New “Crime & Criminal Justice” Study Abroad Program in London
London – Twelve eager students traverse the cobblestone streets, catching the tube from site to site, pausing to scribble notes in their journals and listen attentively to trials and lectures. These students were participating in the Crime & Criminal Justice in London Global Study program, which ran for the first time over the 2015 Winterim. This intensive, two-week study abroad program focused on the impact of England on the contemporary practice of criminal justice.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to expand their worldview and see how other systems handle the universal problem of crime, often in very different ways,”
explained Lonnie Schaible, PhD, Assistant Professor and faculty leader of the program.
The Global Education/Study Abroad office, University of Colorado Denver, is constantly expanding its program base to create opportunities for students of all disciplines and majors to study abroad. This is the first criminal justice study abroad program that has been offered at the University of Colorado Denver. Students can learn first-hand about the roots of America’s justice system in the city where many of its traditions originated.
“We inherited many of our legal and criminal justice policies and practices from the English,” said Schaible. “Yet, there are many differences between our systems that are interesting to consider. [The program] provides students with a good basis to compare and contrast,” he adds.
Valencia Hill-Wilson, a senior at CU Denver, always knew she wanted to study abroad. And when she found a program fitting her academic needs so perfectly, she knew she had to go. Hill-Wilson is majoring in Criminal Justice with an emphasis in Law and Policy. “It was the first [study abroad] program that I have seen since being here at CU Denver that relates directly to what I am studying,” she explains. But like many students, Hill-Wilson had doubts about financing a study abroad program. As a first-generation college student, she faced serious financial constraints. Hill-Wilson would not have been able to participate in the program without the aid of the Global Study Scholarship, which is awarded to deserving students each year.
“Receiving the scholarship made my journey to London possible!” says Hill-Wilson.
For Hill-Wilson, participating in the program was a major step towards achieving her academic and professional goals. After graduation, she plans to earn her Paralegal Certificate, gain experience working in the field, and then apply to law school. Participating in the program enriched her understanding of criminal justice, broadened her worldview, and gave her practical experience. Hill-Wilson had never been out of the country before, and visiting London was a profound and eye-opening experience.
“Traveling internationally gave me a whole different perspective on the Criminal Justice System here in the United States.”
Students engaged in learning that took them far beyond typical classroom instruction: they attened able a number of practitioner and witness trials in-person, visited historic sites such as the Tower of London and the House of Parliament, and listened to lectures from local experts and police officers with a wealth of experience in the field. “I actually don’t have a favorite part about London because I really did enjoy every part of the journey!” said Hill-Wilson.
Schaible, who was not able to study abroad during his own college years, was delighted to offer students the opportunity. “It’s an infinite joy for me to see the “Aha! Moments” different students have in reaction to different things while in London,” he noted. “I love it when students see that most police have no guns, or that the lawyers and magistrates really do still wear horse hair wigs.” Schaible hopes students gain an appreciation for the rich histories, connections, similarities and differences of English and American Criminal Justice systems.
“I think it’s also important for students to see how crime, justice policy, culture and social structure are deeply intertwined, and the best way to see that is first hand.”
Hill-Wilson would recommend the Crime & Criminal Justice in London program to any other students interested in studying abroad. For many students at CU Denver, the short-term and affordable Global Study programs are a great option to fit study abroad into any degree plan or budget. In just two short weeks, Hill-Wilson and the other participants gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field of Criminal Justice, made lasting memories and friendships, and got to know the bustling historical metropolis of London. As Hill-Wilson says, “It is the experience of a lifetime!”
To learn more about Global Education: Study Abroad programs, visit online: www.ucdenver.edu/studyabroad
For information about the Office of International Affairs, visit: www.international.ucdenver.edu