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Washington Adventist University Cultivates Students’ Cultural Literacy

MICUA Matters Spring 2018

Washington Adventist University’s (WAU) Honors College students regularly have the opportunity to study in the United Kingdom as part of a collaboration with Newbold College, WAU’s sister institution near London. Each May, a select group of students “cross the pond” to complete two hybrid courses addressing topics in British history and culture.

On a recent trip, the students “brushed up their Shakespeare” through play performances and visits to historic sites such as Shakespeare's birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Prior to learning on location in England, the students took advantage of timely performances and exhibits in D.C. by attending three productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — one at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre and two in London at the Globe and Barbican theatres. Watching multiple productions of the same play allowed the students to form more in-depth interpretations of its text.

Each student also performed for an examiner from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and earned the Academy’s Shakespeare Bronze Award. Performing for RADA not only allowed students “to become familiar with the text in a way that a traditional literature class would not have,” said then sophomore Alexandra Engelkemier, but “it also allowed for academic growth in public speaking and insights into modern interpretations of Shakespeare’s writings.”

Courses like these further the WAU Honors College’s mission to cultivate students’ cultural literacy while providing them transferable skills they can apply to a variety of future workplaces.