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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of History


Former Students

Former USC-Warwick Scholars talking about their year at Warwick:

Van Edwards, Scholar of 1966 
"I was a Warwick Exchange Student in the first exchange between the universities--the fall of 1966. Although I had traveled to Europe before, the experience of living in England certainly changed my life. It seems that I lived for years with one foot in England and one foot in South Carolina and every chance I got--by hook or by crook--I got both feet in England. Living in England gave me a broader perspective on issues and helped me realize that people in different parts of the world have differing ways of approaching life and the issues we face everyday. Having many good English friends, I realized that even if they thought differently than we South Carolinians, they could be equally good and intelligent people. This realization eventually led me to practice international law and I am actually admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales now. My Warwick experience really changed my life. I owe a great deal to the History Department at USC--it opened my mind and exposed me to so many new ideas--but the greatest gift of all was introducing me to a new world in Warwick."

 

Steve A. Matthews, Scholar of 1975 [top of page]
"I left for Warwick when I was 19, never having lived away from home or outside South Carolina. Because school here began in late August and the term at Warwick didn't begin until October, I had a free month to travel alone in England, Ireland, Austria and Germany. It was a wonderful immersion in self-sufficiency, foreign culture and in two (or perhaps three) venues, in foreign language as well. Before I turned twenty, I had seen Turandot at the Vienna Stadtsopera; heard afternoon waltz concerts in the Viennese parks; fattened on beer and wurst in Munich; seen four of Shakespeare's plays in two days at Stratford; wandered through the library and seen the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin; strolled along the Thames in Oxford and eaten at Thomas Hardy's favorite pub; and had gone book-shopping and seen John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Alec Guiness and Diana Rigg in various plays in London. (Unfortunately, Miss Rigg was not wearing her trademark zippered jumpsuit from "The Avengers.")

All of that before the main event even began. The learning experience at Warwick was markedly different from what I was accustomed to. It demanded much more self-direction and motivation than schools in my experience here. Perhaps because most of my professors on the history faculty were so philosophically different from me, the motivation was not hard to come by.

Ours (mine and the professors'), however, were not the only perspectives on campus. Students from all over the Commonwealth, from others of the United States, from various European and African countries (including one deposed African military dictator, who was one of the nicest folks on campus) made for a fascinating daily fare of discussion and debate. The student political groups were open to Americans, as was the University's basketball team (this was in the good old days before Europeans learned to play basketball).

It is hard to imagine facing, or even having, some of the opportunities that have come along since Warwick without that experience in my background and on my resume. Writing this brief note reminds me again how much poorer my trove of memories would be without the delights and lessons of that semester."

 

Suzi Clawson, Scholar of 1978-1979 [top of page]
"It was 1978. I had my Edward Bear, my L.L. Bean Duck shoes, new khakis, hogwashers, lots of sweaters, scarves and gloves, --- a one pound bag of M&M's and a one pound bag of corn candy. Sitting in the Columbia airport with a fresh kinky perm in my otherwise board straight, waist-long blonde hair (the medieval chatelaine look), I was ready to conquer England....Ten hours, one pound of M&M's and one pound of corn candy later, alternating between moaning as I lie on a burnt orange polyester-filled sofa and dashing to the toilet (how the heck do you flush this thing??!!) as we waited an eternity to check into the London YWCA, I was ready to acknowledge that my conquest had failed.

Thus began the first Great Adventure of my life. And what a glorious adventure it was, and continues to be. Studying at the University of Warwick and living and traveling in Great Britain influenced my perceptions of life and people and broadened my world not only in 1978 and 1979 when I was there as a student, but every day since.

As a little Carolina girl, whose prior greatest adventures had been trips to DisneyWorld and Myrtle Beach, my attitudes and opinions were provincial, narrow and arrogant. As a Warwick student and a foreigner for the first time in my life (a most humbling experience for an American), I suddenly realized how big the world is and how much there is to learn from people whose world perspective is quite different from ours and from places that were great civilizations long before the United States was even a concept.

