Many Kenyon students find off-campus study a vibrant — and often life-changing — experience regardless of their destination. But those who choose to study and travel with fellow Kenyon students and professors on one of the Colleges own study programs will have an unparalleled experience, finding a rich array of exciting intellectual and cultural adventures designed to integrate meaningfully into Kenyons liberal arts curriculum.

The Kenyon-Exeter Program offers you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to study with British students and faculty at a top-ranked British university even as you enjoy the focus, intensity, and intimacy of a Kenyon-style seminar under the familiar guidance of a member of the Kenyon English Department. The range of curricular options at the University of Exeter is complemented by the Kenyon-Exeter seminars expansive schedule of world-class theater and co-curricular travel. Imagine exploring this whole new world of educational opportunity with friends from home.

The Kenyon-Exeter Experience

For more than forty years, Kenyon students have travelled to southwest England as part of this yearlong program. At the University of Exeter, students enjoy full access to classes in the Department of English, part of the larger College of Humanities, which also houses the departments of archaeology, art history and visual culture, Classics and history, drama, film, modern languages and theology. Students also enroll in a seminar taught by their Kenyon professor; the seminars syllabus capitalizes upon the opportunity for cultural and travel experiences in Britain, which are sponsored and funded by the program.

At the University

The Department of English and the College of Humanities are based at the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus, a lively academic community of about 18,000 undergraduates and 2,600 postgraduates situated on beautifully landscaped grounds at the city’s edge. Ranked in the top five U.K. English departments by several national surveys, and consistently winning top marks in the National Student Survey for student satisfaction, the department offers Kenyon students an array of course choices in literary and cultural history, creative writing, film and film-writing. Kenyon-Exeter students enjoy full access to the curriculum, working alongside their British counterparts in such modules as “Writing the Short Film,” “Charles Dickens and the Condition of England,” “Romance from Chaucer to Shakespeare,” “Advanced Critical Theory” and “Desire and Power: English Literature 1570-1640.”
 
Outside of class, students enjoy an extensive array of extra-curricular clubs, sports, and societies, where many find new friends and new pastimes. The Guild of Students sponsors dozens of club sports — from American football to cricket to sailing to volleyball — and over 200 different clubs and societies, including Amnesty International, the Exeter Student Volunteers, the Soul Choir, the Game of Thrones Society, the Pearshaped Society (an online music magazine), and the Exeter Revue (a sketch, stand-up, and improv comedy club that has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival). A perennial favorite among Kenyon-Exeter students is the Out of Doors Society,” which organizes weekly expeditions to nearby Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Southwest coast, and, several times a term, weekend adventures further afield to places like Brecon Beacons and Lands End. 

The City of Exeter and Environs

The Kenyon-Exeter program aspires to full integration of classroom work and co-curricular travel, and its emphasis includes the city of Exeter, the County of Devon, and all of England and the British Isles. Exeter is a city layered with history, from Roman ruins to a stunning medieval cathedral to quays that evoke the great seafaring traditions of Britain’s southwest. Exeter is also a vibrant commercial center whose 120,000 residents enjoy live music, clubs, pubs, art house and commercial cinemas, museums, and a professional theater company housed on the University of Exeter campus. London is just over two hours away by rail, and train and bus links to major British cities are numerous. Plus, Exeter’s airport offers inexpensive air travel to European destinations, perfect for those who wish to travel to the continent independently. Just outside of Exeter — a mere half-hour by train — lies the beautiful, ecologically diverse Atlantic coastline (cobbled shores, sandy beaches, towering cliffs), not to mention two spectacular national parks (Dartmoor and Exmoor) and scores of historic villages, country houses, archeological sites and castles.

My experience at Exeter makes me smile nearly every day. The friends, the food, the reading and the traveling all make up this beautiful life you get to build there. As a third-year student at a British university, you have a fair amount of freedom in choosing your interests and emphasizing different areas of study. The professors are incredible and you have Kenyon faculty right by your side.

Grace Orwick '21
2019-20 program participant

Program Details

The Kenyon-Exeter program combines the best of two academic systems — the rich curricular options of a top British university and the intimacy of a liberal arts seminar taught by a member of the Kenyon faculty. Each semester Kenyon-Exeter students enroll in two University of Exeter classes, which allow them to work intensively alongside British and international counterparts, with the Kenyon-Exeter Seminar constituting an additional course each semester. Some students may even return to Gambier with more than the 4.0 units of credit that comprise a ‘full load’ at Kenyon.  

