Dr. Linda Seward
Speech and Theatre Department
Middle Tennessee State University 37132

Study Abroad


Summer 2007

The World of Harry Potter, Secret Codes and Royalty: A comparison of U.S. and British Cultures

[ Why Study in London? ] [ How to Apply? ]

Why Study in London?

  1. From History to Pop Culture, we have the closest ties to Great Britain. [ more ]
  2. Like codes or ancient history? [more ]
  3. They speak the same language (sort of)! [ more ]
  4. Easy access to France. [ more ]


1. From History to Pop Culture, we have the closest ties to Great Britain.

People in the U.S. are very proud of our freedoms, but those freedoms began in Great Britain with documents like the Magna Carta. Why not go see the actual document that established rights that helped guide the founding fathers of the U.S.?

In addition to what you learn in your coursework, you can do things like tour Westminster Abbey, the place where British kings and queens are crowned and buried. (Better yet - you can actually attend church there!).  You can attend world-class plays, visit Wimbledon or go to the town of Greenwich and stand exactly at 0 degrees longitude!

Or, maybe you want to see the train station that Harry Potter goes to each time he returns to school - or see sites mentioned in the Da Vinci Code?  You can choose from a wide range of walking tours that  cover topics from Jack the Ripper to Sherlock Holmes. 

Near London you can visit ancient sites like Stonehenge.  Or, perhaps you're more interested in World War II?  In that case, visit Bletchley Park, Churchill's Secret intelligence and computer headquarters.  You can see the enigma machine that allowed the British to break the Nazi codes in World War II

And, of course, there is great theatre - both in London and at Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare's hometown.


2. Like codes or ancient history?

"The sun never set on the British empire."  That saying was a reference to the colonies they held around the world.  Not surprisingly, the British collected priceless artifacts from around the world and they are currently located in the British Museum.  (I wrote "currently" because nations around the world are trying to get their treasures returned.)  In one location you can see such sights as:

- The Rosetta Stone - this is the stone that scholars studied to finally break the code of the hieroglyphs in Egyptian pyramids!

- Sculptures from the Parthenon in Greece.

-- Easter Island statue

- Mummies from Egypt

Want to know more?  Check out the website for the British Museum to take a virtual tour.

3. They speak the same language (sort of)!

Being able to read signs - and ask questions when you're lost - is invaluable!

Plus, for the Intercultural Communication class, you'll actually interview people about their culture. The depth of your conversations is so much greater when you don't have to worry about how to conjugate the past tense or consult a dictionary for every 3rd word!

Added bonus: world-renowned theatre - and you'll understand what they're saying!

Test your knowledge of British English:

Translate these British words into American English:

  • Bangers
  • Biscuit
  • Bonnet
  • Boot
  • Braces
  • Chips
  • Crisps
  • Full stop
  • Loo
  • Nappy
  • Public school
  • Randy
  • Rucksack
  • Scone
  • Second floor
  • Serviette
  • Takeaway
  • Torch                                (click here for answers)

4. Easy access to France.

In 1994, an incredible engineering feat was accomplished when a train tunnel was built under the English Channel to connect Great Britain and France.  Called "the Chunnel," it allows you to travel by train from London to Paris in about 2 1/2 hours! 

How to Apply

The Cooperative Center for Study Abroad (CCSA) is a consortium of colleges and universities who offer study abroad programs in cooperation with the University of London King's College.  In the summer of 2007, I will teach a course entitled: The World of Harry Potter, Secret Codes and Royalty: A Comparison of U.S. and British Cultures.  (At MTSU, this course counts as Comm 3560).

For details on this and other courses (as well as dates, costs and application procedures), see the CCSA website: www.nku.edu/~ccsa/