THE LONDON EXPERIENCE
Political science, Honors Scholar studying abroad in London, interning at Parliament
East Carolina University sophomore Tierney Reardon is expanding her global understanding through a semester-long study abroad experience in London.
Reardon, who is an EC Scholar in the Honors College, is pursuing dual majors and a minor in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences: a Bachelor of Science degree in political science, a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and a minor in religious studies.
“Studying abroad is such a unique experience to grow and learn, not only about the place you are going, but also about yourself,” she said.
Reardon first learned about The London Experience, offered by UNC and available to ECU students, from ECU alumna Madie Fleishman, who participated in the program during her time at ECU. Reardon will study in London through the end of April but plans to stay until mid-May to do a bit of traveling after the program ends.
Hoping to attend law school once she completes her degrees, Reardon is receiving valuable career skills through an assigned internship at Parliament. She said the program did a good job of matching each student with an internship in their area of interest.
“I am so fortunate to have the chance to not only study in London but intern at Parliament,” she said. “Any internship offers valuable experience, but while abroad, an internship allows you to experience the city in a new way and connect with people in the professional world that you would be unlikely to meet otherwise. Interning at Parliament will help me learn about government up close and see if a career focused on policymaking would be a good fit.”
Through her internship, Reardon’s role and contributions have included gathering and analyzing data to create presentations, updating a document with the availability of the members of Parliament and votes for the coming weeks, attending meetings and creating orientation materials for new employees. In a few weeks she will attend the Liberal Democrat’s Spring Conference where she will learn more about how the party’s policies are set.
“From the beginning of my internship, everyone was extremely welcoming. Parliament is a very fast-paced environment, so it was a bit of a jump into the deep end, but they all made a point of taking the time to explain things to me as we went,” she said. “Everyone’s common goals, and the many shared beliefs that come with working for the same political party, help to create a community where people can work well together. I have been impressed by how much of a priority the morality of the party’s decisions is to all those in the office.”
Interning at Parliament is a dreamlike experience, according to Reardon.
“It’s amazing to be working in the same building as Big Ben. Hearing the bells ring while in the whips’ office is surreal,” she said. “One of my favorite experiences so far has been getting to see the floor of the House of Commons and watching oral questions being presented from the gallery.”
Reardon’s academic schedule while studying abroad includes courses in Imagining Literary London, Contemporary British Politics, Contemporary London Theatre and its Origins, and the London Experience.
Through Imagining Literary London, Reardon is exploring the city and tracing the evolution of imagined London as the setting and inspiration for literary works from the mid-19th century to the present, and how London writers responded to periods of extreme violence.
In the Contemporary British Politics course, Reardon is learning about the changing nature of the UK state and politics. The aim is that students should understand how and why reform, change and modernization is taking place, and how this impacts constitutional, economic and social issues.
Contemporary London Theatre and its Origins examines theatre as a craft rather than an art form, looking at the practicalities of putting on a show. The course also explores why certain plays and playwrights endure. Students place a text in its social and historic context, read it, deconstruct it, and rehearse a scene or two. Then they will attend a performance and write a review.
“Tierney is taking full advantage of her time abroad — combining classes, an internship, sightseeing and getting to know her local London neighborhood — all to make a unique experience that will guide her lifelong learning,” said Katherine Ford, chair of Harriot College’s Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, acting associate dean of the Honors College and director of the EC Scholars program. “Thanks to the EC Scholar study abroad stipend, students like Tierney are able to continue the Pirate experience in new places, then bring back these insights to Greenville and ECU.”