Over 10 days in July and August, Saskatchewan Polytechnic Architectural Technologies students navigated the streets of London and explored its iconic architecture on a study abroad funded by the Global Skills Opportunity Fund (GSO). This opportunity was designed to introduce Sask Polytech students to European architecture and study colonial influence in Canadian architecture.
“The students learned about architectural history,” says Angela Deans, program head. “The earliest architecture we saw was Stonehenge and we got to experience some Roman, Medieval, Victorian and modern structures.” Spending time in London’s Square Mile, participants were surrounded by historic architecture and modern skyscrapers, a blend of old and new. They also experienced iconic landmarks including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
“I will never forget St. Paul’s Cathedral,” says student Jeorgette Espinoza. “The baroque style is very dramatic and passionate with its massive dome and lavish ornaments. The dome looked regal and stately. It was breathtaking.” Another student, Tal Cadrin commented, “I have never experienced anything like it! London is incredible. The trip was inspiring, eye opening, challenging and memorable.”
Says student Abigail Chupa: “The most impactful place we visited was the Kew gardens. Gardening and exotic plants are a passion of mine and I love when they are incorporated into architecture as an art. The atriums inspired such a beautiful connection to nature and brought me a feeling of serenity and peace. Hearing the birds and the sound of the wind was a peaceful break from the bustle of London.”
Students participated in workshops at the London Metropolitan University and did lots of sketching to learn about the visual language of architecture. They also immersed themselves in the local culture by enjoying productions at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and the Apollo Theatre, riding the Tube, interacting with locals and experiencing world cuisines. “It was exciting to see the students grow and adapt to the culture. They picked up on vibes and customs, and by the end of the trip they were navigating the big city with ease,” says Deans.
“The student’s emotional responses to 700-year-old gothic cathedrals that they’ve only read about and their reactions to walking around downtown London where you see a medieval building then turn the corner and see something that was built a year ago were fun to watch,” adds Deans. “It was an incredible opportunity for them.”
GSO, the Government of Canada’s national outbound student mobility pilot program, made this international experience possible. It is an integral component of the Government of Canada’s International Education Strategy and is administered jointly by Universities Canada and Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan). Projects are designed, implemented and managed by participating universities and colleges across the country. GSO’s vision is to expand the horizons of Canadian students from coast to coast and improve Canada’s competitiveness on the world stage.
Visit Global Learning Experiences for more information on opportunities offered at Sask Polytech.