Myles’ 14 Better Understanding Wabash Bond

David Myles ’14 – July 26 - Well this is it, I’m done. This is my final blog entry for my summer abroad.. I finished my final exam, and, honestly, I think I did well. But if there is one thing every Wabash man knows when it comes to grades, it is to never count your chickens before they hatch.

Since the first summer session is now over, many students will depart tomorrow, making this Friday night the wildest yet. I doubt though that this weekend has any possibility of topping last weekend. I mentioned in my blog last week that Kyle Bender ’12 would be meeting up with me on Saturday morning. He did, and we spent the day visiting museums, yet only those with free admission mind you. I thought the day would be fun, yet rather uneventful. I have never been happier to be wrong.

Myles, Chapman, Cook, and Bender at Victoria Station.

We started with the British Museum, which houses the Rosetta Stone and thousands of other artifacts, eventually moving on to the Tate Modern art museum, and then to the National Gallery. About a half hour before the National Gallery was to close though, Kyle and I questioned whether or not we had been in a specific room focusing on Italian Renaissance art. We hadn’t and thus begun to backtrack through the museum. As soon as we turned around, however, we literally bumped into Dr. Bill Cook ’66. As I write these words, I still cannot believe it happened. Dr. Cook said he arrived from Estonia early that morning, and told us that he hadn’t been to London in 11 years. His first visit in 11 years, and he runs into two fellow Wabash men. Yet, for anyone that knows Dr. Cook, a museum with works by Italian Medieval and Renaissance artists is the ideal and commonsensical place to have such an encounter.

After leaving the museum, Kyle, Dr. Cook, and I walked to Victoria train station to meet up with Nate Chapman ’14, who had a layover in London on his way to Paris. Kyle and I had planned to meet him for dinner that night, and the look on Nate’s face when he saw Dr. Cook was with us can only be described as priceless. Actually, I’m sure it was about the same as mine: eyes wide and mouth agape in complete shock and awe. The four of us then ventured to a nearby Indian restaurant, which was amazing to say the least (FYI: London some of the best Indian food in the world. Thank you colonialism!). It probably took 45 minutes for the four of us to be served and finish our meals, yet we talked for around three hours. As we rambled on about campus, classes, and life in general, several groups came and went. None of which, I might add, seemed as enthralled with their company as we were. Before that Saturday, I had barely spoken to either Nate or Kyle, and I only knew of the legend that is Dr. Bill Cook. But that is what Wabash does for a person. It creates unbreakable bonds between seemingly dissimilar people. In other words, a Wabash man always has his brothers.

Sunday was a slow day, followed by a short week of classes and a lot of studying for my final exam. I had to answer two essay questions in two hours, a feat that every Wabash student is trained to accomplish beginning with the first semester of freshman year. I should probably take this time to thank the English department. Because of you guys, this was a piece of cake. Oh, that reminds me. My professor asked to write a blog entry for Polis, the media think-tank at the LSE, on Jenny Kleeman, an investigate reporter and guest lecturer from last week. Check it out at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/polis/, and scroll down to the July 20th entry. She is an amazing woman, and even if you think my blog is garbage, watch her documentaries from Channel 4’s Unreported World series. You’ll be glad you did.

I mentioned above that tonight is my last night in London. That means a fun and reflective night, yet I am quite excited about my upcoming destinations. Saturday I’ll take a night bus out of London, waking up in Amsterdam Sunday morning where I will spend three days. Next I’ll travel to Paris on the 30th to spend the day, before I hop aboard a night train to Florence. I plan to travel around much of Tuscany, meeting up again with Nate and Dr. Cook, before I head back to Paris on August 6th. There my pledge-brother Nik Jones and I will celebrate the ending of summer, before he flies home on the 8th and I on the 9th. This is my last blog for Wabash, but you can follow me on Twitter @drmyles77. I’ll be tweeting most of the trip so that everyone back home knows I’m alive and not enduring some sort of Taken scenario. Europeans must hate that movie.

