Edge Hill University students enjoyed an enriching learning experience when they travelled to the central Spanish city of Zaragoza.

Arranged by Dr Karen Ludke, Senior Lecturer in the English, History & Creative Writing department, 12 students and two staff represented the University on the three-night International Bilingualism trip.

Funded by the institution’s Student Opportunity Fund, the University of Zaragoza is one of the department’s oldest Erasmus+ partners. The trip helped strengthen the longstanding relationship between the institutions. Dr Ludke said:

“We frequently have all three incoming places filled with students from Zaragoza, but it is less common for our students to go to our partner for a semester or sandwich year of Erasmus+ study.

“It is hoped the trip has encouraged more of our students to take part in an Erasmus+ exchange – whether to the University of Zaragoza itself, or to one of our other partners.”

Dr Ludke’s idea for the trip came in September 2018 during the department’s strategy day, and the trip has enriched the student’s experiences both in their learning and interpersonal development.

“The students found it a very interesting experience – hearing a lecture in a Spanish university, visiting a Spanish bilingual school, as well as, for some of them, the experience of travelling abroad for the first time.”

During the trip, Dr James Byrne, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, took students to the Goya Museum, where he gave a talk on ekphrasis and the Los Caprichos works of the Spanish painter. Dr Ludke added:

“Byrne’s next book of poems includes poetic responses to Goya, so this fed into the student experience as a practice-as-research session.

“One student noted how being taken out of their comfort zone really proved how they could learn and thrive in a different environment, while another was inspired to write about their experience.

“It broadened our students’ cultural horizons and international experience, giving them a flavour of a different education system. It has also led to three times as many students applying to study abroad, compared to last year.”

Another student summed the trip up by saying:

“Thank you so much for making the trip such a memorable experience.”

Find out you can apply for financial support from the Student Opportunity Fund here.