Study abroad program attracts Harry Potter fans

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A study abroad program from the University of Oregon features a Harry Potter theme, and would allow students to explore various castles, works of literature, and other subjects related to the much-beloved franchise.

By Julia Rentsch, Staff Writer

Die-hard Harry Potter fans rejoice! An unusual study abroad program known as “Fantasy on the Fringe,” or alternatively “Harry Potter in the UK,” is now available through the University of Oregon.

The program consists of two 300-level courses, one in English literature or comparative literature, and one course in folklore, cultural studies, or anthropology.

The courses begin and end online, with a one-month period spent on-site in the UK. The only eligibility requirements are: 2.75 GPA and sophomore standing by summer 2014 (the freshman year com- pleted by the end of spring semester).

The dates are July 10 to August 6, 2014, during which the program meets in London for two and a half weeks, and then moves to Edinburgh, Scotland for the final one and a half weeks.

According to Dr. Roger Atkins, Instructor of English and Folklore at the University of Oregon, the program is not only academically rigorous, but also a lot of fun.

“The topics are related to the pop-culture lives of many university students. We address questions like ‘Why is fantasy literature associated with children, wistful women, and ‘nerdy’ boys?’ and ‘Do our stories about the fantastic (ghosts, witches, magic, monsters, etc.) offer interesting ways to think differently about social justice?’ The program is discussion-based, and the discussions are lively!”

‘The Horcrux Project’ is an example of a fun and engaging course project that caters to Harry Potter fans, which has students hunting for their own seven Horcruxes around London and Edinburgh.

Part of the learning experience of the ‘Harry Potter’ program is a series of excursions and activities, including visiting castles, exhibits, ‘cabinets of curiosities’, historic sites, cemeteries, standing stones sites, the Scottish Parliament, live shows, and more.

“We have afternoon tea… but we also have some British pub grub together— for the other end of the class spectrum. We take walking tours. Nearly every single day, we are out exploring and learning something new,” says Dr. Atkins, who in addition to his professorial job is also the Associate Director of Study Abroad Programs at UO.

The group even plans to visit the film sets and other collections from the eight Harry Potter movies to explore the transition of popular fantasy literature from page to screen.

While in Edinburgh, students will also get the opportunity to visit the Fringe Festival to see live musical and theatrical performances.“This fes- tival is simply amazing,” explains Dr. Atkins. “There are 370 venues, plus free shows throughout the streets of the city, so there’s something for everyone. We learn about festival life by living it.”

Participants also receive free time on weekends and evenings for exploring London and Edinburgh, and pos- sibly travelling to nearby destinations in the UK.

The program fee is $7500 and includes all UK- side tuition and fees, hous- ing (in single rooms) in both London and Edinburgh, one daily meal on average, all admissions and travel for excursions, one-way transportation from London to Edinburgh, travel health insurance, an international student ID card, a transit pass for London, and more.

Housing in both London and Edinburgh is centrally located. Other costs of the trip are any home- campus registration fee, air travel, a few books needed for classes, remaining meals, and personal expenses. Financial aid is applicable, either from the students’ home campus or through the University of Oregon.

Those who wish to apply by the deadline of May 1st should visit ahastudyabroad.org, or look for ‘Har- ry Potter in the UK 2014” on Facebook.

For all of the college student Harry Potter lovers who have been hoping for a unique and out-of-the-box study abroad experience, this opprtunity was designed with you in mind! From the various travel opportunities within the program to the unique content of the courses at the university, this program will surely have a large amount of interest. The only question now is whether or not the program offers

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1 Comment

  1. I am the program’s faculty director, and my Google alert’s watchful eye flagged up your article. Thanks for mentioning the program! There’s still a few spots for 2014 (this year is going to be really special in several ways), and I’m happy to work with anyone still interested. Please email me for the details.

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