Ruby – International Core Curriculum London Program, Italy
ACU Summer Break, 2017
Sending out my application for the London Core Program was a total whim, and I am so glad that I did! What an amazing city and an amazing experience. Every day there was something new and exciting to see or do, and so much to learn!
Our group of 24 stayed in the heart of Royal Kensington and was able to walk everyday to Heythrop College where we were tutored in the concept of Human Dignity – quite a heavy subject matter! Professor Anne Cummins, assisted by Evelyn Picot, was an engaging and knowledgeable tutor for this program, and was able to link many abstract concepts and theories back to our everyday lives and study. We also had many interesting and inspiring guest speakers who helped to provide us with a real life insight into the lives of London’s poor and homeless, as well as the lives of immigrants and the victims of human trafficking, and the work that is being done to assist and support them in many different ways.
We were also given the opportunities to see these charitable organisations at work. Run by St Vincent de Paul society, we were able to visit “The Passage” a place that provides homeless men and women the opportunities to find food, accommodation and work, right in the heart of London. It was an incredibly inspiring organisation with a rich history, and we were treated to an in-depth tour.
As well as this, we were also able to visit the Catholic Workers Farm in nearby Hertfordshire where Scott and his team of volunteers are providing a safe rural home for trafficked migrants, helping to rehabilitate them back into society and even get the legal advice they need to return to their countries of origin, or become UK residents. It was an extremely unique experience, and we were lucky to also meet there Christian activist, Ciaron O’Reilly.
We also enjoyed an East End walking tour – organized by ACU – which took in many historic sights in one of the oldest parts of London, as well as the more modern street art culture that has sprung up there. Although it was a bitterly cold evening, we soon warmed up, learning about the history of London’s earliest migrant communities, Jack the Ripper and even Banksy, winding our way through hidden alleys led by out very well-informed guide, Eddy.
Over the two week course of the program we were also able to fit in a lot of tourist experiences, as well as out time in class. As both the school and our accommodation were just a stones throw from Kensington Palace and the beautiful Hyde Park, as well as museums like the Victoria and Albert, and the amazing Natural History Museum, we made the most of every opportunity to get out and see as much of this beautiful city as we could. From shopping on Oxford Street, to Piccadilly Circus and the hustle and bustle of the West End theatre district, it was an incredible experience and I would highly recommend anyone take part!