top of page

Wondering what it’s like going abroad with a CCI class?

This photo was taken by Hailey Tovar of the famous London Tower Bridge during her first visit to London as part of the travel course.

Traveling presents an incredible opportunity not just to encounter new people, explore different places, or engage in new experiences, but also to immerse oneself in a rich plethora of Creative and Cultural Industries. This past January 2024, some students had the chance to travel to London as part of The Center for Creative and Cultural Industries Interterm travel course: CCI and International Context (CCI 333). On Instagram and on today’s blog, a few of them shared their experience of traveling with the class. I caught up with three senior students Willow Finn , Hailey Tovar, and Izabella Vigo who spilled the beans on what it's like to travel across the world as part of a CCI travel course, learn from Professors Dr. Patrick and Dr. Kelly Fuery, and dive into another country's culture.

Willow Finn ‘24, a Television Writing and Production major and a CCI Minor.

This photo was provided by Willow Finn on her day trip to Bath, England, as part of her travel course adventures.

Willow Finn, a senior at Chapman University, took advantage of the travel course to explore her passion for the Creative and Cultural Industries, specifically museums, in a foreign country.

What was London like?

WF: This was my first time studying abroad with Chapman! To be honest, I wasn't prepared for the culture shock. At first, I thought it would be easy since they speak English, but it turned out to be quite different! Since I haven't traveled much outside the US, the experience was both surprising and thrilling.

This photo was provided by Willow Finn during her visit to the British National Library, where she delved into the theme of "Blending Cultures." The exhibition focused on mixed identities, stories from childhood, and advice for mothers.

Can a library be a museum? 

WF: I had the opportunity to visit what I would describe as seven museums. One of them was the British National Library, which, although not technically a museum, had an exhibit that felt like one. The exhibit showcased the stories of seven different women from Bangladesh, sharing their perspectives on womanhood. The library incorporated various multimedia elements, such as books with diverse illustrations, video installations featuring documentary style interviews, and segments exploring themes like hope, dreams, advice for mothers, and the blending of identities within families and communities. Another interesting aspect of the exhibit was a section where visitors could write down responses to various questions that encouraged us to reflect critically on the exhibit as a whole. Although it wasn't permanent, its presence was a delightful surprise. Personally, I do believe institutions like zoos, libraries, aquariums, and galleries can all be considered museums, it just depends on how they approach certain topics. 

Photo by Joseph Albanese on Unsplash

What was one of your favorite experiences?

WF: When I visited the Sea Life London Aquarium, it felt a lot like being in a museum, after all – you have to pay to get in. Just like in museums, they disseminate information through exhibits, labeled texts, and information about the species themselves, often focusing on conservation efforts and where the animals live. They try to tell a bigger story, and what struck me the most was the presence of tour guides who highlighted specific artifacts and paintings. For instance, in London, I saw artworks made from objects found in the ocean, such as trash. It served as a powerful message about conservation that resonated with diverse audiences. The experience was interactive, with activities for children, opportunities to climb and explore, vibrant colors that weren't overwhelming, video elements, and of course a gift shop!

Photo by Kevin Laminto on Unsplash

What is the CCI perspective on aquariums?

WF: In this particular aquarium, they relied heavily on label texts to provide information, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying reading them. Given my fascination with fish, it was right up my alley. However, I noticed the museum was dimly lit, with crowds of people gathered around, making it feel chaotic and busy. This got me thinking: could there be a better way to convey this message? Should there be staff members available on the floor to answer questions? Would audio explanations played on a loop be helpful? These were all questions that crossed my mind as I explored the exhibits.

Overall, how was the travel course? 

The professors were really good about giving us free time to explore and learn on our own. But there were times when we just didn't want Patrick and Kelly to leave because we were so eager to learn more from them! During the trip, I had the chance to hear perspectives from students with majors and minors vastly different from my own. We talked about what got us interested in our fields and had some really interesting conversations. If you have the opportunity to go abroad with CCI, DO IT!

Hailey Tovar ‘24, a Business Administration major with an emphasis on marketing and a CCI minor.

CCI Student Hailey Tovar took this photo at Hampton Court Palace, the former residence of King Henry VIII.

With graduation on the horizon, Hailey Tovar viewed participating in a travel course as an essential aspect to complete her Chapman experience. With a love for reading and a strong interest in the Creative and Cultural Industries like publishing, she eagerly embraced the opportunity to further explore her passions during her time in London.

What drove you to do interterm abroad? 

HT: I absolutely loved London! I've been eager to go abroad for some time, but I was waiting for the right opportunity to come along. I wanted something that wasn't too lengthy but also not too short. When I discovered the CCI 333 class, it was actually my last chance, and I knew I just had to take it.

This photo was provided by Hailey Tovar at the Borough Market, where she will soon enjoy the famous London chocolate-covered strawberries.

How would you describe London in a nutshell?

HT: The food experience, at least for me, was incredible. We tried Indian food, enjoyed some tea, and did a lot of shopping. We explored different markets like the Portobello Market, where there was an abundance of items to discover, and food trucks were scattered everywhere, tempting us to try a little bit of everything. We also visited Hampton Court Palace, which was truly amazing. It was fascinating to see how people lived back then, with different houses and rooms for various purposes – they even had a chocolate room!

