University of South Carolina

Rich history, modern opportunity collide in oldest study abroad exchange

By Sydney Spence,

Studying Southern U.S. history in England may seem peculiar, but Kate Jernigan disagrees.

“It opened my eyes to the opportunity of studying Southern U.S. history from outside its geographical borders,” says Jernigan, who studied in England through a university exchange program.

Jernigan, a recent graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, participated in USC’s exchange program with the University of Warwick as a student. This allowed her to study the old world from a new world’s perspective. Her experience studying the South from abroad led her to continue her graduate studies with the same outsider’s perspective, she says.

“I knew that I loved living in England and as an American studying Southern studies at USC, I was very interested in the British perspective of American history,” she says.

As a history major at USC, Jernigan studied the history of the New South, focusing on student activism and racial issues of the 20th century. As a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, she continues her studies of the South from abroad, tackling the history of civil rights and student activism in Nashville, Tenn., and the impact university students and community members had on the city’s history.

Jernigan says she owes her experiences abroad to USC faculty – history professors Pat Sullivan and David Snyder – and study abroad adviser Rachel Hardison, who brought the Warwick exchange to her and supported her studies overseas.

“The history department and the Institute for Southern Studies at USC were extremely supportive of me during my undergraduate years, and I owe several professors a great deal for the life lessons and advice they gave me,” she says. “Coming to Cambridge has only confirmed what I already knew -- that USC has an amazing faculty in both departments that are world-renowned in their fields.”

The university’s Warwick exchange program sends a small group of history majors, minors and cognates to live and work in Warwick. The program is USC’s oldest exchange program, with the first students traveling abroad 46 years ago. Since its inception more than 120 students have participated in the exchange. The exchange gives students the chance to study history in a town where the subject is pervasive in its streets, architecture and culture.

“The Warwick Exchange is just one of the many examples of what great things can result from intercollegiate participation at USC,” Jernigan says.

For more information on the Warwick Exchange and other study abroad opportunities, contact the Study Abroad Office at 803-777-7557 or visit the website.

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Posted: 01/18/13 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 01/18/13 @ 4:19 PM | Permalink