Now that all the students have introduced themselves, I should do the same. I have been a medievalist since 11th grade when I read Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon and medieval British lliterature. That same year I went to France on a school trip and visited my first cathedrals: I was hooked. I pursued a Medieval Studies undergraduate major and then specialized in medieval history in graduate school. While in graduate school I backpacked through England and Wales for over a month exploring places I had only read about. Although my research at the time was in Germany, the UK grabbed ahold of my imagination.
I have taught at Wartburg College since 2006. While I teach a wide variety of course, this Castles and Cathedrals course is probably my favorite (and by far the most work). This year will be the third time I have offered the course. Each time I go I see the various sites anew from the students' perspective. This is a course that allows students to explore medieval material culture in a way that is not possible in Iowa. In additional to introducing them to the remains of ancient and medieval Britain (and some more "modern" sites, like those from the 18th century), the course is designed to give them confidence as an international traveler (not a tourist) and to show them various elements of English and Welsh culture. As we count down the final days to departure I am sure the students are all frantically deciding exactly what to pack (more on that in a later post) and getting in some quality time with their families before they leave for 27 days of adventure.