For Immediate Release
May 14, 2012
Contacts: David Ottalini, 301 405 4076 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Study Abroad? To Learn Something New Of Course!
"England is a place of stunning historical contrasts and comment."
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - English Professor of Practice Mike Olmert is back in London - anxiously awaiting the arrival of his study abroad class on May 21st. The five women and nine men are in for a lot of hard work - and the experience of a life time. (Olmer's class will be blogging and Tweeting (#LondonEastAnglia) their way through the program. Follow along on our LondonEastAnglia Blog page.)
"Professor Olmert is an expert at passing on his enthusiasm for his field and the host country to his students," said Catherine Donohoe, who is the interim director for the university's Education Abroad programs. "This blog is a wonderful example of how Maryland's dedicated faculty who lead study abroad programs can inspire their students to dig deeper into their major fields and think well outside the borders of College Park. Education Abroad invites all students to visit our office and website or to browse our program offerings online over the summer. We are now accepting applications for programs and scholarships for winter and spring 2013."
Before he left for London this past weekend, UMD Newsdesk had a chance to talk with Professor Olmert about why this class remains so exciting to him year after year - and why an education abroad experience for all Maryland students is so important.
Why this class?
Because Britain - its literature, its architecture, its landscape, its age (6,000 years of humans living & changing the land - were very important in my career and life. I've been to the UK more than 140 times and every trip was like a 3-credit course in something new.
What's new this year?
This is HMQ's Diamond Jubilee - 60 years a monarch (HMQ means Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II. I like the sound of those initials). The last time this happened was in 1897-Victoria became Queen in 1837. On Sunday, June 3 there will be a grand flotilla of one thousand historic boats, yachts, and wherries on the Thames. The river used to be London's main road, its beltway in the middle, if you will. It will be again for that historic day, and 14 lucky and deserving Maryland students will certainly have something to tell their grandchildren about.
This year is also an Olympic year. And out in the East End of the city there's a ton of brand new architecture --very exciting stuff-- that will stay up long after the Olympics. But still there are a lot of Victorian buildings in that area as well, so the contrast gives the city a richness, old and new to compare and contrast. One of the old buildings is the Bryant and May Match Factory, where the first worker's strike took place in 1888 - and the strikers were girls who made matches and were demonstrating for safer working conditions. England is a place of stunning historical contrasts and comment.
What do you hope your students come away with?
Every single day they will learn at least ten new things. They will mainly learn what a kick it is to keep their eyes and ears open to new things, sometimes dangerous or delightful things.
Why is it important that Maryland students have an education abroad experience?
Perspective is essential in every phase of our lives. We mainly get that outside our self-satisfied comfort zones. "Away games" test us so much more than home games, right?
What is your favorite part of this class?
Whenever the class and I are learning something new together. I love haring the excitement with a dozen brilliant UMD kids who are already much cleverer than I ever was, or will ever be.
Mike Olmert Olmert holds an MA and PhD in English literature and for the last 26 years has been teaching at the University of Maryland, where he lectures on Medieval Studies, Shakespeare, 17th and 18th Century Studies, and Modern British Drama. He has written more than 90 television documentaries, three plays, and two books. He has been awarded 3 Emmy Awards for his work on the Discovery Channel. In 2002, he received one for writing Allosaurus: A Walking With Dinosaurs Special. In 2003, he won for Walking With Prehistoric Beasts. His third award came in 2006 for Before the Dinosaurs. He was inducted into the University of Maryland Hall of Fame in 2005.
London East Anglia Blog for Summer 2012
University of Maryland International Programs Office
Education Abroad Program