Stepping Around the World with English Majors: Undergraduates Showcase Study Abroad Experience at STEP Expo

November 28, 2018
Block O

Earlier this month, at Ohio State’s 2018 Second-Year Transformational Experience Program Expo, several English majors presented their signature projects to a bustling ballroom full of students, faculty and staff confronted with the unenviable task of navigating a room simmering with phenomenal stories just waiting to be shared.

Students who enroll in STEP work with faculty mentors and peer groups and participate in co-curricular activities throughout their second year at Ohio State. After completing the program requirements, STEP students submit a signature project proposal in hopes of receiving a fellowship to bring their projects to life. Signature projects provide an opportunity for students to engage in a transformational experience in one of six core categories: internships, leadership, education abroad, service-learning and community service, undergraduate research or artistic and creative endeavors. STEP is a partnership between the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Student Life that focuses on student engagement and development to enhance second-year success.

The Department of English is proud of our STEP students’ outstanding academic and personal achievements—the depth, breadth, vision and remarkable creativity of which are emblematic of just what our majors are capable of.

Vince Bella

Vince BellaIn May 2018, I participated in the English Department's Literary Locations trip to Ireland. We studied the literature of two of Ireland's most prominent writers: James Joyce and William Butler Yeats. Before going to Dublin, we spent the entire spring semester reading the major works of these writers as well as preparing ourselves for total immersion in a different culture. While in Ireland, we stayed primarily in Dublin, but we also visited the towns Galway and Sligo. In Dublin, we visited several literary landmarks, such as the James Joyce Center, the Chester Beatty Library and the National Library of Ireland. We also toured other cultural landmarks, such as Dublin Castle, the National Gallery and the Guinness Storehouse. My favorite place to see was the Hill of Howth, which is also where the final chapter of Joyce's Ulysses is set. While in Ireland, I discovered that I have a great interest in the cultural impact of Joyce's writing. I was inspired by my travels to begin an independent research project, and on November 17, I will be presenting a paper at the Midwest Modern Language Association Conference on a topic related to Joyce's Ulysses. Thanks to STEP and The Ohio State University, I was able to have an experience that I would not have thought possible and which led to both my personal and professional development. 

Bella is a third-year majoring in English literature.

Vince Bella

Whitney Kneffler

Kneffler at Telephone Booth

This past May of 2018, I had the opportunity—through the department of English and STEP—to participate in the Literature and Culture of London, a study abroad program that took place during the month of May. Through this class, I took part in an enriching class that encouraged participants to view places throughout the city as having meaning and importance to the people that live there. Though the theme of the class was Victorian crime riction, this was a program that encouraged participants to explore and research their own individual interests, leading to a very diverse and fun series of presentations at the end of the class. During the course of the program, each student completed a digital project, which can be viewed in our display case on the second floor of Thompson Library, as well as had the freedom to explore London and England on our own time, allowing for an incredible flexibility in what I researched and experienced. While each student completed the same program, we each had a very unique experience during our program. For instance, my friends and I (the three of us had taken part in this program together) planned a short trip to Scotland, as well as made a short video that highlighted our experience, which can be viewed on YouTube. This was an incredibly enriching experience, and if I had the chance to do something like this again, I would sign up in a heartbeat.

Kneffler is a third-year majoring in English.

Kendal Lindstrom

UntersbergFor my STEP project, I studied in Salzburg, Austria for the spring 2018 semester. Because I love to travel, I knew even before freshman year that I wanted to study abroad—I just didn’t know where I would go or how I would fund it. Eventually, I chose Salzburg because of my German language experience and its urban yet mountainous setting. In Austria, I was able to live in a renovated sixteenth-century church, snowshoe hike through the Alps, see a Viennese opera, cliff-jump into a lake surrounded by mountains and bike-ride through the city and countryside where Mozart lived and The Sound of Music was filmed. I also visited countries like Hungary, Ireland, Slovenia, Spain and more. Through this semester, I learned to deal with and overcome discomfort, developed a stronger sense of independence and became the type of person that wants to explore the unfamiliar.

Lindstrom is a fourth-year majoring in creative writing with minors in business and professional writing. 

Sleigh Ride

Formattd by Madalynn Conkle