Wales Field School talks about first reflections at Trinity St. David
By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
Last Thursday, the 2013 Wales Field School took off from YVR en route to the University of Wales, Trinity St. David for a month-long soaking of Welsh culture and wet weather.
The small University of Wales campus is located in the oldest settled town in Wales, Carmarthen, with history dating back to the Roman era. Located in the southwest part of the small country, the area is less Welsh-speaking than the northern parts of the country where up to 60 per cent of the population are fluent in the national language, but far less anglicized than the port and coal mining towns in the southeast region.
“Welsh cultures, traditions, and language are much more immersive than I had expected prior to coming to Wales,” explained Madison Paradis-Woodman, one of the students currently overseas with the program. “It’s amazing to see the revitalization and presence of Welsh language in everyday life.”
The field school embarks on weekly trips to notable places with historical capital in South Wales including the Church of St. David, the Welsh patron saint, of which the school is named after. The first trip embarked on was a castle from the Middle Ages.
“Llansteffan Castle felt surreal—just being in a structure as old as the 12th century. I envisioned the prisoners of the time as I walked through the dungeons and guards as I climbed up whirling staircases to the lookout posts,” said Paradis-Woodman.
Another draw for many of the students is the chance to immerse in a campus community, taking the form of dormitory living and weekly student union dance nights.
“Trinity St. David feels more like a town than it does a school,” said Paradis-Woodman. “Everyone seems to know each other, regardless whether you’re a student, faculty member, or staff person.”
The dozen students and three instructors will venture off after the study period to London for further cultural immersion and fun in a metropolitan area of eight million instead of 100,000.
“We spend three days at the end of the program in London. We go to Buckingham Palace, we go to the Globe Theatre to see a Shakespeare play, we go to the West End and see a show, and all kinds of walking tours all included,” said Elizabeth Bachinsky, an instructor on the trip teaching Intro to Writing Poetry.