This summer, Gannon University students in  Dr. Doug King’s and Fr. Shawn Clerkin’s classes are traveling to England and Wales. I am in Dr. King’s Leadership Seminar and cannot wait to embark on this trip. There are so many places to explore and so many sights to see! My overwhelming excitement led me to interview Dr. King about the destinations on this upcoming endeavor.

King said that England and Wales are perfect travel locations for these classes because they are beautiful and brimming with history.

The Intro to Literature course features readings by authors from the places we will visit.  Students are doing presentations on various literary authors and and will travel to one place that relates to that author. The Leadership Seminar class features principles of leadership drawn from Shakespearean plays. Since theater is half of my double major, I am excited for to learn about leadership within the context of one of my favorite playwrights.

Previously, King has made one trip to London and led six trips to other European destinations. Clerkin has made numerous trips to England.

King has never been to Wales before and believes that it should be absolutely magnificent.  He said, “It’s also the land of perhaps my favorite contemporary poet, Dylan Thomas.” In Wales, the two classes will visit Thomas’ boyhood home, a museum dedicated to him, and the boathouse where he wrote. By visiting these destinations, they will truly get a firsthand look at some of the author’s sources of inspiration.

Everyone on the trip will go to Swansea, a coastal city in Wales and the hometown of Dylan Thomas. At Wales,  we will tour Swansea Castle, Dylan Thomas Centre, and see the Oystermouth Castle.

In addition to Wales, the classes will travel to many locations in England. In Stratford-upon-Avon, we will see Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s (Shakespeare’s wife) cottage. Later that evening, we will see Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline” in his city of birth. The next day, we will tour Christ Church College and Oxford University.  Throughout the remainder of the trip, we will see Stonehenge, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, and explore England.

stonehenge giphy

The students on this trip have the opportunity to see sights all throughout the United Kingdom. King said, “I would guess most students are psyched for the big city excitement of London, but I know some are also keen on some of our other sites, such as Wales and Stratford-upon-Avon.  Oh, yeah, and then there’s the Harry Potter studios trip.”

We are planning on touring the Harry Potter film locations. This means we actually get to set foot in Hogwarts, which absolutely blows away my inner Harry Potter nerd.


In London, there will be plenty of time to explore. Clerkin said that there are many free museums, and I will try to visit at least one. In London, there are two things I absolutely have to do; I must cross Abbey Road (I am a huge Beatles fan) and see a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre.

I am beyond excited for this ten day trip. There are so many sights to see, and I will cross off many items on my bucket list. King is just as excited. He said, “We’re going to see so much, learn so much, and have so much fun, it’s hard to imagine!”