In England, I learned to love brussels sprouts, lamb, trifle, and Yorkshire Pudding; I leaned a new language (often the hard way, as my friend Randy did when he invited a fellow student to do the South Carolina state dance with him) with wonderful words like "jumper", "biscuit", "lemonade", and "pudding" that don't mean at all what you thought; I learned that Charleston isn't old at all; I learned that people perceive the world and their neighbors in a different light when they've seen bombs dropping from the sky and run in terror as their homes exploded behind them; I learned that being a citizen of a super power carries weighty and frightening responsibilities; I learned the importance of listening to people whose life experience is very different from mine and of using their experiences to form more reasoned and rational opinions; I enjoyed the great privilege of studying under J.J Scarisbrick, the Henry VIII guru, and finding out how much more there was to Henry and his world than just a string of failed marriages and disappointing daughters; I suffered the trials of a different system of weights and measures, indecipherable temperatures, tiny refrigerators, pizza with fried eggs on top, outdoor toilets, waxed loo paper, incomprehensible flushing mechanisms, and bone chilling cold; I gloried in the fabulous butter and bread and pastries (to the tune of 25 extra pounds); I was awed by the glorious beauty of the countryside; I found that life really does look much brighter and more manageable after a cup of tea; and best of all, I met two people, one, my roomate, a Londoner, and the other, a Spaniard, who to this day are my dearest friends in the world."

 

Matt Ward, Scholar of 1988-1989 [top of page]
"It's said visiting a foreign country can't compare to living there. My time at Warwick (second w is silent) proved that true. It was pleasant to see the seasons change and to pick out a favorite pub at the student center and in Kenilworth. It's also nice to become part of the international community there in ways few Americans do at USC. There are Germans, Pakistanis, S.Africans, New Englanders, Irish and Italians there, not to mention a few English. The tutorial system in which I met with instructors individually or as part of a group was challenging. It could be hard work, but it allowed me to speak my mind. They could be great bull sessions, but you'd be clipped quickly if speaking a lot of bull. Warwick is a great central place from which to explore Great Britain and Europe. The years I was there, 1988-89, were the cusp of great change in Europe and I felt that intensely. I was young and everybody bought me beer and took me to their hometowns and told me how great/rotten Americans are. I would recommend it to any USC undergraduate; it'll change your life."

 

Joseph Tate, Scholar of 1993-1994 [top of page]
"My year as an exchange student at Warwick was nothing less than life changing. While there I studied Renaissance and Medieval European history, as well as Shakespeare. As a direct result of these classes, I have ended up where I am today, studying English Renaissance literature with focus on Shakespeare. The courses at Warwick were some of the best, most useful and most memorable of my undergraduate education. The education I received while at Warwick was and has been a profound influence, but the vast and rewarding relationships I formed while there with English friends and their families were and still are equally a part of the experience at Warwick that shaped so much of my life. These words ring with many familiar cliches of the "life-changing" experience abroad, and I can only temper the familiarity of my words with what is my genuine belief that my 
year a Warwick was essential and vital to my development as a scholar and as a person. I hope that many, many more continue to have the opportunity to have similar experiences for many more years to come."

 

Emily Peterson, Scholar of 1994-1995 [top of page]
"Warwick was such an fun and exciting way to spend my sophomore year. Where else could I take only three classes for the year and learn to handle 5000 word essays and the SRC (Student Reserve Collection) and drink huge amounts of cider at 19? Warwick was such an eye-opening experience. It presented the opportunity to live with English and other students from Europe and the Commonwealth. It was good to see how isolated American education can be by learning from other people.

Strange activities abounded among the interesting collection of people that could be found in the university. Perhaps my favorite was the trampoline man, a short acrobat around 70, who tried to get the rest of us to perform double pikes in the air with ease. He also doubled as a kayak instructor taking several students into the rivers around Warwickshire. I can say that I have experience the pleasure of kayaking over a wier and experiencing the sting of a nettle.

The most daunting aspect of living at Warwick for the year, besides the English weather pattern, is learning to use the Spin-A-Rinse. After becoming accustomed to that and the bizzare programs on BBC1 or Channel 4, much fun is to be had.

Warwick is a wonderful way to spend your sophomore year in college. Don't worry about leaving Columbia; it will be in the same place as when you left it. And your friends will love the Royal Mail stamps!"