Pasadena City College, Home of the PCC Lancers

News: Oxford, Study Abroad - Spring, 2012 - a Neat Story...

Here’s a wonderful report from Brian Kennedy, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of English, and our lead faculty in support of this Spring’s Oxford Study Abroad Program.


 

Here’s a wonderful report from Brian Kennedy, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Division of English, and our lead faculty in support of this Spring’s Oxford Study Abroad Program.

Study Abroad – Oxford, England

One of the delights in any Study Abroad program is the extra adventures which come from being in a new place.

In Oxford, one of the things I try to do is find a new experience students can partake in each week, something local and, usually, at no cost. We’ve done things like walk along the river to an ancient church to hear folk music and walk through the meadow near town watching rabbits and pheasants run and fly around.

This week was extra-special. A group of us, including my colleague, Professor Andrea Murray, along with six or eight of the Oxford Study Abroad students, decided to go to Christ Church Cathedral for evensong, the draw being that the guest reader would be former Booker Prize winner Ben Okri, who is a widely published novelist and poet.

After the service, we were walking around the church when we spotted Mr. Okri (who, by the way also holds the distinction of being a member of the OBE--Order of the British Empire). One of the students decided to bravely approach him and say how glad she was to meet him. He, in turn, started to ask her and her classmates questions about the Cathedral, which they readily answered because they’d been on a tour there a few weeks prior.

They also talked about his work and post-colonial literature, which is one of the courses they’re taking with me here in Oxford. He then chatted with them about their college, their study program, and their goals.  He encouraged them to stick with it, especially when they told him that one of my former PCC Oxford Study Abroad students, Cameron Quinn, was now studying at Magdalen College at the University of Oxford. (Cameron, by the way, has also visited our class in Oxford to talk about how he fulfilled his goal of becoming a student here.)

When Mr. Okri heard about this, he said, “Maybe you can come to Cambridge, where I teach,” and one student responded to him, “Well, now we know it’s possible.”When they asked to take a photo, he suggested they go outside. All the way, he joked with them and talked about LA.

We got outside in a group and took our photos, then parted, and the impression they were left with was of someone who was more like them than not, someone who humanized the role of literary superstar.

I doubt they’ll be this close to a writer this famous anytime again soon, but I think that having met Mr. Okri, they have now realized that anything, even becoming a writer regarded the world over, is possible for them.

Brian Kennedy, PhD

Release Date: 03/29/2012
Contact: Robert B. Miller , Vice President, Educational Services
Phone: (626) 585-7170
Email: rbmiller@pasadena.edu