Postcard From Abroad: Greetings from Bath!

By Zach Brooks, Staff Writer

Zach Brooks '24 at a regency tea experience at the Jane Austen Center. (Photo Courtesy of Zach Brooks)

Zach Brooks ’24 at a regency tea experience at the Jane Austen Center. (Photo Courtesy of Zach Brooks)

BATH, ENGLAND—Hello, and greetings from the World Heritage City of Bath! I knew from my first day at Gettysburg College that I wanted to study abroad, but when I decided during the Fall 2022 semester to pursue graduating a semester early, I thought I would lose the chance to go overseas. Fortunately, the Advanced Studies in English (ASE) program has allowed me to curtail my coursework to fulfill my English Major requirements! The program does an excellent job at offering classes exploring diverse literary topics like “Black Fantastika,” advanced writing Seminars like “Character Driven Proses,” and others that take advantage of being in England like “The Writings of Virginia Woolf,” which has a trip to the London neighborhood of Bloomsbury, home of the influence Bloomsbury group which Woolf was both a member of and influenced by.

However, as I have settled into living in Bath, I have learned to appreciate ASE beyond its academic offering, learning what makes Bath a World Heritage site. From the ancient Roman ruins of their Baths–where the City gets its name, the 17th century Bath Abbey, a home of Jane Austin where she sets parts of “Persuasions” and “Northanger Abbey” or the gorgeous Georgian townhomes that line the streets of the City, there’s the chance for cultural enrichment nearly around every street corner.

Bath is an English Hollywood in some regard, as it has been the filming location for many popular TV Shows and Movies, most recently having several “Bridgerton” filming locations. #1 Royal Crescent, a museum in Bath, was the home of the Featheringtons, the Holburne Museum was Lady Danberry’s mainson and many other streets, cafes and corners also served as filming locations for the show! Pulteney Bridge, which offers gorgeous glimpses at the river that runs through Bath, was also a filming location for Javert’s fatal plunge into the Seine in “Les Miserables.” I hope I spot someone famous in the Bath cobblestone streets during my time here.

Stonehenge (Photo Courtesy of Zach Brooks)

Stonehenge (Photo Courtesy of Zach Brooks)

For those of the STEM persuasion, Bath also made scientific history in 1781 when William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus from his backyard. I got the chance to tour the house where he made the discovery and stand on the very spot in his backyard where, using a telescope of his own construction, Herschel made history. It’s funny to share that I live less than a mile from where a planet was found.

My favorite experiences while studying abroad have been a regency tea experience at the Jane Austen Center, visiting London’s Chinatown during the Chinese New Year (only a short hour and a half train ride away!) and taking a bus tour to Stonehenge. Later in the semester, I look forward to exploring the European continent; while Britain may be an Island, there are many budget-friendly flights to other cities from nearby Bristol Airport or Heathrow. Some trains will take you under the English Channel to Paris! I may be here for four months, but that doesn’t feel like enough time.

From exciting tourist spots to excellent academic opportunities, I am grateful to the Center for Global Studies and ASE for my time in Bath!

This article originally appeared on page 21 of the February 2024 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

Author: Zach Brooks

Zach Brooks ’24 is an English Major with a writing concentration and music minor. On campus Zach is a member of Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity where he currently serves as corresponding secretary, Sigma Tau Delta the English Honors Society and the English Department Student Advisory Council.

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