London alum still grateful for her experience abroad; 38 years later
Written by: Susan Young of Loyola in New Orleans; London, England, spring 1976 alum
In the spring of 1976 I noticed a flier for Central College’s Study Abroad program on a bulletin board in the English department of Loyola University New Orleans, where I was a sophomore. I tore off an application and started a campaign to convince my parents to send me. Six months later, I alighted from a taxi in front of 7 Bedford Place and began my London adventure.
I chose London because I was an English major and a complete geek for British writers; Dickens, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Byron, Keats, Shelley – I loved them all. To see their homes, to wander in the city and countryside that had nurtured and inspired them was so exciting to me. And if my love of British literature hadn’t been enough of an impetus, I was also a Beatlemaniac – ‘nuff said.
I remember many special moments from my semester in England … riding the big, glassed-in coach on a field trip through the beautiful English countryside to Colchester, and having a sing-along on the bus. Standing in the stained-glass glories of King’s College Chapel in Cambridge and the York Minster. Yelling for Heathcliff on the moor outside of the Bronte’s parsonage in Haworth. Going to plays, plays and more plays, getting to sit on the stage during “Equus,” and getting lost while looking for the Fringe theatre where we were to meet our drama teacher. Hanging out often in the British Museum since it was just around the corner from 7 Bedford … cutting class (!) to see the band Queen in concert at Hyde Park (where I inexplicably left before seeing Queen sing, one of my biggest regrets in life!) … and the wonderful tea breaks we had during our classes every day.
I was lucky enough to be able to return to England a few times after my Central experience. In 1979, a friend and I toured Great Britain armed with BritRail passes (how convenient those were!), and in 1987 I brought my husband and two children to the country I loved. I was happy to show them 7 Bedford and many of my other college haunts.
I still love all things British – rejoiced during Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, follow Downton Abbey, still have tea-time every day. For many years I was an English teacher, and the most enjoyable classes were those when I taught British literature.
I will always be grateful to my parents for allowing me to attend the Central College Abroad program, and my memories of my time at 7 Bedford Place will always be close to my heart.
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Young and fellow classmate on the staircase of 7 Bedford Place