grantham, where Harlaxton is located, is out in English countryside and is a truer English experience.”

Though students studying abroad at Harlaxton College stay in a Victorian mansion initially styled in the 1800s, a sight very different than the walls of the New Living Center, they are still required to take classes. Most of the student schedules are by choice, similar to enrolling on Baker’s main campus, except that all students studying abroad must take a British history class that directly transfers as their QS212 and linked courses.

It wasn’t the unique Quest class that attracted senior Jillian Miller. After her peers talked about missing their experiences at the manor, Miller decided to study abroad at Harlaxton last semester. But she found that her favorite class would end up being the required one.

“Even though it was at 8:30 in the morning, it was definitely worth it,” Miller said.

Miller said that although some of the classes at Harlaxton seemed a little slow, she found them all entertaining.

Miller’s time at Harlaxton was filled with experiences she felt were enriching and some of her favorite memories were within the manor.

“I had fun exploring the hidden passageways,” Miller said. “They told us to find them, and every time we did we’d go exploring.”

Miller’s experiences at Harlaxton gave her a “new perspective” and introduced her to a number of new people.

Sophomores Keaton Anchors and Laura Price are on the Harlaxton roster together for next semester. Though Harlaxton encourages students to build new relationships with students they meet while at the manor, Anchors and Price are excited to have someone they know going with them.

While at Harlaxton, Price hopes to go on various trips, but is especially excited to visit her ancestors’ homeland.

“I really want to go to Wales, because my family is Welsh,” Price said. “I want to go places where my ancestors lived.”

Depending on the student and the time of the application, preparation varies from student to student. While some start saving money a year in advance, others sign up last-minute after a late decision to go.

In addition to financial requirements, such as a plane ticket and souvenir money, students must also fill out application paperwork and meet study abroad requirements before they are accepted.

The university makes it easy for students to study abroad; it’s part of what Harris calls “the liberal arts experience.” Baker allows all financial aid awarded by the university to be applied toward studying abroad, from departmental to participation awards.

Harris believes students should take advantage of Baker’s generosity when it comes to studying abroad, a generosity that does not diminish during the current budget cuts.

“It’s because of the value we place on studying abroad as a liberal arts experience, even with budget cuts and hard financial times,” Harris said. “Baker maintains it as a possibility for as many students as we possibly can.”

Assistant Professor of Psychology Robyn Long is the new Harlaxton Coordinator for Baker students. She previously studied at Harlaxton and assumed her new role on Nov. 1. Students who are interested in learning more about studying at Harlaxton should consult Long.