6/19/2014 Peter Durantine

UK Exchange Program Offers Students Valuable Research, Life Opportunities

Work on a paper about the religious origins of the English Civil War sent a Franklin & Marshall College student to conduct research this spring at Chichester University in the United Kingdom, part of an exchange program between the two institutions.

Junior Danny Pellegrino, a history major, is F&M's inaugural visit to Chichester since the program began three years ago, when Chichester first sent students to F&M.

For Pellegrino, the travel overseas for hands-on, in-depth research has enriched his academic experience, the director of the exchange program, Professor of History Maria Mitchell, said.

"This was Danny's first opportunity to travel outside the United States," Mitchell said. "The potential for academic and personal growth is tremendous."

  • Chichester University students Charlotte Petrie and Sophie O'Reilly arrived at Franklin & Marshall College in early June as part of the two institutions' three-year-old student exchange program. Chichester hosted F&M Junior Danny Pellegrino this year. (Photo by Melissa Hess) 

Over the fortnight in late May that he spent in England, Pellegrino lived in the Bishop Hilary dorm, and was provided exclusive access to the Chichester Cathedral library, a privilege not usually given to students or the public.

"The library possesses very old and historically significant books and documents," he said. "That helped greatly with my research."

Pellegrino also traveled to London for four days to conduct research at the British Library and see the city's sights such as Big Ben, Parliament, the Tower of London, and St. Paul's Cathedral.

"It was a great experience, the British Library offers almost any book imaginable on any topic," he said. "Chichester and London offered resources that I may not have found so easily in the United States."

Chichester students Charlotte Petrie and Sophie O'Reilly, meanwhile, arrived at F&M in early June. They found Shadek-Fackenthal Library's resources and materials for their research papers more extensive and accessible than in the UK.  

Petrie is examining Britain's taxation policy regarding the American colonies and the debate between the colonists and the British government over whether they should be treated as a colonial people or as British subjects.  

"I'm focused on the Stamp Act of 1765, and the inability of either side to understand the other's point of view," she said. 

O'Reilly is researching how American jazz performer and trumpeter Louis Armstrong served as cultural weapons for the United States during the Cold War.

The British students said F&M's faculty advising from Mitchell and Professor of History and American Studies Louise Stevenson has been exceptional.

"They've been really good at pushing us in different directions that we hadn't considered before," O'Reilly said.

Stevenson, who advised the exchange students on honing their research and locating relevant primary materials, said, "We have tremendous resources here through the library that they can't get over there."

Petrie and O'Reilly had visited the United States previously, but this was their first visit to an American college. Five F&M student ambassadors -- London Bailey, Sarah Haddon, Xinyu Liu, Erin Moyer, and Xiaoyu Wang -- were on hand to acclimate them to student life and introduce them to the city of Lancaster.  

On a visit to Zime's, the College bistro that overlooks much of the central campus, Petrie and O'Reilly admired F&M's verdant grounds and red brick buildings.

"As English people," Petrie said, "when we imagine an American college, this is what we imagine."

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