Why You Should Take A History Class Abroad

“I came abroad to study advertising; why in the WORLD would I want to take a history class?

I mean, can’t I just learn history by reading plaques and going to museums? What’s the point of sitting in a classroom? Besides, I have to be in a classroom for FOUR HOURS. Who wants to get lectured about stuff old white guys did for FOUR HOURS???” 

  • Hannah, before she took a history class abroad

I’ll admit it! I had my doubts about taking history in London. I worried that I would be so bogged down with work that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the city. I soon learned that my history class actually made me enjoy London even more. Here are a few reasons why I urge you to sign up for a history class in London:

  1. Feel more comfortable with the city 

History classes abroad are focused on the place where you are studying. Therefore, you get more context about who walked the streets you walk, as well as more background on the scene around you. I am currently taking a history class on World War I. Throughout November in London, poppies are given outside of Tube stations to support veterans and their families. Because of my class, I have more understanding about the poppies’ purpose. 

  1. FREE field trips and tours

London is jam-packed with museums, monuments and old buildings. Since classes are four hours long, there is plenty of time for in-class field trips. Unlike visiting a museum alone, you get your professor as a private tour guide. Going on many class field trips helped me figure out the London map without the stress of navigating it myself. Some classes go BEYOND London. My history class is taking me to Belgium for a weekend for freeeeee!

  1. Jaw-dropping moments 

When you think about it, Boston is a baby! History classes serve as a frame of reference on how long London has actually been around. My class has taught me to look up and notice the little things. There have been many times where I walk by a random building with a random plaque, and it turns out to be a medieval prison or a Roman ruin. It is amazing to see things and then *ding!* realize you learned about it in class! 

  1. The reading (gasp!) is fun 

At times, abroad can seem like you are always on the move. There is pressure to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. Reading for class has forced me to slow down and enjoy the moment. I also get to find a ton of cute reading spots, from small tea cafes to a perfect fall tree in Kensington Garden.

  1. Great conversation starters 

While abroad, you find yourself hanging out with different people all the time, and it can be awkward. With a history class, you can say, “Did you know?” and start a groovy chat. Plus, you will kick butt in pub quiz.

  1. A new perspective! 

The best part about taking a history class abroad is that you are hearing about a historical event from someone else’s perspective. I am currently learning about World War I and II from a British perspective. I am receiving a bigger picture of the whole story and going beyond my American-centric education. It is an eye-opening experience. 

So, if you are getting ready to go abroad in the spring and have no idea what to take, grab a HI class! Plan ahead, and save your core history credits for when you are across the globe.

Hannah Schweitzer, Staff Writer

Hannah Schweitzer is a junior studying Advertising with a minor in Film/Television at Boston University. She is currently studying abroad in London and interning at Catsnake, a viral video and storytelling agency. In her free time she enjoys performing improv comedy with BU’s Liquid Fun, hosting her sex positive radio show, Love Is On The Air and eating York Peppermint Patties. Hannah is a COM Ambassador and happy to answer any questions about life in COM at hschweit@bu.edu

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