Finally, I’d like to end by thanking the Study Abroad Committee and the Rudolph family. Words cannot describe how thankful I am that I was able to abscond to Europe on this adventure, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. Hopefully one day, I will be able to pass it on and provide a Wabash student with the opportunity of a lifetime. Till the Fall, cheers, and remember, Wabash Always Fights.

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Myles ’14 Immersed in London’s Culture

David Myles ’14 – I’ve wrapped up my initial time in England, and with final exams right around the corner, a part of me has definitely gotten used to living in London. Walking and people watching on my way to class every morning is perhaps my favorite activity. Simple, yes, but people watching in London is on a level that is incomparable to the Midwest, let alone Crawfordsville. The mostly homogeneous population of central Indiana stands in stark contrast to the diversity one sees within mere seconds of stepping out onto the sidewalk. I referenced this in  my previous blog post, and it still continues to boggle my mind.

Frankly, I haven’t done much else over the last week. My course term paper was due this morning at 9, and I have spent my weeknights combing through primary sources and reviewing my lecture notes to ensure that my time here at the LSE is not wasted. Boring, maybe, but anyone that knows me can attest to the fact that I have a tendency to over think just about everything, especially when it comes to my writing. Thus is the curse of an English major.

My weekends, however, have been quite lively. I forgot to mention in my previous blog that on my first Saturday in London, a few friends and I made our way to Hyde Park to listen to The Rolling Stones. I say listen because there was a fifteen-foot barrier around the entire concert, making it nearly impossible to catch a glimpse of Mick Jagger rocking out, without paying the outrageous ticket prices. Unless you decided to climb a tree, which meant that you needed to climb high enough so as not to be spotted by the police. I was not this daring. Still, being able to hear Sympathy for the Devil, You Can’t Always Get What You Want and other classic tracks live was an experience I won’t soon forget.

Last Friday a group of us journeyed to tourist central in order to experience the London Eye, the giant Ferris wheel on the River Thames. The glass carriages provided views of the London cityscape that are unrivaled anywhere else in the city. Big Ben in all of its majesty was at our feet, as we stared down The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe. Some bar hopping followed, with loud, honest conversation that only the unique British pub atmosphere could provide. Saturday was a bit slower of a day, due to Friday night, and I took in the beauty of Trafalgar Square and the grandeur of Buckingham Palace.

This past week of class was phenomenal though, due to the list of guest speakers that followed the lectures. We heard from Guy Gunaratne, one of the filmmakers behind the documentary, “The Truth that Wasn’t There.” Guy and his team were merely graduate students in 2009 when they became the first journalists allowed into Sri Lanka following the conclusion of their civil war. Yesterday’s speaker was Jenny Kleeman, now one of my personal heroes, who has travelled the world for Channel 4’s Unreported

World investigative documentary series. Ms. Kleeman has interviewed human traffickers in Nigeria, Taliban commanders, and even went undercover in the press office of Britain’s Labour Party to get the real story on the 2005 election. I urge you to watch her films, for they are not only hard hitting but also examples of true journalism in the otherwise shallow and diluted field that is mass media.

Today’s speaker was Neil Wallis, a former Deputy Editor from the now closed News of the World tabloid, and one of the individuals arrested on corruption charges stemming from the recent phone-hacking scandal. After nineteen long months out on bail and out of work, Mr. Wallis was cleared of any wrongdoing. He was able to provide a perspective on that scandal and British tabloid journalism in general that I never would have been exposed to had I not chosen to come to the LSE.

I should note that even in London, one is not too far away from Wabash. Art Howe ‘82, who is also an LSE alumnus, emailed me after reading last week’s blog and gave me great advice on things to do and where to go in London. I also received an email from Kyle Bender ’12 who is in London this week attending meetings for Teach for America. Tomorrow we’ll be visiting the British Museum, followed by other crucial destinations that every tourist in London has to visit. Very few alumni from very few schools would go out of their way like Kyle and Art did, and it is a big reason that Wabash is one of the greatest liberal arts colleges in world.

