The Lure of London

In addition to Gonzaga’s long-standing study abroad program in Florence, London has a strong appeal for a good number of students each year.

In fact, it’s No. 2 among the 30 options Zags have for taking courses overseas.

Here, two students share about the coursework they enjoyed during their time in Great Britain.

Literary London
Megan O’Malley (’17) – English

“Oh, you’re an English major. What are you going to do with that?” It is the age-old plight of the Humanities major; the question every well-meaning friend and family member and co-worker is itching to ask. The summer after my sophomore year at Gonzaga, my answer was this: a few stuffed suitcases and a plane ticket to London.


During my five weeks with the Literary London program, I was able to wander the city’s many bookshops, stand as a groundling at the Globe Theatre, stroll along the river Thames, and speed through the Underground on the Tube every day. But perhaps the most fulfilling and exciting part of the experience for me was the way in which one of the classes I took abroad, London As Text, prompted me to see the city with new eyes.

Learning to read London was a balancing act: half walking its streets daily, half peering down at the city’s social and historical landscape from a bird’s-eye view. In both cases, I was asked to listen hard for the heartbeat of the city everywhere. I found it in museums full of Monet and modern art, in our existential discussion about Stratford-Upon-Avon’s tourism industry, in our half-hearted singalong with the devoted pilgrims on the Magical Mystery Tour Bus, in scavenging for the cheapest item I could buy from Harrod’s (one clearance macaroon), and our exploring the alleys of Shoreditch to spy on street art.

The Literary London program challenged me to begin reading the world around me with more intention, and called me to pay attention to the variety of narratives that form a culture.

Spirituality & Art
Ally Clapp (’18) – Religious Studies & Philosophy

My first Sunday in London I slept in late, ordered some tea, opened my phone, and Googled “Catholic Mass near me.” I was (to employ a British term) chuffed to find out there was a church within walking distance that held Mass every hour on Sundays. I could surely make Mass even though I had slept late and was prone to getting lost even on eight-minute walks.


Ihad been drawn here to take summer courses in spirituality and art, but for some reason, as I plodded through the rain-soaked streets looking around at the clusters of people bustling to and fro under their umbrellas, the thought that I might be heading toward something special never crossed my mind.

My first full experience of the rich beauty and culture of this country hit me suddenly as I walked through the giant doors of the church I had so naively Googled. I was greeted by the most breathtaking architecture I had ever seen, and was moved to tears not only because of the splendor that surrounded me, but also because of how unexpectedly this miracle had occurred.

During the rest of my time in London, this feeling came again and again and would be strengthened as a result of my studies. Our little class of Zags bonded as we were guided through various experiences of awe. As we delved deeper into the history and implications of spirituality, our study of the artistic expressions of faith that surrounded us, from gorgeous cathedrals to masterworks that took up entire museum walls, became all the more rewarding. My time in London expanded my vision and helped me see beauty with new eyes.

Being Global: The growth of Gonzaga Study Abroad programs
Students studied abroad during the 2015-16 academic year

Represented majors in the College of Arts & Sciences

Represented the School of Business Administration

Studied in Italy

Faculty members led programs

Besides Gonzaga-in-Florence, top locations selected were:
56 England
46 Spain
33 China
31 Zambia
22 Mexico

If you’d like to support a study-abroad opportunity for a student who otherwise might not go, please call 800.463.6925 or visit to learn more about our capital campaign efforts that support Global Engagement.