BIOCOMUK16 was an immersive, 3-week study abroad opportunity in London, co-sponsored by the Biology and Communication Arts departments. With a wide variety of course offerings, from general core, to BA core, to specific major courses, students from various areas of study joined us on this once in a lifetime opportunity to live and study in the UK in the Summer of 2016. The next BIOCOMUK study abroad trip is planned for Summer 2018!

Here are the course options that were offered:
BIO 100 Survey of Biological Concepts: 4 credit hours, General core, taught by Dr. Mark Bolyard, Chair & Professor of Biology

COM 235 Interpersonal Communication: 3 credit hours, 
General Core | B.A. Core, taught by Prof. Ashley Fitch Blair, 2015 Faculty of the Year

COM 395 International Media: 3 credit hours, 
B.A. Core | COM major elective, taught by Dr. Chris Blair, Professor, Communication Arts

BIO 396/397 Special Topics in Biology: 3 credit hours, 
BIO major or minor elective, taught by Dr. Mark Bolyard, Chair & Professor of Biology

PEWS 108 Walking for Fitness: 1 credit hour, general core, fulfills activity elective requirement

Students were allowed to take either one or two courses while in London! If you have questions about how these classes were taught in BIOCOMUK16, feel free to contact either Dr. Bolyard at mbolyard@uu.edu or Prof. Blair at ablair@uu.edu.

What we did

Each student’s experiences in England varied based on the course(s) they took, but a few things were universal.

London PassFirst, we all stayed on the Jackson campus during the week of May 23–27 for our first week of class. This was an intensive study week, where students gained the foundation needed for the rest of the trip.

Second, everyone then had a long weekend to go home and/or pack for the trip. We flew out of the Memphis International Airport on May 31, arriving in London on June 1.

Third, everyone had a series of required excursions related to their courses, coupled with experiential assignments. In addition, everyone had free time to explore London and see the sites. Every student was given a London Pass that provided free access to dozens of popular attractions, including the Tower of London, Westminster Abby, and Windsor Castle, to name a few. We also staggered the various class excursions so any student who wanted to go, could.

After three glorious weeks in England, we returned on June 21.

Where we stayed

We worked with Anglo Educational Services to provide housing for BIOCOMUK16. We stayed in Tufnell House which is a dorm-style apartment complex located in Central London. Students stayed had individual bedrooms, with a shared living area, full kitchen and private bathroom. To see details of Tufnell House, check out their website at www.prodigy-living.co.uk.

BIOCOMUK16 provided a unique, residential experience, allowing students to understand what it feels like to not just visit, but live for a short time in a foreign country. Each morning students woke up in their London apartment, got ready for the day and walked out into the city. They traveled with Londoners, bought groceries with Londoners and relaxed with Londoners. We enjoyed the cultural opportunities this program provided for students outside the class environment.

How we traveled

Oyster CardWe flew roundtrip on Delta from Memphis to London Heathrow. We were able to work with students who preferred to fly on a different airline or use frequent flyer miles for the trip.

After we arrived in London, each student was given an Oyster Card that gave them unlimited access to London’s Underground transit system (Zones 1 & 2). This allowed students to get almost anywhere they wanted to go in London using their Oyster Card.

Longer excursions related to classes were by train or regional airlines. Near the end of the trip, everyone took a day-trip to Paris, traveling through the Chunnel on the Eurostar.

Highlights from our trip