Kenyon English majors typically enroll in four courses each year—two per semester—drawn from the University of Exeter’s undergraduate course catalogue. Most choose three courses (or “modules”) in the Department of English (which can include film studies and creative writing as well as literary studies) and a fourth course from another department. Because Kenyon enjoys a long-standing relationship with Exeter’s Department of English, we can ensure that the English courses undertaken in Exeter will integrate fully and well into the Kenyon English major. For example, creative writing courses taken at UEx can count towards the Kenyon “Emphasis” in Creative Writing, and all of the marks earned in Exeter’s Department of English will be factored into the Kenyon GPA, distinguishing the program from other study abroad options. More information about the Department of English programs, faculty, and curriculum can be found at humanities.exeter.ac.uk. (To navigate to specific course lists click “Modules in Exeter” on the left of the screen and choose “Level 2 modules” or “Level 3 modules.”)

While for most students, the focus of their coursework at Exeter will likely be English, Kenyon students have also taken courses in Drama, Classics, Theology, Biology, Psychology, Politics, History, Spanish, French, and Italian. For all students, including those whose major isn’t English or who are double majors, the Kenyon Resident Director will be available to advise about course choices across the University.   And, of course, the RD will also be available to assist with transition issues and to help students find the appropriate academic and psychological support, should personal or academic problems emerge.

Because the British academic semester is shorter, many Kenyon-Exeter students find Exeter courses more briskly paced and intensively focused than courses they have undertaken in Gambier. Kenyon- Exeter students have typically thrived on this challenge, enjoying increased opportunity for independent research and secondary readings connected to the course’s primary syllabus. They find the difference in British university culture an exciting opportunity to cultivate new intellectual skills — to learn independently, to develop greater autonomy and self-direction in their research and creative projects. Thus many Kenyon-Exeter students return to Gambier eager to pursue Honors in English — and well-prepared to do so.

Informed by a liberal arts pedagogy and dedicated exclusively to Kenyon students, the Kenyon-Exeter Seminar fosters the sort of dynamic but intimate academic community familiar to those who have studied in Gambier. Explicitly designed to take full advantage of the rich historical and cultural heritage of the British Isles, the 2020-21 Kenyon-Exeter Seminar will focus on two different themes—“Plays and Performances” and “Writing and Place.” 

“Plays and Performances”  

Through the Kenyon-Exeter Seminars focus on “plays and performances,” students can expect to study and attend world-class productions and also to consider the notion of performance more broadly, as it might be used to frame any number of cultural encounters, including tourism. The group will see a range of plays, from Original Practices” productions of Shakespeare at London’s Globe Theatre, to “immersive theater” works in London warehouses, and cutting-edge plays written by contemporary playwrights and staged by boundary-defying companies. The group will spend considerable time at established venues, such as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s theaters in Stratford-upon-Avon and the National Theatre in London, and will also explore productions and companies at the vanguard of modern Anglophone theater—and study the ways contemporary playwrights, performers, directors, and companies are reshaping theater itself.  

“Writing and Place”  

The Kenyon-Exeter Seminar’s second theme—“Writing and Place”—offers options both for students interested in creative writing and for students who prefer a literary critical focus for their seminar work. Integrating analysis of literary texts and study of the distinctive geographic and social landscapes that have inspired them, “Writing and Place” combines literary study with travel throughout England and the British Isles. Contemporary texts such as Alice Oswald’s Dart and Daljit Nagras Look, We Have Coming to Dover, might frame questions about the poetics of place and the ways language attaches to and is shaped by particular landscapes. After visiting the great estates of Chatsworth and Stourhead, they might better comprehend the country-house tradition and issues of property and community in Jane Austen’s novels. And they might explore the complex social and cultural history of London by combining visits to the city with reading the work of Jay Bernard, Charles Dickens, or Zadie Smith. As a central part of this section of the Kenyon-Exeter Seminar, students will undertake an extended trip across a broad region of Britain or Ireland; past trips have included explorations of Scotland’s Highlands and Western Islands, of Wales, and of the Lake District. Every Kenyon-Exeter Seminar also includes several day-trips each term (some optional, some required) to such sites as Dartmoor, Bath, Lyme Regis, Stonehenge, and Tintagel.

