Masters of Art in English

Rylands Library


Danielle Cope at the John Ryland's Library in Manchester, England.

Graduate Students Remember the 2015 UK Study Abroad

In May 2015, three English Literature graduate students traveled abroad to United Kingdom to begin four weeks of study at Edge Hill University in Lancashire, England. The following is a stateside reflection of the trip written by Danielle Cope.

This summer, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to study British Literature in the context of an English university and its surrounding countryside. Led by our intrepid travel guides (and professors!) Dr. Jo Miller and Dr. Jim Persoon, we earned a total of six credit hours in two seminars: ENG 603 (British Literature in Context) and ENG 661 (Author/Topic Seminar). Each week our class studied a major British author from distinct time periods and genres: William Shakespeare, William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter, Charles Dickens, and Carol Ann Duffy. We shared our classroom with nine undergraduate students. This blended atmosphere gave the graduate students the opportunity to lead class discussions and present our research to the undergraduates.

Edge Hill Campus


University building viewed from the central hub on campus

We lived and studied at Edge Hill University in the village of Ormskirk, a market town whose royal charter dates back to the 12th century. The University opened in 1885 as a teaching institution for women. The school colors of green, purple and gold refer to the insignia of the women's suffrage movement in England. 

Fostering creativity was an integral part of our professors’ pedagogical approach. We were encouraged to find inspiration in lyrics by the Beatles, write and share poetry, use our own photography in presentations, and to perform scenes from Shakespeare. In addition to this classroom experience, we undertook four excursions to contextualize the literature we studied. These trips included visits to Liverpool, Manchester, the Lake District and Stratford-upon-Avon, where we had the opportunity to see Othello performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company. We were free to travel on weekends and so we made it to both Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. Of course, mid-week trips to Liverpool were also often made--just a £5 train ticket away!

Once back in the U.S., we were given eight weeks to compile our research into term papers, which we presented to our class in a conference. The following is a list of the graduate students' project titles:

  • “‘Drifting Icebergs’: Alienation in Charles Dickens’ Hard Times” by Danielle Cope

  • Wuthering Heights: Those Mystic, Moody Moors” by Susanna Lankheet

  • “The Use of Music in Shakespeare's Othello and Much Ado About Nothing” by Ashley Zirkl

The Lake District


Susanna Lankheet and Professor Jo Miller explore the fabled Lake District.


"The study abroad adventure to Edge Hill University was a wonderful opportunity to learn in an open and creative atmosphere, rich with treasures both of the written word and within our surroundings. We explored Liverpool and tile countryside of northern England together as a merry band of literature geeks. Our group delved into our coursework with a level of depth and passion that sparked creativity in my thoughts and writing, for which I am grateful."

--Susanna Lankheet

Arthur's Seat


Graduate student Ashley Zirkle hiked 251 meters to Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland

"This trip allowed me to experience both the place and the culture that is embedded in so much of the literature we study. As a graduate student, it often seems as though study abroad opportunities are less available, so it was very exciting to have this one. I also think it was beneficial for us to have classes with undergrads, because it enabled us all to hear different perspectives and meet people I might have never met otherwise."

--Ashley Zirkle

Page last modified May 11, 2018