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Studying Shakespeare Abroad

English-secondary education major travels to U.K. through Fulbright program

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Shakespeare’s plays present a struggle for many high school students. But aspiring educator, Ethan Child, ’21, sees a promising approach to teaching the Bard’s work rooted in music.

The Bridgewater State University English and secondary education major learned about the playwright’s work at a recent program in the United Kingdom.

“By saying it rhythmically, that would help us interpret the meaning of what Shakespeare would say,” said Ethan, who is from East Bridgewater. “That’s never something I’d done in an English classroom in college or high school.”

Ethan was one of three United States college students chosen by the prestigious Fulbright Summer Institute scholarship initiative to spend three weeks in June in the United Kingdom as part of an academic and cultural program hosted by the American Institute for Foreign Study. (Another 13 students not affiliated with Fulbright also took part.)

Students studied acting and Shakespearean texts at the Globe Theatre (a reconstruction of the original), and participated in workshops on combat and swordplay, movement, dance, and design. They performed an abridged version of Pericles, and had the unique opportunity to rehearse on the Globe’s stage.

Though he hopes to teach English, Ethan also has an affinity for theater and participates in campus productions. He traveled to the UK hoping to pick up ideas he could bring into his future high school classroom.

Ethan felt well-prepared coming from BSU into the program. He credits his English professors with teaching him how to approach Shakespeare and dig deeper into texts.

With academics four days a week, the American students had ample time to explore and bond over experiencing European culture.

"This is something I don’t think I even would have gone after before I was at Bridgewater,” Ethan said. “Since I’ve been at Bridgewater State, I’ve really learned to go after every opportunity.”

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