English Majors Explore International Summer Experiences

Author: Arts and Letters

Digitizing the Irish National Folklore Collection at University College Dublin. Honing Chinese language and cultural skills in Beijing.  Uncovering archaeological evidence of the Roman Empire’s influence in northern England.

English majors in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters are spending their summers gaining valuable experience in other cultures around the world.

Video: English and Irish Major Interns at National Folklore Collection in Dublin

Caelin Miltko, a junior majoring in English and Irish, spent summer 2014 interning at the National Folklore Collection of Ireland based at University College Dublin. Her work centered on digitizing the Schools Collection, a group of manuscripts gathered by Irish schoolchildren in the 1930s featuring stories and traditions from their families. The project is part of a broader effort to make all of the works in the National Folklore Collection available to the public via the website Duchas.ie.

Miltko received funding for the internship from Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies and was grateful for the opportunity.

“I can’t imagine a better thing to do with my summer,” she said.

Video: Students Learn Chinese Through Immersive Summer Language Program

“Since our world is so connected, we’re such a global world, it’s really important to try to understand other people’s cultures and languages,” said junior Margaret Quinn, who is majoring in English and Chinese.

Quinn participated in the 2015 China Summer Language Program through the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures in the College of Arts and Letters. Students honed their Chinese language skills at Peking University in Beijing and had time to explore the city. Although living in Beijing was intimidating for Quinn at first, being immersed in another culture helped her become accustomed to life outside the U.S.

“Getting to study abroad is so important," she said, “because you won’t really ever understand another culture fully until you’re living in that culture.”

Glynn Scholar Awarded Fulbright for Summer Archaeology Program

Olivia May Olivia May, on the site of an archaeological dig in England.

Sophomore Olivia May has been interested in classical cultures for a long time. In summer 2015, she was able to experience one in a new way—by physically sifting through its remains.

May, a scholar in the Glynn Family Honors Program, is majoring in English and classics. She received an award from the U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Commission to study in Northern Britain last summer.

The four-week program, housed at Durham University, explored the classics through archaeology. For the first two weeks, May and her five fellow Fulbright recipients spent eight to nine hours a day digging at the site of an ancient Roman fort, helping to uncover evidence of the Roman Empire’s influence in England. In the second half of the program, she took a course on the region itself, studying the history of Northumbria, a medieval kingdom in what is now northern England and southern Scotland.