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Castle students get Fairy-tale Ending

Former Bader International Study Centre (BISC) students Sarah Tessier, Artsci’05, and James Dixon, Sc’06, met while studying at Herstmonceux Castle, so it seems natural their time there had a fairy-tale ending.

Ms. Tessier, Artsci’05, and Mr. Dixon, Sc’06, fell in love after meeting at the Castle in East Sussex, England, in 2004 and were married in 2009. The couple, who now live in London, are returning this summer with their two children to take part in the BISC’s 25th anniversary celebration on June 29–30.

Castle love story Sarah and James 1The 15th-century castle was donated to the university by Drs Alfred and Isabel Bader and opened to Queen’s students in 1994. To honour 25 years of teaching and learning at the BISC, the school is inviting Castle alumni, students, family, and friends to return for a weekend of tours, activities, special guest speakers, and more.

“(Our) kids will be excited to see where Mummy and Daddy met,” says Ms. Tessier. “They are going to like hanging out at a castle.”

She first noticed Mr. Dixon when a group of students went to the Globe Theatre to see Romeo and Juliet. Soon, they began talking while crossing paths in the hallways and eating together in the Dining Hall.

“Let’s just say it became obvious to us very quickly that there was something there,” says Ms. Tessier. “We just clicked. He is the loveliest, nicest, kindest person. So by the time we came back to Kingston that summer, we were very much a couple. It is hard to put into words. I just knew he was someone really special who I needed in my life.”

The couple both made lifelong friends while studying at Herstmonceux. The best man and maid of honour at their wedding were BISC classmates.

In addition to meeting her husband and classmates, Ms. Tessier says opportunities she had to learn both in and outside of the classroom made her time at the BISC memorable. In particular, Ms. Tessier says trips across the U.K. and Europe meant what she learned in class was complemented by hands-on experience.

“The in-class and hands-on learning we did at the Castle was very special,” says Ms. Tessier.

Visit the BISC’s anniversary celebration page for more information.


The Bader International Study Centre (Queen’s University, Canada) is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment that is fair, positive, and supportive for all members of our community.
We strive to ensure all members’ views are valued and shared in a secure environment through a commitment to upholding equity*, diversity**, inclusion***, and advancing indigenous initiatives.
The BISC supports the fair treatment and opportunity for all by asserting the importance of non-discriminatory treatment either directly or indirectly on the ground of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.   

*Equity: Substantive fairness for everyone thereby ensuring that members of equity-seeking groups are able to achieve full participation in the university (BISC). 

**Diversity: The representation of the population with respect to designated groups. 

***Inclusion: The climate and acceptance of differences that comes with diversity i.e. different ways of living and working. 

Land acknowledgement: Queen’s University, Canada is situated on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory.

Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
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