I want to thank again the Study Abroad Committee and the Rudolph family for making this opportunity possible. Check back next week for details on my final week in London, and to find out if stressing so much over my paper was worth it. Cheers!

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Chapman ’14 Nears End of Rudolph Abroad Study

When in London, you have to visit The Beatles’ Apple Studio!

Nate Chapman ’14 – I find it astonishing how fast time flies. With three of my four weeks of study at Sussex complete, it seems difficult to imagine leaving this place after such a short visit.  The painful realization that I won’t get to visit every place I intended has slowly begun to set in. But before I get into my plans for my final week in the UK, let me recap last week.

Our group booked a flight to Dublin for this past weekend,  anticipating a new immersion among a different culture than what we had experienced thus far at Sussex. I had even gotten in contact with Dr. Brewer about possible destinations within Dublin that we might enjoy visiting. However, to our dismay, because of a very minor mistake on our part along with the incompetence of Ryanair, we did not get to board our flight and chose not pay the ridiculous fee to get on the next one. That’s making a very long story quite short, but we decided to vent our frustrations by hopping on a train to Victoria and exploring London for the day.

We visited St. Paul’s Cathedral first and then made our way over to the British Museum, which was a wonderful experience. We saw the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles, and many other artifacts. I was extremely disappointed that the Vindolanda Tablets section was closed off, as it would have been interesting to see them since I wrote a paper on three of them for Dr. Hartnett during my Spring semester freshman year. I also recognized a lot of the greek statues thanks to Dr. Kubiak’s Classical Mythology course, which I highly recommend. It also impressed my friends! After the museum, we made our way over to Abbey Road. We wanted to go to more museums, but everything closes really early here, so we did not get the chance.

On Wednesday I journeyed to London yet again on a field trip to the Churchill war rooms in the Imperial War Museum with my class. The museum was fascinating and rich with information. A lot of the rooms have been kept up to represent exactly how they looked in pictures during and after the war. As a student who has not studied WWII in great depth, seeing it from the British viewpoint interested me greatly. I also gained a much better perspective on just how important Churchill remains in British history, and with good reason.

As for my final week, tomorrow I will embark on a journey to Canterbury and Dover at 6 am. Sunday I plan to visit more museums in London, as well as Chelsea’s soccer stadium. I will visit Dorchester on Wednesday, and I’d like to make an attempt to see the Phantom of the Opera sometime in between. Also, I’m hoping to meet up with ’12 graduate Kyle Bender in London at some point, though I don’t know if I will have time. Class makes traveling somewhat difficult, and with my final paper due Thursday, I suppose I will have to devote some time to that as well. Hopefully I will get to do most, if not everything I intend to over my final week.

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David Myles ’14 Studying Journalism in London

David Myles ’14 -  I am writing to you as I look out onto the London skyline, witnessing the eclectic and ever expanding buildings that so accurately mirror the city below. I have been in London for almost a week, and to say that I am a victim of culture shock would be an understatement. I am a victim of a thunderbolt, an overwhelming cultural explosion. Within three hours of touching down at Heathrow airport, I navigated the London Tube, wandered around for a half hour attempting to find my temporary hotel, and lost count of the number of languages I heard, all while maneuvering my 50 pound suitcase through Friday morning rush hour traffic.

David’s daily view of London.

Let me backtrack a bit. Thanks to the Rudolph Award for Summer Study in Europe, I am taking a three-week class in International Journalism at the London School of Economics. This is the 25th year for the LSE summer school, with over 6000 students from 120 nationalities attending this summer alone. If London is the cultural epicenter of the world (which it most certainly is), then the LSE summer school is its academic equivalent. My class is three hours a day, Monday through Friday, with a lecture and guest speaker each day, followed by a one-hour seminar in the afternoon with nine other students.