Kenyon-Exeter students will be required to arrive in Exeter a few days before the beginning of the Autumn Term for orientation (or “Freshers’ Week”). The University will notify accepted students of the exact dates for this orientation during the preceding summer, but typically it commences one week before the beginning of term. The term dates for 2021-22 are as follows:

Freshers Week: Monday 13- Sunday 19 September 2021

Autumn Term: Monday 20 September 2021 - Saturday 12 January 2022   

Spring Term: Monday 10 January 2022- Thursday 31 March 2021  

Exam Period: Tuesday May 3 2022- Friday May 27 2022

The University of Exeter website notes that “The dates given above are for standard University terms: however, for some programmes the dates of required attendance may vary.” One peculiarity of Exeter’s term system is that the final assessment for each term takes place during the first week of the subsequent term; for example, final essays for Autumn Term may be due at the end of the first week of the Spring Term; examinations for some Spring Term modules may take place during the Summer Term. Thus, while Kenyon-Exeter students attend classes only in Autumn and Spring terms, they may need to extend their residency briefly into the summer term in order to submit their final coursework, and finish co-curricular travel.

Careful guidance about accommodations at the university helps Kenyon-Exeter students integrate well and quickly into their new environment. Students may live in University residence halls (where meals are included) but most Kenyon students elect to stay in self-catering flats, where they enjoy a private room but share kitchens and common rooms with other British and international undergraduates. Program fees cover a room in a Kenyon-approved flat; students who elect to live in more expensive housing may do so but must pay the extra fees. Final application for a room is made when the student accepts a place at the University (late spring/early summer). Undergrad flats are let for a 40-week period that covers the entirety of the Kenyon-Exeter Program (including vacations). Living in halls or University-owned flats al­ lows easy access to campus activities and ready contact with British students. Moreover, much of Exeter’s student housing is new or recently renovated. Take a virtual tour of some of the Exeter housing options at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/undergraduate/life/accommodation/

Students participating in the Kenyon-Exeter program will pay Kenyon College tuition, room and board. This payment will cover Exeter tuition, a meal stipend, and a room in a Kenyon-approved flat. Students who wish to live in more expensive housing may do so, but must pay the extra fees.

A non-refundable $500 deposit is due approximately two weeks after acceptance by Kenyon into the program. Kenyon provides a meal stipend to each participant. In 2019-20 this stipend was £2,187 for each semester (£4,374 total per student).  

The tuition for the Kenyon-Exeter Program covers all group excursions, course-related travel and theater tickets, internet access in student residences, an allowance for joining Exeter student societies, and a basic mobile phone, SIM card, and some phone top-up costs.

Expenses for which the individual is responsible include transatlantic transportation; transportation from London to Exeter and back (at the beginning and end of the academic year); books; personal living expenses (e.g., laundry, mobile phone costs after the first top-up); food expenses beyond what the meal stipend will cover; and independent travel expenses.

For the purpose of scholarships and loans, Kenyon-Exeter students are considered full-time Kenyon students. Kenyon College financial aid is automatically transferable to the Kenyon-Exeter Program. Students should contact the Center for Global Engagement for detailed information on how their financial aid package will be applied towards program payments.

Rosemary O'Neill

Associate Professor of English

Rosemary O'Neill joined the Department of English at Kenyon in 2011 after teaching at Haverford College and the University of Pennsylvania. Her research and teaching take up the literature of later medieval England, with a particular interest in how religious practices shaped the poetry of writers such as Chaucer, Langland and the Pearl-Poet.

At Kenyon, she teaches courses on medieval drama, medieval women writers and literature and religion in medieval England a freshman seminar investigates the topic of marriage in literature from Plato to the present. She is completing a book project which explores the medieval image of the individual conscience as an account book, arguing that discourses of salvation in medieval England were shaped by divergent traditions of financial accounting. A new project investigates the history of the concept of family in Middle English literature. Her research has been supported by grants from the British Academy and the Medieval Academy.

Exeter was a wonderful and eye-opening education and cross-cultural experience. The program was a beautiful complement to my Kenyon experience. I had the privilege of learning to love both communities and eventually integrate both of them into my life abroad and afterward.

Emmy Roday
2019-20 program participant