This photo was taken by Hailey Tovar at a bookstore in Bath, England. During their day trip to Bath, they had the chance to explore different bookstores, visit the Jane Austen Museum, and enjoy Sunday tea.

Is there a specific Creative and Cultural Industry that intrigued you?

HT: One of the creative industries I was particularly drawn to during my visit was the publishing industry. Being surrounded by all sorts of books, authors, and bookstores was an absolute joy for me. One thing I noticed between the US and the UK was the stark difference in book covers. In the US, covers tend to be flashier, often featuring characters to grab the reader's attention, whereas in the UK, covers tend to use more negative space and darker colors. Another fascinating aspect I noticed was the significance of "literary roots." This refers to the phenomenon where readers are inspired to visit locations featured in books they've read, like Harry Potter, for example. During our time in London, we had the opportunity to explore some of the locations associated with the Harry Potter series, which was exciting!

Here's a photo courtesy of Hailey Tovar featuring Chapman Students Abby Jones, Megan Guerra, Sami Frias, Tatiana Hayes, and Lauren Heer at Hampton Court Palace. They delved into the history of Henry VIII's family and the various functions of each room in the grand estate.

Last remarks?

Overall, I found the people to be incredibly friendly, I surprisingly miss the chilly weather, and the beauty of the city left a lasting impression on me.

Izabella Vigo ’24, a Communications major and CCI minor.

CCI student Izabella Vigo shared this photo taken outside Buckingham Palace in London during the travel course.

Creative and Cultural Industries student Izabella Vigo is gearing up for graduation, and enrolling in the CCI 333 travel course was a decision she felt driven to make. With a passion for art and a strong desire to explore new places, she eagerly seized every opportunity to uncover all that London had to offer.

Can you talk to me about London?

IV: This was my first trip to Europe! I was pretty nervous about the flight and ended up packing way more than I needed because I wasn't sure what to expect. It felt like I was stepping into a whole new world, and in many ways, I was. While the culture shock wasn't as intense as I anticipated, I couldn’t help but notice the distinct mannerisms of the locals, the adjustment to driving on the opposite side of the road, and being from California having to navigate the transportation system, like the "tubes," all stood out as cultural differences.

This is Izabella Vigo enjoying a chilly night in London as she poses besides the famous London Tower Bridge.

What were some of the activities you did?

IV: Well, on our first night, we had a group dinner. Then, the next day, we headed to a museum where the Fuerys gave us a lecture. We strolled around, admiring different paintings while they shared the historical background behind each artwork. It was fascinating to see how everyone had a unique interpretation of the same painting once we discussed it. We then visited The National Gallery, and it was absolutely stunning – rooms filled with paintings all around. It was my first time experiencing a proper museum like that, and I had a blast exploring it. Afterward, we had an activity where we could choose any painting from the entire museum to analyze and write about. I selected one by Thomas Gainsborough called "The Painter's Daughter Chasing a Butterfly." It depicted a child chasing a butterfly, symbolizing the fleeting nature of childhood. Another girl holding the hand of the child stood nearby, watching her attempt to capture her innocence. I reflected on my relationship with my sister, how I experienced everything first, and now she's going through those same experiences. It felt really special.

Izabella Vigo kindly shared this photo while posing next to the iconic Red London Telephone Booths in Kings Cross!

Did the class visit additional locations outside of London?

IV: We had the opportunity to visit Bath, a charming city in England, and explore Jane Austen's home. One surprising fact I learned was that nobody knows exactly what she looked like, there are five different famous portraits of her, each different from the others. Visiting Bath was fascinating because the city was so unique. It boasted narrow streets, ancient infrastructure, and an abundance of shops, giving it the “vibe” of a small European town. We also had the chance to see the ancient Royal Baths, offering a glimpse into what life was like in the past. 

During the course of the trip did you have a day to explore on your own?

IV: Yes! During that day, we decided to visit Brighton, a charming town with a picturesque harbor and peaceful atmosphere. It was filled with lovely antique stores, but we soon realized that everything closes at 5 pm. Despite the chilly weather, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit Brighton, especially since I grew up watching English Media Personality, Zoella. It was definitely a worthwhile experience!

This photo was provided by Izabella Vigo, captured at Hampton Court Palace where she and fellow students delved into the extensive estate's history.

Looking back, how was your experience?

IV: Even though we weren't with the class all the time, everything we experienced had a CCI aspect to it. Because everything was so new, we found ourselves analyzing and absorbing everything we encountered. I really wish we had more time to explore. The architecture of the city was breathtaking – every corner was picture worthy. It was so beautiful, and there was so much to capture that it felt like being inside a story. It was truly the best college experience ever! If you're considering it, don't hesitate, just go for it. The group of people we went with was absolutely amazing, friendly, punctual, and sweet. If studying abroad is on your radar, I can't recommend it enough!

Photo by Lucas Davies on Unsplash

A big shoutout to our students Willow, Hailey, and Izabella for sharing their experiences in such detail! And to all our CCI crew who took over our Instagram, we loved seeing your stories and hope you had a blast abroad. Take it from our students –if you're considering going abroad, take that leap and do it! If you want more stories like these or have your own to share, don't hesitate to slide into those Instagram DMs @chapman_CCI or shoot us an email!

5 views0 comments


bottom of page