There are eight women in my seminar, hailing from Seattle, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, Taiwan, Sweden, South Africa, and Portugal, with the only other man being a Texan from Vanderbilt. Despite any language or cultural barriers, after three years at Wabash College, this gender difference has thrown me for a loop. One of my professors, Charlie Beckett, the director of The POLIS institute, the LSE’s media think-tank, said on the first day that 90 percent of his graduate students are female. Due to this fact and the LSE’s urban location, I am currently experiencing the absolute polar opposite of Wabash College.

I do not, however, say this begrudgingly. What the LSE and Wabash have in common are their stellar academic reputations, and I can honestly say that I am prepared to handle the workload of what Professor Beckett calls, “A taste of a graduate level class.” I have about 20 pages of required reading each night, with several optional readings as well. In fact, I have a 1500 word essay due next Friday, and, quite frankly, I am actually excited to sit down and write it. I will probably eat those words this time next week, but that is what Wabash has taught me: to embrace the work and realize how beneficial (and dare I say fun) thinking critically about the world can be.

Yet this is where the similarities end. For instance, air conditioning is a foreign concept across the pond. It is usually rather cool in Great Britain and thus there is no need for massive cooling systems. Yet it has been, to the Brits at least, blistering hot. This negative aside, my dorm is rather phenomenal, thanks to the random chance that I was assigned to a newly refurbished floor that is intended for post-grads during the school year.

Probably the most interesting issue I have encountered so far is overhearing people of other nationalities making fun of America. While my innate patriotism does surface, I realize just how easy it is to pick at the United States, especially in regards to our brash and often excessive behavior. It is humbling for sure, and while this may only be my sixth day in London, I can say that my view of the world and different cultures has started to change. I am even laughing as I write these words because I realize how pretentious I was to think I had any clear view of the world before coming to the United Kingdom. Sure I have taken an immersion class that went to Paris last summer, but when you are on your own and not being led by a professor, you realize just how insignificant you truly are.

I want to thank the Rudolph family for their generous donation, without which I would not be here. I also want to thank the Study Abroad Committee and Wabash College as a whole for adequately preparing me for this adventure. That is all for now. Check back next week, as I will detail my first non-jetlagged weekend in London. It is sure to be a doozy.

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Tobey Herzog Inspired Chapman’s Exploration

Chapman, on bench, at Windermere

Nate Chapman ’14 – Since taking English 218 with Dr. Herzog spring semester freshman year, I have maintained a passionate interest in Romantic era poetry. In fact, the class served as one of the main factors that led me to strongly consider, and eventually become an English major. Not only did the class put me on the path to my major, but it also instilled in me a desire to visit the Lake District, which served as home to William Wordsworth, as well as inspiration for many of the Romantic poets. I finally satisfied that desire.

Chapman, with friends, atop Mount Latrigg

After a long night (or perhaps an early morning describes it more adequately) out on a pub crawl through Brighton with Sussex staff, I awoke at 6 am and began waking up my group for the trip. We departed Falmer Station at 7:26am and began our journey northwest. We arrived in Windermere later that day, ate some lunch, and immediately began searching for activities.  The tourist center had plenty of advice to offer, and next thing we knew, we were headed up a trail to a peak with an amazing view of Windermere. The pictures certainly don’t do the region’s beauty justice. It’s easy to see how so many famous poets became inspired by it.

From there we left Windermere and headed to Keswick for some dinner and to find our hostel. We woke early the next morning with intentions of climbing Latrigg, a mountain that proved much more difficult to hike than the one from the previous day. After that we rode the bus to Grasmere to visit Dove Cottage, one of the homes of William Wordsworth, as well as to see where he is buried. Experiencing Grasmere brought about a sort of surreal feeling, seeing these sites in person after learning about them so long ago.  From there we did a little more site seeing before making our way back to Oxenholme station and traveling home.

