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A Homecoming at the Castle

A reunion is a fantastic opportunity for you to relive your university experience; to reconnect with old classmates, faculty and staff, and reminisce about the good old days! In October last year, 27 Queen’s alumni from the class of 2006/2007 returned to Herstmonceux Castle to celebrate the passing of 10 years since they attended the Bader International Study Centre.

Organisers Kyle Gonyou and Heather Lennon were delighted that so many of their former classmates could make the trip back to the Castle to soak up the BISC community spirit and immerse themselves once again in the place they once called home.

“We had a very different experience than most Queen’s students. Instead of Frosh Week in Kingston, our orientation was in the Ballroom of Herstmonceux Castle! Instead of painting coveralls and getting tammed, we went out in Brighton and spent time at the Headless Drummer. While some may think that we missed out on those quintessential Frosher experiences, we believe we gained so much more - so much so that we felt compelled to organize a 10 year ‘Homecoming’ of our own at the BISC.”

Likeminded Castle alumni made their way from as far afield as British Columbia and Texas to meet up with their old friends for the weekend. Alumni were welcomed at a drinks reception held in the Ballroom where Dr. Christian Lloyd, the BISC’s Academic Director, outlined the BISC’s vision for the future, including plans to refurbish the old Physics Building into a state of the art laboratory facility. Deputy Academic Director Dr. Anna Taylor then spoke about the exciting academic programming that is taking place at the Castle, such as the new opportunities available for students in experiential learning, cross-cultural programming and study skills workshops. Guests also had the pleasure of hearing from Dr. Rachael Johnstone, who provided a fun comparison of her life as a student at the BISC and now in a professional capacity, as an assistant professor of politics. 

Over the course of the weekend, alumni took the time to visit Brighton for old time’s sake, wander the gardens and grounds of Herstmonceux Castle, have a drink in the Headless Drummer and see for themselves the positive changes that have been made at Bader Hall. The revamped C1 Common Room and Basement Cinema Room were a particular hit with guests! (Click here for more on this story).

Kyle and Heather said, “As we spent the weekend together reminiscing, we were reminded of how lucky we were to have our individual and shared experiences at the Bader International Study Centre and all of the opportunities that it has brought us in the succeeding 10 years. The current students were away on their Mid Term Trip, so as our weekend came to its end, we decided to leave short messages of advice for the first-years living in our old rooms in Bader Hall. We hope that they take full advantage of the opportunities during their time at Herstmonceux Castle!” 

Cha Gheill!


The Bader International Study Centre – Class of 2006-2007 Ten-Year Alumni Committee consisted of: Heather Lennon, Kyle Gonyou, Kiera Schrader-Balson, Angela Wright, and Diana Chang.

If this story has inspired you to return to the Castle, the BISC is delighted to announce that a grand celebration of 25 years of teaching and learning at Herstmonceux Castle is planned for the Canada Day weekend in 2019. Click here for more information and register your interest.

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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