Since 1972, Luther College has been sending students and faculty directors to Nottingham for a year of study and immersion in British culture. This year, Luther’s Nottingham Program celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The Nottingham program is the longest-running study abroad program at Luther, and has sent students across the pond every academic year since its inception, with the exception of 2020-21, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Director of International Admissions and Former Director of the Center for Global Learning Jon Lund stresses the importance of the Nottingham program and its longevity.
“Having a program run by [the] college for 50 years in the same location is a really special thing, “ Lund said. “I think the college owes a real debt of gratitude to [Former Campus Pastor W. Gordon Smedsrud ‘43], who said ‘let’s have a really special program in England.’ I suspect that there’s no way they would have known that 50 years on, we would still have [this] program.”
Emma Brooks (‘21), a global studies intern at the CGL and a participant in the program during her time at Luther, also admires the endurance of the Nottingham program.
“I [am] really impressed [that] Luther has been able to run this program the whole time,” Brooks said. “Working in the CGL, a lot of logistics went into keeping this program going and making sure students are still excited to go. The excitement of the alumni and how robust their experiences were is why people keep running it.”
For Brooks, the Nottingham program has proved valuable in broadening her own horizons. As a participant in the 2019-2020 cohort, she was able to experience much more diversity in Nottingham, a city full of different cultures and ideas.
“There are a lot of different perspectives in our neighbourhood at the [University of Nottingham],” Brooks said. “We live in Iowa, so going to a city with a ton of different cultures was really eye-opening [in] thinking about how many different perspectives and experiences people have throughout the world. I think it opened my perspective [to] how big the world really is.”
The Nottingham program not only encourages its participants to experience a new culture, but also requires students to live in close community with one another. The 2021-22 cohort, led by Associate Professor of Art Ben Moore (‘02), share a living space and come together for evening meals almost every day of the week. According to Moore, it is a unique educational goal of the program.
“You learn how to live communally,” Moore said. “All students live in a flat together, and so they have to learn how to be adults in a completely different way than they would when they’re in a dorm. They cook together, they have group meals together. They’ve grown up a little faster than they would if they were living in a dorm.”
Current member of the 2021-2022 cohort, Rose Torti (‘22), is enjoying her time in Nottingham, and hopes that others on campus will have the opportunity to explore this program during their college careers.
“It’s been really amazing so far,” Torti said. “Classes are going well, and everyone in the program is really nice. I would highly recommend exploring this program if you are considering studying abroad during your time at Luther.”