Students find inspiration at Castle field school

Students find inspiration at Castle field school

July 29, 2013


By Wanda Praamsma, Communications Officer

Queen's in the World

The student testimonials say it all. A once-in-a-lifetime experience. My favourite educational experience. Life-changing. The guest speakers and field trips put the learning into context and made it real.

These are a few of the responses Field School Director Beth Richan received after the first annual summer field school in global health and disability studies, held in May and June at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) at Herstmonceux Castle in England.

“Students got much more than the classroom experience,” says Ms. Richan. “They were at the Castle for six weeks, absorbed in both the academic and social environments. They also experienced overnight excursions to international health organizations and academic institutions within the United Kingdom and mainland Europe. It was complete immersion and rewarding on so many levels.”

Students in the global health and disability studies field school tour the Palais des Nations at the United Nations in Geneva.

The field school, Interdisciplinary Studies in Global Health and Disability, was designed around three two-week 400 level courses: Global Perspectives in Community Based Rehabilitation, Interprofessional Collaborative Education, and Disability Studies: Issues, Research and Policy.

Several international guest speakers presented during the courses, including Paralympian Steve Brown, captain of Great Britain’s 2012 wheelchair rugby team. Mr. Brown, who suffered a spinal cord injury, inspired students with his talk of his journey with a disability, the highs and lows, and embracing “what you have.” Students also heard from Madeline O’Shaunghnessy-Hunter (Artsci’10), who talked about how she went from Queen’s graduate (Kinesiology and Health Studies) to senior operations officer for the U.K.’s Paralympic team – a motivating story for students looking for unique career paths.

Excursions included overnight trips to Oxford and London, where students visited Oxford Brookes University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. A highlight was a three-night trip to Geneva, with visits to the World Health Organization (WHO), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Palais des Nations at the United Nations (UN).

“It was a fantastic educational experience. The students were fabulous – energetic, dedicated and respectful,” says Ms. Richan, who is based on Queen’s campus in Kingston at the International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation (ICACBR).

The global health field school was one of five field schools that were offered this summer. The others include studies in British archaeology, travel writing, conflict resolution, and deaf geographies. The BISC has also offered in past years a field school in biodiversity research.

“We are thrilled with the success of this field school and all the field schools held this summer at the Castle,” says Bruce Stanley, Executive Director, BISC. “These specialized offerings give students truly unique experiences that enrich their learning and will help propel them into great careers.”

Students from any university and any discipline are welcome to take the field school offerings. More information

This article is one of a series of stories celebrating the Castle and its 20th anniversary.