Though visiting the Lake District brought about a feeling of accomplishment for finally seeing it in person, it also left me wanting to return. Hopefully I will get the opportunity to visit again sometime. For anyone interested in Wordsworth, the poem of choice seems to be I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, but my favorite is Ode on Intimations of Immortality From Recollections Of Early Childhood.

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Chapman ’14 Settling into English Life

Nate and ‘friend’ at Brighton Pier

Nate Chapman ’14 – I’ve been in England for roughly a week now, and I feel a lot more settled than I had previously expected. I journeyed here under the impression that I would experience a lot of “anti-Americanism,” but that has not been the case. From the time I got off the plane in Heathrow, the people here have been very kind and helpful. I gave my seat on the tube up to a pregnant lady, and 3 or 4 people around me immediately began engaging in conversation with me, asking me about my plans, and directing me on how to get where I was going. Then, in the train station I helped a woman carry her trunk up a tall flight of stairs, and she pointed me in the proper direction again (which was necessary, as I was supposed to go north, and since the sun never comes out and the street names aren’t labeled, I had no idea which way north was).  I think the general idea is that if you show kindness to people, they return the favor, regardless of whether you’re a fellow Englishman or an American.

I met my IFSA group in London and we spent a couple days in the city getting to know each other in the city before departing together for Sussex. I can’t imagine any way our group could be more perfect. We get along great and go everywhere together. The group is comprised 4 guys (including myself) and 3 Girls. Everyone has said it is odd for these groups to have more men than women, but hey, I’m used to never seeing the opposite sex anyway. We took a brief tour of London, saw the production, Spamalot, and experienced the London nightlife. We plan to go back a few times to see some more productions and possibly tour a soccer stadium or two.

Nate and his group

As for Sussex, the experience has been great so far. We took a tour of the town and saw the beach, which, regrettably, has rocks instead of sand. Some of the most fun nights here take place just sitting in the pub talking to people over a pint (or 10). We made friends with our British RAs, Eduardo and Jordan the first night we were here and even beat them in a game of Pictionary. We’ve actually gained a reputation for being the most formidable Pictionary players on campus. We practice in between studying from time to time.

I apologize for this blog being a little short and lacking exciting pictures, but fear not, for we leave Friday morning for the Lake District, which I’m sure will bring about a plethora of beautiful images to share. We also scheduled a trip to Dublin for the following weekend after spending one night in a pub talking to another RA, named Adam, and his friends, all of whom are from Ireland. So as I said, more exciting information and pictures to come!

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Barnes ’15: Immersion Best Part of Trip

Adam Barnes ’15 – Where has the time gone?  With just a little over a week left in Spain, I feel like I’m about to leave before I even arrived.  However, I can say that I’ve had some memorable times here and I am sure I will make some new ones over the next several days.

Most of my days in Valencia include chatting with my family, soaking up some rays on the beach with friends, or testing out the Spanish nightlife.  Yet, what I have enjoyed the most thus far is my ability to immerse myself into a different aspect of Spanish culture that I never knew existed…sailing.  Last weekend, I participated in a regatta with my Spanish brother and a few of his friends.  Not knowing anything about sailing before last week and even though I was quite apprehensive concerning my abilities on a boat, I quickly accepted his offer to compete.

Sailing is a beast of its own.  Although I feel comfortable in the pool, my body isn’t adjusted to balance myself as a sailboat rocks back-and-forth.  Most surprisingly, when navigating the boat at times the boat appears as if it will capsize, and fling all of the crew overboard.  The shock and newfound respect I have for sailing, made it all the sweeter when we won the regatta.  I guess the first time is the charm.

The next day, I went to the Valencia port to watch some behemoth sailboats disembark from Valencia in a multi-day race encompassing passages through the Mediterranean and Atlantic called “La Route des Princes.”  To experience this aspect of a distinct Spanish/European culture is fantastic and I hope to enjoy more experiences like it.

For my last weekend in Spain, I’m travelling to Barcelona where I hope to come back with some great memories as well.  Until then, I’m just living moment to moment.

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