David (seated to the immediate left of the speaker), examining Old English manuscripts with his classmates.
January 19, 2016
David Stage, a Bachelor's student in history at the University of Illinois, participated in the 2015 Fulbright-Durham Summer Institute. The UK Fulbright Summer Institutes are fully-funded study abroad experiences for US citizen freshmen and sophomores who seek an intensive academic and cultural experiences at premier universities across the United Kingdom. Applicants choose from approximately nine institutes with diverse themes, ranging from three to six weeks in length. David recently discussed his summer at the University of Durham in England:
"I spent four weeks at the Fulbright Summer Institute called “The Northern Borders of Empire to the Making of the Middle Ages.” The first two weeks, I worked on a Roman archeological site at Binchester; the site excavation included a Roman fort and vicus (village). I participated in digging, classifying objects, and drawing rock layers and landscapes. During the dig, I found a number of objects such as coins, wooden tools, and cow bones; it was as if I was discovering history! This site has been useful to historians in understanding the Roman occupation, use of cows in Roman society, and how the Romans in Britain lived. The second two weeks of the program, I took classes at Durham University on English history: early kings, such as King Edwin; Bede’s writings on the church history of England; Viking occupation and invasion; and powerful bishops.
The best thing about the program was experiencing English culture with people from many different nationalities. I became fast friends with Meinrad from Switzerland, who had an intense love for medieval history. I also met many other students from places such as Turkey, Sweden, Azerbaijan, and the Philippines. Together, we took a weekend trip to London and caught a production of War Horse in London’s West End. We hiked Hadrian’s Wall, which was created by the Romans to defend themselves against the Scottish Picts, visited the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh, and toured Bamburgh Castle.
My time spent in Durham taught me about English history and modern archeological excavation. More importantly, it has inspired me to continue on my path towards a job in government, specifically in international relations. I’m not sure what the future holds, but the recent experience has helped me understand that I love travel, meeting new people, and learning about different cultures. I recently have been contemplating getting my master’s degree in England!"
Thinking of applying? National & International Scholarships Program will hold a UK Fulbright Summer Institute information session and application workshop on Thursday, January 28, 2016 from 3:30-4:30pm in room 514, Illini Union Bookstore Building.