Saturday, June 21, 2014

So many few adequate words to say 'thanks'

I am once again struggling with how to express my gratitude to all who help make the Justice Studies London study abroad program a success.  Some do it as part of their job - regardless, they all go above and beyond when it comes to helping me and the students.  Others do it simply because they are gracious human beings. Regardless of the reasons behind their involvement, all are generous, caring, supportive people. 

First and Foremost - Constable Richard Watson

Those of you who have read the student blogs (this year and in past years) or my blog, have a sense for the impact that Constable Watson has on this program.  I will always be grateful for everything he does to help me, but more importantly the students will always remember his role in this wonderful opportunity.  

Richard -  You are truly a blessing in my life.  I am not sure what I would do without your help. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel when I think about all you have done for this program. I'll just say thanks.


I, once again, had the pleasure of working with Maria from ISA.  She is lovely in so many ways - always attentive to the needs of the group, a consummate professional, and yet flexible and casual - the students love her!

All of the staff at ISA ~ from Texas to London ~ are good at their jobs.  If I ever doubted the decision to switch to a third party provider to assist with program details, I certainly no longer do.

My CSC Colleagues
It really does take a village to make this program happen.  Planning for the next program starts even before we've left on the current year's program.  I am so thankful that there are many people on campus, who like me, believe in the positive impacts of study abroad.  This year's students financially benefited form the support of the CSC Administration through scholarships that really did make a difference.  Everyone from the Marketing Development Office, to the Start Office, to the Business Office, to faculty who help me spread the word are all so important ~ this program would not be possible without them.

And of Course, the Students

This year was particularly challenging for me because I was 'under the weather' for most of the trip. However, this year's students made that not so bad.  Travelling with a smaller group definitely has it's advantages, but more than that, the personality of the individual students, as well as the group dynamics, helped immensely!  The students were always punctual; they were attentive, inquisitive, and excited; they were a joy to spend two weeks with (even with a stuffed up head and a never-ending cough).

Until next year.....cheers!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Headed to Hogwarts

Friday took us to the university town of Oxford.  We toured one of the many colleges that are part of Oxford University.  Christ Church was used as the setting for several scenes in the Harry Potter series.  This staircase was walked by the students who were then to be sorted into the different Hogwart's schools.  (I really must watch all those movies...warm up the DVD player Dominic!)

Royalty...without all the responsibilities

Thursday was as close to royalty that a group from Chadron, Nebraska can ever get.  'Close' both in the sense of royal treatment as well as in proximity.  Once again Constable Richard Watson worked his 'Bobbie magic' and scored us front steps of Buckingham Palace seats for the Changing of the Guards ceremony.

The ever charming Constable Phil Cole took time off from his daily responsibilities to come along and help clarify all the parts of the Changing of the Guard (it is much more complicated than it appears).

Next we were off to 10 Downing Street to stand right outside the residence of the Prime Minister.

Maria from ISA accompanied us for these events because although she is a London lifer, she has never had these opportunities.  She may have been more excited than anyone because she realized just what an incredible privilege this was!

We finished the day at New Scotland Yard, where Constable Watson and others discussed some of the events that NSY coordinates for the Metropolitan Police - such as the 2012 Olympics.

It was then that we had to bid adieu to Constable Watson.  As you can see by the student blogs, he has forever changed their lives.  They have felt connected to him ever since he 'popped into' one of our predeparture classes via Skype.  There are no words that can express my gratitude to him...but I also know it's not necessary, he does what he does because he loves his job and the interactions with students have a positive impact on him as well.

To Paris or not to Paris???...that is the question

I'm never sure whether to tackle Paris as a day trip while in London or not.  There is so much to see and it involves a very early morning train with a late return to have any chance of doing justice to Paris, and even then, it is a whirlwind.  Despite all of that, six students and I tackled Paris on Wednesday.  We saw a majority of the highlights of Paris (many in the rain) and even managed a leisurely meal of crepes.

Standing outside the pyramid entrance to the Louvre Museum.

Everyone's favorite, the Eiffel Tower.

All in all, a good day.  Not only can students say, 'I've been to Paris' but hopefully the've learned from their time in London and Paris that they can navigate 'foreign' countries (even if they don't speak the language).  Just enough to wet their appetite and plant the seed for future travel plans.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Closing the Loop on the English Courts

We have visited a Magistrate's Court where we watched proceedings before a bench of three lay magistrates.  We have discussed the role of the Crown Court.  So, today we finished the court system by visiting the Royal Courts of Justice and sat in on criminal appeals, as well as visiting the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and sat in the courtroom while five justices heard a case essentially involving prisoner rights.  The appellate court is very traditional and sternly managed while, surprisingly, the Supreme Court hearing was very relaxed.

We started our tour of the Supreme Court in this very modern courtroom.  The UK has only had a Supreme Court since 2009, so it's no surprise that part of the building is very modern, although some of the other courtrooms are much more traditional.

Our legal guide, Solicitor JoAnn, discusses the tradition of English barristers wearing wigs.

Trooping the Colours

Constable Watson was once again able to work his magic and get us in as the only observers to the first rehearsal for Trooping the Colours.  London celebrates The Queen's official birthday in June each year with Trooping the Colour, a fantastic military parade that has taken place in London since 1820. The ceremony of Trooping the Colour is full of military pomp and pageantry as The Queen carries out an inspection of the troops from the Household Division.

Cpnstable Watson not only had to work, but he also had to 'babysit' us as we were the only observers allowed on the Horse Guards Parade grounds during the rehearsal.

A Lovely Sunday in the English Countryside

it was a perfect day to leave the hustle and bustle of London and see what lies outside the city limits.  We were fortunate to have the very knowledgable Sarah with us again as our guide to history, architecture, and anything random.

First stop Stonehenge where we viewed the 'magic stones' and tried to comprehend what would drive people to expend so much effort to bring these massive stones from so far away to this particular location.  What was the henge's purpose?  How did they manage the construction of this site with the tools that would have been available to them?  So many questions....truly one of the wonders of the world.

Then we were off to Bath to learn of its role in peoples' lives.  Bath has been a place of worship and healing as well as one of luxury.  It has always provided what the wealthy desired at the time.

We also took time to enjoy the sun outside the crescent row of homes in Bath.  ( No surprise, we also enjoyed the gelato and the fudge!)