The main reason I chose to study abroad at King’s was because of the University’s location within Europe, the UK, and London. I am a history major with a focus on European Empires so I wanted to learn about imperialism from the perspective of one of the most historically significant empires in history and, due to the close proximity to other European nations, learn and explore other imperial histories.

The majority of my classes this year have focused on imperialism. Some of my courses included: Empires, Imperialism and the History of the Modern World, the Historical Origins of Economic Underdevelopment in Africa, Imperial Britain? Britain and Empire c.1860-1964, and Postcolonial Theory. My courses were all very interesting and exceeded my expectations.

Studying in London also provided unique opportunities to expand my learning beyond the classroom. For example, my Historical Origins of Economic Underdevelopment in Africa class visited the British Museum to tour their Africa exhibit. This trip provided information and insights about the artifacts and the British museum itself that were applicable to my other courses, specifically Postcolonial Theory and Imperial Britain?. The course, Imperial Britain? looked at the extent to which British society was influenced and impacted by its Empire, one part of the course focused on the legacy of British imperialism. I was able to use the information from my class trip to give a presentation to my Imperial Britain? class and write a paper on the legacy of the British Empire in British Museums.

Additionally, the course options and structure were a positive change from my home university. I attend a small liberal arts college so the course offerings at King’s, especially in the history department, were very exciting for me given my academic interests. In many of my courses at King’s, essays were the main form of assessment—normally two essays for each class. During my year at King’s, I wrote more essays than I did in two years at my home university. Writing so many essays has made me a more confident writer and I now prefer essays over exams.

The essays themselves have also been very interesting to research and write as I had a lot of freedom to choose topics. For example, in one of my courses, I had the freedom to choose a primary document that was related to an empire—a speech, a painting, a letter, a map, a book, etc— and analyze that document for the meaning it conveyed about empires at the time. To research the artifact, we were given a general bibliography with a range of sources from every topic covered in the course. My professor was also very helpful in discussing the topics, giving me feedback about my ideas, and suggesting additional sources. From my academic experiences at King’s, I have developed my writing and research skills and discovered new interests in historical time periods and subjects.

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