An innovative partnership with a university in England allowed a group of Presbyterian College students to study abroad this summer.
Economics and business administration professors Dr. Tobin Turner and Dr. Kurt Gleichauf led a group of 14 PC students to Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, a city in the English Midlands about 15-20 miles from Liverpool.
Students enrolled for college credit classes at Edge Hill, where they studied economics, marketing, and tourism, as well as experiencing local culture. Gleichauf said the area was picturesque and welcoming for students.
“Edge Hill is beautiful,” he said. “It’s one of the prettiest modern campuses I’ve ever seen and it was a wonderful environment for our students to be in. Ormskirk is a smaller town of about 25,000 people – a 15-minute walk from campus. It’s a beautiful little English market town, so it has an old walking area with cobblestone streets.”
When they were not in class, students explored.
“We tried to empower them to travel as much as possible on their own if they could, and they took full advantage of that,” Gleichauf said. “So they went to Liverpool, Manchester, London, and Edinburgh. So, they were on the road as much as time allowed for. They did a fantastic job of exploring on their own.”
While exploring nearby Liverpool, students visited the historic slave and maritime museums and, naturally, ventured to places devoted to the city’s most famous former residents – the Beatles.
“There are a number of Beatles-related facilities in Liverpool – a couple of bars and entertainment venues dedicated to them and I know several of our students visited them,” Gleichauf said. “They are certainly a part of Liverpudlian culture.”
Amazingly, what students encountered during their travels in England was also what they studied. Gleichauf said several lectures he and the students heard emphasized local tourism and marketing to tourists interested in natural parks and historic buildings.
“It was great to have a native professor speak to those aspects of local culture, the local landscape and history, and also using local vocabulary, not only just for the place areas, but also vocabulary associated with marketing and tourism in general,” he said.
Students also learned more about “dark tourism” marketed to people interested in historic places where something terrible has happened – like the Tower of London, where political prisoners were tortured and killed, or areas associated with the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.
A frequent traveler, Gleichauf said he enjoyed learning more about the English Midlands and seeing it through his students’ eyes.
“There are a number of things that I enjoyed, he said. “Certainly, being able to accompany our students and be there as they experience a lot of these new sites and see the excitement and wonder in their eyes was the most beneficial and, frankly, most satisfying part of the trip.”